Saturday, June 30, 2012

How to Use the Blog

Welcome to the new streamlined blog.
For those like me who are techno noobs, heres a quick instruction on getting the most out of this blog.

To access page specific information such as Course Care Tips, Upcoming Works etc click on the Tabs located below the picture at the top of the screen and above the normal posts. Clicking on the Tab will direct you to the page you are after.

On the right side of the screen you will see a list of posts by year, month and the name of the post, if you click on the year, a list of months appear, click on the month and a list of posts made in that month appear, all you have to then do is click on the post you want to view.

Below the list of posts, you will see a list of labels, these labels refer to posts with a common theme and by clicking on the label you will be directed to all the posts that share that label.

I haven't completed labelling all the posts yet but I will as time permits.

I hope the changes make for easier viewing for specific information, adds to your enjoyment and knowledge.
If NOT AT LEAST I HAVE A HEADACHE NOW, so I got something out of it!

Splitting it 3 ways

Welcome to the weekly review for the week ending 29/6 and time is of the essence.

Not allot to tell this week, which does not mean there wasn't allot of work carried out.
The staff split our time 3 ways this week between Course set up, ( Greens mow, hole changing, bunkers etc) Routine course maintenance, (Fairway mowing ..yes that’s right we managed to cut fairways for the first time since the storm...and other routine maintenance that usually gets done on certain weeks/ days) and commencing the detail clean up in the bush / rough areas. By detail I mean a walk-through of the roughs picking up any remaining branches and sticks, filling in stump holes etc and finally running the Kubota slasher through for the final tidy up.

 Now I ask you to keep in mind there is only 3 staff at present and only 1 Kubota Slasher, we have some 20Ha to cover for the bush / rough area so it will take time to get around the whole course and we must split our time between the 3 ways above. Time is indeed of the essence.
This week on top of the Course set up and routine maintenance we detailed the Practice area, (fwy, tee and bunker), the Driveway and surrounds, the area between the 10th and 13th green as well as the rough / bush between 11 &13, 13&14, these areas are now better than they were pre storm.
A start on the stump near 7 tee was also achieved.
In the following week or 2 the same work routine will be in place.

The greens are now very close to pre storm pace, showers nearly every day this week putting a film of moisture on the surface would have kept them back a little, but they are back to 2.5mm and frequency is dictated by weather though a quickening should be evident. 

Further repair work to the 11th green vandalised area maybe required as some areas that looked like regenerating haven't as yet, we are giving it another week to do show signs before we take to the turf cutter.

That’s the news for this week, enjoy your weekend and if you do hit in the rough make sure it’s on 11 or 13.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Fairway mowing US Open Style

Will this ever happen at Capel ?
Click on picture to enlarge.
All 10, thats right 10, fairway mowers make one pass each fairway, don't worry if the next fairway is a few meters wider, they just add another fairway mower to the line, they had about 13 fairway mowers ready to cut the course.

If you are wandering why the grass is so much greener, its because it is all cool season grass, Bentgrass (our greens), ryegrass (some of our surrounds) and poa annua, (our nemesis) are used on tee boxes and fairways; the greens are bentgrass; and the rough is Kentucky bluegrass. They can use these turf types due to the cooler climatic conditions with an averaged max of 24 degrees C. In fact Couch grass just wouldn't provide the quality of surface and would struggle due to the lower temperatures.

The Olympic Club has 45 holes consisting of  2 x 18 holes, The Ocean Course and the Lakes Course (The Open played on the Lakes) and a 9 hole par 3 course.

They have 50 full-time grounds staff which was boosted by 100 volunteers sourced from other golf courses including superintendents, greenstaff and turf technicians with advice from the USGA green section agronomists. 

The club can fund the courses through their Althletic Club with over 5000 members and 2 club houses, not only for golf but other sports as well. The clubhouses feature a fitness center, cardio solarium, hotel facilities, handball and squash courts, circuit training facilities, two basketball courts and two swimming pools along with restaurants.
I just thought you might be interested in a little trivia for a change, considering as they played the US Open we were all out on the course, cleaning up.

