Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Update 3/24/15

A beautiful picture of the golf course this morning only if it were taken in December!!  Like they all say we live in Wisconsin and can expect a snow storm in mid to late March.  This does put a damper on opening the front nine for tomorrow as planned.  I do not think we will be able to open the front nine now until monday or tuesday next week.  It will be day by day but the low temperatures forecasted at night will not help matters. On the plus side with the snow we were very dry, the entire state is in the early stages of a drought right now,  we had to water our sod that we put down late last year.  Usually, any sod work done in the fall should not need watered right away in the spring.
We will need to really keep on eye on these areas in the upcoming weeks so that to not dry out.  The moisture right now will not cure the drought but will help a little bit.  In the next few weeks we will be solid tining many areas in the fairways that tend to dry out to help allow water to get into the rootzone. For some reason, I feel this will be a dry summer and anything we do now will pay off when it starts to dry out.

We have most of our core staff back and everyone is off to a good start.  I am sure you will recognize most of the staff, since they have been with us for many years. We  were able to get a lot of work done on the back nine of the golf course.  We now have 2 powerd bunker rake machines, having 2 really expedited the bunker operation.  We were able to get all the bunkers back in great shape last week, A friendly reminder to all please put the bunker rakes back inside the bunker after you rake out your footprints.  The staff spent close to 40 hours moving sand in the bunkers by saturday morning 1 day after opening rakes were everywhere and some bunkers not even raked. I know I say the same thing every year but after the first day of play.  As a member please help out educating your guests and even the public players that you may see not following the proper rules we have.  This will only make your round more enjoyable.

Overall, the course is in great shape this spring I will be watching out for snow mold development now due to the cooler and wet weather this week but this should not be a big concern.  I am not sure when we will be able to open the course back up again please keep in touch with my twitter post @hawksnr or our hawks landing website.

See you all back very soon.

Neil

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Update and Opening Day

We are getting closer to the start of the 2015 golf season by the day.  The status of the golf course is most of the frost is gone from the ground.  There is some frost mainly on the front nine.  I have rolled greens and mowed the fairways, but on the back nine only.  This is leading up to my decision to open the back nine only Friday with tee times starting at 12.  We will also have the range open on friday as well.  Plans were to open the range yesterday but we were not ready.  As of today the front nine will not open until next week and will wait till then  to start any mowing or rolling on the front nine.

 Over the last 4 days we have been putting out all the golf supplies, today I have most of our full time staff starting work.  I have a good day of safety training that all employees attend comprising of all aspects of a safe working environment.  Tomorrow, we will be able to have the entire crew working on course clean up.  I would like to roll all the greens, tees and mow the fairways one more time before opening on friday.  I am at this point not planning on mowing the greens this week, that may change but not sure as of today.  The weather keeps changing by the day which makes planning right now a little difficult.

Overall, the golf course is in very good condition. I look forward to seeing you very soon



Friday, March 13, 2015

Update 3/13/15

When are we opening?  I sure Rich has heard that many times over the last few days.  The warm weather over the last few days sure has been nice and I know everyone has the itch to get outside and play some golf.  There are a few course opening over the next few days but we will not be opening this weekend for a number of reasons.  One is there is actually still a lot of snow on the ground in many areas on the course as of today.  We are making good progress out there but the soil is just starting to thaw out.  Currently, even with the warm sunshine the soil temperature is only 35 degrees and frozen at the surface in many areas.  I can probe down to around 6 inch in others.  The other issue it is very sloppy out right now and I could not get a crew out driving around without doing a lot of damage to the turf.  We will make good progress over the next few days in warming up the soil which will help thaw it out.  But I will not start rolling and mowing the turf until the frost is out. 
My plans will be to open the range for play on tuesday at 12,  I will be starting our staff on wednesday the 18th to start working on cleanup and hopefully rolling and mowing soon to follow.  I do not have a opening day yet for the golf course and evaluating the conditions daily right now.  We will open as soon as possible after the greens and tees have been rolled and mowed.


See you very soon

 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Golf Course update 3/2/15

Today, I started to plow cart paths on the golf course, I do this every year to allow for quick removal of standing water as the snow melts as well as access to the golf course.  As you can tell in the photo there is considerable snow on the path around 4 feet in spots even considering the fact that we have not had much snow this season.

I have not been able to see much turf over the last few weeks due to the snow cover but today I was able to start seeing some turf.  From what I can tell so far things looks pretty good.  We have no real ice to speak of on the course which is always a good thing at this time of the year.  I would suspect by next week a lot of the snow will be melting and I will be able to have a better understanding on the conditions.




I have secured a good part of the staff already for this season.  Many guys from the last few years will be returning.  I have hired a few new staff members also.

We have just about completed all the golf course supplies that needed refurbishing and most of the turf equipment that is needed right away is ready to go.



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.

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