Early morning behind 10th green, Islington Golf Club - Etobicoke ON Canada

Course Update for October 21, 2016

By | Fall, Irrigation, Leaves | No Comments

As we move into the middle of October the weather seems to be changing quickly. The course has received a significant amount of rain over the last week causing very wet conditions.  The greens have the potential to be soft throughout the fall so remember to repair your ball marks and replace your divots as damage to the course now will be visible in the spring.

Leaf maintenance will be difficult over the next few days because the wet turf. The staff is hard at work blowing leaves daily but some areas are just too wet to maintain without causing turf damage.

The fairway realignment on #9 started today with the perimeter rough irrigation being relocated. There are 5 sprinkler heads that had to be relocated to the new fairway edge on both sides of the hole. Once the irrigation is completed the area will be prepped for sod. If the weather permits the new fairway will be sodded next week along with the approaches on #2, 4, and 9. Hopefully, we have some nice weather over the next couple weeks to allow for all the sod to root allowing us to open these areas for play in early spring. The sodding will take approximately a day to install hopefully with minimal disruption to play.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the pin locations for the Pumpkin Scramble!

Ian McQueen, Course Superintendent

Early morning behind 10th green, Islington Golf Club - Etobicoke ON Canada

Course Update for October 7, 2016

By | Fall, Irrigation, Poa | No Comments

Fall has arrived and that means leaves, leaves and more leaves. Over the next few weeks we will work hard on keeping the playing surfaces clear of leaves. The process will be to blow leaves into wind rows along the tree lines and mulch as many leaves as we can with the rough mowers. During the next few weeks I ask for your patience as the blowers will be running throughout the day. This can be a messy time of year for the turf as we try to mulch leaves and mow the turf during constant wet conditions. To minimize the mess we will reduce the mowing under trees and out of play areas to once a week to help with the wear caused by the mowers. This will mean some longer rough in certain areas for the next few weeks.

As we move into the middle of October we will begin two fall projects. The first project will be a long range program to help minimize poa encroachment in the greens. A significant amount of poa encroaches from the edges of the green and the approach in front. We plan on starting a program where we install new sod in front of a few greens each year where the poa in the approach is beginning to be apparent. This year we will re-sod the approach on #2, 4 and 9. By doing this and adding new bentgrass sod we minimize the tracking of poa on to the greens. Secondly, we will be tackling the realignment of #9 fairway. The fairway has always been lined up with the old tee by #8 green. The plan is to change the angle of the fairway towards the current tees. We will begin with moving the irrigation heads on the right side of the hole. Then we will strip the grass on both sides of the hole and lay sod creating a new fairway lining up with the tee. This will create a better visual of the hole and provide a better angle for balls to land in the fairway instead of the rough like it is now. The plan is to have all the sod work completed by the end of October to give it time to root and be ready for play in early spring. Disruption to play should be minimal.

Have a great weekend!

Ian McQueen, Course Superintendent

Course Update for September 27, 2016

By | Ballmarks, Fall | No Comments

Fall is in the air! As we move into the middle of September the temperatures have begun to level out. The night time temperatures are getting cooler and the daytime highs are in the low 20s, exactly what the turf likes. The further we get into September daylight becomes an issue. It is now dark until 6:45 a.m. and is only going to get later, so the weekend tee times will change. On the weekend of September 24, tee times will start at 7:15 a.m. and, as usual, on October 1 they will go to 8:00 a.m. every day.

Over the next couple of weeks we will begin sodding the wear areas in the rough. For the third time this season we will complete the area around the cart path leading up from #18 green. This is a very high traffic area and re-sodding it throughout the season is the only solution. We will also repair the wear area by #9 tee and another area by #12 green. In addition to sodding we will soil and seed some smaller bare areas like the right of #5 fairway, the rough at the back of #6 green and numerous areas around the course. By getting sod and seed down this fall we give the areas time to mature and be ready for play next season.

With the cooler temperatures we will continue with our cultural practices that were delayed because of the hot and dry temperatures. The remaining fairways will be aerated with solid tynes and topdressed before the end of the season. This cultural practice will allow for firmer and denser fairways, minimize worm castings and will reduce thatch to better utilize water and nutrients. In conjunction with these cultural practices, we will begin to raise mowing heights on all greens, tees, and fairways. This will help the turf with recovery and prepare it for the winter months.

One last reminder: As we move into the fall, the greens will be softer due to the heavier dews and more frequent rain events. With that in mind, please remember to repair your ballmarks and one more to keep the greens as healthy as possible going into the winter. The fewer voids the turf canopy has, the less area for poa to encroach!

Have a great weekend!