Oh and by the way another severe weather warning has been issued for tomorrow grrrrrrrrrrr CLICK HERE FOR WARNING

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Not So Obvious

We all know the obvious impacts for the course from the storm, (I am totally over that word) but there are a few not so obvious impacts which I informed the course committee of and thought the general membership should also be aware.
Green Speed - The greens may run a little slower in the short term, we could not cut greens for nearly a week, we were forced to raise heights slightly, this does impact on green speeds. We have since lowered the heights but more of an impact comes from the reduced frequency of cut and will take some time to gain the condition back from regular mowing, (we are still not at pre storm frequency). In short the more often we cut, the finer the leaf, the quicker the greens, it's a little bit more complicated than that, but that is the general idea.

Disease Issues - With wet weather, a mixed bag of weather conditions and lost time for some cultural practices usually completed, some disease issues are expected in greens, tees and fairways. We managed to get some preventative control out for the greens, we simply do not have the budget for fairway control.
Some diseases may become active and be obvious immediately, others will not manifest till spring.
We will keep on top of it, there is no need for concern it is just something you need to be aware, more importantly staff.

Leaching / Chorotic Conditions -  A little less green. With the amount of rain some leaching is expected, the impacts are not so much for greens as we can give light regular foliar doses and being a cool season grass will respond to that. The rest of the course (tees and fairways) being warm season grasses do lose a bit of colour through winter normally, that colour loss may be more pronounced than normal. We will give them a light foliar treatment that may improve the colour, but any heavy dose would just be waste and fertilise weeds more than the turf. Being winter the warm season grass is shutting down, the roots are not working as they do in summer, so any application in this area is waste.

Poa annua (Winter grass) - A difficult weed to control in Bent grass at any time. Like most courses our Poa control program is based on small regular doses, this has been severely compromised with 2 missed applications, this does not appear much but with Poa it is. This may mean a few more seed heads in spring than normal.
In fairways and tees we have a wider variety of choice being a different turf type, impact here will be mainly fairways which will be sprayed later than normal, until we apply post emergent winter grass control at which point, say no more poa.

Again these issues should not be cause of concern to members, just be aware of the not so obvious issues we may face.
Thank you.

22/6/12 Week that Was

Back to the normal weekly updates, the storm cleanup still looms large on the list of the weekly duties.
This week was slow going for the remainder of the cleanup, with Anthony at TAFE just Dean and myself on and with the course now open for play half our time is dedicated to course setup so some time is therefor taken away from the cleanup duties.
Having said that, little evidence remains of the destructive storm, the damage it caused or the massive cleanup that was undertaken besides a few smouldering logs, some fair size mountains of debris ready for disposal and the odd branch about the place.
We managed to finish picking up all the small debris heaps over the course, removed a few more dangerous limbs, rehabilitated some of the worst effected areas, and we even mowed tees for the weekend, a first for the last 2 weeks. Repair work to the mindless act of vandalism on the 11th was commenced  and we will see how that handy work comes out. (I did intend to take some pictures of the process but it took much longer than anticipated to work on, hence no pics, hopefully there WON'T be another occasion to take pictures of the repair process so hopefully you won't get the chance to see pictures.

In other news about the place, Syd "fired" up his specialists equipment and not much remains of the huge red gums on 4. The Angels were out in force again on Wednesday (Ladies Day), I am absolutely amazed at these women who not only followed our request for all players to pick up the odd stick in the fairways on their travels but every group carried with them shopping bags to put the sticks in, outstanding effort from the Associates who have shown just how much pride they take in their course. 

Once again I remind all players, it will take some time to finish all the little details, tyre tracks from clean up equipment, fixture repair, tree stump holes along with having to make ground up on lost course conditioning,  these items will get done as time permits as we do have to dedicate our time to course set up for play etc.

Finally, at the course committee meeting this week, I raised a few not so obvious issues we need to be aware of as a result of the storm and the 170mm rain we have had since, I will post that separately for your information.  

