Friday, April 27, 2012

Goodbye and Goodluck

During the week we said farewell to Jimmy who as everyone knows, or should do, has been the Assistant Superintendent for the past 4 years. Jimmy has decided to work with a mining company, and take the ridiculous money they offer, I wish him well and commend him for the desire to get his young family ahead.

Jimmy and myself started within a few weeks of each other in the winter of 2008, with absolutely no turf records on hand, no greenkeeper on staff to inform of any issues, we both thought through our own observations and testing at the time we were sitting pretty for the coming summer.
How wrong we were, our first summer together on course was challenging to say the least, and we soon realised that not only were we dealing with different seasonal issues as we would expect, we both agreed it was like dealing with two entirely different golf courses so far removed from each other it wasn't funny. We often remark to this day the huge disparity between the golf course in summer compared to other times with not one comparable feature.

Needless to say we quickly set about planning and implementing management programs from scratch to address the issues we should have been aware of through the absent records, that process continues today as we work through seasonal issues and build a base from which to work on, this can be seen on course through continual improvement.

I think over the past 4 years Jimmy and I built a very professional relationship and friendship born from our initial summer together, the 4 of us on staff have made a great team and so I wish Jimmy all the best for his future and thank him for his assistance over the past few years.   

Other news for the week
 This week was a very disruptive week for course work, the Public Holiday (respectfully an important one) on Wednesday, meant a 4 day week which included, the Ladies changing their competition day to Monday from Wednesday, the normal men's comp for Tuesday and Thursday, and today's Police Charity Day with a shotgun start at 11. It didn't leave a great deal of time other than course set up and normal course mowing.
We did manage to groom the greens, between all the competitions thanks to staff being flexible enough to vary working hours, and repair another broken pipe on the back 9 before play.
Tho a disruptive week, it ended up being a very productive one as well.

As a final note, I will be posting the results of the summer green speed trial in the next week, it will be posted in 3 or 4 parts to get the information I need to cover into the blog format

Friday, April 20, 2012

Winter Works

Each Winter the staff undertake a few major projects on the course, over the past few years that has included the installation of the front 9 auto retic, tree trimming works and last year the cleaning, re-piping of the back 9 manual system till the auto retic is fully installed. Sometimes the winter period is not conductive to the type of work such as turf establishment however with only 4 staff, manual water system and the extra mowing through the growing season time does not allow these extra works to be carried out, so tho not ideal for some projects, it is the only time we can commit to such works without affecting course quality.
This winter period ( I should point out I am classing the winter period from when we turn off the irrigation pumps) some works planned are -

Practice Chipping Green and Bunker
To improve member practice facilities we will be constructing a 270m2 practice green, chipping area and practice bunker on the site of the existing practice bunker to the left of the 18th green. The existing garden beds, and bunker will be removed.
site of practice area
 I have delegated Anthony to be in charge of the project as part of his final year TAFE apprenticeship training, and he will be undertaking the planning, work and supervision of the project under my guidance.

16th Mound
A new mound will be constructed greenside, where the old Pepi tree was and basically extending from the existing mound constructed for surface water diversion.
Still under review is the prospect of removing the short right hand side bunker and replacing with a mound or bunkering further from the green. This Bunker causes a corralling effect of players between the green and bunker heading to the 17th path, which causes excessive wear, thin turf growth and bare batches to develop despite the best efforts of staff to preserve the area. Also the bunker is riddled with tree roots from the nearby trees.

Front 9 Auto Retic.
Towards the end of winter when we start preparing the irrigation system for summer we will be removing all sprinkler internals, servicing them, cleaning and re installing. With 3 seasons down, the need to service or at least clean them is required to ensure optimum operation. With some 230 odd sprinklers, it will be a major undertaking in itself.
The above picture shows iron staining on the sprinkler filter located underneath and in the main casing, this was expected as it is part of the system which is not air tight unlike the pressurised pipes so cleaning prior to irrigation start up is required.

Other works
Other works planned include Bunker maintenance with work ongoing on the" lips", tree trimming, maintenance to paths, and the usual course grooming and maintenance.

