Monday, May 16th, 2011

I can honestly say we are having more days now without rain than with rain. That usually translates into better golfing conditions and better conditions for us to maintain the golf course. We are still quite soft in many areas around the course and would like to remind everyone to be mindful where they drive their carts. Now that we are in the tournament season full swing, letting carts out is a must for pace of play. We are still limiting access on fairways twelve through sixteen and number nine on the front. The third fairway has developed some soft areas and now that we have plugged it, it is probably in no shape to drive on. With that said we are going to limit access to that fairway as well until further notice.

Last week Mike had an opportunity to visit Farm Links in Sylacauga Alabama. I was glad to give him the opportunity because the education that is offered is always first class. It gave him an chance to see the workings of a southern climate golf course. He said it was neat to see that we are doing many of the same things that they do. The maintenance shop is still in rubble from the fire and they are waiting for insurance to clear before they start the reconstruction process. It is their goal to have a new  building up by August.

On the way there Mike didn't drive through any tornado damage but from what Farm Links superintendent Mark Langer told them, the television coverage doesn't give the true impact of the damage. The tornado swept north of Birmingham and Sylacauga, Mark said he has spent hours on the end of a chain saw helping many of those impacted.

On the way back Mike did get a bird-eye view of the Mississippi flooding situation. The flooding impact is unbelievable. I can't imagine what is must be like to be affected by such major natural disasters. You never can tell when it will happen and so far we have been pretty fortunate here in the NW. My thoughts will be with everyone as they recover from such a catastrophe. 

With Mike gone last week the crew really stepped up and got quite a bit accomplished. We began to aerify the fairways on Tuesday and had the entire front nine plus the eighteenth fairway plugged and picked by Thursday. Thanks to Steve Mathre and Zefferino for all their hard work manning the core harvester.

On Friday we decided to throw some sand down on the fifth fairway since it was so soft.  It drug in and turned out perfect. This week, before we commence plugging on back side we will focus on finishing the sanding on the front nine. We will have to work around the tournaments but that shouldn't cause any disruption.  We want to make sure we get the sand down before the holes start closing in. For the future, this would be a great case for a second tractor so we could be aerating and topdressing at the same time. We could probably get the entire course done in one week. With one tractor we are looking at a minimum of two weeks to finish the job with perfect weather.

The back nine fairways are still a bit soft. If the weather cooperates we hope they will firm up, making it easier to pick up the plugs and safely topdress the hilly ones in a week or so.

Last year we used the plugs from the fairways for fill around the new event center. This year we will be repairing many of the worn areas adjacent to the cart paths, especially around the greens and tee complexes. The plugs, when watered will reestablish and grow from their own. We will add a little fertilizer and some seed for a kicker. We already started on the first tee box and the cross-over between the third and the eleventh holes.

We are looking forward to a great week and welcoming back one of our first tournaments at Stone Creek Golf Club. Young Life has been with us since we opened June of 2002! I would like to thank them for their patronage over the years. It is a pleasure to help them raise money for such a great cause. 

Finally I would like to close with another wildflower shot. This yarrow was planted on the berm next to the eleventh tee box and each year there seems to be more and more. I love how it proliferates within the existing tall grass.

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