Course Update for July 6, 2018

By | Irrigation, Watering

What a beautiful day to finish off the work week. Some good temperatures and a nice breeze have given the golf course and the staff some relief from what has been a really hot stretch. I’m very pleased with how the golf course has handled the heat so far. The rain last night was good for the course and gives it a nice break from the heat for a couple days.

Through the really hot days, there is no doubt that you have seen our team on the course watering with hoses. An irrigation system, no matter how good, will never emulate rain as even the best systems in the world cannot provide 100% coverage.

After any period of time without adequate rain, hand watering becomes an essential practice.

Here are a few of the key intentions:
• Water areas on tees, fairways and roughs that do not get any/enough water from irrigation
• Morning watering on the greens to water specific dry areas only (keeps greens firmer)
• Afternoon watering on the greens to cool the surface under extreme heat or drying conditions

All of these hand watering techniques help us provide great day-to-day playing conditions while keeping the turf healthy. Here is a USGA video with more details on the benefits of hand watering.

Have a great weekend.

Andre Aymar, Course Superintendent

Course Update for June 29, 2018

By | Root Zone, Venting

With hot temperatures on their way, we will place an extra water filling station on the 15th tee for the long weekend. Please enjoy the weather safely and stay hydrated.

Hot, humid weather is ideal for disease development. Providing high performance turf while under such adverse conditions requires us to be strategic with our practices and defense tactics to help the greens battle the weather. Weekly venting (aerating) on the greens is one practice that has worked very well for us. You may have noticed the small holes at the surface of some of the greens earlier in the week. Allowing air to move through the surface and into the root zone allows the plant to breath. This is essential for the plant. Here is a photo of the small holes around the cup. The photo also shows an underground view of the air channel that allows air to move from the surface through the organic layer and into the root zone.

Have a great long weekend.

Andre Aymar, Course Superintendent

Course Update for June 22, 2018

By | Bunker Etiquette, Poa

Course Update
With some fantastic weather as of late, it has been great to see many members enjoying the property. This time of year I always like to emphasize how important it is to regularly practice good golf etiquette. By taking the time to do the little things, such as fixing your ballmarks, filling your divots, and raking the sandtraps, you can make a big difference in the overall presentation of the course and its playability.

Please see this USGA link for more details on bunker etiquette.

Poa Management
With some of the Poa seedheads noticeable over the past couple weeks, I have been asked what we do to manage Poa on the greens and if the Poa is a concern. The Poa population on our greens is extremely low and not a concern. However, managing against Poa to preserve the quality of our new Bentgrass greens is one of our main focuses. Here are a few of our key strategies.

• Keep them as dry as possible (Poa likes wet conditions)
• Minimal fertility (Poa like lots)
• Leave the greens exposed in the winter (Poa doesn’t like winter)
• Physical removal (hand pick)

Have a great weekend.

Andre Aymar, Course Superintendent

Course Update for June 15, 2018

By | 15th Hole, 18th Hole, Mimico Creek

Course Update: New 18th Hole
I think it’s safe to say that there has been a good level excitement around the new creek design and some of the golf course changes including the forward tee on the 10th and the changes to the 18th. I hope everyone has been able to enjoy the fantastic new vistas from the clubhouse or the patio.

Lately, surrounding the excitement of the new 18th hole, I have been asked when I think the bunkers on the 18th hole, the forward tee on the 10th hole and the new green on the 18th hole will open. I am pleased to announce that both the forward tee on the 10th hole and the bunkers on the 18th hole will be ready and open for play on Tuesday, June 19.

The new green on the 18th hole will require more patience as the growing in of a new green takes several months. Even though the green looks very green and full from afar, it is still quite sparse which is completely normal for this stage.

The process to take a new green from seed to opening takes approximately three and a half months. We seeded the new 18th green in mid May. A great benchmark to use as a comparable is the 15th green. The 15th green was seeded at approximately the same time in May of 2014. The 15th green, after a great summer for turf growth, was opened on September 5, 2014. We anticipate that the new 18th green will have a similar timeline based on favorable weather but at this point it is only speculation. Only time will tell when it is completely ready for opening and we want to ensure that we only open it once it is 100% ready. We will gladly inform everyone on the progress as it occurs throughout the summer.

