Saturday, March 25, 2017


I hope everyone is excited for the start of the 2017 golf season.

 We are planning on opening the course this Wednesday weather permitting.  I started most of our full time seasonal staff Tuesday, next week the reminding full time staff members will be here. This week we were able to roll and mow all the greens as well as rolled all the tees.  The golf course has wintered well with very little damage.  We are still working on cleaning up debris and have yet to rake the bunkers. This spring we are also solid tining all the fairways and lightly vertical mowing before the first mowing.  This process is moving along well.  The new Better Billy Bunker wintered as expected with very little washouts.  Our plan is to renovate the back nine in late October 2017.

Over the last 2 season, I have noticed an increase in excess moisture in the putting surfaces. This has lead to reduced surface firmness.  I have been looking at many different solutions to this problem but the missing puzzle piece is a good set of data numbers,  the only way to do this is send in core samples to a lab. My yearly soil testing does not show what is going on below the surface and soil structure.   We need to understand why the greens are holding water, less firm and reduced green speed in the late afternoon.  The greens are typically great in the morning and into mid day as the day progresses,  I believe the excess moisture tend to swell the organics in the profile which leads to increased softness of the putting surfaces   

The lab I chose to do our testing is International Sports Turf Research Center.  The information gathered will be used to develop sound agronomic decisions for the health of the greens and provide the membership with firm and fast conditions.  The results show we have lost considerable air pore space with the increase in organic matter. Our water holding capacity has increased over time, I believe to a point of concern.  The only way to correct this is to start being more aggressive with our cultural programs.  I have tried everything possible to not remove larger cores then we have in the past but now is the time for action to get our greens back to the firmness we had.  Over the last 2 years we have core aerified using a .25 inch tine  this impacts only 4% of the surface,  The test reports show we should impact at least 17% this year and continue on the program until we reach desired firmness and organic matter concentration.  This can be done using a .5inch tine in the spring and again in the fall. During this time all holes most be backfilled with topdressing sand. The process of filling the holes with sand is very time consuming and costly.  We will use approximately 800 pounds of sand per 1000 sq ft for a total of 74 tons of sand to the putting greens.  This alone should allow for much improved conditions.  We all have noticed the greens aging over time,  I have had numerous comments as to why the greens seem softer, less firm, slower in the afternoon then they were 4 years ago.  This is a direct cause of an aging green.  I feel we have been very fortunate over the last 17 years without aggressive cultivation but we need to make an adjustment for the health of the greens in the future.

We are planning on closing the golf course on April 10th and opening at 10am on the 11th. We need good weather, for any reason we have rain we will be move dates to complete this process the week of the 10th.  We have a very busy May golf schedule and have determined this week is best.  Cold weather will impact quick recovery, I would expect the greens will take at least 2 weeks to heal and 3-4 weeks to be back to normal.  I am hopeful the "normal" will actually be better than the putting surfaces were before.  We will impact approx 8% of the surface area, core to 2.5 inches deep and backfill using 700-800 pounds of sand per 1000 sq ft.  The sand filling will be the most time consuming process of the operation.  We purchased a special broom and blower to allow us to work the sand into the holes in an efficient manner.  The goal will be to completely pack in sand in each channel, we may have to do some touch up sanding after opening the course to play.   We will do this operation again in the late fall. 

 As the test report states we should continue our normal weekly or bi-weekly maintenance topdressing program supplemented with solid tine aerification on a monthly basis.I have already done this once on the greens 3 weeks ago. 
 This year, I plan on using a knife tine in place of our traditional pencil tines.  I believe there is less impact to surface distribution using the knife tine and more air exchange can be achieved.  The posted photo shows 3 tines the one on the right is our current pencil tine the 2 on the left is a knife tine which I will use this year.  

