Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tour Preparations / Monday Madness

 


The countdown is well and truly on until The Tour Championship hits the fairways of East Lake Golf Club. We only 41 days away and time is not stopping for anybody!

The weather trend continues to be in our favor with high skies and plenty of sunshine which has been a blessing since the 9 day closure. We have recorded around 4 inches of rain for the month of July with the added fertility and rainfall the golf course is looking sharp.


GREENS UPDATE

Since the course closure for summer maintenance the greens have really progressed well. After all of the cultural practices we performed, the greens have completely healed and are right back on track with our desired cutting height and greens speeds.
So far this week we have backtrack ultra groomed the greens which will be done on a weekly basis in lead up to The Tour Championship. Following the groom we backtracked mowed and topdressed the putting surface.
This week we went back to the ultra dwarf topdressing mix (#60 screen) to be able to topdress more frequently and to more easily work the finer sand into the canopy of the plant. Previously we were using a medium grain mix (#45 screen) while our cultural practices were taking place.


FAIRWAY UPDATE

We recently made our final application of turflon / fusilade to fairways in hope of removing as much bermuda contamination as possible. That being said if you have played East Lake in the last few days you may have noticed the fairways were a little off color. This is temporary and the fairways will return to there normal color in a short time.
Also on Monday the fairways were circle cut. This is the third time this month we have performed this process. The variety of zoysia we have is meyer and it tends to get very grainy, the circle cut allows us to attack the grain at many different angles and essentially the fairway gets at least double cut in multiple directions.


ROUGH UPDATE

One of our goals as a department this year was to make the rough around the course more consistent. To achieve this we have added extra fertility to the roughs and altered some cultural practices. One of the issues we had here was maintaining a consistent stand of rough around the greens(inside rope lines) There were many factors contributing to this problem the main one being traffic from our maintenance practices such as sprayer and topdressier traffic, and the other being from the golfers exiting from the same point of the green. To remedy the issue we started to drop spread extra fertility some 30 feet out from the collars. The drop spread application has made a significant difference and hopefully the green surrounds will be more challenging for the top 30 golfers.

BUILD OUT

If you have been to East Lake I think its fair to say that Schaffer sports are rocking and rolling along. Construction for the corporate village is near finished as is the corporate suites along 17 fairway. They have also started bleachers for the viewing of the public around 18 green, 17 green and 16 green.

6 bridge installation
Construction around 16 green
Corporate suites along 17 fairway
Bleachers around 18 tee

 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Go Pro Summer Maintenance Video

Now that the dust has settled from summer maintenance closure Ive had a chance to process several videos. Unfortunately not all of our processes are included but we hope you enjoy the video.



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Summer Maintenance/Tour Preparations 2014

For the last 9 days the East Lake Agronomy team has been doing some of our last heavy cultural practices on the course prior to The 2014 Tour Championship presented by Coca-Cola. Fortunately, we have been closed for summer maintenance those nine days and took full advantage having the course to ourselves.

Our summer maintenance program started off last Sunday with a heavy topdressing followed by a 5/8" x 1.5" x 1.5" aerification on the greens . The 5/8 tine removes approximately 13.64% surface area of the green.

Following the greens aerification we decided to dryject the greens this year instead of the graden contour sand injection. Dryject's high pressure, water-based injection system blasts aeration holes through the root zone to fracture the soil, while its vacuum technology simultaneously fills the resulting holes with amendment. This process breaks through compaction layers, increases water filtration, reaches the root zone with much needed oxygen and amends soil at the same time, leaving the surface smooth and playable.

What we don't see below the surface.

Profile showing the dryject depth to 4 inches

Once dryject was complete we loaded the topdresser again and added more material to the putting surface. This was followed by a back track verticut at a depth of .20" in two directions. This was the most aggressive depth that we have used so far this year. As you could guess we removed much unwanted material which in turn will improve the overall texture of the green as well as help control heavy grain.

 



Back track verti-cutting

Once the clean up of the verti-mow was complete we used a 1 ton roller to smooth out any imperfections on the greens caused by several cultural practices.


 

 

The end result after mow.

While greens are always the top priority, it was not our only focal point for the 9 day closure. As in years past we vertical mowed the fairways.

 

 

 

As a brief wrap up we also aerified roughs, tees, collars, approaches, chipping areas as well as verticut and scalped tees, collars, approaches and chipping areas.

 

And last but not least we did what we call bunker perfection. This process involves checking the depth of the bunker on the face and the bottom pan of the bunker. Where depths are not ideal we moved or added sand to the desired depth.

Please check back in with us soon, as we will post several videos of processes we completed.