Pictures - Before                                                                         After
 3rd Tree                                                                      After Syd's specialist intervention

 What A Mess                                                               What Mess?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Storm wrap up

What a glorious day today was, blue skies sun shinning and the course open for play, the way it should be, I hope you enjoyed the day and made the most of it, unfortunately bad weather is set to return tonight / tomorrow Forecast click here no weather warning is in place at present as the next low approaches but hail and squalls are predicted with heavy rain.

This will be the last of the daily updates to let you know of progress made with the clean up, (unless crazy events dictates otherwise and wow what will I talk about now ?), with the course now open we are spending time on course set up and will be slowly returning to normal duties tho we will still be clearing debris in the short term.
Today we started the practice tee and fairway clean up, we had to stop after a hydraulic problem with the tractor and we worked on the fix for that in the afternoon, we also ran the kubota over some very messy areas prior to the ladies pennants and set up the course for them.
Some more raking was carried out by our lovely associates, they are angels, and we will start collecting their rake heaps tomorrow along with finishing the practice area.
I remind you it will still take a few weeks to get everything completed and catch up with course conditioning please bare with us till we do.

Some facts and figures you might be interested in from this once in a decade storm event and its impact on the course.
Over 54 trees were felled including the two 150plus year old red gums. ( In play areas only)
Over 134 trees with major limbs that fell. (branches equal to a medium sized or bigger tree)
Over 300 trees with moderate limb effect.
10 500 cubic meters of debris have so far been collected.
We were without power for 5 days.
850 labour hours over 7 days was spent cleaning up with an anticipated 200hrs more to do.
Approx. 60 volunteers over the 7 days working various hours.

Again I thank every one involved in this massive clean up, the course has never seen this amount of damage from a storm event and the response was fantastic to get the course open for play in the 7 days...Well done.

Some more pics of the storm damage.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Clean Up Day 7 - The good, the bad, the ugly

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.

The Good - Today we had around 12 volunteers, many from yesterday (did they actually go home), doing various jobs around the course to get as much completed as possible for tomorrow's opening.....Yes I did say we are opening tomorrow, (that's the good by the way).  Ladies pennants.
Tidying up around the monster trees, dangerous tree removal and more high reach work were all attended along with some more raking of small debris around the course, Thanks Di it is appreciated, (if anyone sees Di snoozing by a tree, rake in hand leave her be) she has been in every day raking this week.

The course is now ready enough to open, not perfect, actually not even great but ready enough, I would personally like to thank everyone who has helped us get this far, some have been here all week, others when they had the chance and even more after they had repaired their own damage to their properties, I don't wish to single out any particular person or group, but those who have far exceeded any reasonable request for help know who they are and so do we, it is appreciated, everyone involved this week working side by side has done a remarkable job with this massive clean up, so thank you everyone and well done.

The Bad - Although we are opening tomorrow there still remains a huge amount of small debris over the entire course, we are still well behind conditioning and the greens will still be slower than normal for a limited time. I ask you to bare with us as we gradually improve conditions over the next few weeks. Also should anyone want to come in and rake some debris up feel free, it maybe an area on the course which is your favourite place, (sorry no trees were in the club) it may where you always seem to be on a given hole, if you want to rake and clean that area up, go for it, just check with the maintenance staff if it is safe to do so.

Another very important point for those playing, There remains some limbs in trees we could not reach, some are at no risk of falling, some however do pose a risk, these areas have been marked, cordoned off and the area should be treated G.U,R lift and drop outside the marked area.

The Ugly - After dealing with the effects all week from the uncontrollable Mother Nature and her fury, it was a kick in the teeth to go in this morning and have to deal with the effects of idiots with the brains of a dead snail, (thanks for that saying Tony). Sometime Saturday night these idiots decided to do doughnuts on the 11th green, this is the 3rd time in 4 weeks and also after the club had been broken into earlier in the week, just proves some people have no decency. But you know what, we don't let this get us down, we take the positives from this week, for every idiot out there, we have proof there are hundreds more that makes up for it, we just look around at all our volunteers this week.

