Monday, July 21, 2014

Greens Update

It has been an extremely interesting and educational journey the past 3 months.  Reflecting back to mid April where there was little to no grass that survived the winter on the majority of our greens.  Mid June we opened all 18 greens for play and there were still areas of sparse and thin turf but definite signs that the putting greens were going to recover in the near future.  The second week of July was a major turning point for the greens as we were able to put them into tournament form and host our traditional Flat stick event. 

There are definitely more challenges and hurdles in the future, as the greens slowly are being groomed into pristine playing surfaces.  Although the greens are rolling fair and greens speeds continually rise to develop a consistency from green to green and day to day, we are still tentative on how much stress these greens can tolerate.

The one noticeable thing about the greens is the amount of POA seed head that is evident.  In a traditional year we would use growth regulators to interrupt seeds from forming early spring and they would be a minor nuisance for a short period. 

New POA plant removed from #11 Green

POA seed freckled through 13 Green
Seed head in general is apparent on our greens from new POA seeds that have germinated during our recovery and have come to flower (or seed).  POA will also seed, if it feels it is under stressed conditions such as low fertility, low mowing heights, and low moisture.  The mentioned conditions are also all factors that can positively influence green speeds and ball roll.

We may deal with seed heads throughout the season but have been using different mechanical techniques such as top dressing, verticutting and brushing to minimize the influence it can have on a putt.

One question that has been consistent since we inter- seeded bent grass into our greens to help them recover.  That question being is.. Will the greens be bent grass or POA in future years?  The simple answer at the moment is both.  Both grasses are growing on our greens, and both play good when groomed into a putting surface, which we plan to continue to do during the 2014 season.  In the future both grasses varieties have different characteristics and cultural practices that influence health and competitive edge on 1 another.  As we monitor theses characteristics and amount of each grass we have on the playing surfaces we will be able to implement a management plan moving forward. 

Can you see the difference in the 2 grasses below?

Non seeding POA the bottom 1/3 of picture. New Bent grass The top 1/3 of picture

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Greens Update

The greens crew has been working extremely hard to recover the greens areas that were lost from the past winter.  There are a few thin areas on edges of greens, but we have been very successful in growing a lot of grass on the turf surface.  All of the greens have been but in play, but still require significant attention and, many grooming practices to improve how they play.
This week we started that journey.  The greens were verti-cut on Wednesday, to eliminate some lateral growth as well as thinning out some of the dense POA areas.  Many seed heads from new POA that re-established itself was removed during this process.
Cleaning up the debris after verti-cutting
On Thursday we top dressed the greens as well as brushed the sand into the canopy.  The drag brush stood up an abundance of unwanted growth, and we were able to mow quite a bit of this grass off the greens.
Long runners standing up after brushing
POA plant that was stood up from brushing in foreground.   #3 Green in the back ground with tons of grass standing up waiting to be cut.
Mower has arrived
These processes removed some of the puffiness feel out of the greens, and created a better surface.  The greens this weekend have shown a little injury from our maintenance but will continue to improve.   You will see similar processes as above being preformed over the next few weeks as we slowly restore the greens into form. 

Divot Repair

Just a quick reminder that you can help improve the course while enjoying your golf round.

- Repair your Ball Marks and 1 other

- Repair your Divots with Divot first, using sand as a second option

- Keep your Carts on Cart Paths where possible and provided

Improper Divot Repair using sand with divots available
Proper Divot Repair using the divots left beside the hitting location

Friday, June 20, 2014

Greens update

June has arrived and the golf calender is full of events.  We have made tremendous progress on the golf course with the main focus on opening up all 18 greens.  June 14/15 all 18 greens were opened up for play for the member/member, followed by the greens being open for the Lady's Invite.  We are hoping to keep these greens open on a daily basis, as long as their health keeps moving in a positive direction.  If needed we will use provisional greens under certain situations.  There are still some thin spots on some greens, mostly isolated on the edges, which are improving daily.  We are working on increasing plant density in these areas.   Through the month of June we will be doing many things to promote recovery, and are forecasting being able to focus on greens speed in the near future.  As we have found through this recovery process, comparing pictures of progression was helpful in recognizing successes and failures.  Below are a few pictures of #12 green.
April 7, 2014

