Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A week in Review

So much has happened in the last week its hard to remember where we started. We went from looking like we might not accomplish anything to seeding our first hole. Monday began as a total wash as we received an inch and a half of rain. Unfortunately the unproductivety spilled over into Tuesday as the course was a muddy mess that morning. By early afternoon it had begun to dry up enough to start the finish work on the 6th Fairway and laying sod around the 6th green.

Wednesday came with sunshine and much to be accomplished. Abe worked on finishing the seed bed prep on the 6th hole, we began ripping, disking and raking the 8th hole and prepping the green surround for sod. We had 3 truck loads of sod delivered on Thursday and Friday which finished off the 7th and 6th green surrounds and wrapped the fairway bunkers on the 6th hole.

We also spent Thursday and Friday doing final seedbed prep for 6 Rough and Fairway. It felt really good to see everything come together. As if all that wasn't enough we also began pouring cart paths this week and cleaning up the weeds on holes 9 and 10 to get them ready to rip.

By Saturday we were finally ready to seed the 6th hole. It was very exciting and was a huge step. After calibrating the spreaders and one or two hiccups seed was down and ready for water. It was a dusty mess but after spinning the heads a few times everything tightened up and we were able to build up soil moisture. Now its just time to wait and let the seed do its job.

Beginning the Sod on 6 Green Surround 

Lightly tilling 9 to clean up dead grass 
Sod around 8 Green Surround 

6 Green surround and Bunker being wrapped 

Bunker Complex with a bonus pot bunker sitting on top

Good looking Par 5 
Ripping 8 Fairway 
Cleaning up rocks on 8 

Cart paths going in 

Seed going down 

Let the water fly 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Drivable Par 4

There is much going on at the course this week. We've begun laying sod around green surrounds, prepping fairways for seed, installing drainage in bunkers and cart paths should be going down this week. Pictures will be forthcoming of all this excitement very soon but I'd like to take a minute and present the 9th hole first.

The Par 4 9th hole is a drivable par 4 at just over 330 yards. Temptation, folly, and reward liter this hole. Longer golfers will be aiming for the green while there wiser partners will choose a hybrid or fairway wood. A perfect drive will give you the opportunity to roll onto the green but a little left or a little right and you might wind up with bogey rather than birdie. Bunkers with high banks line the right side of the fairway while the left side slopes dow severely and is guarded by pot bunkers making for awkward and unpredictable recovery shots.

As the grow in continues I will update these posts with pictures of these holes sodded and seeded.

Fairway with bunkers waiting to catching errant shots.

Front of the fairway looking towards the green. Just passed the bunker on the left it drops off severely 

Bunkers lining the right of the fairway

George is tamping down the greens so we can Key it in. Green drops off nearly 8' to the left and back.

Severe Drop off 

Back side of the green

Back of the green looking down the fairway 

Back left corner 

Left Side 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

New Season New Course

As summer comes to an end so does my time at Talbot CC. I learned a lot through the Fairway renovation and overall had an enjoyable experience. Having cut my teeth on a Bermuda renovation I'm excited to put my Rutgers training to the test on a full Bentgrass renovation.

I have accepted the position of First Assistant at Harbourtowne Golf and Resort. Harbourtowne is undergoing a full renovation with Golf Course Architect Pete Dye and his son PB Dye. The course is currently closed for the renovations and hopes to open in Spring of 2018. I'm very excited to have the opportunity to be a part of such a spectacular design team and learn from them and my Superintendent Mike Miller.

Moving forward I hope to post pictures of each of the holes from shaping to seeding and grow in. I'm going to begin with the Par 3 7th because it is one of my favorite holes and has such great character.

The Par 3 7th is a Biarritz hole design, meaning the green has a large "valley" in the center of it separating the putting surfaces (to see The Greenbriars Biarritz hole click here and here). The hole plays along the water catering errant shots. To the left of the green are pot bunkers and a "valley" created by building the green on a plateau. I can't wait to get seed in the ground and start growing this hole in.
Par Three as seen from the Tips 

The green being shaped, seen from the front left corner.

Looking back towards the tee. 

Side shot of the Biarritz Green, seen from 8 Tee

Monday, July 4, 2016

Independence update

Happy 4th of July!
Good Evening! As Independence day winds down I finally have time to sit down and catch up on some writing. Its been 31 days since the Sprigs were spread and crimped and there growing very well. We put a reel mower on them for the first time this morning cutting at .850 (roughly 7/8ths of an inch). This came after cutting them all last week with our intermediate rough mower set to 1.5 inches to trim up some of the larger clumps.

 5 Fairway, June 24th 
5 Fairway, June 27th
We put 4.5 pounds of nitrogen down over a 2 week span while reducing watering to encourage the roots to establish and grow.  As it was a holiday and the course was full of happy golfers playing the Par 3 course we have set up we were only able to cut 2 of the fairways this morning before it became impractical to continue. If the rain there calling for misses us by some chance we will finish cutting the fairways tomorrow, if not we will have to wait till it dries out some to finish. Were planing to fertilize again after all the fairways have been mowed, we'd also like to get a foliar nutrient feed on them after they have been cut but        that will depend on how much time we have with the short work week.

We would like to open the fairways some time next week depending on how they look after they have been cut. There's many factors that determine whether or not we can open them but we're all working hard to achieve that goal. Once there open we will probably need to instate a temporary "pick and place" rule as we currently only have between 65% and 75% coverage. 8-10 days may change that but we'll just have to wait and see.

