Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Summer Update 1

The summer has been very productive at Olde Florida! A brief report on what has been accomplished on the golf course, as well as an update on the driving range project is below.

The driving range renovation is progressing and is on schedule. Today Greg Muirhead, Senior Vice President at Rees Jones, Inc was on-site to do an inspection of the new range and short-game practice facility.  The entire limestone sub-grade is complete and required architect approval prior to beginning the importation of soil to raise the area to it's final elevation. The next step is to bring in soil to achieve final grade of all of the features on the range. After the final grade is achieved, sub-surface drainage will be installed.  
The view today from the center of the new south tee.
The mark on the post (GR) depicts the final elevation of the new tee. 

On the closed Mondays in May several projects were completed. On the first closed Monday "Specticle" was applied to the entire golf course (except greens). "Specticle" is a pre-emergent for numerous weed species. The product will be re-applied in September. Pre-emergents, such as "Specticle" greatly reduce the need to apply post-emergent herbicides. 

In addition to applying "Specticle", the growth regulator "Primo" has also been applied to the entire golf course. The growth regulator will be reapplied several times throughout the summer. "Primo" reduces top growth, which greatly reduces the necessity to mow as frequently, which in turn reduces labor and fuel usage.  
Applying "Specticle" to #4  

On subsequent Mondays in May the staff repaired and re-grassed both of the bunker faces on #8 green and the left green-side bunker on #11. The turfgrass on these bunker faces had deteriorated over the years and the faces were collapsing during significant rainfall events.
Right green-side bunker on #8. The red paint line depicts the
original shape of the bunker   

Right green-side bunker on #8 during the repair process

Left green-side bunker on #11 during the repair process

Left green-side bunker on #11 after completing bunker face
repair and the lowering of the approach (see below). 

Another in-house project completed in May was the lowering of areas on the collar, approach and rough surrounding greens on #3, #8, #10, #11, #13, #14 and the practice putting green. The areas had been elevated through years of topdressing. In these areas surface drainage off the green was being restricted, and if left un-repaired, turfgrass quality on the putting surface would eventually decline. 
Removing the turfgrass on the area on #8 approach that required lowering

Lowering the approach on #10 green

Lowering the approach on #11 green

During the first closed week of the summer (May 26 - June 1), the greens, tees and approaches were all aerified with 3/4" tines to a 3" depth. Aerification is performed to reduce compaction and to reduce organic matter/thatch. Minimal thatch is beneficial, but excessive thatch is detrimental and creates numerous challenges. After the greens were aerified and the cores were removed, the surface was cleaned and amendments applied. The final step was to topdress the greens with sand. The sand fills the holes and smooths the surface and it also assists in thatch reduction.  

#4 green being aerified
The practice green after being aerified

Removing aerification cores (thatch/organic matter) from #11 green

Topdressing #1 green with sand
The putting surface on #16 green two weeks after aerification

The rough on the golf course, which is maintained at 1 3/4" during the winter golf season, has now been lowered to 6/10ths of an inch. Each summer this is done over a several week period to reduce the inherent grain of the bermudagrass and produce a more upright growth habit. This height, which is also the fairway height of cut in the summer, will be maintained for several months. The turfgrass pictured below has already began to "green-up" and in a few weeks will look terrific.   
Lowering the rough on #11
Finally, subsurface drainage was installed in troublesome areas behind #2 green, #4 green and the rough on the left side of #11 fairway. This is an ongoing task each year at Olde Florida. For more on this you can read this article that I wrote on subsurface drainage at Olde Florida.
Sub-surface drainage being installed behind #2 green