Friday, April 20, 2012

Course Happenings

After record setting warmth and very low moisture conditions through early spring, the last ten days or so have been a bit more normal. We've seen cooler temps, a few heavy frosts that set back the earlier lush green color, windy conditions, and a weekend rainfall of over 1.5 inches. All more typical than the previous 5-6 week period. With the delightful mild and dry weather early on, we made remarkable progress with course preparations and various projects and now, although we've gone from short sleeved shirts back to jackets and hats, our good progress continues.

The following photos will give you a glimpse at our current activities. I may have tweeted some of these photos already, so those of you who follow me on twitter may have seen them. Those who haven't... well, you could follow me @scc1897 and be kept up to date, on a nearly daily basis, of our on course activities.

Miguel clipping the tall grass areas - Performed each spring to help manage ultimate height yet still allowing for the attractive seedheads to develop.
We Sand Topdressed fairways early in mid-March with a moderate rate and have been working the past two weeks on applying our second application...much heavier this time but sand is being partially incorporated with follow up Solid Tine Aeration.

Partial incorporation with Solid Tine Aeration (remainder is brushed into turf). Notice no-mess with this technique compared to former method of core aeration and pulverizing (and mud mess that usually followed!) technique. We have 3 fairways to complete at which time we will have applied nearly 1000 tons of sand this spring. 
That's 43 semi truckloads or...2,000,000 lbs., or...oh...a few billion grains I suppose!

Ash Trees have been hit hard in our area by the Emerald Ash Borer. This week we removed several trees. This one had much more than borers working on it. These are channels from other common borers as well as carpenter ants. The ants colonize trees with decay.

 Here you can see the galleries created by the Emerald Ash Borer larva which feeds in a serpentine pattern, just under the bark, disrupting the water and nutrient vessels which in turn lead to deficiencies of both and ultimate dead of the tree.

 This is the culprit - live and in color (white), responsible for the death of many Ash trees throughout the Midwest and beyond. We have been treating for this insect for several years but perhaps the insect was already present and had already damaged the water vessels (which are the same one's needed to distribute the insecticide we used) diminishing it's effectiveness.??? 
In the end we'll probably lose most of our 200 or so ash trees remaining.

 Bunker Rip-Edging began this week and will take several weeks to complete. A spading fork is inserted at the original bunker edge and the tuffs of sod are "ripped" away, sand is shaked off, then edges are compacted and entire bunker raked smooth.

 A completed bunker, one of 92 we perform this procedure on, on an annual or every year and a half basis, depending on encroachment growth rate of adjacent turf. Labor intensive, slow process but hopefully only a couple more weeks to completion.

 The second of four forward tees being constructed this spring. This one on #7 and one on #3 are ready for sod installation which will be done all at same time when all are ready for sod, likely in a couple more weeks.

 Fill material and rough shaping at #13 - location of another of the four forward tees. Final shaping, drain tile installation, gravel and rootzone mix placement, slope topsoil addition all remain but goes quickly after the initial step of fill material hauling and subsurface shaping.
The fourth forward tee will be installed at hole #17.

 A new project will begin soon, this one not at our own choosing. Steel retention wall adjacent to #12 regular and middle tee began to collapse last weekend. It's probably 50 years old or thereabouts and has obviously rusted though (or the supports have) and now requires replacement and/or some other type of retaining system. 
Study is being conducted now to determine best course of action. I'll keep you posted here and on twitter @scc1897.   

That's all for now. See you on the course soon!

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