Monday, November 19, 2012

Course Closure

Ridgeway Country Club will be closing for carts this Wednesday November 21st and open for the last day to walking only on Thanksgiving November 22nd.   Friday and Saturday of this week look colder, with a big cold front with possible snow on Wednesday of next week.
In order to prepare the course for winter we still need to deep tine, spray for snow mold diseases and topdress the putting surfaces with sand.  We do these procedures once the course has closed for the season.  If all goes well it takes about 4-5 days to complete.  Deep-tining at the end of the season is done to keep excess water from sitting on top of the putting surfaces over winter, the side benefit is aerating the greens down 10-12” which allows for deeper roots and relief of compaction in spring.  After deep-tining we put a light to moderate amount of topdressing sand to protect the crown from desiccation.  We will be busy trying to button up these important maintenance practices before it gets cold next Wednesday.
We have been busy the last couple of weeks spraying all of the fairways and tees for snow mold.  We have also winterized the irrigation system and Prindle’s Pub for the season.  The approaches have been deep-tined and we are currently in the process of topdressing them with sand. 
Ridgeway opened for play on March 17th and will close on November 22nd  which will make it the longest golf season on record.  Although no projects are planned this winter we will be busy as there is always work to be done.  Keep following the blog for more updates and information in the coming weeks and months.  Thanks and we hope for an early spring in 2013!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sustainable Golf Course Maintenance

Over the next few weeks, The Golf Channel will be covering several Australian professional golf tournaments.  This is noteworthy because many of the maintenance practices that we have implemented here at Ridgeway have been used on Australian and British Isles courses for decades. 
Specifically, by emphasizing the better grasses (i.e., bentgrasses and fescues), we can achieve our goal of sustainable maintenance practices which yield healthy turf and optimum playing conditions.  In this post, I will describe what our Australian friends have in common with us, plus share the benefits we have already noticed in the last year at Ridgeway.  Keep in mind, this is only a synopsis of what is detailed in our Best Practiced Plan, and the goal here is to highlight some of the major components and successes of our maintenance program.
I.                    Money Savings
Our philosophy is predicated on growing hearty, robust turf that is not overly reliant on water, fertilizer and pesticides.  This is achieved by implementing programs that benefit bentgrass over Poa annua.  We focus on growing roots not shoots.  We embrace solutions that focus on long-term problems and don't rely on treating short-term symptoms.  Unlike agriculture that focuses on yield as its primary objective, we focus on surface preparation.  The continuous use of water, fertilizer, and pesticides enhances Poa annua encroachment, which is fine if you can live with the cost of applying theses amendments on a regular basis.  To date, we have made significant savings in both pesticide and fertilizer usage at Ridgeway.  Both are down about 30-40% from previous years. 
II.                  Less Environmental Impact
Promoting  bentgrass not only allows us to be more fiscally responsible, we are also promoting environmentally sustainable practices.   It is our duty to be environment stewards by using fewer pesticides and less water and fertilizer.  Also, our mowing schedule has been reduced because we roll our greens more frequently.  This results in less pollution overall.
III.                Increased Playability
On the playability front, we focus on more aeration not less.  But because we do not rely on core aeration as our only means of cultivation, we are able to have less downtime in the playability of our fine turf areas.  This past season, we did not core aerate our putting surfaces, and we hope to do the same next year.  We instead use long, narrow pencil tines which penetrate 6-12” in depth.   This allows for water infiltration, compaction relief, and long vigorous root structure. This process has little if any affect on playability.     10” roots on greens were pretty normal throughout the 2012 season as opposed to 1-3” roots in prior seasons, even though we used less water, fertilizer, and pesticides.  Because the root structure was good, we have enhanced stress tolerance and better turfgrass color.
If you watch the coverage on The Golf Channel this week and in the coming weeks, you will see what promoting for the better grasses does and how it will benefit our course.  You will likely hear the announcers discussing it.  Ridgeway’s maintenance philosophy (like many courses in the Australian sandbelt) has many great benefits which save money, protect the environment and improve the overall playability of the course.  These are ideals I feel we can all get behind . . .  we do all of this by simply promoting for the better grass and embracing solutions not problems! 
P.S. Extra credit goes to any member who reads Practical Greenkeeping, by Royal and Ancient agronomist Jim Arthur.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fairway seeding and upcoming maintenance