Ian McQueen, Course Superintendent

Early morning behind 10th green, Islington Golf Club - Etobicoke ON Canada

Course Update for September 2, 2016

By | Aerification, Poa | No Comments

Aerification week went very well. All greens, tees, and approaches were aerified, and heavy sand topdressing was applied. We used a small tyne on greens because our soil tests came back with minimal change in organic matter. Each green had a combination of solid tynes on the high flat areas and a coring tyne on low areas. We cored the low areas because this is where the organic matter will build the fastest. At the beginning of next week we will apply another sand topdressing to help fill in the remaining holes and promote a smoother putting surface. In all, the greens have been recovering very well and are setting up for a great fall season.

Over the next month or so we will continue with aerifying and topdressing fairways. The fairways will be solid tyned and topdressed to promote a better playing surface and help with worm castings in the long run. We have completed fairways #1, 3, and 7, and going forward we will follow no specific order. This process causes little or no disruption to play and will be completed as time permits.

Over the next month or so we will be seeding and sodding areas that thinned from the heat stress and traffic wear throughout the summer. Previously seeded stump holes that have not fully grown in will be seeded, and areas of poa that wilted in the roughs, like the right side of #12, will be sodded to Kentucky bluegrass. For the third time this season we will sod the cart exit to #18 green. As previously mentioned, it will be sodded 2 to 3 times per year, pending wear.

For the most part, the course survived the long, hot summer, and we will now be switching our maintenance practices to promote turf recovery and plant health. Heading into the winter on a healthy note will set the spring up for a great start.

Have a great long weekend!

Ian McQueen, Course Superintendent

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Course Update for August 19, 2016

By | Aerification, Rain, Trees | No Comments

The rain dances have finally paid off. It was a long time coming, but we received approximately two inches of rain over the weekend and start of the week. The rain has done wonders for the property. It’s what we call a reset button. The sodium build up in the greens from lack of rain has pushed through the green cavity and the turf has a vibrant green colour to them. The heat spots throughout the fairways and roughs have begun to recover, and it looks like we were able to minimize the damage with the constant use of hand watering over the last few weeks. It was a long stretch of heat and drought, but the course survived nicely.

Over the next couple of weeks we will switch our focus to cultural practices that benefit the turf and provide better playing conditions in the future. On August 29 we will begin our second aerification of the greens. This time we will use a solid tyne for most of the green and a small coring tyne in the low areas where water drains off the green. We will then apply heavy sand topdressing to fill the holes, promoting a firmer surface and truer ball roll. During the rest of the week, and moving into September we will be coring tees and completing a solid tyne on fairways followed by sand topdressing everywhere. And, like last year, we will verti-cut a couple of fairways that have a little more thatch to help with water penetration and firmer conditions. All these cultural practices will be a long term benefit to the playing conditions and management of the turf.

In the next two weeks we will be removing two large dead silver maples at the back of the 15th tee (see photo). The City of Toronto investigated these trees and deemed them a potential danger to cars driving along Kipling Ave. and pedestrians walking or waiting for the bus. We have until September 9 to remove the hazard. These are two very large trees and will take some time to remove as the branches are near power wires. After the trees are removed we will grind the two stumps later this fall and plant a new tree to fill in the void.

Enjoy the weekend!

Ian McQueen, Course Superintendent

Course Update for August 12, 2016

By | Islington Golf Club | No Comments

Will it ever rain? I stopped asking myself that question a couple weeks ago after I came to the realization that one rain will not be enough. We need a couple days of rain. Until then we continue to water with hoses and stretch our irrigation intervals out as long as we can. The biggest need for the turf is for the humidity to drop for a few days for the turf to get some recovery. When it is this humid for long stretches the turf stays damp at the surface and that is when the wear and tear begins, so a break in the humidity and high temperatures will be better than a rain.

The city averages 14 days with temperatures in the 30s through the summer. As of today, we have had 30 days. It has been a long, hot summer for grass. Take a look at the parks and lawns around the neighbourhood, and you won’t see much green turf. We use a simple analogy for turf: if we are tired and getting worn out in this heat and need the occasional break, than the turf does as well. Over the next week or two and to help manage the turf through this high stress period, we will be monitoring our mowing heights and schedules to give the greens some needed relief.

In all, the course is doing well. We have some small sodium induced stress on a couple of greens and some worn down traffic stress on a few fairways. But, for the most part, the turf is looking great and is setting up for a quick recovery when the weather breaks.

Enjoy the weekend!

Ian McQueen, Course Superintendent

Course Update for July 8, 2016

By | Bentgrass, Drought, Irrigation, Poa | No Comments

As I sit here writing the course update this morning, I’m watching a sprinkle of rain come down. I was hoping for something more like a downpour but, unfortunately, it didn’t come. Yesterday the rain hit north of us and this morning it is hitting west and south of the club. One of these days we will get a nice all-day rain and everything will come alive.