A temporary repair (no not green) has been made to allow for the ladies pennants tomorrow after which more repair work will be carried out as needed.

Were nearly done, bare with us for the next few weeks to complete the task and catch up with course conditioning but WE ARE OPEN!!!!!

Thank you again.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Clean Up Day 6

Not a bad turn out today for the member working bee, we had around 30 members / associates working along side Staff for the majority of the day. Of course as always, everyone enjoyed being out on the course doing what they love most, Playing err sorry working, either way they found themselves in the trees all day.
Hours varied from 4 to 8 hours, the staff putting in around 10 and thankfully don't take that long to play a round.

The good News is with the healthy volunteer turn out attacking the tasks methodically as directed by yours truly, (I could get use to that many staff) managed to complete all our goals plus some today.
All the trailer size and bigger branches are now removed from all in play areas, a large amount of small debris areas raked and cleaned up, The 2nd of the monster trees on the 4th tidied up ready for specialist equipment,(Syd and his matches), the back putter, back of club, (just don't call em the back door boys) and front putter cleared of debris, some high reach limb work complete, (Rob playing with his Tonka Truck).
We also sprayed the greens for disease, (never a dull moment) and added some goodies to the mix and got the bunkers ready for me, I mean play.

I would like to thank all those who turned up today, and also those who have helped all week, without that help we would have been going for months, to think 6 days on we have managed to climb on top of the beast that was last Sunday is testament to everyone involved in this massive clean up.  
 Tony Looking for his lost ball from last week                  That tree, this trailer, ain't gunna fit...

 Metal work, wood work, same thing,,, still work.             Synchronized raking....A new Olympic sport

There remain a number of areas in need of a rake, more so now on the front 9, some out of play areas to finish up but we are ready to go, a Monday opening of the course is the plan.
Tho I would like you to keep in mind, Course conditions will take a few more weeks yet before we are at pre storm conditioning, just be mindful when playing over the next few weeks we have lost a whole week in course conditioning and it is going to take some time catching up.

Tomorrow and no formal plans are made for any major work, some more high reach work, mowing greens and starting the kubota clean up, maybe move holes and markers for Mondays opening so that Monday morning can be spent tidying areas instead of course set up.
Thank you.  

Friday, June 15, 2012

Clean up Day 5

About 18 volunteers turned out to take in the beautiful sunshine today enjoying spending a fair bit of time on the golf course, probably not what they think after cleaning up debris rather than playing golf........

The ladies were again well represented bringing their rakes and continuing the stick and small debris clearing off on tees etc, some tees you could not see a blade of grass owing the debris so another job well done.

Meanwhile the member volunteers, (some that may as well be on staff), along with the staff continued removing the branches etc from the rough areas between holes, we managed the entire 4th (except the huge, huge monsters) the 10th and various areas around 13, 15 and 16 green and tee complexes. Well done guys we have made a huge impact to date.

Other victories today included removing some of the dangerous high reach limbs in trees, mowing all the greens some for the first time since Sunday and of course, FINALLY THE POWER IS BACK ON !!!!! I look forward to having a cuppa in the morning.
 oh Cripes another one                                                       Geeze I spend enough time in the rough

Tomorrow (Saturday) and a planned member busy bee of those who would normally play but cant cause were closed is hoped to be well supported, those that normally play in the morning will become the morning crew and those who usually play in the afternoon will become the afternoon crew.
It is hoped we can come very close to finishing enough for opening on Monday without much to do on Sunday. After racking up 65hrs plus over the last 5 days I look forward to getting the job done.
So I guess the message is simple...
more volunteers = more clean up work completed = the sooner the course is open and you can play = a very happy happy superintendent who might get a day off ha ha.

Our goals tomorrow are to get as close as possible to finishing all areas, the roughs on the back 9, the more labour intensive small debris removal etc and a start around the club, practice tee and fairway.
We hope to get the bunkers raked and ready for play and we will be spraying greens as a disease precaution as well as a light feed after the heavy rain leached nutrients.

