Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Fall 2016 Greens Grow In

Well it's been far too long since I sat down to update what's going on around the course. October hit with 80 hour weeks and racing soil temperatures and rain to get as much seed down before winter set in. We didn't slow down till Thanksgiving and had completed 13 holes, with the 14th completed after Thanksgiving.

Were all but shut down now, Albanese and Lutzke's construction crew has gone home for the winter and the staff here is just doing final leaf clean up at The Inn at Perry Cabin. We're hoping to get rolling on the last 4 holes (18, 1, 2, and 5), two putting greens and the driving range late February weather dependent.

My plan for the next few weeks is to showcase the work we completed this fall in stages, starting with the greens grow in.

Sand being put in on top of gravel base on 12 green
We seeded the first 6 greens on October 20 with A1/A4 Bentgrass. We were a little behind with seeding them as we had to wait for soil tests to come back and amendment recommendations. The reason for this was that in true PB Dye style our greens are straight sand. We still have drainage and a gravel base (Choker layer) but rather than put in a 80/20 or 90/10 mix we have sand with less than 0.03% organic matter.
Gravel being added into 16 green drain lines 

Because of this we had to put a lot of amendments down to give the seed something to grab onto when it germinated. The delay in seeding came because we had to put the amendments down, incorporate them into the top couple inches, let them sit there a week, then send a soil sample off to see if we needed to adjust our rates. It was a worth while wait since we found out we had to double some of our rates to encourage growth.
Drain lines being cut into 17 green
Those first 6 greens (6-11) germinated in about 6 days, 7 days post germination we put our first ammonium sulfate fertilizer app down and started watching them grow.

Water on 17 green
The next greens to be seeded were 12-15 and 17 on November 2nd. 16 green wasn't built yet as it sits out on the lake for 17 and they were still putting the railroad ties in at the time. Those greens took about 2 weeks to germinate due to the lower soil temperatures. We were able to get a couple shots of Fertilizer on them before the December 1st cut off. Greens 3 and 4 were seeded on November 19 and 16 green was seeded was seeded on December 6th. Those last 3 have yet to germinate and I'm not expecting them to till the soil warms up in the spring.

Scar left from pump fault
We ran into a couple of issues with the grow in of the greens. The first was having deer and foxes walk across the greens and in some cases dig in the sand. We ended up putting construction fencing around all the greens to remedy this. The second is that we have done the entire grow in this fall off of 2 wells which generate about 200 gallons per minute. It was tricky scheduling irrigation to keep the seed wet and spread across the course. The pumps would fault if we surpassed 200 gpm and one we came in to find the pumps had faulted and left "trenches" in some of the greens. That ended any nighttime watering. The third and more problematic was the pathogen known as "Take All Patch" that popped up after we stopped applying ammonium sulfate due to the Dec 1 cutoff. We got some granular fungicide down and the greens affected are slowly bouncing back.

Left to right- 3 weeks, 5 weeks, 7 weeks
I tracked root growth more than shoot growth this fall as I wanted to make sure we had adequate roots to make it through the winter. 3 weeks post germination greens 6-11 had approx 1.5" roots. I reduced irrigation and gave them one final shot of fertilizer and 10 days later we had 3" roots. I reduced watering again and 2 weeks after that the same greens had 3.5" roots but the root mass had nearly doubled.

We gave greens 6-11 there first cut on December 13th at 0.3500, 7 weeks post germination. 6 days later you could see the greens start to grow together and I could no longer pull out individual plants, when you tugged on the leaf tissue you would pull out about a 6" strip.

Knitting together

First cut 

The greens that were seeded later (12-15 and 17) are lagging behind that schedule but coming in nicely. They have about 1.5" of roots but there hasn't been much activity in the last 2-3 weeks due to the temperature and the fact we haven't been able to apply and Fertilizer. We covered all the greens with permeable covers last Friday. I'm looking forward to getting the greens rolled out smooth next spring and hoping the covers help everything fill in during early spring. 

Cover up 

Covers on 16 and 17 green 

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 7 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