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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Heritage Irrigation

The old Heritage Irrigation was put back together and pressurized this week.  
It takes me about 2 days to reassemble all of the pump parts the control parts and charge the hydraulic control system.... Then the full begins as we fill the lines and get it charged to 100 psi.  
It takes 3 long days in the fall to winterize the system properly.  We reap the benefit in the spring when it is time to charge it back up.  
This year we had zero broken heads during start-up!.... I guess there has to be a first for everything.  
We did have an issue with the jockey pump intake.  A broken pipe joint fitting had to be repaired at the machine shop and a torn foot valve had to be made/replaced.  After those two repairs were complete the system was charged in a few hours and ready for another season.  
The control system charge pump, pressure tank and all of its wonderful fittings.  

It's a greasy job that takes lots of muscle but with good help any job goes smooth.  

Sunday, April 24, 2016

2016 Golf season begins

A lot has happened in the last month here at MGC.....
April started like a January with 43" of snow at the course in the first dozen days.  That is not what we wanted; especially after an early March melt.  Our small crew has been busy with snow removal, finishing the revival of course supplies and finalizing equipment preparation.  April 9-10 I spent 15 hours in a plow truck; the following weekend it was 79 degrees and we were getting the Driving Range open....the weather in the UP is always entertaining.
Our focus every spring is to get the primary playing surfaces ready for play as soon as possible so people can get out and walk.  As the rest of the snow melts we finish cleanup in other locations and get directional stakes/ropes out in preparation for golf cart traffic.  Each year is different as snow pack/frost/winter damage/spring rains all play a part in opening dates.  
Rest assured the proper preparation is complete ahead of time and your crew works very hard to get the golfing season started; as soon as Mother Nature allows.  

All signs are hauled off the course every fall and touched up as needed.  New signs are made to replace damaged one or when a new message is needed.  
Hauling all of the course supplies in for winter Maintenance and then hauling them back out to the grounds is time consuming but essential work.  

The Greywalls Hole signs received a complete facelift this winter and now look as good as day one.  

A new chemical storage room was constructed under the shop lean-to we built last fall.  I am very pleased with this addition; it will greatly increase our organization and efficiency.  The room is wired with LED lights, insulated, heated, has an exhaust fan and has a sealed concrete floor under the plastic shelving.  

The old Heritage tee box benches
The restored Heritage benches.... A fantastic project that turned out better than I even imagined.  

During the April snowstorms all of the club leased golf carts were serviced for the season and are ready to go.  
We also cleaned out the rafters in cart barn D.  Years of accumulated clubs and boxes made it a hazard.  Everything was removed from the rafters and lofts were built in them to secure the items properly. 

Some of the greens look spotted this spring from pink Snowmold.  Most of the damage is minor and will recover once warmer temperatures arrive.  The heavy rains that fell last fall after our fungicide applications reduced the effectiveness of our products.  
A close up picture of a Snowmold spot.  

The Clubhouse putting green and the Driving Range opened up on the 16th of April.  
Still lots of snow piles and no turf growth but the mats allow us to open the range early.  UP golfers are a hardy bunch and like to get warmed up and dialed in for the season.  

After blowing off the green surfaces we run a set of brush reels over them.  The brush reels clean up more debris and pick up larger sand particles left from our heavy fall sand topdressing.  
We mow the greens first with our 'sand' reels for the first several mowings.  We also roll the greens several times to smooth them out and firm them up.  
(We solid tine the greens after we close in the fall; that practice along with winter freeze/thaw cycles loosens the surface)

First brush reel on Greywalls
First cut on Greywalls.  It is important to carfully inspect and watch the mowers during the first few greens.  We make sure the mower is working properly after a long winter in storage.  

A birds eye view of 18 Greywalls from the first tee shows how well the greens and Approaches came out this spring.  The fairways were damaged but will recover quickly.  

Our pump station switches and LCD touch screen.  
The Greywalls irrigation system was charged last week.  It is important to charge it slowly and bleed the air out as water fills the lines.  Another very successful irrigation blow out was completed last fall as no leaks were found and the lines are holding pressure.  

The Heritage course officially opened Friday April 22nd.  The weather was 33 degrees with a stiff North wind off the lake making it feel like 18 degrees.... Not the best opening day weather but none the less some golfers came out to play.  

Snow drift locations like this behind 13 green Heritage make it difficult to allow carts right away.  The ground remains frozen under these piles making slimy wet ground that easily ruts and damages the turf.  These areas are identified and roped or staked off.  

A main seal engine oil leak on our Greywalls Apprach mower was identified while running it the first time.  A time consuming job but better to pull the engine and repair it now than during the crazy season; when the machine is in high demand.  We also found a bad secondary clutch on our spraypro and an engine compression issues on the Heritage sand pro..... The shop is a busy place.  

