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 on July 21, 2017

By | Root Zone, Turf

This time of year is always very challenging to grow healthy turf while providing great playing conditions: the days are long, the weather is often hot and humid, and disease pressure is high and traffic is at its peak. Providing high performance turf while under such adverse conditions requires us to be strategic with some of our own defense tactics that help the grass sustain these environments.

Weekly venting (aerating) the low spots on the greens is one that has worked very well for us. You may have noticed tiny holes on the surface of some of the greens earlier this week. Low spots retain moisture much longer than high areas, and turf decline can happen very rapidly. Allowing air to move through the surface and into the root zone allows the plant to breath. This is essential for the plant. Below is a photo of these small holes around the cup. It also shows the view below the surface of the air channel that allows air to move from the top then down through the organic layer and into the root zone. (see photo)

Have a great weekend.

Andre Aymar
Golf Course Superintendent

Course Update for April 19, 2013

By | Ash, Drainage, Pests, Spring, Turf, Winter

The 2013 Golf Season is Arriving!
On Tuesday, April 22 the golf course will open for the 2013 season. It has been a cold and wet month, causing havoc on the course clean-up and turf green up from the long, harsh winter, but temperatures over the last week have risen and the turf has come alive! With this continued wet spring, please be careful of the low lying wet areas throughout the course when you are enjoying your first rounds of the year.

Review Winter/Spring 2013
Over the winter and into the spring the turf team has been hard at work on a number of projects. A significant amount of tree work has been completed, the removal of over 50 Ash Trees throughout the course was finished in early February and the wood has been hauled away and chipped for disposal. These ash trees were all infected and killed by the Emerald Ash Borer and removal was the only option. At the same time the removals were being handled, sightline pruning was being worked on. Sightlines from #11 and #17 tees have been opened up to see a better portion of the fairway, and #9, 4 and 5 had some pruning completed to raise some of the tree canopies. The only remaining process is the stumping of the remaining stumps, which will be completed the first week of May.

As part of the master plan the removal of the infected Ash on #14 fairway is finished, and we will begin the construction of two new bunkers to frame the hole. At the same time we have started the reshaping of the fairway directing the tee shot to the left side of the hole. This work should be completed in early May with the new fairway and bunkers opening for play at the end of May.

In late March we started the first of two new tee projects as part of the long-range Master Plan. The two tees, #13 and #2, were in significant decline and needed to be re-built. They both were crowned from years of settling and wear, causing a teeing surface that was uneven for play. They were too small for the amount of rounds and wear, and both tee complex surrounds were old and needed updating. The construction has begun on #13 and will be finished and ready for sod the last week in April. The #2 tees will be started late next week and finished the first week in May. The spring rains have slowed the projects down, but we are still on schedule for sod. There is no good time to complete a tee construction, in the spring or fall you will need to play on a temporary tee for a few weeks to allow the sod to root and be stable enough for play. With spring being the best time for turf growth, this should allow me to open the new tees for the end of May.

A few drainage projects the team have been working on consist of a new main drain line and interceptor drain along the left side of #11. This new drain should help remove the bank water and dry up the left side for play. The next phase will be installing two new catch basins by the forward tee to remove the water from the bush and existing low areas as we extend the cart path towards the maintenance bridge. This will allow the carts to stay on the path until a more suitable area to enter the fairway. Another drainage issue that has been a thorn in my side is an old weeping tile to the right of #2 green. The team is going to connect this tile and run it down the hill to an existing catch basin; this will correct the wet area drying up the right side of the green.

With all this construction going on the team was able to finish the first aerification on the greens to promote new root growth and begin the process of good turf health for 2013.

Again, I want to welcome everyone back, and I hope for a great 2013!

Ian McQueen, Course Superintendent

Course Update for October 15, 2012

By | Turf, Worm Castings | No Comments

Fall weather brings along many favourable features for golf courses, but worm castings aren’t one of them. As days get shorter, air temperature and soil temperatures decrease and we tend to see more average rainfall. All of which are perfect conditions for earthworms. There are only three species of earthworms in North America that have been reported to occur in turfgrass, and out of these three only two of them create soil castings. The night crawler is the most common and abundant. When they feed on soil and organic matter at night they leave fecal matter at the entrance of their burrow, leaving a big mess on short cut turf such as fairways and tees.

Our turf staff are doing their very best to clean it up daily, but in areas where earthworms are densely populated, the appearance and playability of the golf course may be affected.

Andre Aymar, Assisstant Course Superintendent

Course Update for April 27, 2012

By | Greens, Turf, Wear

One of my goals this season is to focus on reducing wear areas throughout the golf course. I have noticed over the last few weeks a significant amount of wear, but not all looks like maintenance traffic. I have started to train my staff on what a wear pattern looks like and how your mind is trained to drive through the same place to do the same task every day. I am trying to change that focus and have the staff vary their path daily thus reducing wear traffic and compaction, like you see in the picture (wear on #1) , where the maintenance staff drive in front of the bunker daily, once to mow the green, once to rake the bunker, once to change the pin and finally to roll. All this traffic has caused a major wear area without even realizing it.

I have also implemented a program on certain days for the staff to drive in the fairway instead of in the narrow rough corridors between holes and trees! I would like the members to take the same approach. Whenever possible, keep the cart in the fairway and exit the fairway where the black posts (see exit post photo) are located. These rules are in place to minimize damage that would have occurred if all traffic congregated to the same area. Train your eye not to drive on the same path during each round of golf; if we reduce the wear on these areas by 50% during each round we will have a better chance of growing healthier turf. Carts and maintenance equipment are not the only machines causing damage; foot traffic causes the most direct wear around greens and tees. There are limited walk-ons and exits from greens, and a great example is in the attached picture of #6 green. Try not to walk on the same path up to the green during your round and take another path which will help alleviate compaction and wear.

Over the last week the staff has removed areas of turf that are past the point of saving and will begin re-sodding in the next couple of weeks. Our focus will be on the front entrance, #1 tee, #18 and then areas that are in play. When you see a bare dirt area edged out and ready for sod, please play the area as ground under repair. After the sod has been laid the turf team will begin an aggressive agronomic and cultural program to increase growth and keep compaction to a minimum.

Let’s work together and reduce wear areas!

Ian McQueen, Course Superintendent