Tuesday, October 7

Aerification Update

Greens aerification began yesterday.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature didn't get my email and decided to rain on our little parade.  In an effort to get this unfortunate task out of the way, we began sanding and punching yesterday morning as planned.  Relative to years past, it hasn't gone quite as well so far, but we did accomplish a few things.  13 holes are de-thatched, sanded and punched, and the north side of the golf course (1, 11, 9, 17,18, practice greens) remain only dethatched.  

First of all, the below-average temperatures combined with continuous cloud cover made getting our sand dry nearly impossible.  Greens with more shade and less air circulation (4, 5, 15, 8) did not dry out at all while greens in full sun got a much better result.  By 2 pm, the light rain began and pretty much ended our day entirely.

We can aerify in clouds and even cold weather, but the key for us is being able to get the sand to dry once it is spread on the green.  Moist sand does not get swept into the holes and tends to clump on our brushes and brooms.   Yesterday our sand was far more appropriate for sand castles than for topdressing greens. 

There were little bursts of blue sky that gave us scant amounts of hope for some decent results so a-punching we will go.  Ben and Dave working in tandem to speed the process.

Normally the first brushing would get most of the sand in the holes.  As you can see here the wet cool conditions prevented a good drag.  We continued to work them as the day went on.
The wet sand just "bridged" the majority of holes but did start to smooth out a little better.  Drier early afternoon air did allow us to get most of the sand in later with mixed results.

The greens with more shade and less air circulation dried out the least leaving less than perfect results.  YET ANOTHER reason too many trees around greens can be a problem.  This is #4 right side which is quite shady.  We will rework the sand on these greens as soon as it dries out.  Hopefully no later than wednesday.
Greens with good air circulation and less shade fared much better.  Near perfect hole fill and a smooth surface.  This is #13 green which is in full sun and gets great air circulation.  Go figure.
A little rolling to smooth things out for play and lots of hand work to be done.  Not as good as past years but not awful.

Unfortunately, the weather today looks even worse.  Storms are headed our way and will be in our area around lunch time.  In order to ensure we get good results on our remaining greens, we will not sand or punch the remaining greens until Wednesday.  The golf course will remain open, but expect to skip around us at least once during your round.  We will do our level best to try to get things finished and playable as soon as possible.  

Thank you in advance for your patience.


Tuesday, September 30

Just another brick in the wall...

After just a few days, the "brickies" have almost finished the construction of the foundation and outer walls.  Also this week the installation of underground conduit was completed.  Toledo Edison will use this conduit to install new electrical service to this building.

Overall things are going nicely.  All of the contractors seem to be on the same page to this point.  Once Toledo Edison finishes their installation of our new transformer, pole, and wire, it is all up to our pump contractor and electrician to finish their portion of the installation (pipes and pumps).  Your maintenance staff will be doing all of the cleanup and finish work around the building as well as some "lipstick and rouge" work this winter (painting, shelf and wall construction etc)

Below are a few pictures and details of the past week.

This foundation is 5 courses of block beneath the surface.  Your maintenance crew helped reduce cost by performing all of the backfill work inside and outside of the foundation. 

Textured "split face" block was selected for improved aesthetics.  The building will be painted after construction is complete and before the new concrete floor is poured.
The southern wall after just one day of setting block.

Southern wall and installed double door day two.

The north wall will have a small door for access to range house.

These double doors are on our end of the building to allow installation of pump station components and acid injection tanks and equipment.

4 full days of setting block and three and a half of four sides are complete.  Not too bad for a small crew.
This machine is our directional boring machine.  This thing is really cool.  Workers use this to precisely and rather quickly install underground conduit to the depth and specification set by us and Toledo Edison.  Basically a horizontal drill that made a hole and pulled 1000' of 4" conduit from the building to the right of #1 tee.

All underground with no surface disruption.  Done in 3 days.  No trench, no sod, no fuss and no muss.  Sweet piece of equipment.

Tuesday, September 16

A new "footprint" at HMGC

As you have likely noticed the construction of our range/pump house has begun to the right of #9 north fairway and the driving range.  Despite my rambling in newsletters, my blog, and even in public forums in front of the members, there is still some confusion as to what this thing is here for.

