Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Distant Markers

At DCC we currently have granite engraved distant markers in the tee's and the fairways. The fairways only have markers 100m, 150m, and 200m markers and this week we have started installing the 50m, 75m, 125m and 175m markers between the others to help our members with getting the distance right quickly and efficiently.

New markers for the fairways

Monday, August 29, 2011

Spring Treatment part 2 (Fairways)

The past week we have started with the fairways and what we are doing this year is a very deep verti cutting and scarifying to remove all the thatch. This is done to help with leveling of the fairways by removing small humps and bumps also growth from overfilled divots that etc.With doing this we will get fresh new growth coming through as we moving into spring. This process will also remove most of the grain on the fairways as the cynodon dactylon (common Bermuda) we have on them is a very grainy grass.

Widening of fairways 1,3,5,8,9,10,11,14,16,17 where done !!!

Amazone scarifying fairways level flat fairways.

Hockey and verti cutting blades used on the amazone to remove the thatch.

Verti cutting blades on the fairway mower for undulating areas like the 8 and 17th fairways.

 Scarifying 18th fairway with the amazone. The fairway was wet due to the heavy rain we have had so we had to go over the fairway again to sweep up all clippings.

Fairway being cleaned.

9th fairway widen on right.

11th fairway widen on left.

Fertilizing fairways after they where cleaned and cut down to 10mm where they will stay for the summer.

Watering fairways after the fertilizer has been put down.
Please bear with us this following few weeks as we are fertilizing and watering the course while you play !

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Spring Treatment (Greens)

Yes it is that time again where we are hollowting (aerifing) the greens at DCC. See aerification as merely a short-term disruption that has long-term benefits for golf courses.
Preventative maintenance is an integral part of successful golf course management. Golfers view aerification as an inconvenience that takes the greens out of play for a day, pulling cores from the greens and leaving holes that can affect putting for many days before healing.

But a golfer needs to understand how important aerification is to producing healthy turf.

Aerification (also known as aeration or hollowtining) achieves three important objectives. It relieves soil compaction, it provides a method to improve the soil mixture around the highest part of a green's roots and it reduces or prevents the accumulation of excess thatch.

Like so many things, the quality of a good putting green is more than skin deep. In fact, the condition of a green has a lot to do with what goes on below the surface. In order for grass to grow at 3mm, it must have deep, healthy roots. Good roots demand oxygen. In good soil, they get the oxygen from tiny pockets of air trapped between soil and sand particles.

Over time, the traffic from golfers's feet (as well as mowing equipment) tends to compact the soil under the putting green - particularly when the soil contains a lot of clay like at DCC. When soil becomes compacted, the air pockets on which the roots depend are crushed, and the roots are essentially left gasping for air. Without oxygen, the grass plants become weaker and will eventually wither and die.

Aerification is a mechanical process that creates more air space in the soil and promotes deeper rooting, thus helping the grass plants stay healthy. In most cases, it's done by removing half-inch (13mm) cores (those plugs you sometimes see near a green or in fairways) from the compacted soil, allowing for an infusion of air and water that brings a resurgence of growth. The spaces are then filled with sand "topdressing" that helps the soil retain air space and makes it easier for roots to grow downward.

At DCC the greens are constructed of soils with significant amounts of silt, clay and fine organic particles that are prone to compaction. Filling aerification holes with sand improves drainage and resists compaction. The periodic introduction of sand to a green's top layer can, over time, avoid or postpone expensive rebuilding or renovation of greens.

There are many types of aerifying machines with different attachments that address different problems in the various stages of the life of a green. So the next time you're ready to scream when the aerifiers are brought on the course, remember that a little preventative maintenance produces the best greens over the long haul.

Here is a few photos of the Aerifing / Hollowtining process...

Toro Pro core hollow tining greens

Cleaning the cores of the greens

Greens cleaned and ready for sand

Top dressing greens

Green and fringe all topdressed

Drag the sand into the holes with brushes and a drag matt to fill them

All hole filled

Fertilizing greens with 17-0-17 for fast new growth

Watering in all the fertilizer... All done

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Green Speed....

We strive to have consistent green speeds from green to green and day to day. Green to green there can easily be a foot variation in speed …studies show that golfers cannot detect changes in speed up to a foot. Day to day we aim to be between 9’ and 10’ foot on the stimp. Here are a few factors that go into green speed:

• Mowing frequency / Mowers

• Height of cut

• Rolling

• Green size

• Drainage

• Moisture

• Shade

• Air flow

• Environmental stress

• Growth regulators

• Annual Poa annua seedheads

• Fertilizer

• Labor force size

• Labor force training

• Budget

• Soil type

• Turf species

• Thatch layer thickness

• Golf event calendar / schedule

• Maintenance procedures like: Hollowtining, Topdressing, Verti-cutting, Aerifying, Dusting, Grooming etc.

This is to name at least a few...

The list of factors that affect playability of greens goes on and on. Some factors like soil type, turf species, drainage and green size, etc., are fairly constant at most courses. Almost every other component to the equation is a fluctuating variable. The superintendent has a wide range of control of these factors varying from total control to no control. This is not simple math. One and one never equals two. We are talking about the un-natural manipulation of a living organism, under a wide range of uncontrollable environmental conditions in a micro-climate we have unnaturally forced upon it. We do everything we can to keep speed and consistency our priority regardless of the uncontrollable factors.

Let’s look at the past week at DCC,
• Coldest winter we have had in decades has slowed down the growth tremedously
• Heavy dusting of the greens to help them dry out cause of the very unusual winter rain
• There has been quite a bit of algae growth on them due to no sun \ heat and standing water. It also doesnt help that they are no drainage in them .
• Over six inches (150mm) of rain in past week made greens soft and un-mow able for three days straight (mechanical damage / scalping would have been unacceptable)

• Unable to roll due to heavy rain

• Fertilizer used to help greens heal from traffic, pitch marks and recover from the cold is forcing turf to grow faster

These are just my circumstances this week. Every course is different. Courses that just aerified might be facing additional issues like trying to keep mower blades sharp enough to get a quality cut. Maybe your course is trying to re-establish turf from winter damage. Maybe your course gets 100,000 rounds a year, the greens are the size of postage stamps and are located in spots that get limited sun or air flow. A lot of the courses in KZN has Paspalum greens and with the very cold and wet winter we have had has very little to no growth and the greens are full of Poa annua. lot of  I could go on and on.

The point is that me as a superintendent is doing everything I can to consistently manipulate the greens, in an unnatural way, with many uncontrollable, inconsistent and unpredictable variables.

Regardless of budget size, equipment inventory or their labor staff’s experience, I as a superintendent has to have the ability to consistently adapt and overcome the consistently changing environmental circumstances in which we are presented. Mother Nature still holds most of the cards.