Thursday, December 2, 2010

What a Summer !

Its good to be back in the blogging world again. I apologize for the lack of posts over the months. Here is a recap of what went on over the last 5 months . What a dry hot summer, we went 67 consecutive days without a drop of rain in the months of August, September and into the first week in October, coupled with above averages temperatures. The positive side is that golf rounds were up and the club was full of members. And we still stayed in our water budget for the year.

For most of the summer it was business as usual with lots of hand watering, running roller basins and misters and some small projects. We were also a little short handed in the months of August-October. Just like many golf courses we had to lay off some crew a little early so that limited our crew to just maintaining the course for the summer. We got buy but many projects had to be put on hold until this fall and next year. Some of the larger projects that we were able to complete this fall were much needed. We added some supplemental irrigation in rough areas on holes #15 valley, #7 mountain and #5 mountain with plans to do some more on #13, #12 in the spring. The reason for the supplemental irrigation is to limit roller basins & misters in the rough at the same time keeping the fairways firmer.

Blow out went well in Mid November we finished in just over 2 days with a 750 CFM compressor. Moving blow up a few weeks was great, no frozen heads this year. Over the past week we have been spraying for snow mold on our approaches, tees, and select fairways. Its was tough finding a fungicide that replaces PCNB thats as cheap and works as well, but I feel confident about our choice. Our greens will not get sprayed until the last minute we'll watch the weather and spray accordingly. Now we are just hand watering some southern exposures and working outside when the weather permits and when the weather is not cooperating we are working on our inside projects.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sasha Girl

Sasha Whiting

10/6/04 – 6/24/10

Sasha died suddenly on Thursday June 24th 2010 from a devastating fast acting disease called IMHA or Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia. The disease was diagnosed on the 22nd of June and she died at 8:30 pm on the 24th. Sasha put up a good fight and she was not in pain, but the disease finally overcame her. Sasha was loved by many and will be sadly missed. Sasha’s life was cut short but in that brief time she touched so many hearts with her sweet demeanor and her loving way.

We will miss you Sasha and you will always be in our Hearts.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Early Morning

There is nothing better that a early morning on the course.

#4 Mountain course


Last week we had a little visitor to our bunker on #9 mountain. This was no little turtle it was a huge snapping turtle. He dug holes all over the green side bunker. After a little nudge he went back in to the lake. You really cant tell how big he was because there is nothing to compare him to but he was over 1 foot wide and at least 18 inches long. Believe it or not snapping turtles can live up to 100 years and over. Based on this guys size he could of been over 80 or so.

New Bathroom

We recently added a new bathroom to #7 of the mountain course. This bathroom is a composting toilet from Clivus Multrum. The new toilet will replace the porta pot on the same hole. The model of toilet is the hiker and is used all over the country on golf courses, parks, beaches and trail heads where there are limited utilities like water, power and sewer. How the unit works is it actually composts the solid waste in a bed of pine shavings and the liquid is pumped out every six months depending on use by a septic pump truck. The unit is self contained and environmentally friendly because of its low water use only 3oz per flush. The unit uses water and a foam to flush the waste. I am sure the members will be happy with the new unit and it is quite a upgrade from the old porta pot

Building path to bathroom

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bunker Drainage

Now with a full crew and aerification in our rear view mirror we have started on our bunker drainage project. The bunker drainage project will be a ongoing project for the next few years. Most of the work will be in our shoulder seasons like spring and fall. We have identified many bunkers that have inadequate drainage. We will work on them in order of priority. This is a long tedious process because all the work has to be done by hand. First we find the main drain line then remove the sand from those areas. When we find the drain we now can start to add herringbone drains to the main. For example the right hand bunker on #18 only had one main drain down the center. Now the bunker has nine herringbone drains attached to the main drain.
The addition of the drains will help drain the water from irrigation events and any rain fall.

Bunker #18
Only one drainage trench down the middle of the bunker

Adding herringbone drains off of main

Finished herringbone drain on chipping green bunker

Sod is Down

Our sod for #9 and our tees was laid this Monday. So far every thing looks great we just need some warmer weather for the sod to take root. As soon at the new sod is established we will be open for play. I hope to have the tees and #9 open by Memorial Day weekend. It is all up to mother nature now, lets hope she will be on our side. In addition to the sod on #9 we added over 400 foot of drainage to the end of the fairway. The addition of this drainage will let the fairway drain properly. All the old drainage from many years ago was no longer working, so with the construction of the gully it was a perfect time to add the new drainage.

