Course Notes, 9/30/2019

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As the sun has begun to set on the 2019 season, I had jotted down some notes about how dry September and how the National Weather Service had placed Elkhart County in its Moderate Drought category.  The abnormally dry and warm September was great for late season golf for sure.

 

Drought Map of Indiana as of 9/24/19

Then last weekend’s storm happened.  While we needed the rain, we did not need a month’s worth in a 72 hour time period.  The course received nearly 4.5″ of rainfall over the weekend and the staff has hustled to get everything ready for this final week of main club events.  Final clean-up of leaves and debris left from the storm will take place over the next couple of days.

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The new pond on 8 created by last weekend’s deluge
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17 fairway bunker after the rain had ended.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other notes and happenings around the course:

  • Aerification of greens and fairways is right around the corner.  weather permitting, the front 9 greens and large practice green will be solid-tined on October 3rd.  The small practice green and back 9 greens will be aerified on October 4th.  Fairway aerification will begin on October 7, and we will be pulling cores this year to aid in drainage and better fill in any divots that may be present on the fairways.  I anticipate this process taking all week and ask that you be cautious around any staff member that may be on the fairway you are playing, as they may not hear or see you right away.  Thank you.
  • The Elkhart County Health Department has been in contact with me about mosquitoes and the threat in our area of the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus.  Below is a press release from them with information and safety tips on how to protect yourself.  There is bug spray available for you in the starter hut next to 1 tee, and if you do apply bug spray, please do so on the cart path only, as bug spray can harm or kill turf.  Once a hard frost is seen in our area, the mosquito threat will diminish rapidly.
EEE Press Release
ECHD Press Release
  • Work has started already to prepare the practice tee for the 2020 season.  Last week the center and north sections of the tee were core aerified, topdressed, and seeded to fill in gaps in the turf.  These 2 sections will remain closed for the rest of the year.  After October 13th, the south section of the main tee will close for the season and the same process will take place.  Between October 15th and October 31st, the lower section will be available for you to practice.  On November 1st, the Practice Facility will close for the season.  All of this will allow the main practice tee to have the best opportunity for the seed to germinate, and fill in fully for the 2020 season.  If you have any questions about this, please ask myself or Tom.IMG_0469 IMG_0470.jpg

 

 

 

 

  • You may have noticed the cattails on 14 pond turning brown.  After years of attempting to control their spreading only by cutting them, we had to make a herbicide application to thin out the population before they overtook the entire pond.  Over the next 2 weeks we will be removing the dead material by hand and leave a single pod of them on the northwest corner of the pond.  IMG_0495

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at ryan@elconacc.com.  Have a great week and I hope to see you out on the course!

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Ryan

Course Notes, 6/23/2019

0607190702a_HDR.jpgThe year is already half over and the relentless rainy weather pattern is showing signs of letting up finally, with a return of summer like temperatures.  Since March 15, Elcona has received over 20” of rainfall, which the National Weather Service is saying makes 2019 one of the top 5 wettest starts to a year on record.  Our staff has done a tremendous job keeping up with the surges in growth and excess water removal on the course and I could not be more proud to work with such a great group of people.  The Walter O. Wells Invitational is right around the corner and we are excited to prepare the course for the premier event for the club.

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Staff hard at work repairing the golf course from another June downpour.

 

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Bug spray injury on 16 tee

With these heavy amounts of rainfall, it serves a great reminder that mosquitoes and ticks are out in full force now.  If you hit an errant shot into the natural areas, or are helping a buddy find theirs, please double check yourself for ticks.  If you need to apply bug repellent during your round, please apply it on the cart paths or parking lots.  Bug sprays can discolor or even kill any turfgrass and plants, especially on greens, tees, and fairways.   The picture shown above depicts what damage can occur.  You can make out the footprints and the brown turf around them.  Thank you for your cooperation on this.

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Lightning strike at the 2019 US Women’s Open.  The tree had to be removed the next day. 

Also, we are smack in the middle of thunderstorm season.  When inclement weather approaches the course, or if lightning is detected within 10 miles of the golf course, the Pro Shop staff will blow the siren indicting that it is mandatory you seek shelter immediately.  This link here is a video from the Weather Channel explaining the different ways lightning can severely harm or kill you out on the course.  I have also included a pretty dramatic picture of an oak tree getting struck just minutes after the siren was sounded at this year’s US Women’s Open. Here is a link to the video from Fox Sports.   The take home message here is that when the siren sounds, please come seek shelter immediately.  Please shelter in place until you hear a second siren, which sounds only when the threat has passed and it is safe to resume play and the golf course is in a condition to do so.  Your life is worth much more than finishing the hole you are playing.