Managing the turf through these dry spells takes numerous staff on hand-hoses watering localized dry spots. By applying the water with a hose you get direct penetration to the area, helping the turf recover. Please be aware of the staff as most of these areas are in play. When it comes to watering greens, you will notice a morning hand watering followed by a late afternoon touch up on wilting areas throughout the greens. Most of the greens watering during the heat stress are done with a hose. We only turn the sprinklers on once every 5-6 days, to do what is called a flush. This is when we irrigate to perch the water table, which causes it to break tension and flush, drawing in oxygen to the rootzone. Deep and infrequent is how bentgrass likes to be watered, compared to light and frequent with poa.

Heading into July you will notice a couple of landscape areas not yet completed. The new designs with perennials and ornamental grasses around the bag drop and clubhouse are completed for the season. Even without a drought the new perennials will take 2-3 years to fully develop into a wave of colour, so some time and patience is needed before the new plant material grows. As we do every year, we will assess all the new plantings and add new varieties and colour to areas that require additional plant material to make the beds flourish. Beds like the ones around #18 tee and #18 green by the new fence are an ongoing process of adding and splitting material from other areas of the property. In regards to the hill going from #11 green to #12 tee, as we mentioned in the spring, this will take time. Originally we said it will be planted by the end of June to the beginning of July, but because of the drought it has been put on hold. The bank is south facing, receives lots of sun, and the area is just too dry to plant. All the plant material has been ordered, and once we receive significant rain to add moisture to the hill, we will then plant.

Have a great weekend!

Ian McQueen, Course Superintendent

Course Update for June 24, 2016

By | Drought, Dryject, Heat | No Comments

It has been a long few weeks for the turf department as we try to manage our way through what I classify as a drought. The course has received 17mm of rain since May 15. Our last significant rain event was June 5 when we received 12mm. Even with an excellent irrigation system, nothing beats a steady rainfall. The team has been out daily hand watering roughs, tees, and greens. Overall, the course is playing great with a little extra ball roll on certain areas throughout the property.

The one thing the drought has done is slowed the healing process from the dryjecting. I am hoping 95% of the holes will be filled in by the middle of next week. Even though some holes are visible, the greens are putting very smooth. I will apply another light sand topdressing next week to aid in recovery. Overall, the greens are setting up nicely to withstand the play and the July heat.

The rest of the course is coming along nicely. The team has been working hard on opening up sight lines for a better view of the hole off the tee and at creek crossings. Overgrown shrubs along cart paths have been pruned back for safety and all the stumps have been seeded. A couple of areas still need to be sodded, but with the drought and heat, I have been pushing this back until the rain is back in the forecast. The wear areas by #9 tee and green, along with the cart exit to #18, will be sodded in the next couple of weeks. The crew has been out adding sand to bunkers, followed by plate tamping them to keep the bunkers consistent and firm.

In all, the entire course is looking and playing great. Enjoy the nice weekend ahead!

Ian McQueen, Course Superintendent

Course Update for June 10, 2016

By | Aerification, Ballmarks, Dryject | No Comments

A successful week I would say. The course was closed Monday and Tuesday for the turf department to complete some beneficial cultural practices. The turf team started aerating on Sunday night to get ahead of the dryject machines (see photo) that began on Monday. The entire process on greens took 2.5 days to complete. It entailed core aerification, sand topdressing, matting, dryjecting, hand brushing and finally numerous rolls with a heavy duty roller. Approximately 60 tons of sand was put on the greens surfaces. This is to dilute the thatch build-up which helps with water penetration and allows oxygen into the rootzone. All these will provide firmer, truer and healthier putting surfaces. With all this being done, the greens over the next week to 10 days will be a little softer and slower as we push a little growth to get the holes filled in. During this time please remember to fix your ballmarks.
Dryinjecting at Islington Golf Club
While the greens were being completed we aerated tees and approaches followed by sand topdressing. This will create a firmer surface to hit from which will help with wear. We continued with our fairway topdressing program to create a denser, firmer turf canopy to help with ball roll and playability. In all we put down over 150 tons of sand on these areas.

The week was busy but at the end of the day the turf benefited from these practices and so will the members as playability will get better as we move into the hot summer months.

Have a great weekend!

Ian McQueen, Course Superintendent

Course Update for June 3, 2016

By | Aerification, Bentgrass, Dryinjecting | No Comments

It is that time of year when we take a couple days and try to implement as many beneficial cultural practices as possible. On Monday, June 6 and Tuesday, June 7 the course will be closed for aerification. This year we will be trying to incorporate as much sand into the top 3” of the rootzone as possible. By doing this we will dilute the thatch layer and incorporate some fine sand to help maintain the firmness of the surface. This will create channels for oxygen to get down through the surface and create a nice mat layer of root mass and sand. To accomplish this we will complete our standard ¼” mini tyne and then we will dryject. Dryjecting is a form of aerification that injects sand through water pressure into the top 3” of the root zone. With this practice we will inject over 2 tons of sand into the surface of each green. These types of cultural practices are another step in maintaining healthy bentgrass greens. This will allow the greens to be firm and dry reducing wear and keeping them true and smooth for the remainder of the summer.

Have a great weekend!

Ian McQueen, Course Superintendent