I hope the membership will be supportive in the direction we need to proceed to achieve firm and fast conditions we all desire. You can not have good greens without cultural programs, our greens have reached an age that we need to have a good plan for our future.  Sure we can keep things status qua but we will only prolong an issue which will only get worse.  We are at a good point right now in a short time with this increase in our current program we will see results.  I have posted a link to our test report for 6 and 4 greens.  If you have any questions regarding the report please feel free to contact me.  I will gladly answer any questions.  I hope to see you soon and look forward to a successful and fun 2017 golf season

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

2016 year end review

March 11 2016

July 26 2016
  Looking back, Our first mowing of the greens was on March 10 this year and we opened for play on the 28th.  April started off pretty cold and ended with heavy rain.  July was very warm humid and lot of rain and flooding on the golf course. July was a very tough month for my staff with multiple rain events.  We had a lot of cleanup including pumping bunkers and repairing the bunkers. We had another stretch in mid august and early september that it seemed to rain every other day.  We ended the golf season with a great record breaking November. Looking back it was a tough season but our staff did a great job getting the course back in shape quickly.  I feel we had very quality playing surfaces even with Mother Nature against us.  We have a dedicated seasonal staff that work tirelessly this year to provide these great condition and I am very thankful for everyone. 

Our fescue program here at Hawks is doing well.  We have yet to remove all undesirable grasses and weeds but every year we are getting closer.  This year I experimented with roundup and a growth regulator in a few fairly dense stands of turf.  The results were promising, I plan on expanding on this next season. 

Most of the construction on the front nine this fall has been completed.  There are a few projects that we did not finish and will  complete in the early spring.  November had some great dry weather for us to  tackle a lot of small projects on the front nine.  We leveled all the sprinklers heads around every green and replaced some sod around the greens that had creeping bentgrass containment with new bluegrass sod. Worked on squaring off a few tees and adding a little more tee space on 13 gold.  We never are able to complete everything on the list but we made a pretty good dent in it.  I also concentrated on our soil profile issues in the putting greens this November.  We continue to hold more soil moisture than desired. We have been addressing this by solid tine aerification and filling the holes using a granular sand to open up more pore space. We will continue to evaluate our progress in the spring.  After thanksgiving, we core aerated around every green and all walk ons to the tees. We solid tined all roughs on the course.  I am encouraged by our progress in the health of the roughs from doing this process for the last few years. 

 In addition to our solid tine program on the greens we did a process called drill and fill to a few trouble spot on 1,5,11 greens.  This is a very time consuming task that will be worth the effort in these areas next year. We used a 15 inch long drill bit and backfilled each hole with sand.  This will allow for much improved drainage.  
The first load of our new sand going in
Our front nine bunker renovation turned out better than I imagined.  We removed 4 bunkers and made 2 much smaller and more functional.  The sand has already firmed up. I am looking forward to next season already.  We will have our challenges with the back nine next year but I feel it will be worth the wait to complete the project in the fall versus the spring. The weather is the biggest factor in making this decision.

We continue to work on the course even with snow on the ground.  Currently we are pruning trees on the course and general cleanup when possible.  Our equipment manager has started to work on equipment which is a huge task.  We remain very busy inside the shop repairing everything from the trash cans to our largest pieces of equipment.  Before we know it March will be here.  

I would like to thank all of our members for a great golf season and look forward to seeing everyone soon

