Tuesday, August 27, 2013

New Greens Seeded

The new greens were seeded this morning along with the approaches and bluegrass surrounds.  The area was then hydro mulched.  In about 7 days the bent seed will be coming up if all goes well.  The bluegrass will take a few more days (about 10-14) before it germinates.  We also used turf type Tall fescue seed in wear areas along the cart path along with the bluegrass.  The bluegrass varieties that we are using were specifically blended for Biltmore, called the "Biltmore Blend".  This blend is made up of newer varieties picked for attributes that we were looking for - dense, low growth habit, good color, good disease tolerance and able to handle shade and wear.  No one variety of blue grass is good at all of these, but by having a mix, those plants that find themselves in a shady area will do good and those best able to handle Summer Patch (a disease) will thrive.  As for the greens, they were seeded with "007", a new variety that has shown good traits in all areas.  This is similar to "A4", what we have been seeding our greens with but the research shows "007" to be slightly better turf.

There will be large areas of Ground Under Repair.  Please follow cart signs to the correct path.  As a general rule, please keep all carts on #13 fairway (green side of the creek) and #18 fairway until you are past the seed ground.  The bluegrass seeded areas may open up late this fall, depending on weather but #10 and #13 greens will not open until June of 2014.

The new Sand Pro at work. The bent seed is "pushed" into the soil with the wheels by driving back and forth.  This is the new approach to #13 green (with the green in the background).

Nazario seeding #10 green with "007" bent grass.  The drop seeder is used because the seed is so small.  Only #30 of seed was used for both greens.

Final touches to #13 approach.  A small area was left open for cart to exit from the fairway to the path.

Javier applies the hydro mulch spray.  This layer is very thin and used to help create seed soil contact and maintain soil moisture.  It is not used on the green.  The green will be kept moist by running the irrigation system several times per day.

View from the new additional #18 ladies tee.  The fairway was expanded in front of the tee.  This will not replace the old tee, but be an extra tee for the ladies.

A close of our custom drain covers.  We make these out of steel for several reasons - plastic one break, float and get clogged.  The medal ones are also easy to find with a metal detector.  The openings are too small for a golf ball and they are much cheaper than the plastic ones, costing less than a $1 per cover.  Can you see the bent grass seed?  Small yellow specs.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

CDGA Weekly Update- August 23, 2013

Scouting Report
August 23, 2013 Scouting Report

The heat has returned and with a fair amount of bang as well. The sentiment is that the climate is now being affected by southwest winds which are driving hot and humid air into the area. The other issue that has increased is of course water and the lack of it. The spotty nature of our weather has meant that some locations have had half the rainfall of normal since July while others were doing well until last week when I think everyone started to dry out. Luckily for many of us we did finally get rain on Thursday but the heat will continue for a little while yet. It is also that time of year when your hard working and enthusiastic interns enthusiastically return to education. I think internships for one are a hugely valuable learning experience, both for superintendent and student. Experience and learning on course are extremely difficult to replace in the class room, a strong base can be created there but there is some real world experiences that we cannot learn in class - chasing hydraulic oil spills is one for sure! The benefit to superintendents is twofold - you get to evaluate prospective employees for down the road but more importantly you can also indicate to the turfgrass program what you like about the standard of education they are delivering and try to have them focus on new areas that you feel add value to the future employees and leaders. I would think doing this as a group is going to be more effective also!

This week while in central Illinois, I was able to see how much the turf industry really is a tight knit and generous community. In honoring George "Tony" Polillo, a CIGCSA charter member, the dedication of a research and education fund set up in his name started with a healthy $5,000. The dedication ceremony itself was plenty of fun with great memories and anecdotes from his life - people flew in from all over the country to attend and this is why this industry will always be strong, with kind and generous people who respect those who have gone before them while striving to lead into what is ahead of them.

Click here to view the August 23, 2013 Scouting Report

As always if you have a question or query please do not hesitate to ask and you can call or email.