Enjoy the Spring golf season everyone!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Turf report 3/21/2016

The big melt two weeks ago exposed a lot of turf to view and inspect.  The St. Patrick's day storm last week covered our turf once again; but the turf on both courses seem to be doing very well this winter.   The crew is still very optimistic about an early spring and good turf conditions.  
The following pictures will show just how important fall fungicide sprays are in the Queen City of the North near the shores of Lake Superior.  

A view down number 1 Heritage from behind the tee.  
The Greens-Tees-Approaches all looked fantastic.  Our 4 to 6 active ingredient (a.i.) fungicide sprays in these areas survived the fall rains and still performed against Snowmold fungus all winter long.  
The fairways are a different story, the heavy fall rains after fungicide applications had a dramatic effect of their performance.  We use a reduced rate two a.i. spray on the fairways and they simply did not last all winter after the rains.  A large outbreak of Pink Snowmold was the end result.  On a positive note the fall sprays took out the first growth of this fungus so most of the Snowmold growth happened within the last month.  The turf looks worst right at the snowmelt edges because the fungus is most active in these areas.  Once the snow melts, temps rise and the surface drys the fungus will stop growing.  The fungus growth is on the surface so a quick spring drag will expose the plant crowns and the fairways will recover.  

This is a great picture of the spray line on number 9 fairway Heritage.  The 4 a.i. spray on the left performed very well even after all that fall rain.  The reduced rate 2 a.i. spray on the fairway did not last all winter.  Note the tire tracks leaving the area on the left; enough fungicide was on the tires to make two fungus free lines for about 10 feet.  

Very active Pink Snowmold on number 4 fairway on the Heritage course.  

Here is a picture of 18 fairway.  You can see the green steps in the rough from boom overspray as the fairway was treated.  Snowmold-no Snowmold 
A reduced rate 4 a.i. Spray was used on 15-16-17-18 fairways on the Heritage course as a test.  Those 4 fairways typically have more winter fungal growth so they are always a good test location.  The exposed portions of those fairways looked very good last week. 
The reason we only use a 2 a.i. spray on the fairways is simply cost; we do not have the monetary funding within our budget to treat large areas like fairways with more products at the max rates.  The survival rate of grass maintained at 1/2"-5/8" is also greater than grass maintained at 1/8" like our greens.  

16 green Heritage looked absolutely beautiful and flawless after the big melt.  

4 fairway Heritage with Fungal growth.  The putting surface in the back ground looks wonderful.  

12 green Heritage looking Snowmold free

This is a picture of 11 fairway Heritage.  The University of Wisconsin conducts Snowmold fungicide research at this location. They love fungus down there and we never seem to disappoint.  We are UW's Northern test location; the information learned through their research is critical for turf everywhere in Northern climates.  We are very proud of our relationship with the turf team at UW.  

9 Green/Approach on Greywalls.  
A similar situation can be found on the Greywalls course.  Exposed Greens-Tees-Approaches looked Snowmold free yet the fairways had pink Snowmold growth. As can be expected the predominantly fine fescue/Bluegrass fairways on the Greywalls course does not have as much Snowmold as the Heritage course.  The grasses planted on Greywalls are more naturally resistant to Snowmold than the old mix on the Heritage fairway; which has a very high poa annua population.   

Pictured above is the approach/fairway line on number 10 Greywalls.  
The Approach (to the left) is Snowmold free, the fairway (to the right) has Snowmold growth, the untreated rough (to the bottom) is completely covered in Snowmold.  
Pictures do say a thousand words.

17 green Greywalls looks fantastic!!  This green along with 16 and 11 on Greywalls have historically been more susceptible to Snowmold; Adjustments were made from past experience and an added granular fungicide was made to those greens after our spray.  Viewing this green free of fungus is a positive sign that our adjustment are working.  
As stated before Snowmold growth on greens is usually detrimental because the turf is maintained at 1/8" leaving the crown/growing point more vulnerable.  
A focus is always concentrated on the green because of their importance to the great game of golf.  
Close up view of Pink Snowmold on 13 fairway Greywalls. Note the growth started on two poa annua plants (as seen in the middle of the fungal growth) and spread out from there.  A fine example of why we planted, manage and encourage fine fescue and bluegrass.  

Exposed area on the Greywalls putting green suffering from winter desiccation from the cold wind.  With rain and warm weather this area should recover.  These areas are seen everywhere the wind blows the snow off the turf exposing it to temperature extremes.  They usually take an extra week or two to recover once temperatures rise.  

6 green Greywalls 
Again the turf looks dynamite.  You can see some winter desiccation on the front of this green where the snow depth was minimal.  

Our most desiccated area on Greywalls is the peaks of 1 fairway and the back tees on 8.  The 3 back tees on 8 traditionally lag behind the other tees a good 3 weeks (after the initial spring green up).  