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Course Update 10/29/2016

If you blinked you most likely missed out on the construction project of our front nine bunkers.  The project lasted 11 days from start to finish.  During this time we softened all the humps in the bunkers, installed the billy bunker liner system into all the greens bunkers, cleaned out the drainage and added the new sand into all the bunkers on the front nine.  We hauled a total of 150 tons of pea stone and 700 tons of new sand.  We also removed or made a few bunkers smaller to allow for enhanced playability and improved drainage.  There are a few projects that I plan on addressing before the end of the season to improve surface drainage away from a few fairway bunkers. The day after completion, we received 2.4 inches of rain before we were even able to rake and compact the new sand.  The green side bunkers performed as expected with no washouts. The fairway bunkers without the billy bunker system washed out in a few areas. I feel we can address most of the washout areas by reducing the surface flow of water into the bunkers.  I am looking at each bunker to evaluate further improvements.  Yesterday and this morning we raked all the new bunkers for the first time.  I feel that over time the sand will firm up and play the same as our test bunker on 5 green.  The photos of the front nine really show the transformation of the golf course.  I am very fortunate to have a great staff that worked many hours laying new sod in the areas that we removed the bunkers.  There is a seamless transition of these new areas and hard to imagine what was even done.
Yesterday was the last day for our seasonal staff, I am down to 2 employees and our equipment manager.  I plan on topdressing and solid tining the greens this upcoming week as well as the approaches.  We have a tremendous amount of work to in a very short time before the end of the season we will be very busy.  

I plan on shutting down the on course restroom on November 2nd and we will be winterizing the irrigation system on the 8th.  

I hope to see you on the golf course in the next few weeks the weather forecast looks to be very good to get in a few more rounds this fall.  


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Construction Update week 1

We have concluded our First week of bunker Renovation with some great progress.  We are taking advantage of all the work to make some additional improvements to the course, As our construction team is working on the bunkers, I am working on these additional improvements.

  We started to work on the greens bunkers first in order to have enough ready to spray the Billy Bunker ploymer.  I would anticipate that we will work to 5 green before spraying the stone layer.

front bunker before
hole 1 new slope 
 Once the bunkers have been sprayed we will install sand into the completed bunkers.  The fairway bunkers will not have the Billy Bunker bunker system under the sand but we will repair the drainage and install new sand.

3 green bunker before
We removed 2 bunkers this week the back bunker on 1 green and the first green bunker on the right side of 3 green. I did the shaping work on the removals.  In the place of the bunker on hole 1 we will be adding some approach and rough.  Hole 3 will be seeded to rough.  We are also removing some rough along the edges of the greens that is contaminated with creeping bentgrass and replacing these areas with the sod being harvested from the old bunkers. We also worked on adding some fairway on the left side of 7 approach just in front of the bunker. This area had a high percentage of contaminated rough also.

We are doing our best to maintain the golf course as we work on the renovation.  I plan on topdressing all the greens tomorrow and the approaches on tuesday. Next week, I plan on solid tining the greens and do our best to complete the tee core aerification.

3 after 
I hope you have had a chance to see the start of our renovation,  I am on site every day I will gladly answer any questions regarding this exciting time at Hawks Landing if you would like to stop by to see me.

Thank you

7 approach work

Thursday, October 13, 2016


Our bunker renovation is about to begin, I hope that you are as excited as our greens staff.  Lohman Construction is here and should be working today.  We will have back nine starts daily for the rest of the golf season and there will be a good chance that we will be closing down or setting up a temporary greens on the front nine moving forward.  Once we start spraying the ploymer  in the greens bunker, I may choose to completely close the golf hole to protect the bunker from damage. I apologize for any inconvenience.

The transition to October usually is the start to a few fall projects 
  We typically lay off the rest of the staff the last week in October and really need to take advantage of the time left in the season to work on a few enhancements.  Typically our mowing is slowing down but this year is the expectations.  We have started to mow down the fescue. This takes time and with all the rain it is taking even longer. I have been topdressing the greens weekly for the last few weeks we will continue until late fall.  I have raised our greens mowers over the last few weeks to our winter height.  This allows for much  improved sand penetration into the turf. I have been alternating rolling and mowing the greens over the last week.  Our staff is greatly reduced right now and with the extra rough and fescue mowing we have a hard time mowing the greens daily.   We have completed a few nice enhancements on the course.  The tees on 8,9,13,4 have either been straightened or we increased the physical tee space.   Yesterday we started to work on the rough edge on 7 green and approach.  The rough will be replaced with fairway this week.  

I will continue to update the blog on the progress of the bunker work.  I will also post on twitter daily once the project gets underway @hawksnr


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