Monday, February 23, 2015

My presentation for member meeting 2/23/15 with links to blog posts and new equipment


2015 Member Meeting

15 years seems like yesterday when I started here at hawks  I would like to thank Jeff for his support over the years.  I look forward to coming to Hawks everyday, I have the same enthusiasm I had when I started here.  I rarely call this my job, I were so many hats on a given day, its not just about growing grass, most days; I am a electrician, environmentalist, plumber, dad, mentor, scientist, mechanic, accountant, this is what makes my days here so enjoyable.  I have to know so many different things and each day is different and exciting.  There are days that things go really bad but many days are very rewarding when everything comes together and the golf course plays as intended.   I would also like to thank the membership for all the nice compliments as well as support that I receive during the season.

I would like to take a few minutes to highlight a few things from last year.  We opened on the 9th of April but the month was fairly chilly and wet.  I did not water the golf course at all during april,  This year, I actually used less water for irrigation than any year previous.  I usually average around 25million gallons of water per year this year we used 18 million of water.  Part of this was from the months of April and May but also from the conversion of full circle irrigations heads to part circle heads in many locations on the golf course.  I also continue to do my best in maintaining a firm golf course.  The buzz word “firm and Fast”  is not as easily achieved as turning off the water system.  If that is done turf will go dormant or most likely die.  What needs to be done is actually a lot of balancing and careful management of the soil to achieve these conditions.  I wrote a blog article on this,firm and fast ,

This year was for the most part pretty mild and ideal for growing grass,  We did not see any of the poa trivialis going dormant in the fairway this year, but in turn the ideal conditions increased the % of this undesirable hard if not impossible to control grass in the fairways.  We have been successful in keeping the poa annua out of most playing surfaces but its just about impossible to control the poa trivialis.  We were able to maintain the greens at a very high level most of the season.  This year we have purchased a new roller, agrimetal 660, that we will use regularly one key benefit of this new roller its almost double the width of our current roller without reducing the roller performance.

Speaking of new equipment we also purchased a new rough mower that is a large area mower the has the capability of mowing 2 times the amount of rough as our current mowers. toro 4500D, additionally we should be able to maintain the height of cut a little lower than the current model because the engine size allows increased cutting performance. We also purchased a new sprayer  toro sprayer and a new bunker rake. bunker rake

Every fall we try to work on a few projects that are critical to the health of the turf and detail work on the golf course that is in need of repair. This fall we completed a lot of work but we were not able to work on any bunkers this fall, just ran out of time due to the cold and frozen ground in November. We were able to repair and level most of the drains in the fairways. I am sure that you have seen the work that was done its very time consuming and mainly hand work to get the slope correct, .drain post  We also lowered a few more approaches around the greens to reduce the chance of standing water on the green which could possibly turn into ice. When completed the approaches are back to the original design.

We increased the size of the drop tee on 13 in doing so added a new maroon tee on 16 by removing excess and unused section of 16 maroon tee.  We will complete the removal of the excess bentgrass on 16 tee in the spring and seed this area to fescue.  16 tee, The new maroon tee on 13 will not be the permanent location for the maroon tee markers but will be used a times throughout the course of the season.  

we had a nice stretch of weather in december, I took advantage of this by cutting down most if not all of the brush around the ponds on the course,  I also cleared the creeks on 11/17 and 16.  We will treat these areas in the spring to reduce any undesirable growth.  There was a lot of dead or dying trees that needed to be removed around the pump house on 10 and near the lower part of the fairway on 10. With the removal of the trees some nice angles were created on shots into the greens.  tree work,  

Now we have settled to inside work repairing and rebuilding equipment.equipment work.  We also spend a lot of time on refurbishing the golf course supplies.  This year we made a new set of member tees.  In the past we had a gold stripe on either the blue or black tee marker.  This year there will be a dedicated gold tee marker.  There will be a change to a few of the locations of the black and blue tee markers on the course.  Examples; will be the blacks on hole 5 and will be placed on the “maroon tee while the maroon tee will be moved back to the for most part unused tee.  Currently,we have score cards referring to the member tees as a stripe when we run out of these we will have the course rerated and new cards will reflect the new teeing grounds. As many of you already know we are changing the flagsticks this year.  We had a vote for 2 different styles during the holiday party and the tapered flagsticks won in a very close vote.