Look forward to seeing you out there.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Clean Up Day 4

 Another great volunteer turn out today, unfortunately a thunderstorm and heavy persistent rain stopped the afternoon shift from getting out there, the positive tho was the amount of hands we had this morning, because of that, even tho the rain interrupted the afternoon work we still manage to come very close to achieving all our goals for the day.
We had 15 volunteers this morning, many of them associates, a further 5 turned up for the afternoon but couldn't get out there and then a further 3 very late this afternoon when the weather cleared. Thank you every one we will see you tomorrow.
The staff, Anthony resumed at TAFE today, ( I think he missed us) Dean finally worked just a normal day (only because of the storm mate) and Ben and myself after leaving when everyone else did returned late to put a few more hours in cleaning up.

So where are we at I hear you ask, Today the entrance drive was cleared of all remaining large branches, most of the rough areas on the front 9 were complete with only the 4th remaining, and some roving work to do picking up the smaller stuff. The 2 large red gums remain but we need special equipment to finish them off. The remaining greens were raked off along with most of the back 9 tees and even some surrounds raked courtesy of our lovely Ladies who turned out in force and did a fantastic job, thank you to all our associates who turned out this morning.

Tomorrow and Day 5 goals are to finish off the roughs on the front 9 and at least get half of the back 9 roughs completed  using the same method and process as today, other goals will be finishing off the raking of the tees, making a start with all the debris in bunkers and some surrounds. We will also be mowing greens.

Should everything go to plan that will then leave us half the back 9 roughs, the practice area, the huge red gums, the high reach broken limbs in trees and a final sweep of the course to complete over the weekend.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Clean Up Day 3

Thankfully the storm last night was not as bad as predicted and no further major trees were down this morning, only a small amount of branches.

We had a very large contingent of volunteers today, 20 in total Members, Associates and friends of members, for various hours through the day, some from 8 till 3.30pm thank you all and once again very appreciated,  hope to see you tomorrow along with some extras....smiles,,never satisfied hey ha ha.
Anthony and Dean worked 6.30am till about 3.30 today, however, I have instructed Anthony who was suppose to be at TAFE since Monday to head off TAFE for Thursday / Friday so not to fall to far behind.
Ben and myself worked 6.30 till 6pm  to get a head start on Day 4's tasks.

Today continued the trailer size debris removal from fairways and side roughs, a start on the sides of the entrance drive, clearing the 7th, (one of the worst effected areas), Clearing the large tree at the 7th tee, a start on the very huge tree on 4 as well cutting some fallen trees in the rough / bush ready for removal.
The ladies organised by Jill also started raking the sticks from greens and managed to get 13 greens finished, this allowed us to mow these greens, for the first time since Sunday, late this evening, thank you all. (only 7 greens to finish.

Attacking the big bugger on 4                                                Syd getting stuck into the 7th Huge one

 The 7th ready to go                                                               One cleaned off green.

After an inspection of the course it was decided to keep the course closed for safety reasons till more than likely to Monday but with a chance for Sunday depending on volunteer numbers tomorrow and Friday.

Tomorrow Day 4 of the clean up and the focus will start being on areas between fairways,(rough and bush), which will be completed hole by hole, other goals will be finishing the side of the drive entrance, finishing the stick removal from greens, hopefully mowing them, making a start on small debris removal from tees and surrounds.
How far we get depend on the number of helpers. 

Looking around and we have turned the corner, the worst is behind us and everyone who has helped to date should be very proud of what we have achieved in 3 days, a fantastic effort so far but there is more to do. This massive task continues, and we still need people willing to turn up with trailers, chainsaws, rakes for the green clean off crew and best of all, a can do attitude, because together we will.
Thank you and cheers.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Clean up Day 2

Day 2 and under the threat of 125km/hr winds arriving sometime in the afternoon, the focus was to get as much storm damage cleaned up in open areas we could, and shore up any dangerous areas. We have managed to clear the greens, tees and fairway areas only From the 1st tee through 3rd green, the 9th and 5th. The back 9 completed in all open areas.
Staff as per yesterday worked 6.30am through 4pm before we called a stop to make sure they were well away when the storm comes in.
It was a slow day as for volunteers with just 5 at various points, but all were very appreciated and put in a huge effort, thank you.
Mick Lines made a huge difference with his Posi-Track from 11.30 and we managed to move a considerable amount debris / trees from the front 9, without it we would not be as far along as we are.

