The AT&T cell tower maintenance workers sent us a few pictures from the top of the Big Christmas Tree tower. I love how this picture tells a story.....a story about how busy we are and how many people enjoy our property. Limited parking but no worries we have plenty of room on the edges in the native. It is a good problem to have .
Spring is always an interesting time on a Northern golf course; a solid month of proper winterization the previous fall must now be reversed to get up and running for the current season. Everything that you worked so hard for the previous fall shows its benefits now and with a little help from Mother Nature this time can be very rewarding.
One thing is for sure; there is never a dull moment when waking up a golf course and all of its so many moving parts. Emerging turf conditions, equipment start up (and failures), employee hiring and training, irrigation pressurization and audits and repairs, cultural controls to the turf, staff meetings, product deliveries and applications, etc. this list could go on and on.
Our largest piece of equipment is our irrigation system. Proper winterization in the fall is absolutely critical. If this process is not done right it will cost thousands of dollars to repair and take countless hours to fix; those valuable hours should be dedicated to other spring tasks.
This past winter was very kind to us. The early snow insulated the ground eliminating frost problems. The soil was warmer in the spring and there were no distributive frost heaves to break irrigation pipes or heads.
We pressurized the Greywalls irrigation system in only 6 hours. The only problem we ran into was a mouse nest on our VFD which over heated the unit. After a few hours of cleanup the problem was solved.
Mouse nest in the electrical control panel
Conduit used by the mice to travel from the electrical control panel to the sealed VFD cabinet.
Mouse nest on the VFD causing it to overheat. It did not smell good but an hour later the problem was solved. I will be aggressively managing the winter mouse population in the pump house next winter.
Quick couplers are used to bleed off air when pressurizing an irrigation system properly on the spring.
A transducer malfunction delayed us a day in the start up of the Heritage irrigation system. A phone conversation with a pump house repair technician gave me the answer. I was able to re-wire and bypass the wet well level transducer and get the controls working again.
Dry spring conditions put a hurt on the poa annua but had no effect on the deeper rooted Bentgrass growing on the Heritage putting surfaces.
Greywalls Opened up on Sunday May 3rd making MGC 100% operational; which is two weeks earlier than the last two years. Both golf courses are in the best condition they have ever been during early May. The Crew is very excited to have such fine turf to work on this early in the season.
Opening Day Turf on Greywalls
A dry Spring provided a great surface for opening day.
Soil temperature change in four days on number 8 Fairway Greywalls. The environmental conditions are right for active turf growth on our fescue/KBG fairways.
I want to take a moment to address a question that always gets asked multiple times in the spring as the golf courses emerge from the snow pack.
Why is the Heritage open and Greywalls still closed?
The first difference is terrain. Greywalls sits higher and gets more snow. The extreme valleys fill in with more snow and it takes longer to melts off.
The second difference is turf type. The Heritage course fairways are predominately poa annua; which will start taking in water and growing when soil temps are in the low 40's. The Greywalls course fairways are fine fescue and bluegrass and those turf type do not start taking in water and growing until the soil temperatures reach 51-52 degrees.
The pictures below prove my point..
Number 8 fairways Greywalls has not broken dormancy and has not started to grow out of superficial snowmold damage because the soil temp is still 49 degrees.
As you can see we have began solid tine aerification; which accelerates a rise in soil temperature when air temperatures rise.
Number 13 fairway Greywalls has soil temps of 52 plus and as you can see it has greened up and is growing out of the superficial snowmold.
The Greywalls front 9 always holds snow longer and takes more time to begin growing.
We have a unique situation in that our golf club has two courses. One happens to be ready for play before the other in the spring. I know everyone is excited and ready to play but have patience; continue to enjoy the fantastic spring conditions on the Heritage course while the Greywalls course emerges from winter.
A combination of solid tining the front 9 fairways and warm weather this weekend will have the Greywalls course ready for cart traffic next week.
Your grounds staff is seasoned and well educated. We know what we are doing and we work very hard to get the golf courses open as early as possible. Six short days ago we had cross country skiers on the golf course and we now have it to a point that it will open within a week. I call that a miracle!
The Driving Range and the Heritage course is now open for play. With a good week of weather we were able to open the course only one week after our last 12" snow storm - A new record for us! The weather was great and the crew worked their butts off!
We are still walking only but after the rest of the snow melts, the frost leaves the ground in those areas and it firms up carts will be allowed. We will also have our directional ropes back up by then to eliminate cart tire damage.