Final grade on #9

After sod was laid

Drainage end of #9 Fairway

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Time to Nest

The last few weeks we have seed some old friends. The Mountain Bluebirds and the Western Bluebirds are back from there migration. Over the next few weeks these beautiful birds will be making there nests for the summer in the bird houses that we have scattered over the golf course. In the past we've had great success with our bird houses with numerous eggs and eventually baby birds. Last year every one of our houses had new born chicks. The Blue birds usually lay there eggs in May and June and some times I have seen eggs even later. We typically monitor the nests in the early summer to check on the health of the birds and the nests. Once the nesting season is over we remove the used nests and get ready for next years birds.

Female Western Bluebird
Building her nest. Only the females build the nests.

Go Deep

The deep tine aerator we used on the greens this year is a very welcome addition to our equipment inventory. With this piece of equipment we can pull a hollow core up to 10 inches deep or penetrate the soil with a solid tine up to 12 inches deep. This aerator differs from our normal aerators in two ways. One is the depth and the other is the fracturing of the soil. The main reason for a deep tine is obviously compaction relief but one other reason is to break through the compacted layer of soil left from years of conventional aerators that only go 4 to 6 inches deep. This depth is all dependent on the size of the tine and the quality of your soil. The deep tine will actual lift the soil up to a 1/2 inch breaking up the soil structure and promoting air and water infiltration.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Environmental Planning

Recently we received our Certificate in environmental planning from the Audubon International.
This certificate means that the information and plans that we submitted to Audubon were approved and we can now start implementing these plans over the next few years. The Pinery Country Club is now one step closer to becoming a Certified Audubon Sanctuary. If you want to know more about Audubon International for golf courses go to this link

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Back to Back

Over the last week we have received two back to back spring snow storms. The first was on the 20th of March where we totaled 6 inches and the last spring storm on March 24th dumped over 12 inches in less than 12 hours. That's our wild Colorado spring weather. We don't expect this snow to last long since it is going to be in the upper 50's on Thursday. I just hope we catch a break in the weather in April when we start aerification.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Wildflower Plantings

With the upcoming snow storm we took advantage of the planed moisture and planted all of our wildflower seed this week. We planted close to 75 pounds of seed and covered more than 80,000 sq feet at various rates from 1lb/m to 1.5lb/m depending on the area. To apply the seed we mix it in with a ground brand product from a local farm & feed store. The brand is a great carrier for the seed since we apply it at such low rates over a large area. When we pick a area to seed we measure out the total square foot we want wildflowers and weigh out the appropriate amount of seed to apply. Then we thoroughly mix the seed with the brand and use a broadcast spreader to apply the seed. Once the seed is down we rake or till in the seed making sure to get good seed soil contact. Now we just wait for the moisture and some warmer weather to promote germination. As of now it looks like our timing was spot on we are expecting 7-12 inches of snow and warmer weather after the snow passes. Lets just cross our fingers for the perfect conditions for some more wildflowers.

The seed mixed with brand

Applying the seed

Raking in the seed

Some good seed soil contact

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Vole Damage

The Dreaded Vole or so called Meadow mouse or Field mouse can cause extensive turf damage under extended snow cover . As we all know each spring every home owner with a lawn has Vole damage. But just imagine if you had a front lawn that covered over 115 acres! Well that is what we have to deal with every spring on the golf course. Most of the damage that the Vole creates is in our rough where deep snow lingers in pockets most of the winter. The Vole eats a variety of plant life but mostly grass, and they do not hibernate they stay active all year. We typical see the most Vole damage in the spring when the snow melts. This damages resembles a surface runway or burrow system with many burrow openings into the ground. Once the snow is gone it is time to get out and repair the turf that is damaged . One of the things we do is to rake up the entire area that has damage and fill the runways with a soil seed mixture. Be sure to do this in late March or early April when we have some good moisture in the ground. This will give the seed time to germinate. One of the only ways to prevent Vole damage is to map out the areas every year to see if there is a pattern. If a pattern starts to develop a simple application of a organic rodent repellent, Capsaicin ( the hot in chili) or Zinc phosphide in late fall before snow cover will help that area. The problem is that patterns year to year change because our snow cover can be different every winter. If you have the time and energy traps work as well ( good luck). In the end this small rodent is one of those creatures we just have to deal with and hope for the best when spring arrives.

