Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Records Continue to Fall

The records continue to fall.  It looks like we will begin cutting rough this week - never done that before this early!  The bathrooms at the 1/2 way and tennis are open.  We will continue to work on bunkers - edging, checking depths (adding sand as needed) and fixing liners along with continuing to get the course ready.  Enjoy the warm weather as it looks like rain is moving in later in the week, but warmth will return next week!



Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Busy Week and it is still March

A busy week.  We are compressing the work we would normally be doing in March and April into a few weeks.  We have been open for 5 days (2 with carts) - and already talk of green speeds, bunker rakes, cart signs, bathrooms, rough, worms - yikes, wait is it May or March!

As goes golf course maintenance - Mother Nature is running the show and we try to tweak her, but in the end she has the upper hand.   Sometimes she is helpful (like this past winter and spring) and sometimes not.  So far, so good this year but if we are 30 degrees above normal now - what will it be in July and Aug? 

This week we are pressuring the irrigation system, turning the water on for the bathrooms on the course and getting ready to start mowing rough. Today we are verticutting and mowing greens, topdressing, rolling and then adding a little bit of water (to help settle the sand).  Even with the growth regulators applied last Friday, the greens are growing fast - to fast for this time of year.

Bear with us as we continue to clear the course of branches, begin work on the bunkers and continue putting course equipment out (tee signs, yardage markers, OB stakes, benches, ball washers, etc, etc).  My "to do" list has never been longer!

Don't forget, flower orders are due by April 16th

Javier is verticutting the greens prior to mowing today.  The verticutter cuts the turf vertically, reducing the puffiness of the turf.

Felipe is cutting the greens after verticutting - typically 4-6 crew members would cut all greens, but today only Felipe and Javier are cutting all 18 greens and the putting greens, they are getting a workout!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Signs of Spring

Signs of spring are everywhere - trees are flowering, grass is turning green, tulips are up, daffodils are just starting to open and picture below is of the flowering part of a Black Alder (near #13 green).

Black Alder catkins (flowering structure) dropping from the trees near #13 green.

#17 green - the drain lines are visible in the early morning because the greens are getting dry.  We could use some rain.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Carts this Saturday (March 17th)

Maybe I am nuts or the weather is just completely out of whack (or both), but carts before St. Patty's Day?   I keep looking at the calendar to make sure it is really March - March 16th it is!  The soil temps have warmed to 46 degrees and with that the turf (and all plants) are breaking dormancy at a record rate.  Soils are firming and the club could use a bit of revenue, so carts will be permitted starting Saturday, March 17th.

What the warm weather means is anyone guess for the summer.  A cold snap would damage many plants who think it is spring.  Bugs (especially those swarms of gnats and mosquitoes) would be in for a real shock (not all bad).  Time will tell what this warm weather means for the rest of the growing season. 

Red Maple flowering

Mowing fairways for the first time (March 15)

Spraying #14 green for poa seed heads - this application is based on Growing Degree Days (GDD).  Historically this is the 1st week of April (3 week early).

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Prairie Burning

Yesterday we were able to burn all the prairies on the course.  Below is a video of the area in front of #18 tee. The course is greening quicker than I have ever seen - and the weather is warmer, earlier than anyone can remember.  Yesterday, mosquitoes were biting - is it really only March 15th!

Nazario (foreground) is spraying water to put out stray fires and cool things we don't want to be burned (OB posts).
Mike in the background is using a special device called a drip torch to light the fire.

Video of how fast the fire can grow when the grasses are dry.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Greens are OPENING!

The winter is over (or did it ever begin) and spring is in full force!  The 10 day forecast looks more like May then March.  The course is in great shape.  We are clearing the course of debris, rolling and mowing greens, and putting the cups in the greens.  The greens will open Wednesday (March 14th), no carts at this time.

#13 green - a little fog this AM, but lows for the next 10 days will be in the 50's!

#1 green - what a difference from 2 years ago!

Rolling prior to mowing helps firm and smooth the surface prior to mowing.

All greens are blown prior to mowing.

With nearly 3,000 trees at Biltmore - branch cleanup is a big job.