First cut with the intermediate mower at 1.5"
 As you drive around every single day its sometimes hard to recognize any change in the fairways because your seeing them every minute of every day. However in the last week I've been able to see the growth change almost every morning, luckily i got some pictures from almost the same location on a couple of the fairways which shows the amount they grew in just 3 or 4 days. We're going to keep pushing them with nitrogen and mowing and get them to start moving sideways more. If you scroll down there are some comparison photos from 5 and 17 Fairways.

I hope everyone has a good and restful Independence Day and can get out to play a round of golf at some point.

Peter Danaher 
Assistant Superintendent 
Talbot CC 

5 Fairway June 24th 
5 Fairway June 27th 
17 Fairway June 29th 
17 Fairway July 2nd 

Monday, June 20, 2016

17 Day Later

Over the last 3 days we've really started seeing a change in the fairways. For the past 2 weeks it seems we've been coming in every morning anxious to scout the fairways for signs of growth only to be disappointed by little to no change. However, upon arrival Saturday morning there was a definite and abounding growth from the sprigs on nearly all the fairways.

We have been keeping the soil moisture in the fairways very high to ensure the short roots the sprigs have have plenty of moisture available to them. This has resulted in significantly more push mowing around the course as many of our rough units simply cannot get close to the fairways without damaging turf. We have also been spending a lot of time on repairing our irrigation system. We have out dated Rain Bird Impact heads in our fairways and honestly throughout most of the course. These old 51DR heads work a lot like a home sprinkler you would use in your yard, utilizing a "tail" and "kicker" to turn the head, if the head is to low or not level water builds up on one side and the head can no longer turn, flooding the fairway. The springs and washers also go bad after time causing the head to either not come on, not shut off, or weep when they do turn off forcing the jockey pump to run and putting stress on our system. All this to say is that we've had to spend a lot of time and energy on repairing these heads to ensure adequate water reaches the sprigs. 

Last Monday we put down the first application of Fertilizer. We used Water Soluble Urea (46-0-0) at a half pound of Nitrogen per thousand square feet. I'll admit I was expecting to see an immediate response and was disappointed when there was little of no change. Wednesday we put down a starter fertilizer (12-24-05) which had high Phosphorous levels to help with root growth. We applied one pound of Phosphorous per thousand square feet which also gave us another half pound of nitrogen per thousand. That application was the golden ticket, after receiving nearly an inch of rain between Thursday and Friday the fairways exploded the and the growth was evident just by driving around. 

We followed up today with an Ammonium Sulfate (21-0-0) application at one pound of Nitrogen per thousand square feet. I'm hoping to see them start moving in the next couple days. I'll end with some pictures from the last 2 weeks. 

Peter Danaher 
Assistant Superintendent
Talbot Country Club

8 Days post sprigging, Starting to see new roots. 

13 days in the ground, starting to see growth 
46-0-0 Urea Application

12-24-05 Starter fertilizer, 2 weeks post sprigging

16 days post sprigging, 2 days after starter fertilizer, seeing more growth

What nearly an inch of rain does to us right now 

17 Days post sprigging, sunshine and fertilizer making them grow 

Finally seeing sprigs in almost every slit 

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Sprigs have Arrived!

On Wednesday morning the first load of Latitude 36 sprigs arrived at the course, we spent all of Tuesday pre-pairing for there arrival. The course closed for 2 weeks to complete the sprigging and extensive watering that has to take place afterwards. We are extremely grateful to have a free golf course to complete our management practices without interrupting play.

On Tuesday, we sprayed the third application of roundup on the last 6 Fairways to kill any regrowth that had occurred and then began the process of Aerating the fairways that had already been sprayed. It took me 30 hours to aerate all 22 acres of fairways, beginning Tuesday afternoon and not finishing till Friday morning. While I was going deaf on the tractor the rest of the crew worked very hard all week to keep up with our regular maintenance practices so that when we open back up the course hasn't skipped a beat.

Oakwood Sod Farm supplied the sprigs, machinery, and labor to do the actual sprigging. We went with 1,000 bushels to the acre of sprigs and double crimped them in. The machine would lay all the sprigs with the first pass and then go a different direction doing the second crimp. The end result was lots of soil contact and the sprigs spread evenly over the entire fairway. Jim McHenry and his crew worked very hard and completed the sprigging on time Friday afternoon.

As soon as the "sprigger" left the fairway we sprayed Ronstar Pre-Emergent Herbicide directly on the sprigs and then turned the water on and walked away... Not really but it felt like that! Its very important to make sure the sprigs don't dry out at all once there in the ground. Quick side note, a sprig is sod that has been run thew a machine that chops it up and leaves just the roots and leaf tissue, which when pressed into the ground are free to grow.

I'll leave you with pictures from the last week which details the entire process. This week has been all about water so far and probably will be till the end of the week.

As for the Greens-

Keep it Dry, Keep it Dry, Keep it Dry!

Peter Danaher
Assistant Superintendent
Talbot CC

Aerating, 2x2 spacing, running just under 2mph hour = 30 hours total. 
Finishing up our longest fairway. 
Sprigs going down directly on top of the aeration plugs
The sprigging machine after its first pass, smooths everything out. 

Close up after the first pass 


 Sprigging machine in action 

Spraying fairways with Ronstar to prevent crabgrass and other weeds from germinating

Keeping it wet