Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Overhanging Branches

This week we are going to be cutting down a number of the overhanging branches and widow makers on the property. A number of silver maples on the property have large overhanging limbs that interfere with shots that are hit from the fairway.  Most notably #4, 9, 11, and 18 have large limbs that hang down over the fairways.   Also we have a number of hanging branches (AKA widow makers) that need to be removed for aesthetic and safety reasons.

We rented a large lift to assist in being able to accomplish this task safely and efficiently.  Please understand that we will have some branches laying on or near the fairways.  Equipment may also be in the way but should only affect your round on 1 hole.  This task will take several days and may need to be finished at a later date. 

Thanks and sorry for any inconvenience while we finish this task.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Storm Drainage Project

This week the Town of Clayton started a storm drainage project on Ridgeway property near the maintenance facility.  The goal of the project is to build a large holding pond to collect water before it reaches the golf course.  This pond will slowly drain into existing drainage on the property.  The pond will be located out of play well left of #12 fairway near the maintenance facility.  Also a new driveway will be built on the far west end of the new nursery.

This is good news because it will result in less golf course closures after heavy rains than in the past. In the past the course closed due to a large flowing river running across hole #'s: 12, 2, 3, 4, 7, and 15.  These areas would become impassable by foot or with a vehicle.  The new pond will not solve all of the flooding problems but will add days to your golfing calendar.  Also because the Town is taking care of this project there is no cost to Ridgeway.   

There will be minimal interference as it relates to your golfing experience in the coming weeks.  Wednesday on #12 they dug a hole to reset the manhole that was there previously and quickly added fill.  Also some minor work may be done south of #11 fairway to facilitate construction of the new driveway.   That should be the only interference to the golf course itself, most of the work will take place near the maintenance facility well out of play.  However do expect some noise of construction equipment while playing #11 and #12. 

We will keep you informed on the status of this important project in the days and weeks to come.  Enjoy the beautiful weather that is in our near future.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Firmness: An update

This year we have made a consensus effort to monitor firmness on the golf course.  A golf course that is either too firm or too soft has its own set of problems.  Soft conditions promote weak rooted plants, numerous ball marks, bumpy greens and Poa annua invasion. Too firm of conditions make stopping a ball impossible and can take away from the enjoyment of the game.  

Our goal has been to promote healthy turf that is firm but not so firm that balls fly off the back of greens.  So far in 2014 mother nature has prevented us from getting the golf course too firm.  Being half way through the golf season it is still  good to look back at what has gone right and what things we need to improve upon.  

So far the putting surfaces have been in really good condition despite the heavy rains.  Although soft, greens have remained smooth and a reasonable speed.  Root structure and depth is still very good throughout.  

The biggest issue we have had this season is getting approaches to firm up so balls that are hit short run onto the putting surface.  Greens and approaches do not dry down the same simply due to the fact that greens at Ridgeway tilt severely from back to front.  After rain events water surface drains into the approaches making them wetter than greens.  Because of this they hold more water than our putting surfaces.  So far we have had inconsistency from approach to green due to this drainage fact.   

So what can we do to have approach firmness mirror that of the greens?

  1. Install smile drains.  Smile drains are sections of drain tile that would be installed at the low areas of the green/collar catching water as it leaves the putting surface.  Because it follows the green edge it often looks like a smiley face.  Smile drains offer a host of great benefits to both the green and approach.  Also depending on how they are done they can sometimes be utilized to get water off of greens in winter months. By adding smile drains we would cut down the amount of water that gets to our approaches thus firming them up.
  2. Sand, sand and more sand.  We have been topdressing our approaches however we have anywhere from ¾”-1 ¼” of sand in our approach profile, whereas greens have almost 4” of sand near its surface. By adding sand to approaches they will react more like a green.
  3. Aeration and verticutting.  This will remove thatch which acts as a sponge and stops balls from bouncing.
  4. Rolling.  Due to the wet conditions we have done very little approach rolling which would firm up the surface.
  5. Monitor using moisture meters and firmness meters. We have purchased and will be receiving these devices which will allow us to check daily both the water moisture levels and firmness levels.  Using bluetooth technology we can log our information so we can best use the data to benefit the golfer and turf health.

So far member feedback this season has been very positive however we still need to look to improve so we can provide a better product day in and day out. Our goal is to make fairways and approaches firmer than greens.  So far this season that has not occurred.  By following the 5 steps laid out we can make playability more consistent and make the game more enjoyable.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Nursery Project

As you are aware last fall we started a large sod nursery project near the maintenance facility just left of #11 fairway.  The greens portion of the nursery has grown in nicely and with some mowing and extra fertilization should be filled in by late summer early fall.  This section was prepped and seeded first and had a head start over the outside perimeter.  The outside perimeter was seeded later and with very little germination the area became susceptible to erosion with the heavy spring rains. 

Good germination...
Greens portion of nursery.
Eroded area...
Needs more work!

To this point very little has been done about the outside perimeter of the nursery.  One reason is the weather continues to bring heavy rain.  Any effort to fix the outside perimeter would have again been destroyed from heavy rains causing even more erosion.  Although portions of the nursery are behind schedule I am glad that little effort was done to repair certain areas because it would have meant money down the drain. 

The next couple of weeks we will renew our effort to fix, repair, and reseed the outside perimeter of the sod nursery. Also we will be vigorously working on getting the good part of the nursery to fill in so that we have a good greens nursery going into fall.

This is an outstanding addition to our department and a great investment for the future of Ridgeway.  All we need is a little more sweat equity and some luck from mother nature to finally make this project a success.