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 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Lets Kill Some Grass

Its not every day you get to show up to work and start filling a tank with Glyphosate. I have to say it was one of the more nerve racking things I've done around a course, just the knowledge that whatever I spray and potentially wherever I drive the grass will die had me a little on edge.

This year we are converting our old Vamont Bermuda Fairways to Latitude 36 Bermuda, one of the newer hybrid Bermuda grasses. Latitude 36 has a finer leaf texture, better color and wear resistance and is much denser than Vamont making it a better playing surface in season and out of season. Everyone here is very excited about the "upgrade" to our Fairways, especially those of us on the maintenance staff, despite the added stress, labor, and worry the process adds.

4 weeks ago we began spraying our fairways with Glyphosate (Roundup), for effective control of Bermuda grass it takes 3 applications spaced 10-14 days apart while the plant is actively growing That allows the Glyphosate to be translocated throughout the plant and into the roots, stolons, rhizomes and other leaf tissue giving good control. We had planned to begin this process the middle of April so we could have the time to let any turf that hadn't died begin growing again prior to the second and then third applications, the weather however did not cooperate. With a cool April and lots of rain the soil temperatures stayed down causing the Vamont to no break dormancy until almost the last week of April, a few hard frosts didn't help anything either.

We had to wait for the Vamont to come out of dormancy and start growing prior to the Glyphosate applications because we need the plant to be transpiring so the chemical can move through the plant, otherwise it won't kill anything and just delay the process. Once it broke dormancy and started growing it began raining, and since Glyphosate is taken up through the leaves and not the roots or soil that meant we were very limited on when we could spray and how much we could accomplish. The first 25 days of May boasted 21 days of rain, throwing a giant wrench into our plans.

Despite this we have pushed through and with the sprigs scheduled to arrive tomorrow we have sprayed all 22 acres of fairways twice and half of them a third time. It took us a minute to figure out a good rate with the Glyphosate, a balance between enough chemical and wasting it as the plant can only absorb so much. We've settled on a rate with the second app and have seen really good results, and should have no problem getting the third app out prior to sprigging. Below are some photos one the past 4 weeks.

Peter Danaher
Assistant Superintendent
Talbot Country Club

Boss had a great idea of adding dye to the tank as well as using foam to make it as obvious as possible where we sprayed. 

1 week after first application of Glyphosate. Starting to see the Poa go off color. 

1 week after first application, Poa is dying, Bermuda has slowed growth and is just barely showing chlorosis. 

1 week after second application. Starting to see some of the Bermuda die. 

No thats not a skip, we're saving that piece, it shows the difference clearly, 1 week after the second app which had Finale as well as Glyphosate. You can also see how wet its been out here. 

10 days after second app which had 64 oz Glyphosate per acre and 100 oz Finale per Acre. Finally some dead Grass.

Mostly Dead. 

Little bit of regrowth 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Fungi, Fungi, Fungi

Mycelium in root zone 
The rain the past few weeks gave us a good look at just how susceptible our turf grass is when not protected. Conditions were perfect for a host of diseases and it seemed like we saw all of them. The first and most curious were spots that showed up on our bent grass, sand based, tees. They presented similarly to Dollar Spot but there was an absence of Mycelium around the edges. After investigating further I found mycelium in the root zone, no idea if it has direct correlation but it was really interesting to find.

The next best guess was pythium root disfunction, which makes a lot of sense after seeing the extensive layering and thatch and mat layers. To back up my theory there were black spots visible with a hand lens on the roots, rhizomes, and lower stems suggesting that they might be oospores. The fungal spots were maybe 2-4" in diameter and while they did not appear to grow in size they did seem to pop up in new areas.

April 26th
Another theory and possibly a better one was Pink Snow Mold. With day time temperatures in the mid 50's and constant moisture on the leaf tissue its probably a really good bet. Its just so hard to believe the weather we are having, the picture on the right was taken April 26th, it was 48 and raining. We had better weather in December this year than we have had in April and May so far. If this continues they may need to find a new name for the pathogen.

May 4th 
The picture to the left was taken a week after the picture above. You can see how the pathogen has spread over the tee box and even though the spots haven't enlarged they have become more numerous. That week was a little hairy for us because there wasn't a single day we could get the sprayer out. It was either raining or the wind was blowing too hard, and if we got any break at all there was always someone waiting to tee off. We monitored the tees closely to make sure we weren't taking to much damage until we got the sprayer on them. Once we could, we loaded them up with a combo that would ensure coverage regardless of what was cooking. It was nice to finally get around the course and make sure we were covered. I was really glad I did too cause as I rode around I caught sight of a few more pathogens. Once the fungicides were out we quickly started seeing regeneration on  the tee boxes.

Tourney, Banol, 26GT

I give a lot of credit to my boss, he has been in the industry longer than I have been alive and knows more about fungicides than I could dream of knowing. He was able to put our application together pretty much off the top of his head and with very little effort. I'm enjoying learning from him so far and being part of the operation.

Brown Patch? 
We found some kind of ring active on our bent grass approaches. While I'm not entirely sure what it is it got sprayed and went away. I texted the picture to a few friend and the top answers were either pythium, or anthracnose. I might not ever know but it was still cool to look at.

The other clear as day ring that showed up was on our Perennial Ryegrass range tee. I'm pretty positive it was Brown Patch even though the weather wasn't perfect for it the smoke ring is almost too perfect.

Red Thread? Pink Snow Mold? 
Finally the Rough. While I'm not positive as I have never seen it in the field, the picture to the left I believe to be Red Thread. Which made me really excited since its pretty much a non damaging disease and is just fun to look at. Then again it could be Pink Snow Mold which would be a little more discouraging but not really terrible either. Regardless, Fescue seed costs less than Fungicides everyday of the week so were not to worried.

Grey Snow Mold? 
Of course this patch was close to the patch above. A little less pink/red looking and more... Grey. No idea for sure of course, could be anything but really did look like Grey Snow Mold. Regardless we'll monitor but there's no plan to remove it as of now.

 And finally, the picture below, clear as day read thread. I'm Happy.

Red Thread!

Until Next Time,

Peter Danaher