Fairway Seeding

This summer was very hot and extremely dry; our fine turf areas did very well despite the weather.  However there are a couple of exceptions on some small areas of our fairways where some turf thinned out and died. This week we slit-seeded these areas with bentgrass, topdressed with sand, and used covers to quicken the germination process.   These areas are small and are found on #1, #6, #9, #14, and #18. The picture below shows the final product.  Please do not hit off of the covers, they are marked as ground under repair. Thanks.
#1 after it has been
seeded, fertilized, topdressed,
and covered.
Chipping Green

With the chipping green closed for the season we took the opportunity to aggressively verti-cut, seed, topdress, water, and cover the entire complex to allow for faster recovery.  We will keep these covers on all fall and most likely when we open next spring.

Range Tee

Next week we will be working on the range tee so it can be ready for next season. We close the range tee this time year to allow it to heal in for next year’s play.  If we continued to hit off of the tee, most of the divots generated in October and November would not recover until late next spring. 

Next week we will be deep-tining, heavily over seeding, fertilizing, topdresssing and covering the range tee so that it will be in good shape for next season.

The large depressions behind and to the south of #13 will be filled in with soil and seeded in the upcoming weeks.  Since we have a shortage of soil on the property, we will use plugs from our fairway aerification.

Depression on #13
Filled with plugs from aerification.
Naturalized Areas
In the closing weeks of the 2012 golf season we will be mowing down the natural “fescue” areas found throughout the course.  By mowing these areas we keep out larger weeds, shrubs and trees from taking over the fescue grass that was planted.  These areas have come a long way and should be greatly improved next season.  Natural areas while not maintenance free, do cut down on rough mowing and add texture to the golfing landscape.

Natural Area on #12

Small Improvements

In the coming weeks we will be adding some more mulch to bare areas just at the end of cart paths.  So far this has worked well and looks much nicer than it did previously.  Also we will be adding some more rock barriers to the edges of our cart paths to keep traffic from trampling turf.  We have recieved some nice comments on the rocks and we hope to slowly incorporate more from now until next season.    

Fairway Aerification Update

So far tee and fairway aerfication has been great!  The nice dry weather has allowed us to get a lot accomplished. To date almost all of the fairways and tees are completed except #2 and all par 3 holes.  The holes that are completed look very clean and in most cases almost completely healed in already.  If the weather cooperates and our equipment continues to hold up we should get done by early next week.  

Taken from #3 fwy
day of aerification

#12 Fwy one week after aerification.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Chipping Green

Today September 19th, the chipping green is closing for the season to let the green and approach heal in for next year.  The green has many design flaws but we hope to make it more playable for next season.  We are going to overseed and topdress this area so it is imperative that we keep people off so seed can germinate effectively. 

Driving Range Tee

October 2nd the grass portion of the range tee will be closing for the season. The driving range will still be open but hitting off mats only. Keeping people off of the grass portion will allow the tee to heal in for next year's practice.

Core Aeration of Fairways and Tees

Starting September 24th fairways and tees will be core aerated.  We will be aerating one hole at a time to minimize its affect on play.  Winter rules are in effect on fairways that are or have been aerated. Thanks!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Upcoming Events

September 10th

Next Monday September 10th, we will be deep needle tining, topdressing and overseeding greens.  Deep needle tining has been done 5 times already this year with little affect on playability.  If you come out to play next Monday you can expect some inconsistencies in the greens, because each green will be in different stages of completion.  Please be patient while we finish this important process and greens should be back to normal by Tuesday.

What can I expect the greens conditions to be like after Monday?  The greens should be good other than the obvious small holes and maybe some sand. Ball roll and smoothness should be fine because the holes are only 0.18" in diameter and heal in very quickly. The first couple of times this process was done it went unnoticed by golfers.

Why are we deep needle tining and what are the benefits?  This process has shown to greatly improve the health of our greens.  This entire summer season we had roots over 8-10" in ALL of our greens despite one of the hottest summers on record.  With warm September soil temperatures we aim to enhance our root structure even further.  Enhanced root structure is not the only benefit to deep needle tining, water infiltration and compaction relief are just a couple of other side benefits to this process.

September 24th-??

