Thursday, March 9, 2017

Course Update


Over the last two weeks we have gone from one extreme to another and we have had to change gears a little bit.  It seems we will be starting the growing season a little early this year.  With temperatures above normal even though soil temperatures are still cool we have already mowed the greens, tees and fairways which is always exciting!  It was nice to get them cleaned up a bit anyway.     With record temperatures at the end of February and lack of rainfall that forced us to get our irrigation system pressurized the earliest I ever have.  At least this will give us more time to continue to address any problems that we may encounter. 
Recently I attended the Mid-Atlantic Golf Course Superintendents Association 2017 Educational Seminar.  Over 100 people attended the conference to listen to speakers from universities and consultants in the turf field.  Continuing our education is very instrumental in keeping up with trends in the turf industry especially after summers like we had in 2016.  There were various speakers and topics discussed during the day and some of their presentations really hit home in regards to conditions that Superintendents faced last summer in regards to the weather.  As you can see in the picture above discussing soil temperature and how much more important that is than air temperature during periods of stress.  Just like the temperatures in our body if we get to hot we feel miserable and cannot function very well.  The same can be said for turf grass roots when the soil temperature gets to hot.  In a nut shell when the soils heat up the damage to the actual grass plant may not be visible until several weeks later and by that point your in trouble.  So just imagine waiting for summer to end if we get extremely high soil temperatures early on!  Basically recovery will only begin when the soil temperatures start to drop.
During the conference they raffled off a new bag with the Mid-Atlantic GCSAA logo on it and guess who the lucky guy was!  Can Steve Newsome please come up!
I would like to personally thank Dave Bell for adding a few bluebird houses to our course.  As you can see Mr. Bell spent some time on these beauties.  They are located to the left of the first green, in the native area between 4 and 5, in the native area between 5 and 15 as well as one to the right side of 7 tee box in the native area.  Nice work Mr. Bell and Thank You!
One March 1st we received a nasty front that moved in and unfortunately for us knocked down some trees on the course.  This is a willow down by the creek on the first hole.  We had the tree company on it first thing on Friday morning starting the cleanup process.  After they complete the chipping and removal of the tree the stumps are ground down below grade and we are left to cleanup the debris, fill the hole with soil and sod.
A favorite I am sure by many was this pine just short of the left greenside bunker.  If you look the background you will also notice a tree that fell on the right side of hole 16.

This was a pine on the right side of 15.
What better timing!  Our order of trees arrived at the beginning of March and we did not waste anytime getting them in the ground.  We installed the trees in a few areas where we had lost trees in the past.  Overall we planted 10 trees that have some good height to them already as you can see in the picture.  We planted 2 Maples and a Linden on the right side of 2 fairway, hole 5 received 3 Norway Spruces, hole 7 had 2 Lindens and a Maple planted on the right side and hole 8 had a black Gum planted on the left side.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Goodbye 2016 and Bring on 2017!

 I know it has been long time since my last post but I wanted to start off 2017 heading in the right direction by getting things done and that includes keeping the membership informed of current projects, practices and general information about what is going on at Montgomery Country Club.

Our logoed tee markers have been refurbished and look really good.  After about 3 years of this tee marker taking abuse from the weather it was definitely time to make them look good again.
Another project that stared inside our shop this winter was building some screening for the porta johns on the golf course.  We decided we did not need the one by the snack shed so we asked the company to remove that one.  We also moved the unit that was by 3 tee and put behind the green next to 4 blue tee.  Since we wanted to remove the landscape bed that is next to 4 blue tee we decided it would make a perfect spot.  After removing some lirope and spirea we hauled the topsoil away, installed the screening, added some sod and a new stone path.  We will be planting some skip laurel along the sides and back to add to it.
As we do every winter some necessary tree work was completed but that also meant taking down some trees that are in decline.  The picture above is an ash tree that is infested with Emerald Ash Borer.  What you are seeing on the outside are signs of woodpeckers going after the insect.  If you were to pull away the bark you would see tunneling for the Emerald Ash borer.  Unfortunately for us we had 5 ash trees that needed removing because of this destructive insect.  They were on holes 1,7,8 and 18.  We also took out an Austrian Pine along the driving range net that was diseased badly with diplodia and needlecast.  Along with these trees being removed we had our debris pile chipped up as well behind #6 green.  Since having our debris pile chipped up, several days of extremely windy conditions continued to blow leaving us with more debris an limbs to pile back up.

Another project we needed to get fixed up this off season was getting a wet spot fixed on the driving range.  For those who do not know our driving range is our septic field.  Yep, don't need to talk about that sh-t anymore. 
As a way to help continue to alleviate some areas that don't look as good as they should and that also take up a lot of our time as well we decided to renovate some landscaping beds on the course.  We decided that we could eliminate and at the same time add some interest without totaling losing the feature itself.  If you have been out to the course behind the 1st tee we eliminated the burning bushes and mulch bed behind the blue tee and added a split rail fence which gave us a really clean look. 
The picture above shows what the circle bed to the left of the first hole is staring to look like.  After disposing of all the landscaping we were trying to remove we kept exposing more rocks and more rocks.  You can see where this is going right?  We decided to just expose the rocks and create a new edge with sod and then mulch around the rocks again for a really clean look and also easier to maintain.
Next to the 6th tee station there was a small landscape bed that just needed to be removed.  It always seemed very busy over there any way and we just ground some stumps, graded the topsoil and sodded.
Another area we removed was the landscape bed behind the 13th tee.  We removed the existing landscape and installed sod.  Next month we will get a split rail fence up to go with the same theme on the 1st tee.
We did have a causality during a recent wind day.  This maple is to the left of the 18th blue tee.  Cleanup will continue on this for a while and the tree will probably have to be removed.