The footers have been poured and ready to stack block.
First thing you noticed is it's not that big.  We tried to minimize potential interference with golf and future improvements by working closely with our golf course architect.   Obviously placement is very important not just now but relative to future master plan work.

The building is 20' x 36'.  Approximately 1/3rd of that (12x20) will be used to house the new pump electronics and injection system (more on this when it gets installed) as well as storage for irrigation repair parts and supplies.  There will actually be no pumps in the building, only the controls that operate them.  Having a small building will lengthen the life of these electronics as well as protect them against maintenance issues.  We are putting about a $60,000 "water computer" in there, and we want to keep it functional for at least the next 15-30 years.  The computer actually costs just slightly more than the building if you can believe that.  The water will be plumbed into this building so that it may be treated with our new infection system and sent back to our existing main line along #9 creek.

The other 2/3rds of the building will be much needed storage for the driving range, club fitting, and golf instruction operations.  The ball washer will be relocated here as well as the multitude of eqiupment currently occupying space in the bag room.  Wintertime will allow storage of the range picker.

As far as appearance, the building will be a block-type construction with "split face" blocks.  Most schools, hospitals, municipal buildings you see are split-face CMU block.  Originally, to save money we budgeted for a metal building.   Amid concerns about longevity, appearance, and the likelihood of balls making an awful racket when bouncing off of it, the board opted for more permanent construction for a minimal upcharge.

Typical split-face block

Overall, the construction should take about 3-4 weeks.  New power will be installed now that the building position is set, and finally we will be getting pipe and pumps installed to tap the new water in our wells.

I will keep you posted as we approach major milestones.  Keep enjoying this great fall golf weather.


Tuesday, August 26

Golf Cart and Pull Cart Etiquette

I remember back to "the streak" when Cal Ripken Jr. played almost his entire career without missing a game.  Here in the world of Highland Meadows Grounds Department, we have a streak of our own.  I call it the "consecutive grounds committee meetings where members bitch about where other members drive their carts/pull carts" streak.  I think we are somewhere in the low 200's with this streak at last check.

At a club as busy as ours, cart traffic and even foot traffic can become a very real barrier to course conditions and playability.  Carts and foot traffic cause turf health issues, aesthetic issues and playability issues. While many members seem to think I police the daily play, I don't see nearly as many offenses as members do. The only real way I can help is by directing traffic with ropes, stakes, and signs and most importantly - educating.  I have written newsletters, blog posts, and even contemplated hiring a skywriter on a busy Saturday to get the word out, but players continue to place carts where they shouldn't.  

And now for something completely different -  I have a video.  In an effort to continue my due diligence towards better understanding in cart rules and etiquette, I have tapped the information available from the USGA's "Fore the Golfer" series of videos.  While a bit cheesy and obvious at times (I'm pretty sure they resurrected the narrator from every 1950's era educational video to do the voice work) , they do a decent job of illustrating some of our core cart traffic principles.  Also,  If everyone thought about just these few core principles, the course would look better and I could save about 20 minutes in every committee meeting.

Tuesday, August 19

The Well's and "not-so wells"

What has been such a great summer is starting to make me pull my hair out.  By now, we had hoped to be elbow-deep in our new range/pump house by now with sights set on completing our irrigation upgrade by fall.  As always seems to happen, small changes, permits, and people just being busy has thrown a couple of delays into our process.  Rest assured, we are still on-track and moving forward.

As I spoke of awhile back, the unexpected yield on well #2 demanded we change the type and horsepower of our well pumps.  This change required some minor re-engineering and tweaks to the new electrical infrastructure to accommodate the higher horsepower. Being as our range house is a commercial structure, this electrical information was required to submit for our county building permit, which required our zoning permit, which blah blah blah blah. In other words, there hasn't been any mistakes, it's just taken a little longer to get all the necessary paperwork in place.

As of today, everything is moving forward - more or less.  The building permit is "pending" and we should have it in our hands soon.  The problem we are running into is that our masonry contractor has other work scheduled for late August.  Since our project was scheduled to take place late July/Early August, we are running out of time.  We are working diligently to ensure there are no further delays, but time will tell.  I will keep everyone posted.

