Monday, November 28, 2011

Golf Course Closing Procedures

The golf course officially closed for the season on Saturday. A checklist of procedures must be done before heavy frost or snow covers the course. Some of these items take place before the course has officially closed and some happen immediately following the last day of golf. None the less, each step is important to help the course overwinter.

The checklist of items in chronological order:

  • Winterize and blowout of the irrigation system and pump house.

  • Winterize 5 & 13 building for the season.

  • Fungicide applications for the prevention of snow mold on tees, greens and fairways.

  • Removal of items from the course. This includes ball washers, benches, garbage receptacles, bunker rakes, hole signs, etc. Many of these items are painted prior to the upcoming golf season.

  • Deep tining of greens to help prevent the build up of water on the surface of our greens. These holes go down 7-8" and move water off the greens surface during snow melt or rain.

  • Moderate sand topdressing applied to greens, tees and approaches.

  • Green covers put on holes #1, 2, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 17, and the putting green.

The forecast for the next week and half looks cold but no significant snowfall is expected. After we finish our closing procedures we will look to finish some items on the course. #11 drainage, seeding of #13 wooded area, #18 drainage are things we will try to tackle as long as weather permits.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Drainage and Closing

The low area in #11 fairway near the ladies tee has been a habitual drainage problem during heavy rains. Yesterday we got started on fixing this issue. We are adding new tile in the low area and tying it will existing tile to the north of #11 fairway-driving range. We will also be adding catch basins in low areas to remove as much surface water as possible. After one day of work, a majority of the trenching is complete and we hope to add tile early next week. This will improve this fairway immensely and have a positive affect on turf quality.

In the coming days we will keep you informed as to when we are going to close the course. Next week's forecast looks warmer around Thanksgiving . . . of course this can change and we will keep you informed on which day we will be closing for the season. We will keep it open as long as weather permits, giving us enough time to put the course to bed for the season. Thanks.

Mound System

The early snow storm and heavy rain has delayed the installation of our new septic mound. As many of you have noticed there is a temporary truck path running across #18 fairway. Since we are going to be putting in drain tile in #18 approach anyway, this will give us a great opportunity not only correct subsurface issues but correct some surface drainage issues as well. By slightly re countering that area we can keep water out of the tiny pockets that used to exist in this approach.

Since the forecast is favorable, they are going to wait until the ground is froze to bring in the tanks and cap the top. We will keep you updated on further progress.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Yesterdays early November snow storm dumped 2-3" of snow on the course. Prior to Wednesday's snowfall we received 1.75" of rain on Monday-Wednesday. Temporarily the course is closed until the snow melts which, may not happen until Saturday or Sunday. Sunday's forecast does look nice with highs in the 50's. We will keep you posted on when the golf course will reopen for play. Due to the heavy rainfall and wet snow carts will not be allowed until further notice.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Frost Delays

In the spring and fall of the year in Northeast Wisconsin, frost early in the morning is a common phenomenon. Golfers are oftentimes delayed from playing due to frost. Delays are very inconvenient for the golfer, but it is important for the health of the golf course to respect these delays.

Why is it important for the superintendent to suspend play until the frost is gone?

Grass plants are made up of mostly water, this water turns into very fragile crystals of ice. Simply walking on turf with frost can cause damage, particularly on a green were the height of cut is around 1/8". Walking on a grass plant with frost is like breaking glass or cracking an egg.

Why not just throw the sprinklers on to get rid of the frost?

This method can work however many factors must be considered before turning on overhead irrigation. What is the air temperature? . . . What is the soil temperature? . . . What temperature is the irrigation water? . . . How heavy is the frost that is covering the grass? I have seen were turning on overhead irrigation causes more frost and in turn makes the delay much longer !!
As a maintenance staff we try to keep the proshop as informed as possible regarding the length of the delay. Keep in mind this is only a guess, and hourly updates usually keep the membership/proshop up to date as to the length of the delay.

Thank you and your cooperation in adhering to these policies is greatly appreciated !!

Here is a informational link to frost delays:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Stairs, Root Pruning and Cart Path Edges

Last week we were able to check off a few items from our to-do list.


The new bunker left of #4 green is very pleasing, however a little to steep to climb into so we added some stairs. The stairs are a nice addition and will help those who had a hard time getting in and out.

Root Pruning

The large cottonwood tree behind #7 green is beautiful to look at but tree roots invade the putting surface taking important water and nutrients away from the green. Because the tree is massive in size and has beautiful form we chose to root prune. Root pruning is the process of cutting off tree roots so that they no longer interfere with turf health. We used our trencher to dig down several feet to sever any tree roots on the south side of the tree. Then we simply back filled, tamped and sodded back over the trench. The trench is outside of the drip line so that it does not affect tree health. This is an important process especially in times of drought were turf health can be severely compromised. By doing it now we are better able to give the putting surface the right amount of water without having it taken by invasive tree roots. In the coming years we plan to do some more root pruning where important trees are affecting turf quality (i.e. #18 fairway etc.). Also areas like this will have to be root pruned again once the roots grow back to the green which will take several years. The pictures below show the tree in question and the finished product once sodded. The new sod lines are barely noticeable and one can hardly tell what was done here.

Cart Path Edges

And lastly we began sodding cart path edges that are worn and rutted from cart traffic. We began with areas of cart paths nearest tees and greens. Currently #4 green, #5-#13 tees and #14 tee areas have been sodded along cart paths. We will continue to tackle the worst cart path edges and stake them appropriately to keep cart traffic to a minimum. Below is the finished product along #14 tee, their is no longer any ruts and bare ground!

Mound System and #18 Drainage

Because our existing septic system (located near #18 fairway) is outdated and failing we are going to be installing a new mound system. In the coming days and weeks the new mound system for the clubhouse will be installed between #1 and #18. That entire area will be marked as ground under repair. During the process of building the mound, dump trucks will be driving across the fairway to the site. When playing the hole allow any trucks to cross before hitting and any ruts are to be played as ground under repair. Because it is late in the season the ruts left by the trucks may not be repaired till spring but it will all depend on the weather for the rest of this fall.

Also in the coming days we will be doing drainage work on #18 specifically around the green and in the approach. We have all observed standing water in this area after a heavy rainfall and adding drainage will be a big improvement in times of continual rain. This project will take days to complete and any areas related to the drainage work are to be played as ground under repair.

If weather permits we will also be draining the large low area on the north side of #18 fairway approximately 60 yards from the green. This area holds water for days sometimes weeks depending on how much rain we receive. We will be able to tackle that once the mound system is finished and weather permitting.

We will keep you updated on the status of these events in the coming days and weeks.