Friday, March 30, 2012

Reno Recovery day 18

 It is hard to believe we are only 18 days out from completing renovations, the greens have continued their phenomenal recovery and we are now just 1/2mm off our normal heights, to highlight the strong recovery, normally after a deep large aeration as we did this time, we expect a 30 day period before we are even close to where we are now. The only downside is having to wait for the chemical control of the crab grass, couch and saltene due to the shortage explained previously we couldn't spray when we normally do prior to Reno's, this means these weeds are hanging around longer than usual and when we do spray will certainly make the appearance unsightly.

There is no doubt the hydraulic oil leak non detection has held us back a bit more and we could have been even further along if it hadn't happened, tho it does appear we have escaped the worst case scenario of 10cm wide strips of dead grass. Whether through decisive quick action or luck, most likely luck the affected greens are showing sings recovery already, the areas are not as pronounced and whilst still visible we are still in with a chance of continuing to cut it out as we lower the heights further next week and the greens continue the strong growth. I imagine I will know by the end of next week whether further intervention is required in the form of seeding and sanding along with a verti cut.

Other news from this week, we have started turfing the area on the 16th tee between the tee and new retaining wall, and will finish the job on Monday. The area at the back of the tee where the wall ends will also be raised to blend the start of the wall into the surrounds, this will be done after Easter. Only the path will then be left to do. Bunker edges, spraying of surrounds for scrappy crab grass, wetting agent on Fairways were other tasks completed.
This week was a challenging week and one I thank is over, to top the week off an irrigation pipe break at 11 had to be fixed urgently so we could water wetting agents in which have been applied to the fairways.

Next week an extremely busy one, only a 4 day week due to the Easter weekend, and preparations for the Easter Medley, The greens will not be at the same pace as our last 2 major events, I think that is obvious with the renovations but we are focusing on providing good quality greens and the course presented again in a very positive fashion.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hydraulic Oil Leak

Over the weekend we had a Hydraulic Oil leak under the mower when mowing greens, unfortunately as it was pre-dawn mowing with a heavy dew, the operator only detected it when the sun came up after he was halfway through.

Of 13 greens mowed, 8 are effected of which 4 are cause for the most concern.

Wishful thinking, I am wondering, and will find out soon enough, with the greens renovations only just completed whether the vigorous growth we have encourage to recover from Reno's and the higher cut we were mowing at will lessen the impact and we may be able to cut out most of it....Experience tells me IT IS wishful thinking.

With this type of oil leak, it isn't so much the oil but the temperature of the oil that causes most of the damage, instantly killing the grass it contacts.
We have applied Activated Charcoal, and a dilute detergent to deactivate and dilute the oil, there isn't much more we can do I am afraid. 
We have sanded the 15th to see if that helps, unfortunately we don't want to much sand at this stage of the renovation recovery as we start lowering the heights, with this in mind I have decided not to sand the other effected greens and wait till Friday to see how much damage and what exactly is "lost" before progressing with the sand further.
Verti cutting and seeding will more than likely be required.

Just to answer a few questions before they are asked....

No it wasn't the new greensmower recently purchased, it was the old greens mower we were using, a common practice after renovations to save the greens cutting units from excess wear from the sand on the greens.

Hydraulic oil is almost colourless and leaks are very difficult to see when there is dim light, and the grass leaf is wet, (in this case from dew),under sunlight the affected turf would glimmer making detection easier, hence why the operator stopped at that point, the leak was under the mower making detection even more difficult

I am looking at a dye to colour the hydraulic fluid to avoid a repeat of the amount of greens affected, this depends on the manufacturers approval.

Yes I am frustrated, yes I am disappointed, yes I am p#$$ed off and yes the operator has been spoken to, and WILL learn from this 100%. More so it has happened, and my focus is to limit the damage, recover the areas and then make sure we reduce the risks of it happening again.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Reno recovery day 12

Day 12 since we completed renovations and the greens continue the strong recovery, we gave them their first cut on Monday (5mm) and have cut every day this week, lowering them again yesterday (4.5mm) which we will stay at till Monday coming before lowering them again twice next week. By next weekend the greens should be pretty close but not quite back to normal conditions.

Russel Lines boys from Jetline were back in during the week with donated materials and labour to complete the first stage of the 1st Path and formed a verge along some of the car park. 
  They will also be constructing a small wall along side the 16th tee at tee height to formalise the area in expectation of path along the tee. Since the use of carts has increased it is areas like these that are showing the downside of high cart use, carts are constantly cutting the corner at the front of the tee eroding the bank and if left would have eventually started eroding the tee top, by constructing the wall, similar to the 4th and 7th tee we solve the problem before it becomes one. 
Thanks to Russel Lines with the donated materials and work for without would not be getting done.

Friday, March 16, 2012

17th Green Bank

During the week, we modified the 17th green bank to solve a problem some felt was unfair when a ball would trickle to the edge of the green only to gain pace down the steep slope into the non irrigated sandy area, this problem was also effecting putts when the pin was in the vicinity as well.
Pics of missing peak , side view of bank and view from back before work commenced

We cut the turf, added sand / soil, shaped the area and re-laid the turf. we took the opportunity to construct the missing "peak" the high humps around the green that for some reason was not constructed on that portion. We allowed for drainage creating a few swails.