Friday, July 25

The aftermath...

The Marathon Classic is in the rear-view mirror and yes, I am glad.  While I do take great pride in making sure this club shines in the local and national spotlight, I am happy to get back to my #1 job of making the club shine for the membership.  As many of you noticed, the tournament was a great success this year.  Record attendance, lots of birdies, and a great champion coupled with the best July weather we have ever had made for a great event.  From our perspective, the weather was the star of the show.

As most of you know, this tournament has been plagued by heavy rain, severe floods, extreme heat, drought and for the first time this year a guy in a bear suit. All of these things have caused problems for the tournament, but more importantly, some pretty tough conditions to recover from.  Walkways reduced to mud, turf "cooking" under bleachers, and what seems like miles of mulched paths are not to be seen this year, and the outlook is great for a speedy recovery.  Instead of having to re-grow acres of turf, we should be able to get great recovery from our existing stand.

Crosswalk on 10 fairway is straw colored turf instead of mud.  We will look to recover instead of re-sod.

Still lots of little green plants battling back.  A little TLC, patience, water and fertilizer should have things popping back in a few weeks.

With the course left in relatively good shape, we hope to have things back up to snuff in a few weeks instead of the usual 2-3 months.  If the weather stays mild and we can get one or two soaking rains, it should lead the way for some great late-summer golf.  Be sure to read this months Highlander where I attempt to debunk some common tournament myths.

Friday, June 27

Preamble to the real summer season

I know this is a bit of a "cop-out" but this is an early sneak-peek at my July newsletter article.  I spent enough time writing this article and it contains a good deal of information I get asked to write about.  From the water project to divots to cart traffic, I tried to cover all of it as a "preamble" to summer heat and stress season.  With the frustrations we battle over the summer I will try to address as many as I can in advance.  Also I hope everyone will read my comments regarding worker safety in hand-watering season.  As a reminder, there are a couple of useful links on the main blog page with information related to some of the topics below.

Cheers to you all!

“Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs”  -Henry Ford

July in the Grounds Department always brings a slight shift in priorities.  Having completed several larger projects this spring including drainage, road building, and large tree removal, we now must focus on the proverbial “little things”.  With a busy golf course, summer heat and humidity and the Marathon Classic looming, we can’t get distracted from our primary goal of producing the best day-to-day conditions we are capable of.

One of the aforementioned “little things” that you will start to see more of is the “in-play” watering of greens, tees and fairways.  Some players get frustrated that water is applied to surfaces (especially putting) during their round.  Unfortunately, the longest days of summer combined with heat and heavy member traffic often require a quick mid-day watering to help our greens survive the day.  Members have asked why we don’t just “put on more water at night” and the answer is again the often lamented Poa annua.  Poa is a short-rooted turf that doesn’t handle heat very well.  During heat stress, roots contract and are often no more than 1-2 inches long on greens during the peak of summer.  It doesn’t take long for those 1-2 inches to dry out in July which forces us to get out the hoses.   You could put a million gallons on the grass at night and water the soil 10 feet deep, but it’s often just the top 2 inches that matter during the summer. 

On fairways, tees and in the rough, we try to maintain a balance between firm conditions, available labor to hand water, and conserving our often limited water resources in the creek.  This leads to extra daytime watering to keep from losing turf.  We will do everything possible to limit interruption of play for watering purposes, but please be as courteous as possible to the workers out there.  It only takes a couple of minutes to syringe a green and they will soon be out of your way.  There were a couple of close calls last year with groups hitting into workers, and we don’t want anyone to get hurt.  Thank you for your patience.

Speaking of water, our little water project is nicely on-track.  The well was tested and deemed to be officially  over 1000 gallons per minute which is triple the flow of our first well!  This is more than we could have hoped for and has thrown a “positive” monkey wrench into our plans.  We are finalizing some necessary adjustments to pump capacities, pipe sizing and some other boring stuff to accommodate the extra flow.  These little adjustments are adding a little time, but we are still set to have this project mostly complete by this fall.  By the end of July, we should have our permits in place and begin work on our new range house. Electrical work and plumbing should happen shortly after.  When we get things moving, be sure to check my blog for pictures and updates as we proceed.