Here are a few of the key agronomic factors that have to be reached before the green can open for play.

  • Canopy density (full coverage of the green surface with no gaps)
  • ½ inch organic layer (approximately ½ inch of an organic based layer is required for the grass to be resilient to traffic and golf shots, this layer creates a protective buffer for the plant)
  • Minimum 6 inch root depth (bentgrass roots are vital for its survival and a minimum of a 6 inch root mass is required before it can handle stress from play)

Back Nine Starts on Tuesdays
Every Tuesday starting next week until Labour Day weekend, golf will be started off the 10th tee. When the days are long and golf rounds are at their highest, our greens on the front nine get much more wear than the back nine. Shifting the wear to the back nine once a week will help us alleviate some of the extra stress and allow us to provide a more consistent product on all 18 holes.

Have a great weekend,

Andre Aymar, Course Superintendent

Course Update for June 8, 2018

By | Aerification, Ballmarks

Course Aerification
This week’s scheduled course aerification went really well. Favourable weather allowed us to punch holes in all the greens and tees. Even though aerifying will make the greens much better through the season, they will go through a short recovery period which will make them slightly softer and slower than we are used to. We appreciate everyone’s understanding through the healing process.

With the summer months ramping up and the golf course getting busier, I would like to encourage everyone to fix their ball marks on the greens. This is extremely important as it will help the greens heal quicker and make the greens much smoother for other members playing later in the day.

Fixing a ballmark can be pretty simple and pretty quick. Here are a few key steps and a short video:

1. Find your mark (if you can’t try to find another)
2. Tap the ballmark from the back to shrink down the ballmark (putter works well)
3. Insert your ballmark repair tool of choice and gently twist the edges’ inwards to fill the gap
4. Level the ballmark with your putter

This USGA link offers more details on how to properly fix your ballmarks.

Have a great weekend,

Andre Aymar, Course Superintendent

Course Update for June 1, 2018

By | 18th Hole, Aerification, Bunkers, Maple Keys

The golf course will be closed on Monday, June 4 and Tuesday, June 5 for aerification. The short game area and the practice area by the #5 hole will also be closed on Monday and Tuesday for maintenance.

Throughout the golf season, the greens produce an organic layer that can accumulate very quickly. This can become very problematic as organic matter acts like a sponge and keeps the surface wet and soft. This puts the greens at higher risk for disease and other turf injury. It also creates a bad putting surface. This is why aerifying is essential. By removing some of the organic layer and replacing it with sand, we are letting water and air move down through the surface and allowing for healthier, firmer greens.

Maple Keys
It is that time of year when all the silver maples are dropping their keys. We will do our very best to clean up as many of the keys as possible, but it is almost certain that if the wind comes up, some areas will be contaminated through the day.

18th Green

The new 18th green is progressing very nicely. Today we rolled the green for the first time with an 18-inch walk behind mower that we have set up specifically for the initial part of the grow-in process. We will be putting the first cut on it early next week.

New Bunkers on #18
The two new bunkers on the 18th hole are still playing as ground under repair and are painted white. They will remain as a G.U.R. until the sod has matured enough that we can remove the bunker boards, tamp the edges, and add more sand. The bunkers should be ready for play within the next two weeks.

Have a great weekend,

Andre Aymar, Course Superintendent

Course Update for May 25, 2018

By | Aerification, City of Toronto Sewer Project, Erosion Project, Mimico Creek

The golf course will be closed on Monday, June 4 and Tuesday, June 5 for aerification.

With some timely showers and good growing conditions, many of the newly sodded areas have rooted well. If you have been around the golf course over the last couple of days you have probably noticed that we have taken some of the ropes out and have opened some areas for play. We hope to be able to open up more areas over the weekend and into early next week. There are, however, some spots that will still take a bit more time. These areas will remain roped off, so we ask that you still proceed with caution around the newly sodded areas.

There have been a few questions regarding what will go around the edges of the new cart paths on the 10th and the 18th holes. These areas will all be sodded.

