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. 


Sunday, September 6, 2015

USGA Northeast Regional Update

Course Update 8/18/2015

Trying to make time for all of the little details on the course.
The new netting is finally up and looking good.  Believe it or not but there are only 3 nets that were installed along with all new wire and hardware.  The netting used is the same type of netting fishermans use so you know it is strong and will last if it can hold up those those conditions.


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Course Update and a Great Article

Golf Course Update
     It is hard to believe that August is here and that's when we start to think about recovery from a stressful summer.  We will be aerifying greens August 11th and 12th if the weather holds up.  As I am writing this the forecast does not look good for Tuesday the 11th.  If we need to push back aerification we will until Wednesday and Thursday but lets cross our fingers and hope that we can stay on schedule.  We need to be a little careful with this aerification due to the weather patterns that we have had over the past several months.  Even though things may look good on top down below is what I concern myself with during an aerification in August.  What I mean is that we have had several different swings in weather patterns during May, June and July.  May was dry and that is good for growing the roots down below.  June we received over 3 times the amount of rain we typically get and combined with high humidity it can do a number on the root system and the grass plant.  When we have conditions like this in June the grass becomes lazy, excess nitrogen is released from the soil causing puffy turf conditions, the grass is extremely hydrated, and oxygen in the root zone is minimal because of the saturated soils.  When conditions like this persist there is always things that we will battle for the rest of the summer.  Even though we can aerate with small solid tines to help with oxygen exchange in the soil, trying to dry something out is tough when we cannot manage the rainfall.  This is why we have sand greens.  As long as we can manage the top couple of inches and keep the organic matter and thatch under control we can continue to have greens that will have good infiltration rates during these times.  I have attached a very good article that everyone should read from the USGA about our area this year. 
    Also this week the new driving range netting will be installed starting Wednesday the 12th.  Why are we doing this you ask?  There are several reasons -  first is safety.  We continually have nets that rip and fall down during high winds because of the netting was never installed correctly to begin with over 11 years ago.  Second the life of the netting has failed because it was never installed correctly. Each pole should have wire at the top and bottom and then going down each pole to attach each section of netting keeping it tight.  That is where they failed.  Instead of running a wire down each pole whoever installed the netting actually just used rope down the poles in several areas.  There are also sections of netting that are one net but actually cover two sections and the rope was just over top the net going down the pole.  The installers will work continuously once they start to finish the job.  I appreciate your patience during this improvement. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Course Update 5/24/2015

What a busy week and it started off hot!  It felt like July on Monday and Tuesday but things cooled down before the weekend!  On Monday 5/18 we were able to get the greens double verti-cut, blown off, mowed and applied a light topdressing before our 1:00 pm shotgun went off.  We verti-cutt when the bentgrass gets what we call "leggy."  The light topdressing is more of a consistent thing we do but when we can get it into the grooves from the verti-cutter, that's a good thing!  We also received 1.75" of rain Monday night that helped wash in the topdressing which was right on time with how dry things were the previous week.

I know a big discussion around the club is why did we remove the broken tee boxes at the tee markers.  First the teeing area looks more inviting and open.  Secondly it is one more thing that the setup guy in the morning has to move.  The above picture is not what we want to see.  If you are willing to pickup your tee and throw it to the side, just take it back to your cart and leave it in there or put it into the trash can.  We still have to pickup the tees that you are leaving and it is basically littering.  Please help us keep our course clean!
Here is another example of where people are throwing there tees.  Next to the tee on #8 is a tree with mulch around it and about 20 broken tees laying in the mulch.  Another few steps and the tees could have ended up in the trash can or your cart.
With the pool opening a week earlier this year we got busy getting tables painted, setup, cleaned and pressure washed.  After getting the pool deck and strap furniture pressure washed we turned our attention to other areas that needed it.  Here you can see how dirty the concrete pad is under the covered pavilion by the pool, but not anymore!
Making the deck next to the snack shed look brand new!
Another concern we addressed this year was adding mats to the pool house in the ladies and men's bathroom to prevent any slip and fall accidents.  When we put the tile down last year it was becoming very slippery when the floor was wet.  We put 20 mats down to prevent any accidents this year but please remember to walk and not run while in the pool house!
Wow is that our snack shed?  Yes it is and it looks great!  Finally all of our buildings have the old T-111 wood siding covered with vinyl siding.  The snack shed also got new granite counter tops outside, stairs, door and screen doors well.  All of the exterior work to the pool house buildings are complete. 
Here is the before picture as they started removing the old windows.
Here is the finished product.  The pool house received a new roof, siding, windows, paint and all of the wood trim was wrapped in metal.  The pump house to the left got the same treatment and a real door was added.  You can see the swim team record board hanging in a nice PVC frame in the center of the pool house. 
I would like to say Thank You Shannon Allcock with Shanco Companies for doing such a great job!


Monday, April 20, 2015

Golf Course Update

This signs of a new year are upon us.  It has been awhile since my last post and I apologize but better late than never 
The first cuts of the year happened last week.  Now with the days getting longer and temperatures rising the grass is about to explode.
We completed our green aerification last week.  This Spring we decided to use a 1/2" solid tine instead of pulling a core.  Even with the inclement weather we had on Tuesday we still aerified.  If we were pulling a core this would not have happened due to the rain and wet conditions.  With the rain keeping the golfers away we were able to aerify the entire back 9 and half the front on Tuesday and we finished up early Wednesday morning to stay on schedule.  On Wednesday we kept the back 9 closed until we finished up verti-cutting the greens in two directions and topdressed.  Once we finished the back we closed the front and got the entire process complete on schedule. 


We finally got our roller back up and going in time for aerification.  Here you can see the roller smoothing out the green after we aerified it.  Sorry for the blurry picture but the roller was moving fast!

Here is #9 green on Friday after dry mowing the greens before the weekend.  Even though there was still some sand evident after a .25" of rainfall Thursday night we were able to get through this.  Typically I like to wait a few days and roll first then mow so we don't bruise up the greens with the abrasiveness of the sand.  All that is left is a good shot of liquid nutrients to get the color back and get some new shoot growth happening.