We will begin core aerification of our fairways and tees on Monday September 24th.  This process will be the same as last year with one fairway done at a time.  Once a fairway has been cored, picked up and blown we will move on to the next hole.  This will minimize the amount of disturbance to one hole at any given time.  Last year this process took 17 days.  We hope to stay around this number this year but that will depend entirely on weather and any mechanical issues. Please play winter rules on fairways that have been or are in the process of being aerified.

Fall Fling September 8th

It's never too late to sign up for the fall fling, it is a fun format and we hope to see you this Saturday.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Range Tee

An area of focus in the coming days is on the range tee. The picture below shows some areas of the tee that need some significant healing.  The hot, dry June and July has made seed germination difficult thus healing has not taken place. The turf is still very thin and crabgrass has started to germinate in some areas of the tee. 

Middle of the range tee.

Our plan of action involves a few small steps: i.) spray for weeds ii.) fertilize to encourage more vigorous growth. iii.) over seed the tee surface iv.) apply more water to encourage seed germination v.) repeat these steps as necessary in the upcoming months.

In the future, there is a way members can help us improve the range tee that involves how they practice.  The picture above shows random divots and large circular patches, these areas take longer to heal.  From now on, we would ask that you to follow the diagram below as a way to help make the practice tee the best it can be! Thanks!   

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bentgrass vs. Poa Revisited

Earlier in the year, I talked about the benefits of promoting hearty grasses like bentgrass over weaker grasses like Poa.  Right now, we sit in the middle of the golf season and I thought it would be a good time to update our progress. 

When I came to Ridgeway in 2010, our putting surfaces were 70%-100% Poa.  As we look at our putting surfaces today, almost all the greens with the exception of maybe 2,4, and the putting green have over 50% bentgrass.  Some greens like 1, 3, 7, 12, 14, 16, 17, and 18 have over 70% bentgrass populations. With greens like 1 and 12 having 90+% Poa just a couple of years ago, this is a remarkable turnaround.   

The results are staggering to say the least, and many of you have made positive comments on the progress. It just goes to show how making and following through with a plan to improve the long-term health of the greens at Ridgeway can be achieved with just a few key decisions.    

There are many factors that have benefited this proliferation of bentgrass; a few are: i.) improving sunlight around greens by selective tree removal, thus improving carbohydrate reserves, ii.) keeping the plant drier with more conservative watering practices, iii.)  changing  the fertility rates, type and timing, iv.) increased use of greens rollers and reduced mowing, v.) frequent deep-tine aeration, and vi.) XGD drainage.  Other factors like the weather have actually helped our cause this year.  Hot, dry weather has helped promote our bentgrass populations in harmony with our long-range, nutritional, and cultural practices.  

We will continue to promote bentgrass and hopefully will continue to see results, but there are a few long-range items that must not be overlooked.  Ridgeway has been dry all season, but once heavy rains come again like in 2010-11, bentgrass and Poa will be unhealthy.  The cure is simply identifying which greens are good candidates for either internal (XGD) or surface drainage.  Long-term drainage solutions in conjunction with our ongoing cultural and nutritional practices will go a long way in continuing the trend of making Ridgeway's greens healthy, consistent and playable.

Below are some pictures taken from earlier this year and some pictures showing the contrast between Poa and bentgrass roots.  It is astonishing to see the difference in root depth between the two grasses but it is also great to see such good roots after one of the hottest summers on record.

Picture of Poa roots 2-3" down
Taken July 2012

Bentgrass roots growing 9-10+" down.
Taken July 2012

#1 green taken April 2012
Notice how dense the lime green
Poa is on the left of the picture.

#1 green in the same as the picture
left in July 2012 almost
 100% bentgrass.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Clover is a hard weed to control and one that can be found almost anywhere on a golf course, including fine turf areas.  This time of year is a great time to spray for clover because its white flowers make it highly visible for spot spraying.  Fairways, tees, and rough are being spot sprayed for clover this week.  The product is very effective and kills off clover very rapidly, so we should see results soon. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Irrigation or Irritation??

Since the beginning of May, we have received only 0.5" of rain here at Ridgeway – quite a change from the last two seasons.

In times like this, we use our irrigation system more regularly than normal.  Because of excess rainfall the last two seasons, there hasn’t been a need to run our irrigation system.  You may have noticed that we are in the process of repairing several irrigation issues on the course.  We are concentrating most of our efforts on installation of new sprinkler heads with proper yardage plates. 