The past few weeks have been extremely busy for our team. We have put the majority of our focus on restoring the golf course and getting everything back in play. Now that we are wrapping up with some of the construction odds and ends, our focus will be redirected to some of the detail work on the course, including line trimming, weeding, mulching, and bunker maintenance. Yesterday, the remaining stumps from the wind storm were ground, and we are getting them ready for seed. Also, now that we are officially beyond the threat for frost (May 24), we will be planting all the annuals for the season.

City Sewer Project
The City was in this week to sod some of the small spots by the maintenance road and install gravel on our maintenance path between the 7th and the 13th holes. They will be back to do some curbing, asphalt repair, and plantings.

Creek Erosion Project
The 18th green is starting to show colour. We are very happy with the consistency of the initial sprouting, and by the end of next week we should be able to make our first cut. This is a critical stage in the grow-in process because the seedlings are very fragile. Close monitoring and frequent cooling with water is essential.

Have a great weekend,

Andre Aymar, Course Superintendent

Course Update for May 18, 2018

By | City of Toronto Sewer Project, Erosion Project, Fertilizer, Islington Golf Club, Mimico Creek, Seeds, Sod

The golf course has come a long way in the last couple of weeks. We are finally getting some pretty consistent growing temperatures. Greens, tees, fairways and roughs are all starting to green up and we are starting to ramp up course playability for the season.

All of the big construction areas have now been sodded. As seen below the 14th hole was the last one to be done. As the sod matures over the next couple of weeks, there will be many newly sodded areas. We ask that you please be careful not to drive through any of these areas as it can cause significant damage and delay the restoration process. Over the course of the last week, we have still witnessed some cart damage within roped areas. All areas will be roped off and marked accordingly.

The new 18th green was seeded last Friday, May 11. Here are some pictures of the step by step process required to properly seed a green. The seed germinated today, therefore over the weekend we should start seeing a bit of a green tinge on it.

Step 1: Float the green with a light weight brush to smooth and level the green
Step 2: Fertilize with starter fertilizer and rake in with a steel fan rake, rake teeth facing down
Step 3: Seed the green with a drop seeder, a properly calibrated seeder is essential
Step 4: Water the seed lightly and frequently to ensure that the seed never goes dry

City Sewer Project
The restoration is almost complete. Some small sod repairs and path repairs are remaining and should be done within the next couple of weeks.

Creek Erosion Project
The plantings are now complete. Only some minor mulching is left and should be completed early next week.

Have a great weekend,

Andre Aymar, Course Superintendent

Course Update for May 11, 2018

By | City of Toronto Sewer Project, Construction, Erosion Project, Mimico Creek

The short game area will open for the season on Saturday, May 12, and open at 7:30am on weekdays and 6:30am on weekends. The 7:30am start during the week will help our team coordinate the required maintenance on the short game area in a more effective and safe manner.

So far, this spring has been interesting, to say the least. Between the construction, the ice storm, and two wind storms, there has been a lot going on around the property. The wind storm last week took down several trees and another one fell yesterday on the 2nd hole. Overall, the cleanup has gone well, and we should have all the tree work cleaned up by the end of the weekend.

We appreciate everyone’s patience with the temporary hole closures and tee block modifications, as we are trying to facilitate and speed up the restoration. Over the next few weeks there will be many newly sodded areas. We ask that you please be careful not to drive through any of these areas as it can cause significant damage and delay the restoration process. All areas will be roped off and marked accordingly.

City Sewer Project
The restoration for the City sewer project has progressed very nicely this week. They have sodded all the way from the 15th green to the 18th tee. Next week they will continue to work on the areas from the 17th green to the 7th tee, and then they will move onto their last big area on the 14th hole.

Creek Erosion Project
The plantings for both sides of the creek along the 10th hole and the 18th hole are completed. The entire mulch bed in front of the clubhouse is being planted with native perennials and shrubs and is expected to be done by early next week. The remaining plantings, which include some shrubs and trees, are expected to be wrapped up by the end of next week.

18th Hole
The 18th hole went through a significant transformation this week: the entire hole was sodded and the green was seeded. The cart path will be paved on Monday morning. There will be a lot of watering for our team on the 18th hole over the next few days, therefore it will play as a par 3 for the weekend.

Have a great weekend,

Andre Aymar, Course Superintendent