Sunday, March 29, 2009

Drainage Project #9

We were able to get the drainage installed on #9 fairway.  Last year we had some issues with heavy Monsoon rain.  The water collected in certain areas for over a week while the temperatures rose to 95 degrees.  The areas suffered turfloss because of the water heating up and basically cooking the grass in those areas.  
When I moved to Arizona from Oregon I noticed that there was a shift from trying to remove water from the course to managing the water applied to the course.  In Oregon we had elaborate drainage systems for every low area and could never add enough drainage each winter.  Once I arrived to Arizona I had to be analytical about the central control and how the water was applied to the course.  Having little rain all year the importance resides on the irrigation system.  When I finally came to the mountains in Payson to manage The Rim Golf Club I feel much more comfortable with the property since it is the closest to an Oregon climate.  The irrigation
 systems is still #1 priority, but we also must get water off the course from the monsoon season.
The Drainage we installed on #9 fairway is directly related to the damage we received last year from the standing water.  We sodded these areas last year soon after we had the problems.  Now with the down time of the cooler weather we were able to install some drainage in the previously sodded areas.
I have posted some pictures to show our process.  We first painted out the areas that we needed to trench.  Then we took a sod cutter and stripped away the sod for later replacement.  The trencher dug an 18-20 inch deep trench 51/2 inches wide.  We cleaned all the DG out and away from the trench and backfilled the trench with pea gravel 2".  We then layed a 4" perforated pipe in the trench and backfilled with pea gravel,  making a gravel envelope aroung the pipe about two inches above the pipe.  Then we layed out the bunker liner material in the trench to ensure drainage without contamination from the above sand.  The we leveled the trench with our old fairway plugs from last year that we composted.  I feel that we may have made a mistake back filling with the plugs because it was all basically thatch.  When we were trying to pack the plugs down we watered them and it was like a sponge.  I will keep everyone posted on this outcome since we may need to redo these after a short while.  After leveling the trench we put the sod back and cleaned the area.
The things that I have learned from this process was that drainage is still a simple process. Coming from Oregon I know that we never really over did the process.  Drainage is not rocket science and overthinking the process can become detrimental.  Since moving water from point A to point B with a grade of around 1% or more is half the battle. The second part is how you backfill the trench.  We have all read the books from Beard on The Best Management Practices and the book may be a 500 page book but it is full of common sense.  Keeping things simple is key to labor savings and functionality.   I am hoping when the monsoons come the drainage will do its job but until then I will remain skeptical. 

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cutworm Activity

We have had an interesting last two weeks with cutworm activity.  We began catching young cutworms in our pitfall traps the weekend before last.  We sprayed shortly after the positive ID.  We sprayed Tees, a ring around the greens and hot spots on south facing slopes in the rough.  The next day we had unbelievable control.  We had cutworms from all instar stages throughout the areas we sprayed from super tiny to decent in size.  We thought we were in the clear after our application last week.
This week we were still talking about the amazing control that we had.  We we
re fired up about the timing we had.  Then we started to notice some cutworms on the p
utting green.  We started to check all the greens.  Only a few greens were positve for cutworms.  I think our mistake was that i had our spray tech. spray a ring around the greens near the native and not next to the green.  The areas that are affected are near the edge of the greens.  These guys are super tiny but nonetheless are causing damage.
Yesterday the wind was too great for an application at night which I like to do since cutworms are nocturnal.  The spring here has wind each afternoon so we are going to have to spray this morning.  We are using a product with little odor so the members should not be bothered.  I am hoping a morning application will get good control later in the evening.
Yesterday we also added to our IPM program toolbox.  We added a black light trap.  This will help us monitor the peak flight of cutworm adults and Masked 
Chafer adults.  Both of these insects have been a problem in the past and we are still nursing thin areas from late damage from white grubs last year. 
 I am hoping this light trap will alert us early and we can provide the best control methods possible.
I will let you know how the application goes today.  We are getting our chemical delivered th
is morning for our morning application.  

