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 September 22, 2017

By | Aerification, Turf

Although we have officially entered the fall season, it seems summer is sticking around for a few more days. This stretch of sunny weather has been fantastic for golf, and it’s been great to see many members still enjoying the course and the patio.

This weather has also been favourable for turf growth and recovery. The turf recovery side of things has been excellent because it’s given the greens a chance to fully recover from aerification after only 14 days (see 7-day and 14-day photo comparison below). This has exceeded our expectations, and we are very happy with the results.

The turf growth has been a little bit more challenging with grass yield higher than we would normally get this time of year. The roughs have grown rapidly, and with limited staff it has been difficult for our team to keep up. We have been cutting and blowing as frequently as possible to keep the roughs tidy and playable (see photo below).

Our team has been working hard to get as much done as we can, and we will continue to work diligently to provide the best fall conditions possible.

Enjoy the weekend,

Andre Aymar, Golf Course Superintendent

Course Update for September 15, 2017

By | Aerification

Reminder: Starting Monday, September 18, start times Monday-Friday will be 8:00am. Weekends will remain at 7:00am until October.

September has brought us some great golfing weather so far and it looks like this weekend will be fantastic. The golf course has enjoyed this favourable weather. It has helped the greens in their recovery from aerification. After eight recovery days they still have some filling in to do but we are happy with the progress they are making. The holes will still be visible for a while but the playability is getting better every day.

Enjoy the weekend,

Andre Aymar, Golf Course Superintendent

Course Update for September 8, 2017

By | Aerification

As of Monday, September 18, start times on weekdays will be change from 7:30am to 8:00am. It will remain at 7:00am on weekends for the month of September.

With daylight getting less and less every day, it is getting much more difficult for our team to get our morning maintenance done ahead of golf. During the week it is especially difficult as we perform more agricultural tasks. Having enough time to prepare the golf course properly in the morning is essential for the health and conditioning of the course. Working on the greens before daylight always poses a risk for turf injury. Protecting the greens, one of our biggest assets, is always a priority. In addition, it takes virtually twice as long (if not more) to get the jobs done when we get caught in golf. Which means only half the jobs can be completed. This can really diminish the quality of the product we are able to provide.

This week’s aerification went really well. We had to work around some rain on Tuesday afternoon, but otherwise the weather was cooperative. Both a core aerification and a sand injection were completed.

Photo: Side profile look at the green with two sand injection holes on each side and an aerified hole in the middle.

Even with limited staff we were able to get all of the greens done and we are really happy with the results. Approximately 3,000 pounds of sand was applied to each green. Even though this process ensures long term gain, keep in mind that the greens will have a recovery period. The greens will be bumpier and slower for the following week or so. We will do everything we can to achieve a speedy recovery.

Have a great weekend.

Andre Aymar, Golf Course Superintendent

Course Update for July 28, 2017

By | Aerification, Topdressing

Some of you who played earlier this week may have noticed quite a bit of sand on #11 fairway. I was asked why we put down the sand and what does the sand do. With the very wet season we’ve had, some areas have stayed wet too long. When an area becomes anaerobic, (no oxygen) the plant starts to die. An anaerobic environment can also cause significant and long-lasting damage to roots. The 11th fairway, because of its microclimate, got quite a bit of damage. It is now in the recovery process and this will take time. This is when sand is used. We have punched holes (aerified) and added sand (topdressed) to the 11th fairway to help with its recovery. As the plant continues to recover and manufacture new roots, it will have a much better environment to grow in. Topdressing is also one of our regular agricultural practices, as it allows for firmer, smoother, and overall better playing surfaces.

With the Canadian Amateur coming up I have been asked if and how the conditions will change. With the day to day conditions that we provide here at Islington, we are pretty much always tournament ready. Therefore, Golf Canada has not asked us to make any significant changes. The only difference in course playability will be the roughs. They will be longer to make them more penal so as to reward the player who is able to stay in the fairway. They will be grown to approximately 3-4 inches as opposed to our typical 2 inches. Our plan to achieve this is to stop cutting them late next week so it will have minimal impact on regular member play.

Have a great weekend!

Andre Aymar
Golf Course Superintendent

Course Update for June 16, 2017

By | Aerification, Fountain

This week has been a good recovery week for the greens. Last weekend was very hot, therefore we had to be very cautious for the greens not to dry out. This can set back the aerification recovery process. Through hand watering techniques and close monitoring we were able to manage through the heat quite effectively, and the holes have noticeably filled in very well. Although some of the holes are still visible, they are well on their way to full recovery, and the greens are already rolling much smoother. (Photo below)

We have installed a bottle filler on the new fountain at the 4th hole. This will make filling bottles quicker and easier as we anticipate the summer heat. We will also be installing a bottle filler on the new fountain on the 14th hole. (Photo below)

It was great to see everybody out here last weekend enjoying the nice weather. Hopefully this weekend will be more of the same.

Andre Aymar
Golf Course Superintendent

Course Update for June 9, 2017

By | Aerification

This week’s scheduled aerification went very well. We were able to get just enough dry weather to get everything done. This included pulling cores on greens, tees, and approaches in order to control the organic layer and replace it with sand.

These processes are very beneficial and they allow us to provide exceptional conditions for the summer months. As beneficial as they are, there is a recovery period where the playing conditions won’t be quite as good as they have been. It’s important to simply let the grass grow in order for it to heal up properly, therefore there will be visible sand and the greens will be slower. They will progress every day, and our goal is to have them back in good condition in 7-10 days. (photo below)

This week we were also able to get the laneway soiled and most of it sodded. It’s critical to keep sod wet after it gets put down. This allows for the roots to push down and the sod to get established. It is very important that we keep the carts off the sod until it gets established therefore we have installed traffic control stakes along the entire laneway. We would ask that players using carts to please stay on their respective holes and walk across to play their shot. We will install an area approximately half way down the laneway, where walkers with pull carts can cross. Please use the designated areas to cross. (photo below)

It looks like we are finally getting some nice summer weather over the weekend and going forward, so I hope many of you can come out and enjoy the course.

Andre Aymar
Golf Course Superintendent

Course Update for June 2, 2017

By | Aerification, Organic Matter

Why we aerate…

As grass grows it produces new leaves, shoots and roots every day. Naturally, the new growth on turf carries much of the workload when it comes to producing carbohydrates. Therefore, the plant gets rid of the old growth. All this old plant material becomes organic matter.

Organic matter can accumulate very quickly throughout the season when grass is actively growing. This can become very problematic because organic matter will act like a sponge and stay very wet at the surface where it is decomposing. Not only does this create a friendly environment for disease and many other turf problems but it also creates a soft, spongy surface that is not good for the playability of the greens.

Here a picture of the organic layer on #11:

This is why it is essential for us to aerify: we can maintain good putting surfaces throughout the season and remove some of the organic layer and replace it with sand. This allows water and air to move down through the surface and allows the grass and the roots to breathe.

Have a great weekend,

Andre Aymar
Golf Course Superintendent