Course ConditionsThe weeks seem to fly by and now here it is the first week of October. Perhaps it is the great weather we have been having which make it still feel like summer. That inch of rain we had a couple weeks ago sure made a difference in the course conditions. The grass seemed to gulp it up and put it to good use. Nothing seems to beat a good rain storm versus irrigation; you can't get any better coverage than that. With all the new green growth on the course comes a lot of mowing and the rough has been a test to keep up with. We could easily mow it twice a week but once is about all we can do right now. The fairways have really responded as well. We have not irrigated them in weeks and yet they were never soggy and we haven't seen any dry spots show up either. I think much of this is due to a product we have been using now for almost two years.
Throughout the summer we had been injecting a wetting agent called Dispatch once a week through our irrigation system. We used less than ten gallons over the entire course per application. Dispatch aids in making the water become wetter by breaking down the surface tension which allows the soil to become uniformly moist. This in turn helps us conserve water by not over watering the turf. I believe it has also enabled the recent rainfall to penetrate the soil which aided the grass to recover quickly from the summer drought conditions. Normally by the end of the season we will have drained the irrigation pond down at least 12 to 18 inches below the outfall. This season we managed the water right to the top with out dropping below 6 inches. As I summed up our water use report for the water year of 2009-2010 I confirmed this. We used significantly less water from Beaver Creek and our deep well than from any other year. You have got to love technology when it helps you save resources AND money.
We had a small change in plans regarding fertilizing the fairways. We had originally planned on fertilizing the fairways first then topdress them. As I discussed earlier the grass is growing pretty well so we decided to take advantage of the nice weather and begin topdressing the fairways first. We figure with the nice growing conditions the turf should grow through the sand more rapidly plus the drier conditions are much safer to operate the large topdresser. We will finish the fertilizer after we wrap up the sanding.
Williams Gas Pipeline Repair
I left last weeks post with a picture of a track hoe heading out to the fourth fairway. We had hoped for a quick repair and a very small hole in the ground but as they uncovered the 16" gas pipeline it was evident that its condition was deteriorating and much more pipe needed to be replaced. Almost 90 feet to be exact. What can we do, we are pretty much at their mercy and it is all in the name of safety. You have all heard of gas pipeline accidents, one as recently as the tragedy in California where seven people were killed. That pipe allegedly broke because there was a weak spot and it failed. This is exactly what Williams is avoiding so what ever they need to do I am 100% behind them. This is the fourth dig on our property since the course has been built and each time I have worked with Williams contractor Pat Beggs. He and his crew are the best at what they do and they are extremely sensitive of the nature and business of golf. They had the pipe excavated and cut out and replaced in three days. We were hoping to be sodding the hole on Friday but instead were able to get it done by Thursday. My staff was awesome and stayed an hour late to finish the job. As expected it is a little bumpy. We will be keeping it "Ground Under Repair" until it heals and roots it. I really don't foresee it taking long at all.
I would like to congratulate our own Gordon Tolbert for qualifying for the Senior PGA Professional National Championship which is to be held at Toscana Country Club at Indian Wells and Rancho La Quinta Country Club in La Quinta, both in California. Gordon will be leaving this week and will be back on the 11th. Best wishes to Gordon and good luck!
Good Information to Learn
I know we have already finished aerating our greens but as I was reading some of the other superintendents blogs I ran across a short video posted by Sean McCue from the Country Club at Castle Pines in Denver Colorado. This video does a great job describing the benefits of aeration so I would just like to share it with those who wonder why we destroy such great putting conditions every spring and fall. Enjoy!