On a slightly different note, I presented the course committe with the summer green speed trial results last Monday and I will endeavor to cover it in the blog as best as small space allows. 

Oh and finally, The course is set in fantastic condition for the weekend so get out there and have a great day.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Back To Basics

Over the next few weeks it will be routine maintenance only, course setup, mowing, irrigation etc. With Anthony at TAFE for 2 weeks and Dean on 1 weeks leave it is back to basics and will be attending Course presentation rather than starting any projects or extra work.

We will be finishing the granular fertilising of the back 9 Tee to Green areas starting Sunday and with the manual irrigation on this side more time consuming watering in.

There are a number of projects planned for the winter period and since there wont be much news from the course besides the weekly "same old same old" I will highlight those works over the coming few weeks.

News from the past week, the greens are now sufficiently recovered to start dealing with the repercussion of not being able to spray for the couch encroachment, Saltene and late season crab grass prior to Reno's, with the chemical finally delivered we are commencing control of these weeds for transition, as for the crab grass which is shockingly bad in the 4th 7th and 10th, we will be helping it die a natural death as the weather cools, the greens will be verti cut and sanded should the control leave the tell tale black spots of crab grass dying out.
No one has mentioned it to me, but I don't think you have to, the above greens look appalling with the crab grass, and it is what happens when you don't take control measures as planned for whatever reason at the time, we did apply pre emergent back in spring, all greens were crab grass free through summer, a late summer groom and topdress as part of the summer green speed trial may have contributed to the germination but more importantly we always apply post emergent products prior to renovations to clean up any latish germinated crab grass, we simply could not get the product due to the shortage, meaning no control as planned could be undertaken. I warned of this but even I didn't think 4, 7 and 10 would have so much there at this late time.
With that said it is obvious, not spraying had its benefits with the quicker than normal recovery period, I am sure everyone appreciate the roll of the greens and not having to smash puts to the hole allot sooner than expected.

Friday, April 6, 2012

12/4/12 Week News

And on the 58th day it rained...well close enough, more like showers....after 57 days without precipitation we finally received some during the week, a total of 11mm fell, not allot but combined with the cooler weather we were able to switch off the irrigation pumps for a few days. 

Green Renovation Recovery
Just over 3 weeks after green renovations and we are now at our normal mowing heights, we have upped the mowing to have them in pretty good shape for this weekend's Easter Medley, they will not be at the same pace as previous events, another week would have been perfect but we knew we only had 3 weeks to get them back and it was always going to be tight. They are rolling reasonably well and there shouldn't be any complaints.
On the downside as expected the crab grass and couch has hung around and now visible this because we couldn't spray prior to renovations due to the national shortage of the chemical used, we received delivery yesterday and will be spraying next week to clear these weeds out. 

Hydraulic oil leak update
It looks like we have managed to dodge a bullet, the hydraulic leak damage has been limited to a few areas of discolouration and only spots of dead grass which are recovering very well. It appears having the leak so close to renovations was a blessing with the higher cut and strong growth rates reducing the severity and making recovery quicker. ..........Phew........

16th Tee
 During the week the staff leveled and turfed the side of the 16th tee to the new wall, it will give us an extra few feet of teeing space but more importantly stop carts from eroding the tee bank.
Graham, Syd and Peter plus a couple of other helpers paved the side walkway to improve the area in total. The paving will be extended when they get time to finish it and also the staff will raise the area where the wall starts at the back to improve the visual appeal.

Other works 
We made good use of the little rain we had applying wetting agent on the back 9 fairways, (front 9 already done) and fertilising the front 9 tee to green and surrounds with a granular fertiliser as a pre winter fert for all the warm season turf. This will allow them to store much needed carbohydrates through winter, keep a bit of colour and more importantly come out of winter in good shape.
The back 9 will be fertilised in a weeks time when we get the second delivery.

All other work concentrated on preparing the course for the Easter Medley and once again I am proud of the staffs efforts to achieve our goals in a very disruptive week, with showers, wind and only a 4 day week to get it all finished and ready for play.

Happy Easter to all and happy golfing.