You may see some small areas of exposed turf during replacement of the faulty sprinklers.  Also, if you play early in the morning (before 8 AM), you may see some sprinklers running to provide adequate water to areas that have been deficient in irrigation.  Your patience is appreciated while we are working on these issues.

One final note, areas that may appear a bit off color during these dry conditions just fine – they will green up quickly when we receive normal rainfalls. We will continue to water newly sodded areas to ensure that they remain healthy.  In the meantime, enjoy a little extra roll on your drives!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Walk Paths

Below is a picture of one of our walk paths.  As you will notice, like many on the course, they are starting to look bare and unsightly.  There are many reasons why some are becoming an eyesore: i.) less efficient irrigation in these areas ii.) lower height of cut which during drier times turfgrasses become thin.  iii.) compaction from carts, mowers, and walkers.

The last point is very important because members/guests tend to use the walking paths like cart paths.  This is not the intent of these areas and if people continue to drive down them it will only get worse. Please stay off of walking paths with golf carts as much as possible so that these areas can have a more attractive look. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Natural Areas

This year the greens and grounds committee decided to bring back naturalized areas to Ridgeway Country Club.   Naturalized areas provide a host of benefits that can enhance the golfing experience.   Benefits include:  enhanced wildlife on the course, beauty (particularly in late summer when these areas turn brownish red), contrast/texture of grass types, and reduction in labor costs.  The reduction in labor costs mowing rough is one of the main reasons we have decided to bring back these ecologically friendly areas.   The areas that we have been selected for naturalization in 2012 are: behind #2/12 green, between #13/14/5 the area left of #15 fairway, between #16/7 fairway, left of #11 near maintenance and the new mound system on #18. 
Careful planning by the greens and grounds committee allowed us to select areas that will help reduce labor costs but rarely affect the golfer.   One thing we wanted to avoid is penalizing the golfer or having to look for balls in long rough.  The areas that have been selected are well out of play and will add a nice backdrop to the existing “maintained” turf.  Birdhouses have been added to these areas to enhance the amount of wildlife calling Ridgeway home.   So far every birdhouse is being utilized by mosquito eating bluebirds or tree swallows.
The beginning of this year is important because some of the areas were seeded this spring with a mixture of fescues and need to fill in over time to have a consistent look to them.   Examples are behind #2/12 and #13/14/5 area.  These areas will start to show maturity and once seed takes hold we will spray for weeds and it should look as good as the areas on #16.   Once these areas fill in they are going to help cut down labor costs while enhancing the natural landscape.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend Update

Since I last posted a couple weeks back we have received little if any rainfall.  The past couple of weeks we have had to replace our well pump that fills our pond.  Unfortunately we had complications with the new pump.  We have had to ration the water focusing on greens first, tees second and then fairways last.  You may have also noticed a number of grounds employees hand watering fairways and tees to focus on areas that really needed the water.  Fairways have become very hard and a little off color, but still very healthy.  The good news is that the well pump finally got fixed last night and we where able to irrigate fairways for the first time this year.  Because fairways are very dry we plan to irrigate the next couple of nights to catch up.  Mother Nature looks like it might help us out as well, with good chances of rain in the next few days.  That being said our fairway, green and tee turf is very healthy with very deep roots which is always a good sign.

This spring has been a good one to get a lot of work done on the course.  A few items will be addressed in the next couple of weeks. 
  1. Many of you may have noticed the new plants around Prindle's Pub, next week mulch and curbing is going to finish off this area. 
  2. Our seeded areas are coming up nicely and this morning we are removing most of the netting and mulch.  Remember that these areas are still ground under repair. 
  3. Many of our hole signs are out on the course however a few are absent because we need to relocate them to a better location.
  4. This past week we have been working on repairing many of the sprinkler heads on the course we hope to rap that up soon and apply yardages to sprinklers that are currently missing yardage numbers.
  5. A vast majority of the tree removal areas have been filled, seeded or sodded.  #13 still has some work to do and is a priority for us.  Also we will sod out the area in front of #5 fairway.
So far it has been a really good year! A lot has been accomplished and we hope to rap up these few small items so the membership can enjoy the rest of the golf season without interference.  Enjoy the nice weather we have been having and have a great Memorial Day weekend!   

