Monday, September 26, 2011

Seeding and Plugging

In the past week and a half we have been aggressively seeding bare areas in the rough, in fairways, and on greens. The rough was slit seeded with a mixture of rye and Kentucky bluegrass. The greens and fairway areas where slit seeded with 4 different varieties of bentgrass. The hope is to get germination in these areas to allow them to fill in ... that being said, we may have to do subsequent seeding later this year and/or early next spring to allow these areas to succeed. The picture on the right is of Assistant Bill Meyer running the slit seeder through the bare area left of #18 fairway. The slit seeder makes a series of small rows or "slits" that drop seed directly into the ground. This allows all of the seed to make it into the ground making germination more likely then if applied over the top of the ground itself. The left picture is taken from #12 green with all of the slit marks going in 3 different directions.

Along with slit seeding we have been plugging areas on greens like #13 where we have some weak areas. The reason for plugging instead of seeding is because the areas are larger and will take longer to heal. The picture below is of Tony plugging areas of #13 green. By plugging we hope to get more uniform turf coverage and healing before winter.

A Simpler Game

Here is a link to a USGA webpage that has 6 articles pertaining mostly to golf course maintenance and the direction of golf course conditioning as a whole. It makes the case for more natural, sustainable, and realistic playing conditions. As you will find in the articles, it makes operations more cost effective in tough economic times and adds to the overall enjoyment of the game. Enjoy!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ridgeway Drainage Solutions

This is a comprehensive report given by Stan Martenson. Stan and I have walked and discussed the course's drainage problems. This report outlines our major drainage issues and takes into account the numerous times we have had to cancel events due excess water on the golf course. We all know that after heavy rainfall the golf course is closed. This report gives us both the problems and possible solutions to fixing our drainage issues. I thank Stan for his hard work on this matter and hope you read the document he wrote below:

Ridgeway Drainage Solutions by Stan Martenson
I have been on the Greens and Grounds Committee for 4-5 years. I am a Civil Engineer and work with drainage year round. In addition to normal G&G activities, I joined G&G to help solve drainage issues in 4 areas:
• Regular ponding on the north side of 18 near the fairway tree
• Regular ponding on 11 in front of the silver tee box
• Frequent ponding on 11 at the bottom of the range
• Frequent ponding in 3 fairway low area
After many flooding occurrences, I convinced Tom Wenzel to mark up a course map with the sprinkler system to show all drain tiles lines he was aware of as best he could. I finally got the map in late 2009, transferred the info to AutoCAD, and can reproduce, add to, or change as needed. Discussions in 2010 and early 2011 centered on “Do we have blockages caused by siltation or from damage caused by the sprinkler system installation?”
I found the answer this summer when the Saturday morning Red Coat was postponed. I knew we had heavy rain in the early morning. When I got the e-mail that the course was closed, I headed out to Ridgeway to walk around. AMAZING!!
I had known for a couple years that the Ridgeway Drive residential area SE of the maintenance building drains through the golf course in a 12” pipe. When I got to the course, I couldn’t find the pipe inlet on Ridgeway Drive, water was coming OUT of the manhole on the east side of 12 fairway, the drains on 11, and the drains on 3. The discharge west of 16 tee box sounded like a raging river. I now call it “Trying to put 20#’s of shit in a 5# bag.” Steve Blake and I spent a couple hours looking at various situations and monitoring water flow off the course.
Conclusions and Solutions
The main drain is not plugged. It is too small. Field survey work is completed and we are looking at preliminary sizing. We have good slope across the course. The Town of Clayton is looking at street improvements in the Ridgeway Drive area. We hope to work cooperatively with them to install a new drain across the course in fall of 2012 that is sized to serve both our needs.
The drain in front of 11 silver tee is just a stone sump. A new tile line will be trenched in when time and budget permits.
The ponded area on the north side of 18 can be tiled to existing tile on the south side by the treatment plant when time and budget permits.
The ponded area on 11 at the bottom of the range is drained by 2 – 8” tile to the #12 manhole. Additional evaluation will be made to see if more capacity is needed or if a larger main drain will solve the problem.
The cost of implementing the solutions will be more than offset by saving one large event.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Update Board