May 23, 2014
June 14, 2014
 The pictures above show a story of the of POA that survived the winter, or has rebounded with warmer soil temperatures.  On June 14th you can clearly see distinct color differences between the POA that survived and the Bent grass grown from seed that has filled in the putting surface.  We have also noticed a lot of seed head being produced through the month of June.  This can cause chattering of putts, which is more noticeable during afternoon rounds

POA seed on #13 green
A couple of photos taken over the last couple weeks;

Morning of June 19th, looking East from 11 green
1 of 4 Snapping Turtles hanging out on the Driving range during high water
Coopers Hawk by #14 green who just caught a Sparrow

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Golf course update

It's an exciting day for Ladies and Men's league at Forest Lake.  As we turn the corner in the recovery of our playing surfaces we have introduced 6 greens into play.  Although not perfect, these greens have recovered significantly to handle routine play.  As June moves along we will start introducing others once ready, and will look forward to move away from the provisional pins in the near future.  The mowing heights for the greens will be mowed higher then traditional years.  As the canopy becomes denser and the greens remain in good health, we will slowly lower our mowing heights to improve greens speed.

2 Green April 3st
2 Green open for play June 5th
We have been updating weekly on the situation of our greens, but the greens crew has been quite busy everywhere on the golf course.  Flowers have been planted all around the club, and the crew is starting to move through the mulch gardens through out the property. Grass has been jumping out of the ground and rough areas have been very difficult to keep under control.  Also we would like to share some photos of a few tree and planting projects that are close to being complete.  Thank you for supporting the greens crew's hard efforts .

15 Green
15 Green Cedars removed
Locust Trees #7
Locust Trees #7 removed
16 Tee

16 Tee New Arborvitaes planted

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Golf Course Update

A tremendous amount of things are happening all at once on the golf course. Soil temperatures have started to warm up and have caused grass to start growing rapidly.  While trying to keep up on mowing roughs and other areas, our main focus is still on greens recovery.  It is very tough sometimes to judge progression when you are looking at the same green everyday trying to pick out the positive advancements.  We have been taking periodic pictures of the greens better monitor this.  Shown below are pictures of #2 and #13 greens, with the first photos from April 7th, and last on May 23rd.  Our recovery is very much related to the damage that a particular green has received. There are additional factors such as moisture management, percent of seed germination, algae and fertility that also playing  a role in recovery. We are addressing these hurdles as we run into them.  The greens are moving along, but are not perfect, that will come in time.  We are looking at introducing some greens in play at the start of June and progressively be playing others as the turf canopy becomes dense enough to support daily play.  Although these putting surfaces will be played, expect to have slower greens speeds, and some bumpy ball rolls at first.  As the surface matures and we are able to put into effect more maintenance stresses the greens will consistently  improve.

2 Green April 7, 2014
2 Green April 31,2014
2 Green May 12,2014
2 Green May 23,2014
13 Green April 7,2014
13 Green April 31,2014
13 Green May 12,2014
13 Green May 23,2014

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Golf Course Update

We are going to hit 30 days after seeding our greens this coming weekend (May 16,17 and 18th to be factual).  Even though we have encountered some frustrating cool weather, we have been able to make some significant progress especially from the warm rains over the past 7 days.  All of the greens are showing significant recovery but will remain out of play at the moment.  At this point we have a very mixed bag of greens in our recovery process, which range from looking very fairly close to being put back in play to a handful of greens that it is too early to make that determination.  This is too be expected, where in general, the greens that are closer to play had less winter damage and grass that survived, where the greens with excess of 80% winter kill will be recovering from almost all seed.

Pictures of a couple examples from both ends of the spectrum.

#9 Green - Approximately 1/3 of this green appeared alive in mid April.  Also there were signs of other grass in a dormant state making a recovery.

9 Green Mid April
9 Green Mid May

#18 Green - 90% of this green suffered winter kill.  There has been a small portion of this green that was dormant and trying to rebound, but a large part of this greens recovery is relying on new seedlings.
18 Green Mid April
18 Green Mid May
As the pictures show, 9 green will be ready for play earlier then 18 green.  Not to be discouraged.  As we have started to mow all of the greens, we continue to see positive improvements, where the seedlings are becoming dense and starting to fill in the voids between them.  

As we look at these pictures of the greens on weekly and monthly comparisons we notice very positive results. We will continue to show progress pictures of the greens weekly.