Friday, July 31, 2009

2009 Derby

It seems hard to believe, but the 59th Run for the Rose’s is now in the history books. The record wet weather earlier this year thankfully gave way to nice, dry conditions these past few weeks and remained very pleasant for our main event.

Sunshine & dry was our "gift" of the week...
...helping provide the theme of the week - firm and fast conditions, as the photo below might suggest.

We always look forward to this tournament, as it is one of few times during the year when we pull out all the stops and try our very best to bring you the best and most memorable play conditions of the year. We heard many favorable comments regarding the condition of the course, and we believe we met our goal. It could not have happened without the dedication, commitment, and plain hard work of Scott, Steve, Jacob, Shaun, Gus, Ed, and the entire Grounds & Greens Staff. They all deserve thanks for their many long days in preparation for the Derby.

Our "Maintenance Shotgun" heading out for Friday night's course preparations once the south end of the course was free of players.

The mild and dry weather prior to and during this year’s Derby was a real treat compared to the warm and wet conditions of the last few years. This, as well as our ability to now control irrigation more precisely, provided us the opportunity to mow more frequently, roll everyday, and limit irrigation inputs, such that very firm and fast conditions were possible.

Everyone would probably agree that the green speeds were plenty fast (12.5+), smooth and true, and the hole locations made things interesting and very challenging. We didn’t take any readings of the fairway speeds, but we saw many shots bouncing and rolling good distances. In some cases players ended up in places they hadn’t been before. Good shots were rewarded with less club needed to hit the green, whereas wayward shots often ended up in bunkers or in the longer, now irrigated, rough.

Scott frequently recorded stimpmeter readings to ensure speeds were Derby worthy.

Jacob methodically checked angles, undulations, and positions to provide as fair and challenging hole locations as possible.

We tested a few new strategies this year with next year’s Western Amateur Championship in mind. Mowing heights, frequency, and patterns in all turf areas, greens rolling, and even fairway rolling, were a few such items. Additionally, the prior week’s (and several weeks earlier) topdressing, nutrient levels, pest management, growth regulation, and irrigation, were all manipulated to “peak” just in time for the Derby. We learned much and we will use these same strategies and others again next year for both the Derby and the Western Amateur Tournament.

14 straight days of greens rolling was a key factor to achieving fast speeds, smooth surfaces, and most importantly, true ball roll.

Though not a common practice, rolling fairways brings new dynamics to the game - more interesting ball bounce, longer distances, and the introduction of more hazards to stray shots.

Congratulations are certainly in order for this year’s Derby Champions, Jaime Pfaff and Rob Schoder. The course was very challenging and the fine play (and low scores) from the Women’s Member-Member Champions, Carrie Coquillette and Linda Campbell, may have had a little something to do with the difficulty of the hole locations each day!

2009 Men's Derby Champions Jaime Pfaff and Rob Schoder, with Derby Chairman Richard Knier

Thinking ahead to next year’s Derby, now may be an appropriate time to mention that with the Western Amateur to be held only a week after, and our desire to sufficiently challenge these accomplished players, we're guessing the rough will likely be a bit more dense and longer than this year. Growing rough in the middle of summer mainly requires fertilizer, water, reduced mowing and traffic control, but also a few weeks time. Derby participants will be able to witness, first hand, some of this “sufficiently challenging” rough. Do we hear “Single Digit Derby Winners”? Perhaps 2010 is the year!

Good luck next year!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Goodbye Whiskers... Hello New Yardage Markers

They are here!! The new sprinkler caps have arrived and are being installed as this post is being written. By day's end, we will have all 18 holes completed (nearly 600 caps) assuming the looming precipitation doesn't turn for the worst and run us off the course.

The new caps are similar to the previous ones, with bright white numbering. One difference being the new numbers are slightly smaller due to the smaller size of the new sprinkler heads.