Friday, June 13, 2014

87 Days And Closing Fast!

AS of today we are a mere 87 days away from The Tour championship Presented by Coca-Cola.
To some this may seem like along time, to all of us in the turf proffesion it is a short period of time for a golf course that will be viewed all over the world.
The weather has been great in Atlanta, greens, faiways and roughs are all currently thriving and growing rapidly. We hope mother nature continues to smile upon us!

This year we implemented a pm crew, this is the 1st year we have trialed this system, basicly what it is we have a crew start at 12pm and work till 8pm. It gives us a great opportunity to be more efficent and maximise the work we can carryout on the course whilst there is no golfers around.

As always our main focus has been the greens. We are really steping up cultural practices in led up to The Tour Championship. On a weekly basis we are using our ultra groomers to remove the unwanted top growth. This week we back tracked verti-cut at a 1/10th depth and followed that process with a back track mow and topdress. As of now our goal is to repeat this process on a bi-weekly basis.
Looking ahead to July we are scheduled to be closed from the 1st of July to the 9th of July, in that closure period we will aerifying with a 5/8th tine ahead of the dryject process.

Intern Garrett Cannady Back Track Verti-Cutting
In other areas of focus we have put alot time into extending beds and sodding bermuda rough areas. Over time the shade canopy of the trees have increased, almost making it impossible to maintain quality bermudagrass.

The photo above needs no explanation.

Finished mulch bed.

Finished pine straw beds.

Intern Austin Hood working on sod prep.






Thursday, May 22, 2014

Ultra Grooming Greens


Golf courses that don't groom their greens on consistent basis might still look presentable- much like a person who only occasionally brush his or her teeth- but eventually, the lack of grooming habits will catch up with you. Granted, a lack of greens grooming will not result in anything as serious as a filling or a root canal, but the course members' complaints are likely to become more common as green speeds become more erratic.
Grooming your greens is important because the process keeps greens smooth and quick. It reduces grain and removes excess top growth. But as mentioned, you must be consistent about grooming the greens. If not, the benefits that you worked on could be gone in as much as a week.
Our plan at East Lake is to supplement a grooming process with our bi- weekly verticut program. The beauty of using the ultra groomers is it's far less labor intensive and also provides the ability to groom in play because there is no visual impact to the greens.

If you notice in the photo above the spacing on the ultra groomers is very tight. This gives us a great chance to remove as much of that unwanted top growth as possible.

Last Of The Interns For 2014



The last of our scheduled interns for 2014 golf season has arrived, Brendan Hoban.


I grew up the son of a golf course superintendent and new very early on that I wanted to follow in his footsteps. I currently attend the University of Georgia majoring in Turfgrass Management where I have just completed my third year. I have previously worked at numerous other golf courses in the state of Georgia including Rivermont Country Club, Peachtree Golf Club, and the Atlanta Athletic Club which was the host of the 2011 PGA Championship. I am driven by passion and am excited to start my 2014 internship at East Lake Golf Club.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

TPC Sawgrass Volunteer Experience

 

In very few cases golf courses get to host an annual event, but in the case of TPC Sawgrass they host The Players Championship each year. Fortunately I was able to be part of this great event and Volunteer for the week.

The tournament is run like a well oiled machine, with superintendents and assistant superintendents from all over the country and in a few cases from other countries all coming together and helping where ever they can for the week.

Prior to assuming our volunteer roles with the agronomy department we all met and were introduced to the superintendents of TPC Sawgrass. During the introduction we were instructed what the expectations would be for the week and what the general plans would be. With the main emphasis being to work hard, but have fun.

The Sunday prior to advance week was our first day on the course. The morning meetings started at 4.45am and we were heading on the course to perform our assigned tasks by 5am. In a sense it was the agronomy department's practice round to get everything dialed in before Thursday. The afternoon start times varied depending on where the last group of golfers were located. During the week the entire golf course was mowed out including fairways, rough, bunker rotary and flymo.

With around 140 golfers going off both tees at around 7.15am the volunteers were split between front nine crew and back nine crew. I was part of the front nine crew, mowing fairways. Fairways were cut twice a day rotating the direction of the cut.

Prior to heading out on the course on Wednesday we all had a surprise visit from Zach Johnson. He had nothing but great comments about the course and what the team at Sawgrass had achieved given some of the media speculation about the greens.


As the week progressed the course really shined and showed the hard work and dedication the team at Sawgrass and the army of volunteers had achieved.

In ending this post I would highly recommend to volunteer at this event. The team at Sawgrass really made you feel like you were part of their agronomy team. Also from a networking aspect, you get the chance to meet fellow superintendents from all over the country and discuss many practices that may be beneficial at your own course.

Front nine crew geared up to hit the course.
The clubhouse at Sawgrass