Wednesday, September 22, 2010

6 Blue Green Contour Changes Sneak Peak

Golf course architect, Ron Forse, was at NSCC on September 23 to direct the contour changes made to both 3 and 6 Blue putting greens. The changes on 3 Blue are subtle, basically reducing the severe slope on the rear left of the green. The changes lend themselves nicely to the overall master plan when it is implemented in the future. The changes on 6 Blue are considerably more dramatic and will have a significant impact on putting when the Blue Course opens again in the spring of 2011.

The picture above was taken from the rear of the green while looking back toward the fairway. The green was altered in 3 different locations. The elevation changes are similar to those on 2 and 5 White, which were completed last fall. I have attempted to highlight the affected areas by designating their perimeter with a red line. The yellow areas represent the fall lines associated with each location. As you can see, what was previously a relatively flat green which fell from the back to the front is now much more complex. Accuracy while hitting into the green will be of the utmost importance on this par four.

Golf Preservations, under Ron Forse's supervision, completed the project in conjunction with the internal drainage installation of the green. The labor intensive project involved stripping the sod, adding a custom blend of fill which closely matches our existing soil conditions, compacting the newly added soil, and replacing the sod in the exact location from which it was removed. The golf course maintenance staff is charged with growing in the turf to ensure that it will put smoothly upon opening in the spring.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Drainage Installation Underway On Blue 9 Greens

The drainage installation is well underway on the Blue Nine putting greens. This is the final phase of the overall green drainage program which began in 2008 on the Red Nine. The White Nine was completed last year. I have been extremely impressed by both the improved performance of the greens following the installation of the drainage as well as the excellent workmanship done by Golf Preservations. Samson Bailey, owner of Golf Preservations, has been on site for the installation of each green at NSCC.
The installation process is a time consuming and labor intensive endeavor. I have included a simplified version of the process through the following photographs.

First, the entire putting surface must be meticulously mapped with a laser level to account for all undulations and contours. Once this process is complete, the overall drainage template is designed for the green.

Once the drainage pattern is established, the actual trenches for the drain lines are cut. Prior to trenching, the sod is carefully removed and cataloged so that each individual sod piece will be placed in exactly the same location following the back filling of the trenches. This will allow the sod lines to blend into the rest of the green, rendering them unrecognizable upon completion of the project.
After the drain lines have been installed, the trenches must be filled in a resodded. The trenches are filled with a custom mix of sand which closely mimics our existing sand in our greens. This is critical as poorly chosen sand will not allow the greens to function properly. When back filling the trenches, Golf Preservations takes great pride to ensure that the material is sufficiently compacted within the trench to minimize settling. In order to accomplish this, the hand tamp and four different levels for each foot of back fill material added. Talk about manual labor!

The last step of the process involves replaces and tamping the sod. The photograph above was taken one day after the installation was complete. In only a couple 0f weeks the seams will be barely noticeable. Stay tuned, as next week I will detail why the drainage project is an essential part of our overall greens maintenance program at NSCC.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Why Is The Practice Green Closed?

The golf course maintenance staff aerified the practice green on September 7th. While the putting greens performed well overall this season, even through the difficult weather of this past summer, the practice putting green was placed under excessive stress. Simply due to its nature, almost everyone who plays a round of golf first puts on the green, the practice green is placed under extreme traffic stress on an annual basis. High levels of traffic stress lead to soil compaction and turf thinning. In order to offset this damage, the golf course maintenance staff aerified the putting green prior to the aerification of the rest of the greens in regulation.

Following aerification, the practice green was also seeded. The intent of the seeding is to introduce more desirable creeping bentgrass into the putting surface, rather than the less desirable annual blue grass, or Poa annua. The variety a bentgrass chosen for the green exhibits a greater ability to withstand the traffic that this green absorbs. Introducing new seed into an established stand of turf is a time consuming and labor intensive process. Following aerification, all cores were collected and the holes were then filled with sand. After the holes were filled, the surface was then sliced in two directions, creating a 1/8" furrow. Following the creation of the furrows, the greens were seeded with the new bentgrass variety. The greens were then swept, incorporating the seed into both the aerification holes and furrows. Lastly, the putting green was fertilized by both granular and liquid fertilizers to encourage rapid recovery and seedling growth. The putting green will reopen for member use on September 24. We ask that all members refrain from walking on the green until this time. By eliminating all foot traffic, the seedlings will stand the best chance of survival, thereby providing an improved putting surface next season. The finished product is shown below.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Much Ado About Dew

While playing an early morning round of golf, you have probably noticed that the fairways are often lacking dew. This observation is not just a random occurrence, but rather a planned maintenance practice on the golf course. Of course dew reduction lends itself to dry feet and pant bottoms, but also plays an integral part of our disease management strategy at NSCC. Most people think of dew as only water condensation on the turf's leaves, similar to what one might find on their car in the early morning hours. While it is true that some of the moisture on the leaves of the turf is due to condensation, the rest of the moisture is secreted by the plant. This moisture is called guttation fluid.

Guttation fluid is a sugary substance which contains multiple organic and inorganic compounds. When guttation fluid is left on the turfgrass for extended periods, a moist environment is produced which, as research indicates, lends itself to fungal activity. During peak periods of disease pressure, the maintenance staff at NSCC will intentionally remove the dew by mowing in the early morning or by dragging a dew removal device over the fairways. You might think of this as a natural approach to both limit disease activity and reduce costs associated with fungicide applications. Of course, no system is without fault. Often times when dragging the fairways to remove the dew, divots which had been replaced can be removed from their intended location. As always, it is a day to day decision on whether to remove the dew or to allow the sunlight to burn it off.