Friday, May 4, 2012

Course update

 From Tuesday night thru Thursday Ridgeway received 4.5" of rain.  The heaviest rain came Wednesday night and Thursday morning where 3+" fell.  The course is flooded in areas and very wet.  Ridgeway will be closed for the second straight day.  We will concentrate our efforts on cleanup and water removal.  The pictures below tell the story! All pictures were taken Friday morning after a day of drying and still there is a lot of water throughout the course.

The bottom of the range looking at
one of the target greens.

Mud and debris from the storm.up.

#4 fairway at the bottom of the hill.
Over knee high water.

Looking at #11 green from the fairway

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Last fall before we closed the golf course down for winter, we deep-tined our putting surfaces.  We went with 7/8" tines that went down about 10-11".  The main reason we did this was to avoid water ponding on our greens over winter.  The picture below will indicate we have another side benefit from last fall's deep-tine procedure, deep elongated roots.  The last couple of weeks we have noticed roots like the one in the picture coming out of the deep-tine holes.  This will have long lasting benefits as it is a great indicator of plant health. 

Next week we will again be deep-tining our putting surfaces.  No need to worry about playability since the tines will be much smaller and will have almost no impact on play.  But it will have a HUGE impact on increased root depth.  Look at it this way ... roots live in air not in soil.  Our soils here at Ridgeway are a heavy clay mixture, which makes it hard for roots to find away to go deeper because the pores (air spaces) are so condensed.  Our putting greens have about 3" of sand topdressing on top of a heavy clay subsurface layer. By poking holes down 8-12" we allow easier access for roots to grow deeper.  With that we also have many side benefits of less compaction, better water infiltration, and better gas exchange. Deep-tining is something we will do on a regular basis and I think you will like the results.

This is a picture of our cup-cutter.
Notice the long white roots hanging out the bottom!
The roots in the deep-tine holes are about 9-10" deep.
All the more reason this has to become a staple in our management program

Bentgrass vs. Poa: There is a difference!

Each year golf course superintendents in the northern United States wage a war between bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) and annual bluegrass (Poa annua).   Regardless how little or how much of each you have, a concerted effort is made to minimize Poa annua.  Poa annua is a weed and can cause a lot of headaches for golf course superintendents and members alike!  At Ridgeway Country Club we have about 80% Poa to 20% bentgrass putting surfaces. Here are the reasons for minimizing Poa annua on golf courses:
1.       Winterkill:  Poa annua is susceptible to all kinds of winterkill. Types of winterkill include: prolonged periods of ice, crown hydration, desiccation, snow mold, and direct temperature kill. Bentgrasses are far less susceptible to winterkill than Poa.  Because bentgrass is less susceptible to winterkill this is why one golf course’s greens succumb to winterkill and the course across the street does not.  If you have bentgrass, your chances of winterkill are much, much lower.  
2.       Heat stress:  Poa does not perform well under warm/hot conditions.  Heavy rainfall and humidity make the problem worse.  This is particularly a problem on greens that do not have adequate surface and subsurface drainage.  Also heavily shaded greens are more susceptible to massive turf loss during warm conditions (#13 green at Ridgeway).   Bentgrass is at its competitive advantage in summer when it thrives better than does Poa.
3.       Seed heads:  Poa has a competitive advantage over bentgrass because it is a prolific seeder.  This allows for the regeneration of Poa once it dies.  This comes at a cost in playability in the spring when the plant seed heads cause the greens to be very bumpy.  Proper chemical controls on greens are needed to prevent this to provide adequate putting quality.   Bentgrass does not seed out in fine turf areas hence it does not cause problems in playability with seed heads.  
4.       Pesticides:  Poa is a grass that requires a lot of pesticides because of the amount of diseases and insects that can cause damage to the plant.  This is particularly true during times of summer heat and stress.  Bentgrass is much better in this regard, requiring less pesticide input.
5.       Fertility:  Poa is much more reliant on fertilizer than bentgrass.  This again makes Poa a more unsustainable grass when compared to bentgrasses.
6.       Water:  Poa is a weed and a weak rooted plant.  It requires ample water to stay alive.  Good bentgrass surfaces require much less water and provide a much more sustainable playing surface.
7.       Color: Poa has a lime green color as opposed to a rich darker blue-green color of bentgrass.
8.       Consistency:  With all of the problems above, consistency with greens that are largely Poa is a problem.  When we have drier moderate temperatures Poa greens seem great, then with heat and rain they make for a very poor surface.  Our greens are a perfect example of this scenario.  When the weather is good our greens are great, when we get winterkill, summer stress from heavy rain and heat our greens are not as good.  These two scenarios call for a BIG variance in playability.  Bentgrass tends to have more consistency because it is not affected as much by all of the factors mentioned above.  Keep in mind weather is not the only factor at play.  Drainage both surface and subsurface plays an important role in evacuating water as efficiently as possible.  Shade prevents turfgrass plants from photosynthesizing effectively thus plants are not able to store carbohydrate reserves.  Plants overall are weaker and susceptible to diseases, turf thinning, slow recovery, winter and summer stress.
As you can see there are a lot of reasons to dislike Poa and it really presents some interesting challenges for both superintendent and golfer.  So far this spring the greens have been very nice however let’s not forget last year’s winterkill and some of the summer problems we have experienced on these Poa greens.
The Ridgeway maintenance staff is committed to providing for the LONG TERM health of Ridgeway and its playing surfaces.  We are committed to improving both surface and subsurface drainage on the golf course.  We are also committed to making the proper tree removals to improve turf health quality and playability. 
Lastly we are committed to turning the tide from Poa to bentgrass.  We will do so by favoring what bentgrass thrives in, which is turf that is not reliant on overwatering, over fertilization, and the excess use of pesticides.  The combination of sun, surface drainage, subsurface drainage, chemical practices and cultural practices will allow us to increase our bentgrass population.  Once we have a predominate stand of bentgrass we will no longer be held hostage by events that are out of our control like the weather.  Keep in mind this process is slow and many pieces will have to take place to make it happen, which is why projects like XGD drainage and greens re contouring are important pieces of the puzzle.   Once the greens are bentgrass we will be able to maintain, instead of keep alive . . . at that point we will have won the battle of bentgrass vs. Poa.

