Course Update for July 10, 2015

By | Greens, Wear

I know most of you don’t want to hear this but we are almost halfway through the golf season. It was a great spring for the course, and I hope that you are figuring out and enjoying the new greens. The weather brought drought in May, showers in June, and July has been unusually cool at night and average during the day. Even with all the weather fluctuations, the one thing that I have noticed is the amount of play the course is getting. This year has shown that the golf course gets a significant amount of play, and with this play all sorts of challenges come to mind. When the Club averages 250-300 rounds per day, wear issues throughout the course become noticeable: tee block areas become beat up, fairway landing areas and approaches get riddled with divots, cart enter and exit points get worn down, and greens get hammered with ball marks. These wear issues are signs of a golf course that is getting well played. To combat this wear we all need to work together and be diligent with seeding or replacing divots on fairways, driving carts in the fairway where possible, paying attention to cart directional posts, and, most importantly, fixing ball marks.

The new greens on the front nine holes have the most noticeable wear, but it’s also on tees and fairways. To alleviate the extra 75-100 rounds the first seven holes receive each day, we will begin more back-nine starts over the next few weeks. Comparing the front nine rounds to back nine rounds is difficult, but there are days when 30-40% more rounds are played on the front nine. So let’s say if the Club has 16,000 rounds year-to-date, that would mean the front nine has received 4800-6800 more rounds than the back nine. Having back nine starts is the only way to alleviate the play on the front nine, and this will help with my philosophy for the season, which is plant health before anything else during the first year of growth.

The rest of the course is taking shape. Over the next couple of weeks we will focus on cleaning up the mulch and garden beds throughout the course and around the clubhouse. This will include edging, weeding, and adding new mulch where necessary. They have been put on the backburner over the last little while and need some attention to tidy up the overall look of the property.

Have a great weekend!

Ian McQueen, Course Superintendent

Course Update for May 12, 2012

By | Bunkers, Islington Golf Club, Wear

Bunker entry and exit

On the Course
This last week has been an excellent week for the turf. Warm temperatures, timely rains, a dream in the life of a Golf Course Superintendent!

During the week the team has been finishing some ongoing bunker work; the fairway bunker on #2 has been leveled and topped up with new sand to establish the right depths throughout the bunker. In addition, we have removed some bunker matting and added new sand to the bunker on the right of #8 green. Over the next few weeks proper sand depths are going to be the focus with the turf team, this will include the bottom of the bunker and on the high flashes. By establishing these levels we hope to minimize the fried egg lie. So a little friendly reminder: If your ball lands in the bunker, enter from the flattest part. After you play your bunker shot, exit from the flattest point, not on the high flashes of the bunker, and always rake your footprints so the next player that hits into the sand has a level lie. (See photo below)

I have lowered the height of cut in the roughs and fairways. It will take a week or two to establish these heights, so the team will be busy blowing the golf course to eliminate the clumps of grass left behind. The new heights of cut will provide a more consistent playing surface.

If you haven’t noticed, the shrub bed on the clubhouse patio is being renovated. We have removed the overgrown shrubs that were encroaching on the barbecue area and will be planting a new shrub and perennial bed in their place.

Since my email a few weeks ago, I have a noticed some great recovery in the regularly worn out areas. Remember, when possible drive the carts in the fairway and reduce the traffic in the roughs. This will help maintain a more consistent and playable rough while not causing wear to the fairway. Exit the fairways at the black and gold posts, which will help spread the cart traffic on a daily basis.

Also, I have attached an article from the USGA Northeast Region Green Section May Report written by Adam Moeller that talks about aerification recovery in the Northeast! It talks about how slow recovery has been this spring and has some good insight into why. Read the article

Ian McQueen, 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