 Rolling Turf and filling area with soil
Same views as first 3 after work 

Seeding the green side of the new work will be done next week after the sand has had time to settle and we consolidate the area a little more. The area is G.U.R  and nearest point of relief no closer to the hole is in place.
It is expected the turfed area will be in play in 3 to 4 weeks while the seeded area on the green side will take some time before it is in play.
Why did we seed this area instead of turf ? I hear you ask.......We don't want the couch grass encroaching into the greens any more than it has, we seeded the 1m area with bent grass and will serve as a buffer zone between the couch and the green perimeter.

Reno Update / Weeks News

5 Days since renovations and the greens are making a strong recovery, during this week we topped up some greens with a little more sand to cover some holes left over.

 I expect to give them their first cut next Monday afternoon at 5.5mm, once we are happy with minimal sand pick up we will commence the process of gradually lowering them to our normal height of cut.
We rest the greens after renovations for two reasons, importantly for the health of the bent grass to grow new roots and shoots, plus we don't want to take heavy triplex mowers on them to soon while they are soft and moist, generally tho to recover from the intense practices they go through during the year,
Secondly with so much sand about, cutting them would make sure the cylinders go blunt on the first green, tearing and ripping every subsequent green cut and adding to the maintenance bill trying to sharpen the blades and cylinders again.
Normally a 4 to 5 week recovery time before they are back to normal conditions with the height of cut starting high and gradually lowered, this year the greens went into renovations in very healthy conditions and the timing of the critical first cut and subsequent lowering of heights will mainly depend on how quick the sand disappears under the canopy.
Generally just prior to renovations we treat the greens for weeds such as crab grass, couch encroachment and Saltene, unfortunately a nationwide shortage of the product used meant we could not achieve this as planned. The higher temperatures we have been having maybe a blessing in this case as it looks very likely we won't have access to the product til April, these weeds will persist for little longer than normal.

In other news for this week we modified the 17th green bank after being asked by the course committee to solve the long time problem of balls trickling to the edge of the green only to disappear down the sharp embankment to the non irrigated sandy area. This was an increasing problem as we firmed and had the greens at a faster pace where some balls were putted off the green and then into the same non irrigated area as the bank and slope of the green were just to steep to stop a ball even just trickling over the edge. ( pictures and work in next post).

There was no clearing of debris or rough cutting this week, as the focus was on recovering the greens, added that sand, and the construction process of the 17th green, it is where our staff numbers feel the pinch when major work is on something has to give.

Next week we will be returning some of the focus back to course conditioning, setting up the greens mower for the first cut as well as putting the finishing touches on 17. We may even get time to clean the staff amenities area something that has been neglected during the busy summer season.

The Summer green speed trial results are in, once I have presented the findings to the course committee, and worked out a way to shorten a large volume of information so that it can be posted here I will.

This week I will be commencing our biennial review of course operations, a process of highlighting what worked and what could be improved or thrown in the trash for next season, I undertake this after renovations in Spring and then again in Autumn and basically looks back at the period between renovations covering the winter and summer season respectively, a hefty process which I mainly do in my own time covering every maintenance programs for each turf area, staff, equipment, safety and environment and so on. From there I balance that against what we can afford within the budget, and this is where the head scratching starts trying to fit everything in, it never does so the evaluation of cost against benefit begins.

During the week I hosted a small Horticulture Class which toured the course as part of their Sports Turf syllabus in their Hort certificate. I took them on a tour around the course explaining the reasons we use the turf types we do in different areas, construction techniques, maintenance practices, safety measures implemented and so on. For some their first look at the inside running of a golf course and for that manner any sports turf facility and a few eyes were wide open when they realised just how much time effort and money goes into producing the surfaces we do.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Greens Renovations 12

You can always tell a Golf Tragic, there the ones that when we close the course, they still find an excuse to walk around it...

Greens Renovations were complete over the weekend. Due to a healthy volunteer turn out and Mick Lines Bobcat skills we were able to have 10 greens cored and cleaned up on Saturday afternoon and the rest by 9am Sunday. Many thanks to all our member volunteers for their assistance, much appreciated by staff as we would still be going without the help.

 Once all the cores were picked up, a planned BBQ lunch was changed to a breakfast, a bite to eat and to quench the first as a thank you for all our hard working volunteers. It must be the earliest that part has ever been completed, so much so our volunteers were discussing what the hell they were going to do for the rest of the day!
 The staff then resumed with sanding and rubbing in greens

Generally we give an approx time for the greens to come back to normal time, as the greens were very healthy going into renovations, it is dependent on how quick the sand disappears, between 3 and 4 weeks is expected before the greens are back to normal conditions.
Some added sanding may still be required on some greens which will be complete this week should areas need that touch more.
Once again thank you to all our volunteers.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Busy Week

Today brings to an end another busy but rewarding week presenting the course for the Capel Classic. 
View from front 10th greens
View behind 2nd green
With an early start - double cutting greens with the greens and adjusted tees mower
This week will be busy in a different way, all our pre greens renovation work will be undertaken, Couch encroachment spraying, green surrounds spraying for crab grass, Verti cutting greens and we will be renovating the small back putter with our own small Ryan Corer, this is because the green is to small and enclosed to renovate with the larger Verti Drain machine. In addition we will still be setting the course up for play and all our regular maintenance practices attended to.
The week will be topped off with the aerating of the greens and topdressing, Saturday afternoon and Sunday and I repeat our request for plenty of member volunteers to help with the core clean up. 
Thank you.