Bentgrass is the purplish green.
Poa is the lime green.
This stand is predominatly bentgrass.
Taken from #2 green.

Bentgrass is the purplish green
Poa is the lime green.
This stand is predominatly Poa.
Taken from #2 green.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Prindle's Pub Landscaping Improvement Plan

Below is a landscape design for prindle's pub (AKA 5&13 building). Schmalz Custom Landscaping did the design and we will begin work this Saturday during member help day. Keep in mind this project is being done in phases so we stay within budget, minimize course disruption, and ensure that staff can focus on providing country club quality playing surfaces. When all said and done this will be a nice addition to the property and should really give this area of the golf course some aesthetic beauty!

Double click the picture above to get a larger version for better viewing.

April 10th Progress Report

Although its been cooler the past week progress is still being made on the course. We picked off a few items from our to-do list. Here are some of the things we accomplished last week.

  • Finished #18 fairway. The irrigation was repaired, areas leveled, and the rest of the sod was laid on the fairway. Sod was also laid behind the green. Keep in mind we will keep play and foot traffic off of this area for the remainder of the month.

  • Prepped more areas for seed and sod particularly right of #18, behind #15 green, between #1-9 and right of #11 fairway.

  • Seeded, fertilized and mulched most of the courses bare areas. The exception being between 2-12, 5, and 13.

  • Sodded bare areas around #2 green including the approach.

  • Mowed all areas of the course including rough!

In coming weeks are focus is to tidy up 2-12, 5, and 13. Other items we will be focusing on are irrigation sprinkler head repair, spraying weeds on the property, draining #13 wet area behind the green, and fixing prioritized list of depressions/low spots.

So far everything is going smoothly and soon it will be peak golfing season. Let's hope the warm weather returns soon!

Divot Sand

Last week we bought these wooden boxes to give the members more opportunity to get sand for filling divots. The wooden boxes are located on #1 and #10 tee.

Sand can also be found in these green barrels in the shelter's on #4, #7 and hidden in the landscaping around 5/13 building. When refilling your containers please do not use the par 3 divot boxes, these are for par 3's only. Thanks.