0508191212A few of you have asked about some fluctuations in green speed recently.  It has been and always will be a top priority for me to keep the greens as consistent as possible while maintaining a healthy playing surface. It is not uncommon for speeds to vary from day to day based on our rolling program and other external factors.  During a typical week of the peak season we will mow greens daily, and roll them on Tuesday, Wednesday afternoon, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  All of our maintenance practices are dependent on weather allowing us to do so without harming turf health or playability.

There are many other items that factor in to green speed, which include:

Moisture Levels: What can affect moisture levels? The two main culprits are rainfall/irrigation and humidity. It’s no secret that firmer/drier greens tend to be faster and soft/wet greens lead to slower speeds.  We combat this as much as possible by hand watering the greens in the summer and using products to help move water down through the soil profile leading to a drier, firmer surface.

Weather: What happens to your yard after it rains? It grows and typically grows much faster than it did before it rained. Rainfall provides the turf with clean, usable water that helps to flush elements from the soil that tie-up nutrients, therefore making the nutrients readily available to the turf. Nutrients lead to healthy turf which can lead to additional growth. Believe it or not, lightning also plays a large role.  The unbridled energy of a lightning bolt shatters nitrogen molecules in the air. Some of the free nitrogen atoms combine with oxygen to form compounds called nitrates that mix with the rain. These nitrates are a powerful natural fertilizer that any plant can readily take up and thus increase its growth rate.

Nutrition: The turf needs food to be healthy. Just as with humans, the healthier it is, the more active it tends to be.  Healthy turf will grow more than unhealthy turf.

Growth: Turf is a living, breathing entity.  It doesn’t just grow at night when most of us are sleeping, it grows during the day as well.  This means that the greens will usually be slower in the afternoon than they are in the morning.

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Sand topdressing applied to 15 green

Topdressing:  Typically in season, we apply and broom in topdressing sand, and the amount of sand varies based on the rate at which the plant is growing.  Topdressing sand helps smooth and firm up the surface of the greens.  A smoother surface provides less friction on the golf ball and a faster speed.

Growth Regulators: Growth regulators work and work very well, but despite what you may think, they do not completely stop growth, they merely slow it down.  Over the years we have found a schedule that will provide very consistent results from day to day, minimizing surges in growth, but like everything else, the performance of the product is dependent upon several of the factors listed above.

I would encourage you to spend a few moments before each round on one of the practice greens.  They are maintained the same as the greens on the golf course and will give you a good reference as to what the greens on the course will be like on that given day.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at ryan@elconacc.com.  Have a great week and I will see you out on the golf course!

Ryan

Late June Course Notes and Observations

June 2014 so far has been the 3rd wettest June on record, and I think I can speak for all that it is time for some drier conditions.  At Elcona, through June 25th, we have received 9.25 inches of rain for the month.  The golf course has taken it well for the most part, thanks to our sandy loam soils.  Firmer conditions are coming back. 

With the hotter, and definitely wetter weather, some of our greens have experienced some disease issues, with the most severe being #13.  The fungal disease impacting areas of the green is called anthracnose, and it loves hot, wet weather.  We have been attempting to control it with our weekly fungicide applications, but have not been successful fully. 

Today, we vented the green using 1/4″ solid tines, the same tines we use in our monthly venting across all of the putting surfaces, and topdressed with sand.  The purpose of this is to increase oxygen flow to the roots and dry the profile out to eliminate the environmental conditions needed for the disease to thrive.  We also have began using a dedicated mower for this green, with a slight increase in height (.005″) to better allow the turf to recover from the damage caused.  This is a temporary solution that should alleviate the current situation.  These steps are the best management practices to deal with anthracnose.  As soon as the disease is held in check, we will be repairing any damage that does not recover fully and return the green to normal maintenance practices.  If you have any questions, feel free to email me at ryan@elconacc.com.

Ill effects of applying bug repellant, 16 tee

Also, we have had a couple of instances where people (in this case outing guests) apply bug spray on our finer maintained turf.  The picture on the right shows the after effects of this on 16 tee.  Please, if you need to apply bug spray, do it on a cart path.  This picture shows that rough height turf as well as the tee itself will not recover around the green foot prints.  Thank you for your cooperation in advance. 

Hydraulic oil leak on 15 green surround

Finally, we had a hydraulic line break on our surround mower, causing some oil to leak in various spots.  The oil line was directly behind the operator and was not noticed until driving on the asphalt path.  It is interesting to note that it is not the oil itself that kills the turf, but the high temperature that the oil is at during normal operation.  We will be monitoring the damage and taking appropriate steps.  There is never a good time for this to happen! 



Ryan

Question: What caused this?

Answer: Bug Spray (notice the footprints)

The warmer weather combined with the excessive amounts of rain we have had so far this season have created a perfect environment for mosquitos to breed.  Please keep in mind that bug spray will kill the turf, so always apply when you are standing on a paved surface.  Thanks for you cooperation and enjoy the warmer weather.