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Greens Mowing Training

Another Monday and another training session for the crew.  I am trying to push good habits for this upcoming season.  I have committed myself to having a training session each Monday since the course is closed.  Last week we explained bunker raking.  I have learned over the years of being a superintendent that you can never explain things enough.  Repitition is key.
The greens mowing training was a success.  I explained the proper way to transport the mowers.
  This is important since the walk mowers we use are expensive and precise.  A mower flopping around in the back of a trailer can not only damag
e the equipment but can also ruin the adjustment and compromise the hieght of cut.
The next procedures we went through is the process before we begin the mowing practice.  I asked the crew to stop the mower at the edge of the green and first walk the green to check for ball marks, Hi-Lo plugs and to also remove the flagstick from the hole.  We have had problems with the flagstick getting clipped from the greens mower because the employee would try to grab the flagstick as they were going by with the mower.  The edge of the mower catch the flagstick and shreds the fiberglass.
The last procedure I explained to our crew was the turning of the mower.  While the bunkers are close to the greens edge and we can't prevent turning on the collar, we can prevent turning on the collar on the rest of the green.  Turning just outside the collar in the rough is ideal for wear during the heat of the summer and when we are topdressing green.  The roller on the mower grinds away at the low cut grass.
The crew responded well to the training seminar and i think we are going to start out the season on the right foot.  Each job on the course is very important to add to our overall quality.  If everyone pitches in to make this course better we can accomplish a lot.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Top 100 Rankings

Hot off the press!  
The Rim Golf Club rankings have been updated by Golfweek.  Yesterday the rankings became official and we have moved up the list for the first time since 2002.  We definitely have had struggles over the past few years.  Last year was the first year we were able to use our newly developed Integrated Plant Management Program.  
Joe Trombino and I have worked hard over the past year to re-organized the way The Rim has been managed.  Even with the economy in shambles the course will still thrive only because of the maintence program in place.  Soon to come is a newly created Best Management Practice program for water conservation/use efficiancy.  This will help us target any in-efficiancies we may have in our water usage program and begin to save more water then we already have. 
Our plan is to give our membership the Top 50 course they deserve.  We have worked hard over the past two and half years I have been here to create the best management plan possible.  I think this is the first year that we are starting to see the fruits of our labor.  Last year was the firt year the course made it through the summer without devastating turf loss to disease and insects in a few years.  Next year will not be any diferent.
Here is the link for you guys to look at the rankings for this year.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Training Days

The season at The Rim Golf Club is officially underway. We have begun a training program to ensure quality on the course. In the past it has been tough trying to get a handle on all the turnover through the summer months with seasonal employees that seem to not care about the work but more about the check. The training program will be done every Monday throughout the season to train our staff on the proper procedure of maintenance. Since we are closed on Monday this gives us ample time to thouroughly discuss a topic with hands on training.
Our first topic this year was the Bunker Maintenance training. We touched on many aspects of bunker maintenance. We also explained to our employees that these areas are the most labor intensive areas on the course. Even more so than greens. We use between three to four guys in the bunkers for five hours each morning hand raking the 75 bunkers on the course. We also have bunker on our range that need some maintenance through the season.
We rake the bunkers with sring leaf rakes. We drag the rake behind as we walk through the bunker trying to produce the straightest lines possible. We leave a gap fro
m the edge all the way around the bunker as to not pull sand from the edges and expose the liner underneath. Then we finish with the ring around the edges evenly spaced from the edge of the bunker. The employees are asked to take a look before leaving the bunker to make sure the bunker is smooth.
The training was signed off from each employee ensuring that they und
erstood that if the job was not completed the way that it was explained they would be written up. We have a three strike policy and if you can't figure out your job within three tries then
we have to let you go. It is a fair
Overall the training will help us better serve our membership. We want only the best playing conditions for our members.
Justin C. Ruiz, CGCS

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Getting into The Swing of Things

Spring is in the air in Payson, Arizona.  Flowers are starting to bloom and the golf course is beginning to green up.  We have had a productive winter and we are planning for the season.  With the economy in shambles we are still plugging along, doing our best to adapt.
Our winter consisted of many different projects.  We started out getting most of the course firewised.  This has been a property wide effort and it looks as though most everybody has done a great job thining out the vegetation on their lot.  We have gotten 70 percent of our vegetation thinned inside the cartpaths.  We also dabbled on some rock placement along the paths.  The was to help with the erosion that plagues us during the monsoon season.  Our last project that the members are noticing the most is the mulch on the walk-ups to the tees and some of the drive offs.  We have concentrated on rejuvinating these areas to get a better ambiance on the golf course.
The project that we are anticipating for the upcoming months before the weather gets hot is drainage and pig damage repair.  We are planning to install some drainage in the 9th, 10th and 16th fairways.  Last year these fairways struggled the most when the over abundance of rain from the monsoon season could not drain quick enough before the temperature rose.  We are excited about these projects.
The Javelina damage has haunted us all winter.  Our plan to repair these areas is to scout areas along the perimeter of the course where the Ky. Bluegrass has encroached into the native areas behind the sprinkler heads.  We will harvest the grass and re-plant native grasses behind the perimeter heads.  The grass we harvest will be used to repair the worst javelina effected areas.   
The summer is going to be a tough road ahead with the economy being so poor.  As superintendents we learn to adapt quickly and that is why we are the most important employees to the golf course. 

The Rim Golf Club is a Great Place to Live and Play.

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