Monday, April 2, 2012

#18 approach

It looks like we will be able to finish #18 approach this week. All of the drainage is in, most of the sod laid and we have to make some repairs to the irrigation and we will be finished. Right now we have the entire area roped off. No one is supposed to drive or walk in the bentgrass sod areas until further notice. Their is a drop zone in the fairway and a ball retriever to pick up your ball if it lands on the sod. You may walk in the bluegrass sod along side the fairway but please refrain from taking any shots off of it at this time.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


With all of the work that was accomplished last week I would like to remind everyone that newly sodded/seeded areas and unfinished "bare" dirt areas are ground under repair. Also try not to drive over or walk in any of these areas. The exception is walking in these areas to retrieve your golf ball.

All golf carts must stay on the cart paths on all Par 3 holes. And make an effort to stay on cart paths when going to tees and greens. I have noticed a fair number of people parking near greens and tees. Over time these areas will become weak, thin and possibly bare.

I have already noticed a fair number of ball marks on greens. PLEASE remember to fix your ball marks and to repair/fill your divots.

Overall the course is coming along nicely and it looks like nicer weather at the end of this week! Thanks.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Progress Report

The nice weather last week is much welcomed and an early spring means we were able to do a lot of work on the course last week. Plus the bonus of having college students on spring break was also a big help. Here is a look at some of the work that was done last week:

  • Over 500 linear feet of drain tile laid in 18 approach.

  • 18 approach rough graded and prepped for bentgrass sod. Waiting for bentgrass sod . . .

  • Over 30 pallets of sod laid near areas of greens and tees on bare areas.

  • Prepped, graded, seeded, fertilized, and mulched areas behind #12-2 green, right of #14 green, and left of #11 fairway near the maintenance shop.

  • Bare turf area left of #12 green was leveled, drained and is in the process of being sodded.

  • Irrigation pump repairs made.

  • Irrigation system charged up for the season.

  • Primo/Proxy application to greens to suppress Poa seed heads.

  • #13-14 woods areas fertilized and seeded again.

  • Daily maintenance, cups, mowing greens, etc.

  • As you can see last week was a productive one, however their is still a lot of work ahead of us in the coming weeks. The good news is it early and in April we will see steady progress on the course. This week we will need to focus more attention to mowing and surface preparation as the warm weather has us over 5-6 weeks ahead of schedule. Believe it or not this week we will have to mow rough, last year it was first mowed in mid May, what difference a year makes!!

    I will keep a steady flow of information and updates on the blog in the coming weeks . . . enjoy the early spring!

    Thursday, March 15, 2012

    The XGD Difference

    As we prepare the golf course for opening I thought it would be appropriate to briefly discuss how XGD drainage is doing on #9 and #12 greens. Once the snow melted and the frost dissipated it became clear that those two greens were the greenest coming out of winter. The reason being is that the soil temperatures were 8-10, sometimes 12 degrees higher than the other non-XGD greens. Because of the efficient evacuation of water, it warmed these greens up, whereas the other greens are still over saturated which in turn keeps the turf, at this time of year, cooler. The reverse will happen in summer were #9 and #12 will be cooler than the other greens because water moves down and out of the soil quicker. Moderating the soil temperature and avoiding over saturation, which was all to common on these two greens, will be a big plus going forward to providing better putting surfaces. Even though we have had XGD drainage in for a short time, I am pleased with the results. It’s amazing when you can take 2 of your wettest greens and make them some of your driest. What an investment in the long-term future of these putting surfaces.

    The pictures are laterals where the drainage was installed, the replaced sod has all but blended in to the green and is level. The small holes you see are from the deep-tine aeration that was performed late last November. The holes are spaced out and the ground is soft so after a few greens rollings they should start to disappear completely.

    Tuesday, February 28, 2012


    To help communcate daily I have added a Ridgeway Country Club maintenance twitter account. To follow daily maintenance and to get updates in real time sign up and follow. It's a great way to find out about frost delays, weather delays, carts no-carts and to check up on any other daily maintenance practices.

    Their are 2 ways to receive these updates. One is by coming to the blog and looking at the top right corner of the page. All of my tweets will appear there automatically. The other option is to sign up and get these updates on your phone. Go to, sign up and follow Ridgeway CC Turf and you should receive tweets automatically to your mobile device if you so chose. This is another tool we can use to help communicate daily activities and events. Thanks.