Finally, by popular demand, a few reminders about the things you can do as a member to help keep the course in shape during the heat of summer. 

1.       Cart Traffic – As the summer play increases, regular cart traffic creates a great deal of wear and tear especially around greens and tees.  In the heat of summer, grass doesn’t grow or recover nearly as quick as in the spring.  Make an effort to spread your traffic out and avoid driving where the turf is obviously discolored, weak, or dry.  Also, keep you carts as far away from greens and tees as possible (at least 30’) while using the available cart paths.    During wet periods, extra attention to roped-off areas and course signage will also help minimize damage.

2.      Fix ball marks and replace your divots…properly!Whenever possible, replace your divots and give them a firm stomping to achieve the best soil contact.  Don’t forget to try to replace on the par-3 tees.  If (and only if) the divot is shattered and unusable, fill the hole with sand and seed if available and smooth with your foot or club.  With around 26,000 rounds of golf played here every year - assuming a generous average score of 85 (subtracting 35 putts/chips and 20 non-divot shots/drivers) that’s still almost 800,000 divots that could be taken on the golf course during the course of the season.  With a little help from our members and guests, we can help them heal as quickly as possible.

3.      Range tee usage - Our range tee is incredibly undersized for our quantity of play.  In order to keep the grass tee usable during the summer, make your divot pattern on the tee as concentrated and efficient as possible.  Many of the professionals have started using a “straight line” method starting forward and taking the next divot directly behind the first.  This leaves a nice straight “trench” of divots and uses the least amount of turf.  If they run out of room, they start another trench adjacent to the first, leaving a little turf between.  This is easy to fill and heals much more quickly than a large, random assortment of divots.

4.      Bug Spray – Bug spray will discolor and damage turf.  Please apply on the cart path only!

Keeping the golf course healthy and playable through July is one of the biggest challenges we face each season.  With a little help from you all, we will be more successful.

Wednesday, May 28

Makin' Water

It's been nearly a month since my last post, and for good reason.  Good weather has put the maintenance staff in "catch up" mode as far as getting the golf course in shape.  Also, our well project is in full swing.  Over the last four weeks, a lot has happened and there have been many questions.

First off - What the hell happened to 11 green?  Essentially this is an experiment to see if we can regain portions of our greens that have been lost to decades of overly careful mowing practices. During spring flush growth, employees that may miss as little as a quarter of an inch when mowing the cleanup pass around the edge of the green.  Then the next employee, the next and the next make the same honest error in an effort not to "scalp" the edge of the collar.  Over time, the green shrinks inward.   Consulting with our master plan architect, we surmised that there were several areas the green needed to expand to get back to its original shape and size.  Number 11 has become very short on "cuppable" space and getting the green back to size will create more plentiful and interesting pin locations.  The usual way clubs correct this "shrinkage" is to do much like Inverness Club has done recently.  A costly "gassing" and re-grassing of the greens.  Also, some clubs grow large sod nurseries and re-grass with sod.  Both of these methods are costly, labor intensive, and disruptive to play.  We are attempting to simply "scalp" or my preferred term - "hack" the grass down to height, aerate and compact it, sand topdress it, and grow it back in from the grass that is there.  Looking at the old collar, it was all Poa annua and bentgrass.  I saw no reason why we couldn't try.  If this works, look for several areas next spring where we will expand the greens.  It will be ugly for a little while, but we hope to have it blending in better by mid-summer.

After we "scalped" it down to green height, the collar was core aerified and gone over with a plate compactor (sorry no picture) to help alleviate the scalp.

Very large holes and tight spacing to really loosen up the sub surface so the area can be smoothed.
While that was going on, the well drillers moved in.  Taking advantage of the closed range, we decided to get our portion of the project going - the road to nowhere.  Many have asked why the road is necessary.  Essentially, Toledo Edison requires that a service road be installed to allow for the installation and servicing of our new transformer that will be located next to our pump house between #9 and the driving range.  We tried every angle in hopes of getting around the road requirement, but to no avail.  At least they didn't make us pave it, which was their original specification.  Gravel will be just fine.  Seeing an opportunity to cut costs, we decided to tackle the road "in-house".  We also took advantage of the time to correct some serious drainage issues that would create major problems for the road.  We were lucky enough to find an old culvert that ran under the range.  Once we tied into that, we installed several basins and repaired an old drain line.  Long term, this will be a great foundation to improve our drainage on the range and save thousands of golf balls that get "squished" into the soggy turf and soil every year.

