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 May 13, 2016

By | Ballmarks, Bentgrass, Irrigation, Poa, Topdressing

The weather over the last couple weeks has helped the turf begin to grow through the winter desiccation. The roughs are finally starting to bounce back and the minor winter damage has almost all disappeared. Fairways and tees are filling in nicely and the greens are rounding into shape for a great season ahead. The greens are starting to mature, becoming denser and firmer, but I would like to remind everyone one of the key practices to minimize poa encroachment is to repair your ballmark. By repairing your ballmark you eliminate a void for the poa to establish, this is just one of many ways to keep the greens as poa free as possible. For those of you who are new to the club, and a reminder to everyone else, please use the divot bottles in the fairway only, not in the rough. The seed in the bottles is bentgrass and is meant to be seeded in the fairways only. The roughs are seeded with Kentucky bluegrass which is a completely different grass.

Over the last couple weeks the team has also wrapped up numerous small projects that were started last fall. The drain lines installed on #14 & #15 have now been sodded along with some sod around #1 tee and the clubhouse. We have installed a new catch basin at the back of #10 green to control some of the erosion to the back right of the green. Next week we will sod along the new curb that was installed to control the water, making it easier for the pullcarts to get over. We are in the final stages of tree stump cleanup and seeding and will finish some minor sod work over the next week. The cart path going up the hill from #11 to #12 tee has been paved and the bank will be hydroseeded on Saturday, weather permitting.

During the next few weeks I will switch our focus to cultural practices to provide better playing conditions for the immediate and long term health of the turf. Topdressing of fairways, tees and approaches that began last season will continue. This will provide a firmer and tighter surface to play from. It will also help in the long term with worm castings. The greens will continue to get weekly light topdressings and brushing to smooth out the surface for truer ball roll. All these cultural practices have a short term and long term benefit to providing superior playing conditions.

Have a great weekend!

Ian McQueen, Course Superintendent

Course Update for September 4, 2015

By | Aerification, Bentgrass, Topdressing

It was a great effort by the turf team to battle through the heat this past week and accomplish the late summer aerification. The heat and high humidity slowed the process down, but by the end of the day Tuesday all the greens, tees and approaches had been aerified and topdressed.

The new greens received their first core aerification since seeding. I used a small coring tyne with narrow spacing to help with any surface imperfections and increase oxygen to the rootzone. This will blend together the rootzone with the turf canopy and create some needed mat to help withstand the heavy traffic. We then applied heavy sand topdressing to smooth the surface and help fill in the aerification holes and ballmarks. The recovery will take a couple of weeks before the greens have completely healed. Part of the process was to allow the bentgrass to grow through the sand instead of mowing the sand off. The greens were not mowed for three days, but with the humidity they grew enough to begin mowing again on Thursday. The height of cut on the greens is now raised and will remain this way for the remainder of the season. Raising the mowing height allows the bentgrass to recover from the significant amount of rounds the new greens have seen in their first year. It will allow for more growth, with less mechanical stress, and increased density going into the winter for superior green performance next spring.

Moving forward, one of the best ways to prevent poa encroachment is minimize wear on the bentgrass in the cooler seasons. Bentgrass grows best during the warmer temperatures and poa grows best during the cooler temperatures. Raising the height of cut on the putting greens puts less mechanical stress on the turf canopy, giving it the ability to withstand the late season rounds during the cooler temperatures. It will allow us to apply more sand topdressing to protect the crown of the plant, which will again help the turf withstand and recover from this seasons wear. In all, the new greens are maturing slowly but are in a great place for the fall season.

The last cultural practice to complete is the sand topdressing of the fairways. This is a long process due to the travel time required to move around the property with the big topdresser. This week we were able to complete three fairways and will continue over the next 10 days to complete them all. In total we will apply approximately 150 tons of sand to the fairways.

Have a great long weekend!

Ian McQueen, Course Superintendent

Course Update for June 5, 2015

By | Aerification, Fairways, Greens, Topdressing

The weather this past week was excellent for our annual spring aerification. With the course closed Monday afternoon and all day Tuesday the turf team was able to complete numerous cultural practices to improve health and playability of the turf. Without the course being closed we would not be able to accomplish half of what we did.

The crew aerified greens with a needle tyne “venting” that allows for oxygen exchange promoting rooting and the release of nutrients for growth. This form of aerification is non intrusive, and after rolling a couple times you wouldn’t notice that this was completed. We then solid tyned all the tees and approaches to help reduce compaction and thatch, providing a firmer playing surface. After the aerification was complete, we slit seeded bentgrass in the low areas on fairways to help minimize winter injury from ice. When the aerification was completed we sand topdressed all the greens, tees and fairways. Topdressing greens (photo: below left) will promote a firmer surface to help reduce ballmarks and provide a smoother surface for a truer ball roll. Topdressing fairways (photo: below right) and approaches will provide firmer playing conditions and help minimize worm castings. Light and frequent topdressing will continue throughout the season to enhance the conditions of the greens, tees and fairways.

Topdressing Fairways at Islington Golf Club Topdressing Greens at Islington Golf Club
In all, I couldn’t have asked for better weather conditions to achieve these cultural practices. These management practices will provide short- and long-term benefits, improving the overall condition of the course.

Have a great weekend,

Ian McQueen, Course Superintendent

Course Update for August 15, 2012

By | Aerification, Seeding, Topdressing | No Comments

In a superintendent’s mind we are always thinking about a special date when we know the weather turns for the better, to me that is August 15th! This date brings shorter cooler days, minimal humidity, nice rainfalls, heavier dews, all the right things for turf recovery. It is a day when you know that the work you put in moving forward will benefit the turf for the future.

The team has started aerating, seeding, and topdressing some stressed areas on the greens and will continue this on a weekly basis over the next month. As you can see in the photo below, we have seed germination in just over a week. These steps are necessary to promote a healthier putting surface going into the winter months. The turf team will continue seeding the rough in and around the perimeters of the course, and continue its ongoing bunker maintenance to improve bunker playability and appearance. Overall, the health of the turf is improving and the turf team will continue to focus on the little things moving forward!

On a quick note, the club has received significant amounts of rain over the last two weeks causing the greens to be soft, and low areas in the rough and fairway to remain wet for long periods of time. Please remember to repair your ball mark along with another and avoid cart traffic in low areas throughout the course.

Ian McQueen, Course Superintendent