    2012 Aeration

    When golfers hear the word aeration they begin to cringe, to greenskeeper's, aeration is a way to help turfgrass plants become healthier and able to withstand the stress put on it by golfers, machines, and Mother Nature (See previous blog posts). In technical terms aeration has many different forms, some are more invasive to the playability of the course than others. Core aeration, the practice we have implemented the past couple of years on greens, is the most invasive and can take 2 weeks to 1 month to recover depending on conditions. This practice was necessary at Ridgeway to remove unwanted organic matter from our putting surfaces. Remember organic matter can hold water in the upper part of the soil profile and create problems in warm, humid and rainy weather. Because we have done a good job of removing organic matter we are now concerned with compaction, root growth, and water infiltration. We are now better served to go with a program that relies less on pulling cores (more invasive on playability) to solid tining, needle-tining or deep solid tining.

    The past 2 seasons we core aerated greens a total of 4 times and in 2012 we are not core aerating putting surfaces. In lieu of core aerating we will be solid tine aerating more often with small needle tines, which has little if any affect on playability. This will allow us to grow roots down to 8", relieve compaction and dramatically improve water infiltration. Because our season is already short we will have minimal disruption in play on our greens in 2012.

    In the future most of our practices will revolve around surface preparation. This means trying to grow the plant less, which intern produces less organic matter and thatch. Growth from excessive fertilization and excessive watering overtime only makes more thatch and organic matter. That means we need to core aerate more, verticut more, and topdress heavier to dilute and remove unwanted organic matter/thatch. This then means more interruption in playability to correct organic matter and thatch. By growing the plant less, fertilizing only to meet the plants basic needs, watering intelligently, and growing roots of the plants not shoots, we will have less need to core aerate our putting surfaces. Instead of 2 aggressive core aerations a season we will use small diameter needle tines more frequently. More aeration with little to no disruption means both superintendent and golfer are happy! !

    This topic is one I will continue to discuss on the blog and if anyone has any questions on this or any topic I encourage you to call, email or stop by the shop I'd be happy to discuss them or show you around our maintenance facility. Thanks … golf season is just around the corner!

    Thursday, January 26, 2012

    Busy Time!

    Having worked in golf course maintenance all my life, their is never downtime on the golf course, even in winter. Typically at the golf season's end the greens and grounds committee, head golf professional, superintendent, and general manager walk the entire golf course and prioritize work they deem to be important to the golf course for the upcoming "off season." This year is no different than many, we have many improvements we are working on going into the 2012 golfing season. A list of work includes:

    • Continuation of tree management in which over 50 trees were transplanted throughout the property (see previous posts).

    • Drainage work on holes #11 and #18 (see previous posts). Later this spring behind #13 green and repairing the area in front of #18 green and adding much needed drain tile.

    • Removal of the large brush pile near the maintenance facility so that we are able to create a large sod nursery.

    • Preparing site plan for Schmaltz landscaping at 5/13 building. The plan is to improve the area around the building with some newer plants both annual and perennial. And getting a plan to enhance our new wildflower area near the pond on #13 by adding perennial plants on the southern end near the break of the hill. Because this is a large area, small clusters of plants will be planted every spring till it is filled.

    • Repair and preventative maintenance on our existing fleet of equipment

    • Grinding and sharpening of all of our mower reels and bed knives. Coming out of winter the reels are sharp and ready to go!

    • Painting and repair of benches, ball washers, baskets, cups, etc.

    • Checking and making improvements to our irrigation central control system.

    • Snow removal.

    • Meeting with vendors to make orders and talk pricing for the upcoming year.

    This time of year also means budget time at Ridgeway. Labor, projects, capital improvements, and best practices are looked at in their entirety and up for review by the greens and grounds committee. Line item by line item is looked at and tweaked to fit the needs of the coming year.

    I hope everyone had a great holiday season and I am excited to start the golf season sooner than later!!

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    Tree Transplanting

    Finally the ground is frozen enough to transplant some of our smaller trees to more desirable locations. On December 4th the greens and grounds committee took the time to decide which areas of the golf course needed a few trees to make up for some that we have lost. Instead of cutting down smaller trees that are poorly placed, we have decided to locate them in more desriable areas. About 45-50 trees will be transplanted throughout the property. The results are great and it is a program that we will continue to improve on year to year.