We first cut sod to clear for the road.  The sod would be used to repair the bottom of the range after the drainage was installed.

The "road to nowhere" begins.

A mini-excavator and our dump truck was all it took.  The spoils were used to fill and repair decades of flood damage at the bottom of the range.
Fortunately, we were right on top of bedrock which made the excavation easy and will provide a good base for the road.
This is what the bottom of the range looked like.  Flood damaged and exposed soil with no drainage.  There were these range-ball eating mud monsters all over the place.

12-inch basins were installed connected to a 6-inch mainline to catch water at the bottom of the range.  Spoils from the road were used to repair flood damage mud holes and re-grade for drainage.

Sod from the road is laid to complete the work.  

Mostly completed.  We need a little more sod and some seed to get things completely buttoned up.  Not bad for a weeks work though.

The topic on everyone's mind is "how much water?"   We are in week two of the drilling and hope to be completed by the end of the week. Thank you for your patience with the range closures as we try to complete this project without endangering our contractors or employees.  Look for "irons only" this week (unless anyone is naughty) and full open ASAP.  After drilling is complete the well will be tested for flow.  So far the results are promising.  Compared to well number one, number two is much more "spunky". Importantly, it is getting "different" water.  The drillers track the flow layer by layer and foot by foot.  Well number two is tracking differently than well number one.  On well number one, we didn't see significant yield until below 300 feet.  This new well showed tremendous promise as shallow as 160 feet.  We will continue to drill downward in an effort to "marry" the wells for maximum yield.

I am biting my tongue and knocking on wood fairly hard right now, but it looks as though we are well on our way to independence from the creek, the quarry and finally be able to get our dam, our pumps, and our dangerously installed electrical supply out of the floodplain and out of our worries forever!  I will talk more about this once the test results are in.

"This is a S***-load of water" - Jim Watson

Tuesday, April 29

Busy Busy Busy

It's been quite awhile since I've run my mouth but it's been for a very good reason - we are BUSY!  While the weather has not been the best for golf, it has been just fine to get caught up on our spring tasks.  Being a week or two behind our usual spring schedule due to the long winter, the last two weeks have really helped us catch up.  Aerification, tree removal and general clean-up have been our focus as well as addressing some minor damage from the extreme winter.  We still have a ways to go, but we are getting there.
First off was aerification.  As you may have noticed, we did things just a little differently this year.  Instead of the heavy sand application, we went with a more moderate sand rate.  We followed that with a solid, deep-tine (over 7 inches deep) aerification (no cores).  This was not nearly as disruptive and should heal quite quickly.  We chose to scale back this spring due to the cold temperatures and late start to the golf season.  As long as we remain consistent with our normal practices of topdressing, we should be fine.  We will have to be more aggressive in the fall to make up for not getting quite as much sand in our profile as we usually do.

Sand was applied ahead of punching

With a few frosty mornings under our belt, we have also begun our spring tree removals.  Over the past several years, we have been forced to spend most of our time and money removing dead trees.  The emerald ash borer and the bark beetle have killed numerous ash and pine trees on the course and more significantly on our property lines.  With the safety of our members, guests, and neighbors the priority, we spent our time in these areas.  Now that we are caught up with those necessary removals, we can begin addressing trees more in play that are causing problems.  IMPORTANT NOTE:  ALL tree removals were first reviewed and planned by our master plan architect, reviewed 'on-course' by the grounds committee and approved unanimously.  They were removed thoughtfully and not without thorough discussion by professionals and our members.  This will be our policy moving forward regarding the removal (OR planting) of any live trees.  Our thought process was simple .  First and foremost, we want to encourage good growing conditions for the in-play areas with greens as the priority.  You have already noticed the trees adjacent to #8 green and 9 tee have been removed.  This has accomplished several goals - More sun and air movement for our worst performing green, better conditions for the thin rough around the green and #9 tee, and after removing them the very large tree next to the bunker really becomes a stand-alone gem that isn't hidden by the other trees.  Also, it is obvious to see how the smaller tree only a few feet from the largest tree was negatively affecting the shape and growth habit of this great tree.  Same goes for the large maple on #9 tee.  Once the smaller, misshapen tree was removed, the larger and more impressive specimen is now on display.

