Green Dept. Scramble

A huge heartfelt thank you goes out to all of the members that took the time this past Monday afternoon to play (sic) golf with employees. All the departments were represented, except the business office ( lets all work on this for next years event, it would be great for the ladies to join us) and judging by the smiles and laughter in the grill room after golf, a great time was had by all!!

I’d like to congratulate the winning team of Honey Friedman, Dr. Herb Cohn,  John Ecclestone and Green Dept. employee Jeff ( I will be laying him off next October to prevent a three peat) Schmidt.

I also would like to thank Chris Barletta for setting up the event, Jennifer ( who will be joining us next year) Gravinese for help spreading the word, and Chef Dan for making the pizza and salad………… appear!

Green dept scram 14

Hope to see everyone again next year!

Trees

Please excuse my absent from the blog over the last 30+ days. As most of you know the golf schedule has been very intense with multiple outings and golf events filling the calender. This has required the Green Dept to focus on conditioning and not working on any projects. But that all changes today as we, well really our Arborist, will begin removing over a dozen trees throughout the golf course.

The two main reasons for these removals are tree health or lack of it and turf health. The largest impact that you will notice will be around the large practice putting green as 5 of the largest evergreens will be removed. The older white pines have reached their useful life but more importantly is their presence have created a less than favorable growing environment for the green. we constantly babysit the back and right side of the green every year. A few years we have been successful, most we are not. This has resulted in multiple attempts of sodding out the areas of turf lose, changing the grade of the surface, and other cultural practices that have made little or no difference. I feel we have exhausted all of our options with the exception of tree removal. The USGA agrees with us also on this plan.

PPGpines before

Removing these trees will also provide an added benefit of expanding the practice area in the future. Both the Green and Construction Committee’s have discussed the possibility of expanding/combining the practice putting green(s) along with adding a larger, multi-station warm up cage. Your thoughts on this idea or another use of this area would be much appreciated.

An other tree to be removed for putting green health will be the silver maple behind 16 green. This tree causes the back of the green stress multiple times per year. Its mere size causes shade and its aggressive roots draw excessive amounts of water from under the green. It has to go!! The removal will also benefit the tee on 17. Right now the right side of the tee is hardly used because the maple interferes with the line of flight of a ball leaving the tee. So its really a win-win situation for the both the tee and green.

silver maple on the left

silver maple on the left

From 17 tee

From 17 tee

All other trees to be removed are either in poor health or were severely damaged from the winter storms last year. The Arborist will also be trimming back trees along the left side of 3 fairway, at 3 green, 11 tee and 17 tee. This is all being done for playability reasons.

I thank you in advance for your patience while this work is being completed and welcome your comments on the work being done.

Broken mower on # 8

Unfortunately things like this happen from time to time. This 14 year old mower snapped it’s axle on Tuesday. We tried to get it back the the shop to make the appropriate repairs but determined that we would only be causing more damage to the mower and the golf course itself. The repairs will have to be made right in the rough.

We apologize for the unsightly appearance and the interruption of your game. Its our goal to have the repairs completed and the mower off the hole before the end of the day on Friday.

Thank you for your understanding of this unique situation.AR250 3 wheel

Thorn bushes on 15.

I have a concern about the thorn bushes on the 15th fairway. Left side against the fence where a hook will find the fence. It is possible for a golfer to have to swing into large sharp thorns. I would urge you to yank these tall bushes.

Submitted by Gary Ames On 8/25/14

Aerification update

The weather continues to be in our favor today which will enable us to complete topdressing of the greens. There are only 4 greens to complete: # 4, 5, 7 & 9. The topdressing is scheduled to be delivered at 10 am, so we should be completed by 3 pm.

Fairway aerification will be in progress today on holes 7, 8 & 12. The smaller section of 7 fairway along with the larger section of 8, and the bottom of 12 are aerated using solid tines. These tines do not pull a plug. This method allows us the firm up the surface of these normally wet fairways by filling the aeration holes with topdressing. If we used coring tines we would have to remove the cores by hand before we topdressed which would be very labor intensive and cost prohibited. These fairways along with # 3 landing area are the only ones that are topdressed.

We will resume core aeration on Tuesday August 26 on the back nine fairways, weather permitting of course. Thanks for everyone’s patience’s during the entire aerification process.

 

Bermudagrass

Dictionary.com defines the word “weed” as the following:

“a valueless plant growing wild, especially one that grows on cultivated ground to the exclusion or injury of the desired crop”.
 
This defines the Bermuda grass that is growing on the tees, collars, fairways, and roughs through out the golf course! This warm season plant (thrives in the summer) has a very aggressive and invasive growth pattern. Its spreads via rhizomes (underground horizontal stem, that produces leaves and roots) and stolons ( a prostate stem that produces new plants, usually found at the surface) and can be very difficult to control!
Bermuda 003
 
Bermuda 004
Bermuda invading the nursery green!!
 
In case your wondering how it got here at Bala, and other area golf courses, it was the turf of choice back in the 1950’s before fairway irrigation was the norm. This plant needs very little water to survive and is very winter hardy! So it made a good fit for the times.
 
Over the next couple of weeks, we will be attempting to control this weed though out the course! i say control because it is almost impossible to kill it without costly soil sterilization. And since it doesn’t even make a half decent playing surface, letting it grow is not an option either as it will eventually take over the playing surface!
 
Last summer I experimented with a new herbicide called Pylex, the results were very impressive although there is some discoloration of both the bermudagrass( it will actually turn white over time) and the desirable perennial ryegrass. Here is a pic from the18th fairway from last August.
Pylex 8-30-13
So there is no reason for fear when you come across these areas. The discoloration will subside with time. Please remember the game is played on a surface not a color! And as we over seed during aerification of these invaded areas,  the new seedlings will fill in the voids from the declining bermudagrass.
 
Oh and to show you how tough of a plant it is, this is the asphalt curb on #11!!
yes its growing through the curb!!!!
 
 

Aerification

Greens aerification is scheduled for this upcoming Monday and Tuesday, August 18 & 19. Fairway aerification will also be taking place on those days but will take two weeks to complete with good weather conditions. Think sunny, dry, breezy days, the same conditions that make playing the game that much more enjoyable! So here lies our conflict. We’ll both be vying for the same space!!

Green aeration 14

Green topdressing14

Greens aerification is the most disruptive process. We perform on average, 11 separate activities per green to complete the process! And this is under the ideal weather condition I listed above. Throw in some clouds and or a brief shower and the 11 can easily turn into 15 or more steps. This is why we need to be out there when you want to be playing. So I ask for your patience’s and cooperation during aerification. There maybe times when you approach the green(s) and there is no cup or flag in it, its covered with plugs and or topdressing or one of the Green Dept. staff is in the middle of a process. Please give us the right of way. The less waiting we have to do, the quicker we can finish and the greens can start the healing process!

In the near future I will write about the benefits of aerification.