The work ahead is still a mountain to climb, we still need help, trailers welcome, the unknown as for our goals tomorrow is the expected deep low still being forecast to hit this evening, how much more damage if any will govern what way we attack it.

The Golf course remains closed till further notice, it is planned  for a walk through tomorrow to asses conditions.

Well I will post this now and we hope the damage tonight is not as bad as Sunday, once the all clear is given tomorrow, we will be asking for more volunteers, as it is, we still have Half the front 9 open areas to complete, All the Rough and Bush areas over the hole course, we also need to rake off the small debris from tees and greens so we can start mowing and applying any fungicides we need to control disease

Monday, June 11, 2012

The clean up Day 1

And the clean up begins....
The crack of chainsaws brought in the daylight this morning.
The staff, Dean, Anthony, myself and my son Ben worked from 6am till 4.30pm
We had 10 volunteers in the morning from 8am till 12
And another 5 volunteers from 12pm till 4.30pm
Thank you for your help, it is appreciated....But guess what we need more!!!
Yes we need more....trailers, chainsaws and hands....Preferably still attached.

Today with some strong winds and heavy rain at times the goal was to clear the driveway and the back 9 tees, greens and fairways of the fallen trees, we came close with just 3 trees remaining to do on the back 9 fairway side, well done to everyone.
We haven't attacked the rough areas on the back 9 yet, so it isn't cleared totally, just the main play areas, we still have a huge amount of work ahead of us, the goal tomorrow is the same, clear the front 9 greens, tees and fairways, from there hopefully the wind will ease to safely allow us into the roughs under the still standing trees to remove more fallen ones by Wednesday / Thursday.
The course will remain closed tomorrow.

Some pics.
Found the Bbq

what ya reckon Syd


The bad news.... Another deep low has developed and heading our way, this forecast to be stronger than the one yesterday. A severe weather warning is again in place.
For the warning click here.....Severe weather warning
We are not expecting it till late afternoon, we hope to have many volunteers in the morning so we can all leave well before the worst hits.
From there who knows ? we may need to do it all again from scratch.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Storm Damage

Well the weather warning was right, in fact bang on!
Just back from the course and well I can only say its a disaster zone, we have at least 50 trees down as well as numerous branches etc, to save words cause they simply do not describe it I will post a few pictures.

Needless to say the call for volunteers has gone out and the more the better, we need chainsaws, trailers and capable hands on helpers, we also need to be organised and safety conscious so I ask any volunteers coming in to report to me before jumping in, I hope to have a  volunteer round up at 8am to let everyone know the days goals.

The course will be closed till further notice, the ladies pennant matches tomorrow cancelled.
There are a few days work ahead of us, depending on numbers I hope to get the drive way and back 9 mostly done tomorrow, The front 9 is worst with 3 huge trees down so will take a little longer.

drive entrance
10th side drive

13 tent area (Andy had a lucky escape)
16th tee area

4th Fairway
Side 7th tee

7th chair
4th tee area
Another Huge one
Yet another
Dwarfs me
 There's plenty more but I think you get the general idea, I will be updating the blog daily to let you know of the progress made, well I hope to if the arms are up to it after cleaning this mess up that is.
Latest Weather Warning
Tho the deep low has weakened there is still a possibility of strong damaging winds tonight and Monday, thunderstorms remain predicted for the majority of the week.
Work will be slow going if this eventuates and I repeat any volunteers need to report to me to confirm if its safe to work.
The last thing I want is someone under a tree so please safety first.