Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Wednesday, July 9, 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
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|
|The photo above needs no explanation.|
|Finished mulch bed.|
|Finished pine straw beds.|
|Intern Austin Hood working on sod prep.|
Thursday, May 22, 2014
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.
The last of our scheduled interns for 2014 golf season has arrived, Brendan Hoban.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
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|
One of the things on our punch list was to regrass the chipping green bunker and restore the bunker to its original grade.
The bunker was last restored in 2007, over the years the grass bank had accumulated a large deposit of bunker sand on top of the original grade ultimately comprising the original design. This happens over time through thousands upon thousands of shots being played out of the bunker with each shot splashing about a cup full of sand each time.
The sand build up creates a tall, inverted lip that may interfere with golfers trying to practice. The layer of bunker sand also effects the quality and appearance of the grass bunker face. Even though golfers should not walk up the bunker face, from time to time it happens, and due to the loosely held turf it could cause some ruts in the grass face.
We decided to strip all the turf away, even two passes into the green to remove the accumulation of bunker sand.
Once we removed the turf we had to remove approx 4-8 inches of sand to get back to the original grade.
The photo above shows all of the unwanted material removed and back to grade.
Once we were happy with the grade of the bunker slope, we leveled and prepared to lay the MiniVerde sod that we had removed back to its original location.
Being as careful as we could not to damage the turf we used ply boards to lay the MiniVerde sod back in place.
And here is the finished product back to original grade and design.