Looking at the shape of the maple on 9 tee, it is easy to see that the smaller of the two was struggling to compete with the larger cousin to the left.  It had a terrible shape and was generally unhealthy.  As a bonus, we should get better conditions, thicker turf and help the area better withstand cart traffic.  
Now with the smaller ugly maple gone, the larger specimen can stand out on its own.
With the removal of these three trees, the corridoor for air and sunlight has increased dramatically.  Should get thicker rough around the green and better conditions on the green.

You can see the trees really competing for their own sun.  The branches of the larger tree curving around the smaller one. We will continue to remove trees that interfere with more desirable specimens.

Now with the smaller tree gone, the larger specimen stands alone and can branch in all directions and hopefully turn into a great specimen.  You can see the void where the smaller tree used to reside.
One final word about trees.  I love trees.  I think they add a great touch to an old country club when properly placed, minimally used and not relied upon for strategy or "toughness" of the course.  They should be complementary, not domineering.  The death or necessary removal of a tree should not "ruin" a hole.  Any good architect will tell you that.  The fact of the matter about Highland Meadows is there are too many trees too close together in the wrong spots.  For example the groves of maple trees (maples are very shallow rooted and difficult to grow grass near) planted around this place have made it impossible to grow good turf in some very key areas (right of 16 green, left of 8 fairway, right of 2 landing area, right of 1 green etc etc) and that is not what trees are for on a golf course.  Many great courses are lined with trees but they should not be integral to how the hole is played. 
One of my favorite quotes from Jack Nicklaus.  
That being said, I would like it on the record that we do invest time, money, and effort to maintain the trees we do want to remain.  Just this week Rich Savory from Savory tree service was out to look at some distressed pines and spruces on the course.  We are going to do some trunk injections on the spruces behind #9 green and some fertilizing on the white pines that took it in the chops from the rough winter.  

Wednesday, April 9

Opening Day Approaches!

Our official opening day will be this Friday the 11th!  While the use of carts will be dependent on the Thursday rain forecast, I am confident that at least walkers should be able to play without too much difficulty.  The crew will be out stirring up the last few bunkers that have been underwater for the last few days as well as getting all the accessories back on the course.  We should be ready, but please bear with us as there is still much to do to get the course where we need it to be.

First of all, please recognize that the greens just woke up from a long winter.  We are mowing a little above our normal mowing height to keep from picking up the sand we applied in the fall.  They may not be as firm and fast as we like, but with a little more time and dry weather we should be there soon.  I think they will be quite playable.

Secondly, we haven't had enough dry days to get things as clean as we normally like them.  With wet weather and the rough not really growing, a few leftover leaves and sticks (plus the occasional goose turd) may sully the area until the rough grows up and we do some mowing.

Given the winter we had, I am VERY pleased with how the course handled things.  With some warmer weather coming (and hopefully less rain), we should be up to speed in no time.

See you all out there!

PS - Blog follower's privilege - The pins will likely be in the greens Thursday afternoon.  If you happen to decide to play the temps Thursday, they will not have pins in them so I guess you may just have to use the greens.

Friday, March 28


There is much anticipation around the club these days.  Opening day seems to be stretching further away and the renovation work and pending vote seems to have "stirred the masses" quite a bit.  Between these things, the air is thick with a palpable combination of excitement, confusion and hope.  The vote will be sorted out Monday, but I don't have any good news at this point about opening day.

Taking advantage of the warm morning, I took a walk around.  Overall, the course is coming out in decent shape but we are still at least a week or more away from opening.  Right now, I am hoping for Master's weekend (April 12th-13th).