Just outside of the proshop we have a wipe board that will help us communicate to the membership about what they can expect for their round of golf. Maintenance practices that inform you what was done to the golf course (mow, roll, etc.) and any potential things that you may have questions on (i.e. the hydraulic leak on #2 and #3 green). Also we will be providing the membership daily stimpmeter readings and post it on the board no later than 8 AM. Larger maintenance events like aerification will also be posted as reminders. Also upcoming events and dates will be posted to serve as reminders.

The board already has been a great communication tool and I hope people stop on their way to the proshop for a look at the daily course conditions.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Today we had a hydraulic leak on #2 and #3.

We chose not to do any heavy hand-watering or use of wetting agents to push contaminates into the soil profile. This would only lead to severely hampering the recovery efforts because the soil would be contaminated making it hard to get grass to grow in that area. By keeping it in the leaf tissue we minimize the impact it may have on that area for the future. We will keep you posted in coming days to update you on the situation. Meanwhile here is an article on hydraulic leaks:

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Aerification articles

Many people have asked me why we have made the effort to aerify greens twice a year since our season is so short. Quite simply our greens need some long term modifying as it relates to organic matter, drainage, firmness, playability, etc. In the short-term after another record summer of high temperatures and rain our greens need this helpful process to improve plant health after this period of stress. Elongated roots, better soil oxygen, compaction relief, soil modification, and removal of unwanted organic matter are just some of the benefits of aerification.

I have a few helpful links that can further shed light on the subject. They relate to aerification and the need to aerify after the harsh weather we have experianced the past 2 seasons.


Aerification Healing

Below are two pictures taken today from our 18th green. One is completely healed in and the other is almost completely healed. The heavy rains and a timely fertilizer application have helped the greens recover nicely. Today we are at day 12 and we are happy to say most of the greens have recovered or are close to healed in. This is surprising considering we went with 5/8" tines at the tightest spacing. Typically we have went with 1/4" or 1/2" tines, but the larger diameter tine was used to remove as much material as possible and allow for more root growth. The hot, rainy summer has greatly diminished our roots and this process will help greatly!

Overall the aerification went well except for a couple of mechanical problems that left blemishes on #2 and #16 greens. Both situations have been fixed and should blend in nicely over time. You may have noticed that we also aerified and topdressed approaches. This was done to allow for our approaches to mirror our greens in firmness, quality, and playability. Overtime with the same practice of aerifying with greens our approaches should firm up, drain better and produce more options around the greens.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Labor Day Weekend

This morning we recieved more rain with more rain on the way. So far since yesterday morning we have recieved 2.5" of rain. Because we have recieved very little rain lately we are able to let carts out. However because our greens hold a lot of water we were unable to mow or roll greens this morning so expect greens to be slower. Hopefully we will get a break so we can mow and roll tommorrow.

Friday, September 2, 2011

High winds take down more trees!

This morning at around 9:30 we lost approximately 12 trees and some large branches. 70 + mph winds and heavy rain pelted the course leaving behind a large mess of debris. Most of the damaged trees where between #5, #13, and #14. Many white pines, ashes and silver maples where affected.

Currently we are cutting up the trees that are the most in play. Currently the greens are clear for play and tomorrow we will continue to blow tees and fairways. Also this weekend we will be working on the trees that are out of play to get them removed from the golf course. Tonight and tomorrow is calling for more rain and storms, hopefully without high winds. If we receive a lot rain in the next couple of days it may hinder removing the rest of the trees from the golf course in an efficient manner. Please be patient while we clean up the mess. Thanks.

For those who are curious, this is the 4th storm of the season that has taken trees from Ridgeway!