Hole 5 on Greywalls
This fairway (like most on the front 9) has a much higher poa annua population growing on it.  The micro climates and soil on the front 9 favors a wetter growing condition; which is favorable to poa annua growth- because the poa population is higher we see more Snowmold at those locations.  

It is hard to tell what the entire course will look like after all of the snow has melted, but the view we received two weeks ago give us a promising outlook.  

We will be teeing it at MGC soon!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Course supplies

We are finishing up all of our course supply projects in anticipation of an early spring.  The supplies weather over a season and we refurbish them every winter for a fresh look in the spring.  

Greywalls hole signs get refurbished every even year and touched up on the odd year.  Here they are getting a new coat of stain then urethane after being sanded down.  
The back of the hole signs are repainted.  The letters/numbers will be redone next followed by new logos on the front.  

Some new signage was requested for this season so those sign have been routed.  The edges of the letters are then cleaned up, the sides are sanded and both areas are painted.  We use solid composite decking for these course signs because they look and feel exactly like real wood and blend into the natural environment.  These composite decking boards are also very low maintenance when compared to real wood and will save us lots of time in the future.  

New driving range trash boxes and bag boxes have been made by a skilled employee and will replace the 10 year old boxes that were damaged last season.  
The Oak boards below will replace the 30 year old boards on the Heritage benches.  
More signs in the production line.  

The Heritage benches are getting a much needed make over.  These benches are over 35 years old but still have life left in them.  
The water logged pine wood 2x4's used for the seat and backing was removed and will be replaced with Oak 1x3's.  This will reduce the weight of the benches but not give up any strength.  The metal frames were scraped down and resurfaced with thick black truck bed-liner; which should last a very long time.  
This will be a big improvement to these benches.  
Bench Frames setting to dry.  

Your crew is looking forward to another great season on the turf!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Greywalls back 9 bathroom

I have kept a path out to the Greywalls back nine bathroom open all winter and Work has been happening.  
We are on pace to have the back 9 bathroom open and functional this Spring.  
The front 9 bathroom will be a work in progress this 2016 season.  We hope to have it open by the end of the year.  


Inside-insulated for sound then T&G pine used for the walls

Cedar siding complete with cedar shanks on the gable ends.  

Winter Report 3/7/2016

The winter of 15'/16' had a late arrival.  Preventative Snowmold fungicide applications were made in late October and early November in anticipation for our usual snow storms in mid-November.  Instead of snow we had many rain events until the snow finally arrived and stayed around Christmas.  The excessive rain after our fungicide applications has put our turf at risk of Snowmold damage.  The fungicide products will not be as effective....if we had a long winter.  
If this second week of March is any indication it looks like we will have an early spring.  A Major melt off is happening right now and it will continue right through next week.  
Snowmold fungus is very active during these melt off weeks.  The sooner we get our surfaces exposed to dry out the better this spring because (as stated above) we are at an increased risk of damage after the excessive fall rains after application.   

3/4/2016 the snow pack in the middle of 18 fairway is still 2 feet

3/4/2016 the fairway turf looks healthy under the snow

3/4/2016 a short lived warm up a few weeks ago exposed all of the wind swept areas.  Sections of the putting green on top of the hill (as seen here) and some peaks on several fairways are open.  

3/4/2016 the exposed turf looks healthy on the putting green

3/4/2016 almost every green I checked had ice on the surface under the snow.  A 50 degree weekend several weeks ago must have melted enough snow to create a water layer which then froze up on the green surfaces.  
Ice causes turf loss in two ways 
1) Durational kill- when it is on the surface for extended periods of time 60-100 days.  Trapped gases from the soil will kill the plant crown.  
2) Crown Hydration- This kill happens when the grass plant has broken dormancy and begins to take up water and grow then it freezes again thus bursting the plant cells.  
I am not worried about durational ice kill this year because the ice only formed a few weeks ago.  Crown Hydration ice kill is what we could still get this season along with kill from cold temperature exposure 'if' we get a very cold snap after melt off.  

3/4/2016 An exposed peak on 9 fairway on Greywalls.  Note the brown circular areas.  
Closer inspection reveals the brown circular areas as damaged poa annua turf plants growing in the fescue/KBG fairways.  Winter can help us get rid of unwanted turf species.... If only we could control those climatic conditions.  

Number 5 on Greywalls still covered well last week.  This weeks warm weather should open up and expose large areas on both courses.  

3/7/2016 this is 16 green on the Heritage.  The snow pack is less than a third of what is found on the Greywalls course but the ice layer is also present under the snow.  As stated above this layer only formed a few weeks ago and should melt off within a week on these putting surfaces.  

Time will tell but an early Spring looks to be in our forecast 🏌 ⛳️