Ed Nangle PhD
Director of Turfgrass Programs
Chicago District Golf Association
Office: (630) 685-2307
Cell: (630) 423-1925
Follow us on Twitter @TurfResearch

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

There is Light at the End of the Tunnel

Things are moving quickly as we near the end of the main restoration of the course. The 4 tee complexes affected by the flood have all been rebuilt and all areas will be open within the week.  Most of the material has been moved into the new greens (#10/13) and today we will finish the drainage and then begin installation of the irrigation system.  At the same time we will finish detail work on the traps and begin work on installing the liners and sand.  Our goal is to have all seeding done by Sept 1.

Monday we also expanded #18 fairway on the left side as the fairway begins up the hill.  This was approved by the Green Committee to help expand the landing area in a more level location.

We will also begin construction of the new #18 ladies tee - this will not replace the current one, but add a new location and options for tee placement.  We will also be shrinking the bunker on #18 and expanding the fairway to the right on #18.

We are hoping to seed #10/13 greens within the next week and have most of the rough restored and seeded by the end of next week.

#2 tee complex - the ladies tee will open soon

#11 ladies tee was finished on Monday.  It takes about 10 days to root down.

Javier seeding the newly leveled rough.

To help keep costs down, we have been supping the labor for the contractors.  Peter, our 2nd assistant, is helping to install drainage for the new greens.

Hydro mulching the newly seeded areas.  All of this work is being done in-house.

Newly seeded areas have to be kept moist for 7-10 days.  You may see irrigation running during the day, especially with the current dry spell.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

CDGA Weekly Report - August 16, 2013

August 16, 2013 Scouting Report

Its come and gone!! The date that many of you look towards as being the start of the end of another season. August 15th passed without so much as a whimper and hopefully that does not come back to bite us in September. This week was somewhat hectic from the standpoint of traveling to the world class Hancock Center at Michigan State University to see the fine research they are working on there and I will discuss later. The other interesting event this week was the involvement that some of us had with potential future industry leaders. In an excellent initiative I have to give credit to the First Tee for their partnership with John Deere and the creation of the experience 'Careers on Course'. This week we had 24 young people who had little background in any facet of the turfgrass and golf industry interact with superintendents, clubhouse managers, golf pro's and general managers at the Golf House and Cog Hill CC. Their intrigue in the positions and opportunities that the golf industry as a whole affords them was refreshing and despite the doom and gloom about student numbers and turfgrass programs, potential to attract and educate people into the industry is there if these programs continue down the road.

How you handle the end of season cultural practices will help you recover for what should have been a busy golfing summer. Managers have said they have been very busy play wise and it does seem in weather like this that should be the case. Therefore getting the greens aerified is going to be on many peoples minds, however hopefully you have a set date and this has been fixed earlier in the year - don't let it float and get caught out!

Click here to view the August 16, 2013 Scouting Report.

As always if you have a question or query please do not hesitate to ask and you can call or email.

Ed Nangle PhD
Director of Turfgrass Programs
Chicago District Golf Association
Office: (630) 685-2307
Cell: (630) 423-1925
Follow us on Twitter @TurfResearch

Friday, August 16, 2013

#13 Green Ready, #10 Almost

#13 green is just about finished and #10 green will be ready for the 12" of mix on Monday.  After that final grading of the bunkers, work then begins on the drainage and irrigation.  With any luck by then end of next week we will be seeding the greens and surrounds.  Today we are also finishing work on #2 tee then moving to #11 ladies tee.  That will then complete phase 2 of the tee rebuilding project.  In about 2 weeks all new tees will be open, at this time sections of the tees are open with include #2 part of mens and pro, all of #9, #11 part of mens and pro, #14 pro and mens.

Next week we will continue to renovate the rough and hydro mulch.  As soon as the greens are complete we will work our way out leveling the rough, seeding and hydro mulching.  Our goal is to be complete with all major work by the end of August.

4" of bridging gravel is used on top of the drain tile then 12" of greens mix is added.  We are using a special flat drain tile due to the geo grid which is located in the 6" sand layer.  The drainage that was put into the greens a few years ago is still in tact.

