Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Final Count Down!

Its hard to believe the tournament is almost upon us, 11 days to be exact.

I think for many of us in the South we have had professional experiences that we may have not expected to see this year. For example the 2013/2014 winter will be one that will be remembered. Whether it be snow, temperatures, winter kill and now the plague of army worms, we have no choice but to keep moving forward.

At East Lake we are extremely proud of our crew. They have been through it all this year from snow removal, covering greens in pinestraw, our 9 day closure where the hours start at sun up and end past sundown. They have stopped for nothing.

This past weekend we hosted the annual East Lake Invitational. All proceeds raised from the event go to The East Lake Foundation. We had celebrities such as Bill Murray, Richard Jenkins, Charles Barkley, George Lopez and many more take part in the event. All in all everybody had a great time and plenty of money was raised for the foundation.

As soon as the event was over we shifted all of our efforts to start fine tuning the course for The Tour Championship.

Currently all of our cutting heights are at tournament standards. A challenge we have faced has been the rough. We grew the rough up to two and a quarter inches and recently knocked it down to two inches. You may be thinking that is crazy! The theory behind that is the PGA Tour Rules Officials believe two inch rough is more difficult than higher height rough simply because at two inches a player may have a rip at a green (and end up in more trouble) instead of chipping out sideways if the rough was higher. Makes sense I guess! The purpose of nipping the rough down just before the event is to reduce leaf tissue on top, thus allowing balls to settle more deeply into the canopy.

Greens, tees and fairways are in great condition at the moment. We have started to dry cut the the fairways and the results have been sound. We have achieved a much cleaner precise cut and have not needed to drag or blow any clippings, allowing us more man hours on other tasks.

The final piece of the build-out (Public viewing platforms) has been completed today which was the grandstands at 1 tee. All we need now is the top 30 players of 2014!

Please continue below for a look at our go pro video for the week. Thank you for viewing our blog and check back in next week for Advance Week Preparations.


Friday, August 15, 2014

The Race To The Finish Line!

The race to the finish is well and truly on! As of today we are 24 days out till the top 30 golfers on the PGA tour converge to the hallowed grounds of East Lake Golf Club. Our agronomy team has been working diligently to make sure the golf course is in pristine condition. We encountered a few bumps in the road with around 5 inches of rain being dumped on us in 2 days. Unfortunately all bunkers washed out and alot of mulch beds washed out also. However the team worked hard and has the course in great shape.


The greens are near perfect at the moment. We have re-introduced using ultradwarf sand for topdressing for the mere fact it is much easier to work into the canopy of the plant. A little different than years past we have been topdressing the greens twice a week, this process follows behind ultra grooming the greens which we have been doing weekly. These two processes have greatly improved the texture of the green and the firmness.

Pine straw Beds

The contractors from Southeast Spreading have done their thing and whipped out around 5700 bales of pine straw on the property. All the beds look very fresh and rejuvenated.


If you've been to East Lake the last week or two you may notice the lakes have alot of algae on them.
To try to combat the issue we decided to restock the lakes with grass carp. The carp have a sweet tooth for algae so hopefully they can help us with that issue.

Please check back in on our blog. As tournament approaches we will add more videos and updates.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.