In closing, I look forward to seeing everyone very soon the golf course seems to be in good condition at this time and would not expect too many issue as the snow melts we have very little ice issues at this time.  I do not have any idea as to opening day right now but would expect that we will be on a “normal” schedule this year.  I know that I have discussed a lot of information here tonight so I have publish this presentation on my blog.  If you have not accessed and bookmarked my blog it can be accessed through our Hawks landing website.  Many of you also follow me on twitter which is a great way to keep updated,  @hawksnr,   I routinely post to twitter during the season much more so than the blog.

Thank you and hope to see you soon.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Golf Course Update

Its been awhile since my last post but not because I have been MIA on the contrary we have been very busy both on the course and inside our shop.



 Our Equipment Manager, Mike, has been working his way through our walking greens and tee mowers and is just about done.  We have a total of 14 walking mowers that require a complete breakdown, repair, service to all bearings, rebuilt and the reels ground so sharp they cut a single sheet of newspaper like the sharpest high quality knife.







  My Assistant, Jeff is tasked with a lot of painting and reconditioning our turf vehicles as well as preparing  the golf supplies.






 This year we have replaced most of our tee markers and have added a new set of markers for the member tees.  The new markers are handmade out of logs from the trees removed on the course over the years.




This is also a time of the year we evaluate our turf programs, attend seminars and turf conferences.

On the golf course side of things so far things I believe the course is in good shape, this weekends winter storm should pose no issues but will help insulate the turf from the low temperatures expect this week.  I try to walk the course as much as possible over the winter to keep an eye on conditions that develop.  We have really no ice to be of concern, and do to the time of the year we as close to being in the clear of any potential ice damage that may be an issue.  If we had a high percentage of poa annua on the course, I would not be feeling the same way right now but even so on a "normal" winter we are getting very close to not having to worry about ice damage.  I also worked on a lot of clearing this winter the ponds on 12 have been cleared, the dead trees around the pump house have been removed, I also cleared the creeks on 11/17 as well as 16. All things that I have wanted to do in the past but the lack of snow cover earlier this winter allowed me the time to finally get it done.

Neil
 



  

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Link to a great post on this winter issues

Merry Christmas!!



 I am concerned about this latest thaw.  I like to walk the course every day to be honest this year has been the easiest in many years no need for the snow shoes.  What I have found, is alarming to say the least. This week, I noticed  the poa annua has broken dormancy in many areas and is starting to grow.  For us nothing to worry to much about since this grass is undesirable here  most is isolated in the fairways and tees. Breaking dormancy a few times over the course of a winter doesn't seem like a good thing to me.  But there are a lot of courses that poa annua is desired.  The one good thing is the extended forecast is not at this point calling for a extreme temperature change.  I think if the temperature were to drop dramatically, we could lose turf.  I do not think I have really seen a situation like this in many years.  I do not see any disease on the bentgrass turf yet but there is very active snow mold in the untreated areas on the course right now.  On the good note we do not have any standing water on the course mainly because the lack of frost in the ground.  Dr Paul Koch from the research facility down the road has done a lot of research on Snow mold disease. At this point he is saying to sit back and not reapply.  He is saying not too reapply plant protection right now for snow mold  http://www.turfdiseases.org/northcentral/does-a-winter-thaw-mean-you-need-to-reapply-snow-mold-fungicides/

There is nothing that we can do that hasn't been done already.  Right now, I do not want to give out any predictions but I know we did everything possible in the fall to give us an advantage, I will take 30 below any day to what is happening right now.


Here is another link to a blog of a colleague at Bullseye Golf Club addressing his concerns right now.
http://bullseyegreensblog.blogspot.com/


Neil

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