The bridging gravel is spread with a small skid steer with tracks.

It is a busy place in the shop area.  Semi's are unloaded and all material is reloaded onto small trailers and carts due to the peat soils.  Up to 25 semi's come though the shop each day.  We will use close to 100 semi loads of top soil, and 100 more semis of sand, gravel and greens mix to complete the process.  In addition to semi traffic, we have all of other delivers of sod, fuel, fertilizer and parts moving though the maintenance area.

Work begins on #10 gravel layer.
#13 green - Greens mix is in.  Finish grading will begin within the next few days.

The gravel layer is probed to make sure it is a even 4" thick.

Hauling material a few tons at a time is very labor intensive.

Work is just about complete with #2 tee.  We will begin work on #11 ladies tee today.  All other tees are complete and all will open with the next two weeks.  Some rebuilt tee are now open.  PLEASE DO NOT WALK ON CLOSED TEES (those with ropes across them).

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Green and Tee Construction Update

Work is progressing nicely on #10 and #13 greens.  The weather has been perfect!  If all goes well we might be seeding the greens by the end of next week.  We are continuing to rebuild flood damaged tees and hope to have that finished by next week as well.  We are now beginning the renovation of the rough and as the tee and green construction ends, we will restore the rough in those areas damaged by construction and flood.

Jeff Hollembeak (builder), Greg Martin (Golf Course Architect) and Jim Vande Logt (Green Chair)

Final grading of the base.  The base will mirror the surface of the green.  The next step is adding drainage, pea gravel then 12" of mix.

GPS maps of the old and new #13 green.  The new will be about 200 sqft larger.

Seeding the newly renovated rough area behind #1 green.  Next step hydro mulch.

#11 Men's and Pro tee are complete. We will be raisng the ladies tee.

Finial phase of work on #2 mens and ladies tee.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

CDGA Weekly Update- Aug 9, 2013

Scouting Report
August 9, 2013 Scouting Report

Green speeds are the topic of the moment - surprisingly! This week we have been relatively dry and not too hot with the exception of Wednesday. It has meant that the golf courses have started to really dry out and for green speeds this usually means good things. Dry and firm always means fast surfaces, and many golfers tend to appreciate this. The issue that we run into is - how far can we let turf go before turf health is negatively impacted resulting in turf death and bare patches with weed infestations. The balancing act has not just occurred this year or last, it's an annual issue. Reducing mowing heights helps speeds but so does double cutting at the traditional higher height - the issue is that, trying to be consistent with a greens surface is nigh on impossible unless you have no trees, every green is virtually flat and facing the same direction toward the sun and has proper grasses, drainage and wear is evenly dissipated across the greens surface - this does not happen. I always think the best analogy to mowing height is this - if you continuously cut the top of your little finger off for 20 years every day, how do you think it would look and more importantly how healthy would it be. Greens are inherently unhealthy and vary dramatically from hole to hole, from undulations particularly in 100 year old greens that were designed for balls to roll 8-9ft, to heavily shaded sites where grasses elongate and stay wet for extended periods of time ruining cutting quality, to southern facing slopes that get hot by 11am in the morning and turn into concrete by 2pm. The dry conditions this week allowed many of you consistency in your surfaces which had been a battle all summer as far as I have seen.

As a turfgrass manager you need to know these differences and many of you are on top of this, it does mean however you have the hotspot holes which frustrate you annually and tend to lead to head scratching and lost sleep. Keeping things simple and creating a base to build on is always important, getting oxygen into the soil, sufficient nutrients, properly and consistently timing cultural practices are all going to benefit turf health. The more you have these lined up - the more you may be able to push it without plunging of the cliff.

Click here to view the August 9, 2013 Scouting Report.

As always if you have a question or query please do not hesitate to ask and you can call or email.

