Monday, September 14, 2009

Greens Aerification

It is that time of the year. We will be aerating greens on Tuesday of next week. 9-22-09. The process will be as follows:
Will will punch the greens with 1/2" quad tines. This will be smaller than in the spring but will yield more holes per square foot.
We will clean the plugs off the greens by hand and haul the material to the back of the driving range which we will clean up over the week with our dump truck and loader.
After the greens a clean we will topdress with USGA spec golf course sand. We will apply enough sand to fill the holes on the green completely.
Once the sand has dried on the greens we will drag the sand with a pull behind brush two times over and then follow with the buffalo blower. This help insure all hole are completely full and no excess sand is left to injure the grass.
Once this process is completed we will follow that with organic fertilizer. I have selected a oceanic blend of sea weed, kelp and crustacean shells to help the biology in the greens. We have already put down a pre-aerification fertilizer application to push growth coming into aerification and this will be the sustained release product to give us the boost we need to close up the holes in a timely manner.
Our first mowing will be san pick up. These mowing are necesary to remove the larger particles that were unable to work into the turf canopy. In no way do we remove enough sand to make a difference. We will start out at a raised hieght and work our way down slowly to our normal mowing hieghts. The greens will be a little slow for this transition time.
Our overall projected recovery will be no later than three weeks if the ambient temperatures remain up. This is where we trust mother nature to help us out a little. If we get a cold snap the recovery could be sluggish but inevitable.
If any members have any questions with the process or any other comments please feel free to contact me directly.
Justin C. Ruiz, CGCS

Summer Heat Stress

Over the last summer we had a cart path only rule in effect after 1pm. We were continually questioned as to the purpose of this rule. Last year we had the same rule in effect although it was enforced after 12pm. We also had two hole on each nine that were cartpath only all day. These holes were rotated weekly to reduce cart traffic wear.
The reasoning behind this rule is to help the course in the afternoon when we are under water restriction. If we begin to water in a deficit which is less than the plant uses the prior night we are vulnerable to tracking damage from the carts. This rule help us, the maintenance staff, out by keeping carts off of stressed areas. We will also have better course conditions when we get into even more severe restrictions.
This season with our water management plan in effect we were able to only water in deficit only a few times which resulted in a fair amount of tracking damage. The success of the water management stategy gave us the flexibility to water what was needed with little or no restriction all season. Next year we will have a better plan of attack on how we can enforce this rule if needed but with our water conservation actions and our continued proactive approach we may not need the rule nearly as much as we have in the past.
The rule may be a nusiance for some afternoon rounds but we as the maintenance staff are grateful for your help and discipline to adhering to our afternoon rule. We have had a great year so far and with fall on our heels we will continue to have a great year.
Justin C Ruiz, CGCS
The Rim Golf Club.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Turf Removal for Water Savings

This past spring we made a big push to redefine the perimeter of the golf course. We had many areas on the golf course where the sprinkler heads were trying to water turf behind the heads. Over the years the heads along the perimeter have had to be adjusted for a greater and geater arc to maintain turf outside the perimeter of the golf course. We decided to take back the original design of the golf course.
Not only did the turf begin to creep ou into the native areas it gave us a tough area to maintain in the heat of the summer because of the lack of irrigation coverage. We were waiting the water that was needed to basically water behind the heads. Some heads were outfited with tails to pick up areas that were tough to get by simply advancing the arc. All these adjustments and modifications were eating into our water usage for the year.
We began the taask of sod cutting the edge of the turf back
to the perimeter heads. Then followed that up with the reseeding of the native mix. We reused the sod for animal damage that plauged us through the winter months. We were able to remove quite a bit of turf throughout the golf course an not even change the playability. Each are we adjusted all the sprinklers and were able to save a good amount of water. In the big picture every drop counts.
All these projects have added up to help us have a better season. Not only are the members happy with the summer season at The Rim but prospective members can now truly see the golf course the way it should

Running Out of Water?

Over this summer we have been challenged by mother nature. Not only have the monsoon weather been underwhelming but the dry heat at our altitude has started to compromise out water storage lakes. We have have done a lot of work over the last winter and spring to make our irrigation system more efficient and save as much water as possible. Since I have been at The Rim Golf Club I have been told that the course has been too wet in the past and firm and fast is the ideal conditions. With my passion of environmental conservation I have made that my #1 priority. Save water and make the course firm and fast.
The first obstacle that we encountered was the amount of disease and insect damage. This was causing massive destruction each season and in turn using up valuable water to either grow-in damaged turf or combat root eating insects. With the creation of a Integrated Plant Management program we were able to significantly reduce our pest problems and focus on turf maintenance with less stress.
Our second obstacle was the irrigation system not only being out of adjustment along the perimeter but also the computer's database being incorrect. We had every head on the course assigned as an impact head. The only impact heads we have are portable irrigation that we have made for hot spots. Going through the database and making sure everyhead was properly assigned not only made the dry run on the computer match the actual usage for the night but also gave us the flexibility to water more accurately using more accurate Evapotranspiration Rates.
The last obstacle in our quest to save water came with the balancing of the irrigation system. My assistant Joe Trombino did a ton of work on the irrigation system and started to think about how the system was set up. We had rough heads on hillside turned up to outrageous percentages throwing to fairway heads that were nearly zeroed out. This cause wet areas along the edges of the fairways and dry in the middle. His thought process consisted of thinking "triangular". Every area is watered by three heads. When you adjust one you manipulate that area and affect the other two. His ideas basically were the opposite of what I knew were normal. He took the holes and adjusted the heads to become more balanced thus creating a consistently firm and fast condition. He was right on the mark with his thought process.
With the history of how we got to where we are today with great conditions year round we can explain our water issues this year. The monsoon season gave us little to no moisture. rolling in each afternoon but just not giving us rain.
We got through June and July with great course conditions and then we began to drain our storage. We were getting a small percentage of what we water each night from the sanitary department each week. We were watering at a great deficiet but with our work in the past with irrigation we continued to conserve water with no effect to the courses condition. This last month we were starting to use the storage held on the golf course. Our off site storage was completely gone.
In the past our driving range was the first casulty but with our conservation techniques we were able to keep our first impression intact. We may have been getting close to the red zone on water supply but I knew we were going to get the cooling of overnight temperatures and the Sanitary would once again catch up once ET rates declined.
So the question is are we going to run out of water? My answer is no. We could have a severly dry year that can give us an even bigger challenge in the future but rest asure we have done everything possible to conserve water which has given us the ability to endure a dry year and pervail. Not only has our hard work payed off but we have changed the perception of summer at The Rim Golf Club.

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

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