Damage in the rough from the Vole

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Big Melt

This last week we have had a ton of melting going on. With temp's in the mid to upper 50's there isn't much snow left on the course. We do however still have some areas with significant snow cover, mostly our northern exposures. Some of these areas have over 15 inches of snow that has build up over the winter. With the warm weather this week we had the opportunity to remove the snow since it had softened. Over the winter we have been monitoring these areas for ice cover and any turf damage due to the extended snow cover. Fortunately we never saw any ice or turf damage, but it is now time to start pulling off the snow. With the turf peeking through the melting has rapidly increased, some areas have little or no cover now. And so far the turf underneath looks very healthy.

Sand Pro with modified ATV plow

#5 Mountain course

Most of the areas in this picture had 8 to 15 inches
of snow cover over the winter.

Close up of the fairway

This was after 15 inches of snow was removed.
Once we removed most of the snow the melting increased.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Cabin Fever

Well it has been a long cold winter and I am sure all of are members are itching to get out on the golf course. Well it will be a while here in Colorado and also in Georgia. Take a look at these pictures from Augusta earlier this month. The weather pattern this winter has been one for the record books all over the country. From record snow fall back east and in the south and a lack of snow in Vancouver B.C. I am sure the Olympic committee would like some of this snow from Augusta for the Olympic ski runs.

The Hogan Bridge

Amen Corner

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Heat It Up

Over the last few weeks we have had some timely snows and some much needed moisture so we took advantage of the poor weather by working on the inside of our pump house. The pump house was never insulated or drywalled during original construction so the new insulation and drywall will be a warm welcome addition. The reason we have to insulate the pump house is because of the cold weather that we receive in late fall and early spring. Inside the pump station there are many sensitive valves and tubes that freeze easily. When these mechanicals freeze it can send the pump station into a tailspin. The most important item is our pressure sensor. In the past this always froze during our very cold nights. The frozen sensor would fool the station, making it think we had a break because the pressure it was reading was false since it was frozen. These false reading would create a premature shut down of the pump station. This shutdown is hard on our pipes, wastes water and is just a pain in the you no what. Now with the addition of insulation and drywall all of those shutdowns will be a distant memory.

We used moisture resistant drywall on the lower four feet

Near our fertigation tank we use moisture resistant drywall
to the height of eight feet

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Local Wildlife

The wildlife at the Pinery is very extensive and beautiful, we have seen the American Bald Eagle to Prairie Antelope and many more. It goes to show you that golf courses are a haven for wildlife not a deterrent. The hard part is getting pictures and being at the right place and the right time. The snap shots below are just a small inventory of the wildlife we were able to freeze in time.

American Bald Eagle
Mostly seen in late winter, a rare sight but we see them every winter

A young Red Fox
We see these little guys all summer
They even steal our members golf balls off the greens

Large Whitetail Buck
This trophy buck was on the Mountain course one late evening

Whitetail Deer
These Whitetail's were out after a rain storm
We see these all year

Red Tail Hawk
This guy was huge at least 3 feet tall
Just scoping out the native for some lunch

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hanging On

The light snow we received Super Bowl Sunday still seems to be hanging on. The three inches of the white stuff gave us some much needed moisture for the course and our southern exposures. Even though the moisture was only slight it will delay us from having to hand water this week. As you can see in the pictures below the greens are still holding snow since they are frozen solid and the snow is slowly melting off the southern exposures. We will see what the weather brings next week but I am sure we will be back out winter watering.