Ed Nangle PhD
Director of Turfgrass Programs
Chicago District Golf Association
Office: (630) 685-2307
Cell: (630) 423-1925
Follow us on Twitter @TurfResearch

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

1st Layer of the Cake

Today we begin putting the 1st layer of the green construction down.  This base layer is something most courses never have to do, but because of the peat soils we needed to put a layer of course sand on top of the geo grid.  This locks the geo grid in place as we continue to add more layers to the green.  Today ~250 tons of sand was moved onto #13 green.  This is just the beginning.  Today was a "test" day to see how things would go moving material across the bog- so far so good.  Tomorrow they will ramp up the delivery of material.

Today we also:
  • Aerified more rough and seeded it
  • Completed #9 men's tee and installed bent sod -PLEASE DO NOT WALK ACROSS THE NEW SOD!! 
  • Began work on #14 Pro tee reconstruction
  • Competed drainage on holes #1 and #8
  • Finished slit seeding fairways (and topdressing)
This week we will:
  • Continue to aerifiy weak areas of the rough and seed.
  • Continue with the rebuilding of the tees
  • Complete some more minor drainage projects
  • Begin roto tilling rough (left of #8, near the green will be first)
Your continued help in avoiding any areas under repair is greatly appreciated along with your understanding as we work to make Biltmore better than it was prior to the flood.

#9 tee - the teeing surface was sodded today.  Please do not walk across the new sod.

#13 Green - just about finished with the 1st layer.

Geen Construction Begins

Monday re-construction of #10 and #13 green began.  After the sod was removed, the green was leveled slightly with the dozer. The next step was to install the geo-grid.  This material is designed to spread the weight of the green and help it to float on the peat. 

We have also started renovating the rough. This includes aerifing, seeding, dragging and fertilizing. We have also started phase 2 of the tee rebuilding. And as if that is not enough, we are adding some drainage to areas in need. We also re-slit seeded any week spots in fairways yesterday. This week we will be hauling material to #13/10 greens, continue work on the tees, drainage and seeding rough. We are sorry for any inconvenience, but the sooner we can get the work done, the quicker it will heal as we are in the prime time for seeding.

Stripping the sod from the greens.

Installing the geo-grid.

2nd phase of rebuilding the tees has begun

Restoration of the rough has also started.  Now that we are in the seeding window and the weather is good, we have also begun this process.

The dozer being unloaded.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

CDGA Weekly Update Aug 2, 2013

Scouting Report
August 2, 2013 Scouting Report

Well, I think I deserve some credit for bringing the best weather in four years - I can't do much more to make life easier on the 1st of August! These last two weeks have been fantastic for turf and for golf and anyone that had an issue should be starting to see some serious recovery. As always this can change so continue to expect the unexpected! The date August 15th has been mentioned many times and it is now less than two weeks away with good weather forecast for at least 10 of those days. In many places I suspect grass should be basically jumping out of the ground!

To that end, while no one has made any comments about the roughs, they have been very healthy this year and so the push will continue to keep them under control. Financially they are costly from a labor and equipment standpoint. In many golf clubs the roughs will cause some discomfort for managers, the season opens and roughs are growing very well, this leads to complaints about the rough being too thick. Managers understand that the push of growth early will recede and with heat building, many rough areas will thin out and be in trouble later in the summer. Fertilization in the spring is common to try and combat this - and hopefully a slow release fertilizer is the only source of nutrition at that time. The issue however is playability, and so huge consideration must be given to turf health, balancing speed of play, difficulty and fairness of the golf course. However, this year, the climate has meant that your growth did not slow dramatically and roughs have stayed thick and very healthy. If you don't believe the complaints, walk the course, it always teaches you more than riding, also play it - you like the members will find the spots for sure. Communication with the members and architect are key to solving the problem long term.

Click here to view the August 2, 2013 Scouting Report.

As always if you have a question or query please do not hesitate to ask and you can call or email.

Ed Nangle PhD
Director of Turfgrass Programs
Chicago District Golf Association
Office: (630) 685-2307
Cell: (630) 423-1925
Follow us on Twitter @TurfResearch