Unfortunately, it's not a matter of work needing to take place.  The course is fairly clean and there was very little tree damage or limb debris to worry about.  The worst winter damage is on north-facing slopes and low areas in the rough that are suffering from snow mold.  We just need things to dry up and firm up before we open the floodgates of spring play at The Meadows.  There is still a good deal of snow, standing water, and in our shady areas the frost line is still just an inch or two from the surface.  Also, there hasn't been any growth yet anywhere on the golf course.  Until we get some favorable temperatures and a few days of above-freezing nights, it will be difficult to get the course ready.  I will be keeping you posted as conditions change.

The rough in front of #6 tee is peppered with large areas of snow mold.  Also, look at #18 hill from Erie St. and you can see the large pockets of diseased turf.  

#4 green still snow around the banks and frozen ground in the shade.

A great example of why new sod on the green banks is a great idea.  Look at the stripe of fresh bluegrass we installed around #2 last year.  It is handling the winter much better than the contaminated bent/blue/poa/rye mix to the left.

Even some of our tees are still struggling to thaw out.  This is #3

I could only get the probe about 2 inches in the ground before I hit frost on #15.
I would like to thank all the members that took the time to come to the informational meetings on the 24th and 25th.  It was great to speak to you all and answer your questions about the water project.  If you haven't returned your ballot, please get it in by Monday morning.  Even if it's a "no" we need your vote and your voice!

Have a great weekend.


Monday, March 10

Trees causing problems for greens in winter too???

With just a few more greens to go, we are very nearly done with removing excess snow cover from our greens.  So far, things are looking good.  The temps have been just warm enough to melt most of the ice off of several greens.  With partly sunny and 50 degrees today and another 40 degree day tomorrow I am confident the greens should get a good breath of air (at least before they go under another 6" of snow Wednesday).  However, during my survey of the golf course, one interesting thing has been well illustrated.

I have whined at length year after year about the overabundance of misplaced trees especially around our greens.  Trees inhibit sunlight, air movement, traffic patterns, and steal water from surrounding turf making it difficult to grow healthy turf in shady areas.  What I have never been able to illustrate is the effect trees are having on our ice accumulation and our ability to remove it.  We have had normal to mild winters my entire tenure here and snow and ice has never been a problem worth banging my gums about.    Enter the winter of 2014.

Ice layers on each of our greens have been in the range of a quarter-inch to 1.5 inches.  I will give you one guess where the 1.5-inch ice layers have been - our shaded/ low air movement greens.  Numbers 8, 2, 4, 5, 15 all have distinctly thicker layers of ice and have not melted nearly as quickly as the remainder of the greens that have been uncovered.  Number 1 and 11 had the thickest layers of ice on the entire golf course due to their low-lying location on the property.  However, once we got the snow off of 1 and 11, the thick ice melted almost immediately due to the increased amount of sunshine.  Number 8 was THE FIRST green we blew off and has yet to thaw even a little.  We have tossed some sand on it today in the hopes of accelerating melt today.  That, of course, will only work if the sun decides to come out.

 #8 was blown off THURSDAY MORNING and has thawed not at all
Tossed a little topdressing sand on #8 today in hopes of attracting some rays of sunshine.

#7 Green was blown off Friday and melted quickly.  Should be clear by this afternoon.

#15 was blown off THURSDAY as well but the lack of air movement and shade have inhibited thaw quite a bit.

#3 used to be one of our shadiest greens until we removed several trees to the south last year.  Nice quick thaw.

#17 was blown off Friday afternoon and looked like this by Friday at 4pm.  Thank you full sun.
We are pushing snow off of the last few greens today in the hopes of exposing as much green surface as possible before they get covered up again by the coming storm.  Local forecasts are anywhere from 1-8" of snow Wednesday followed by another cold snap.  I know what you are thinking, and it's actually not as bad a thing as you think.  Yes, we just spent a lot of time and effort blowing the snow off and now we are getting another blast.  But remember, our objective was to get the ice layer off in order to get some air to the greens.  By wednesday, we should have accomplished that.  While it is frustrating to add yet more snow to the golf course, the coming blanket of snow will actually protect the grass through our last few freeze-thaw cycles of winter, which can also be quite damaging.  Right now