#6 Fairway Lake
Notice the lack of snow on the southern exposures to the left
of the fairway

#5 Green Lake
The green is still covered but the rest of the snow is gone
This entire hole faces south

Friday, February 5, 2010

Ice Patrol

Well we have had snow and ice cover on select areas of the course since the middle of December. So it is time to start taking of the snow and ice. Most of these areas are northern exposures or areas shaded from trees. The reason we have to take off the snow and ice is because over time the turf builds up gases under the ice layer, particularly carbon dioxide. If the ice is not removed we will have turf loss. Every grass has different tolerances for ice but a good rule of thumb is after 60-75 days of cover you can see damage. We first work on the greens and then move to fairways. Over the last few years we have had success with a black sand product that we use on the greens. All the other areas or in native soils we use Metro Grow a compost product. Now that the days are getting longer and the sun is shifting in the sky these areas are now receiving more sun light. With the black sand and the Metro Grow being darker the heat from the sun is absorbed in the areas where the product was applied. Much like wearing a dark shirt in the middle of winter you feel the heat from the sun being absorbed by the darker color. Over time the heat from the sun is slowly melting the snow and ice. Leaving you with clear turf.

#3 green Mountain course Tuesday February 2nd after black sand was applied
1-2 inches of ice cover.

#3 green Mountain course Friday 9am February 5th
Average day time temp's in the 40's and partly cloudy to sunny sky's
No ice cover. It only took 3 full days to melt the ice.

#12 fairway Tuesday February 2nd after Metro grow was applied
3-4 inches of ice cover

#12 fairway Valley course Friday 9am February 5th
Average day time temp's in the 40's and partly cloudy to sunny sky's
1/2 to 1 inch ice cover and still melting

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Preventative Maintenance

I always get asked what do you do over the winter? Well here is the answer. During the winter months we perform many maintenance practices on and off the course. The single largest practice is our PM (preventive maintenance) program. We perform PM on all of our large equipment, small tools, amenities and small equipment. The reason we do PM in the winter is simply preparing everything for summer. With our large and small equipment our mechanic looks over the machine like it's getting a physical. He takes a good look inside and out and references notes taken earlier in the summer for items that need to be addressed for that particular piece of equipment. Once the machine has had a extensive look through it's time to get to work. Below is a small list of a typical PM program on a fairway mower.

- Steam clean dirt, oil and grease off
- Wax body
- Grease all fittings
- Oil change if needed
- Sharpen cutting reels
- Replace bed knives
- Check cutting heights
- Inspect electrical components and wiring
- Inspect hydraulic cylinders
- Inspect hydraulic hoses and fittings
- Inspect or change air filters
- Inspect or change hydraulic hoses
- Inspect tires and tread
- Inspect any external damage
- Inspect or change seals or bearings
- Repair or replace items as needed

Working on a fairway reel
prepping for grinding

Working on small equipment

The other PM we perform is on all of our small tools, club and course amenities. We basically clean, repair, paint, varnish and stain all of the amenities and small tools, so come summer they all look like and feel brand new. These preventive maintenance practices not only protect our investment but it keeps us very busy all winter.

Wet sanding ball washers
prepping for paint

Working on small tools

Monday, January 18, 2010

Fly South Geese

This year we seem to have more migratory Canadian Geese that ever before. We do understand why we have so many more geese than in previous years maybe it was related to the very cold December north of Colorado? The damage we have received is extensive in small areas, and the goose poo is everywhere. We are more concerned about desiccation in the areas the geese have eaten. The geese eat the top layer of turf exposing the crown. This top layer of turf helps hold in much needed moisture to keep the crown hydrated. Now with the lack of snow cover in these areas and minimal turf we have to water the areas and try to cover them back up with snow. Our preventative measures are still working by using bird bangers basically fire works. This is at least keeping the geese somewhat under control. These loud noise makers keep the geese moving on. But with such large numbers it is difficult to keep all of them off the course.

Here are some interesting facts about the Canadian Goose

- They can fly 16 hours at a time
- Typically cover thousands of miles every migration
- Can fly as high as 8,000 feet
- Have flown the same migratory path for millions of years
- Can fly as fast as 60 mph
- Can live up to 30 years
- Mate for life
- Migrate south for more food and less predators

Probably the most interesting fact of the Canadian Goose is the flying V formation. The V formation does not necessarily point the way the geese are going but it has to do with air resistance. The first bird in formation breaks up the wind creating less drag. During their flight the birds change positions until all of them have taken the front position. This keeps the birds form getting over tired.