Here is a brief overview of how the yardage markers are positioned on the golf course.
  • All fairways have 3 rows of yardage markers; 1 up the center and 1 on each side of the fairway. There is only a few exceptions to this due to varying fairway widths where there may only be 2 markers across (e.g. narrow section in the middle of 11) or as many as 4 (the wide section on 3 by the 150 yard mark).
  • The side row markers will be located on the head closest to the center of the fairway; which may occur directly on the fairway, or in many cases, at the fairway/rough interface.
  • Par 3's - Around tees and from the beginning of each fairway to the last approach heads before the greens. (NOTE: A few tees (e.g. 2 forward tee) have different sprinkler head models and require specialized caps. These will be installed in the near future.)
  • Par 4's - Roughly 250 yards to the last approach heads before the greens.
  • Par 5's - Roughly 300 yards to the last approach heads before the greens.
An example where the head closest to the center of the fairway was given the yardage marker.

As we mentioned in an earlier post this spring, the GPS data equipment ($30k+) used to map out yardages is accurate to the sub-millimeter. Rest assured, if you are standing on a sprinkler head marked 100 yards - it is exactly 100 yards to the center of the green. The GPS data not only gets distances precise, but it can map the center of any area, including our irregular greens, to a pin point.

The new sprinkler head spacing is now closer than the old layout which has increased the total number of heads on the fairways. Because of this, there are an additional 250+ (about 14 more per hole) yardage markers in the fairways which should make things easier for you.

Now go out there and dial in those approach shots!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

June Recap

The month could be summed up in just a few words - cold, cloudy, wet, warm... then cold again. It started out with temperatures colder than average, then flooded us in the middle (19th) which was then followed by warmer than average temperatures. The entire month was cloudier than average (cloudiest June in 4 decades), and then back to colder than average at the end. And, so far in July the cool spell continues with nearly a record low temperature on July 1. We can at least say that the weather surely makes things interesting!

Clouds, water, sun... all we're missing here is a 'feel' for the temperature and humidity (which was on a roller coaster ride on this day - Friday of Kiltie Days).

June snow??? Yet almost believable this year, this is actually cottonwood seeds littered across the 4th fairway. They were nearly 3 weeks later than usual this year!

I know it’s been a while since we added new posts and hopefully you’ve been out on a good day or two to see what’s happening on the course but here is a quick glimpse in case you haven’t

The picture at the top shows the early morning passing of storm #1 out of 3 on that dreadful Friday. The day's total topped 3 inches, caused significant flooding, and as you know, put a real damper on Kiltie Days.

The newly sodded repair area at #17 drainage path was quickly rearranged!

Head Explosion on No. 17 Tee – A sprinkler head defect erupted causing soil and sod to be redistributed on back portion of west side tee. With over 1800 heads, I suppose a defect or two is not out of the question. Hopefully any future ones are not this extreme.

We realize everyone is anxious to see the yardages on the sprinkler heads, and we anticipate the new caps arriving early next week. We are also close to finishing the removal of old irrigation equipment including heads, valves, valve boxes, and satellite controllers.

Although we haven’t had to actually use the New Irrigation System very much, is has been very helpful and effective at times for watering-in nutrients, wetting agents, certain disease and insect control materials, and other plant protectants. The selectivity options of where we want to irrigate, (fairways only, rough only, banks only, greens only & more) the precise timing, the radio control and so many more features is truly outstanding. One of these days we just might have to actually irrigate to alleviate dry soils!

Watering plant protectants using many heads on multiple programs simultaneously.

Mosquitoes, Mosquitoes... and yeah, more Mosquitoes.
To no surprise, these lovely friends of ours are enjoying their smorgasbord of golfers and employees at the club this year. The high mosture levels and regional flooding has created the ideal breeding ground and we are all feeling the effects.

This might be a nice addition to the 1st tee this year!

As we all do our best to battle the mosquitoes, we do want to give everyone an important reminder. Deep Woods Off, Cutter, and other bug repellents will kill grass, flowers, and other plants. Please apply your repellent of choice away from grassed areas, particularly greens, tees, and fairways. We recommend applying your spray/lotion at the clubhouse or proshop, and when on the golf course, please spray while on the cart paths.

The green footprints are a "dead" give away to insect repellent sprayed while standing on this particular tee.
AKA: "Size 8 Periphery Blight"

Many more posts to come as time and course work allows. We’ll let you know when new postsare added (so you don’t have to keep checking) if you use the Sign Up feature to the right.

Happy Summer!
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