February 27, 2013

Winter flooding

As we expected, the heavy rains melted much of the snow that blanketed the golf course. The tide gate was closed during much of the day, and all the water moving through the watershed was trapped on the golf course. As we left this afternoon the flood gate was open, but it will take a while for the area to drain completely. Thankfully the forecast looks good for the weekend which should help dry things out.

February 25, 2013

Winter update

This afternoon I decided to take a walk, enjoy the warm sun, and check on how the golf course was holding up to the winter weather.  My first priority was to see how much snow was left on the course so that I could determine when we would be able to resume our winter projects.  Judging by the forecast we should be able to get back out there very soon. 

A thin layer of ice has formed below the snow
on the 13th green, but not enough to cause alarm.
Next, I wanted to dig a few holes on greens and examine what was going on under the snow.  Everything was just as I had hoped, and expected.  The deep snow that buried us earlier this month has served as an insulating blanket protecting the turf from harsh dry winds and extreme cold at night.  There were a few warm spells and rain events that melted a large portion of the snowpack, and that has created a thin layer of ice on the green surface.  The ice is not very thick (<1"), has not been around long (<30 days), and is very gray and grainy.  Ice becomes a problem on greens when it is thick and dense, and covers the turf for more than 60 days.  The gray grainy appearance means that there is air throughout the ice and there is no danger of the turf suffocating. 

Finally, I wanted to get out and look at some of the projects we had been working on prior to the snowstorm.  The most obvious work has been done around the 13th green.  We hired a tree company to remove a couple of large, damaged trees.  While they were on property I had them prune many of the trees surrounding the green to increase sun exposure and remove any dead or damaged limbs that presented safety concerns.  The finished look is remarkable.  The mature oaks appear much healthier and add much more character to the area.
We started filling in the cart path to the 14th tee that had been eroding, and was begining to show signs of damage.  We installed large boulders to create a shelf about 2/3 of the way down the slope, and backfilled the upper and lower portions with soil.  Once the weather is suitable we will install plugs of grass that will help support the slope while the rest of the area is planted with seed.  The grasses will be selected to compliment the natural areas that have already been established throughout the area.  The final stage of the project will be to design and install a naturalized planting using ornamentals and grasses that will add color interest in the area just below the rock outcrops.  This will provide a naturally beautiful backdrop that will compliment the ruggedness of the natural surroundings.

Before long it will be time to dust off the clubs and get back out on the course.  When you do keep an eye out for some of the changes that we made over the winter.  A few favorites (for some, but certainly not all) will be:
  • the removal of the large pine tree on the back of the 8th tee.  The fairway area is much more inviting, especially from the 17th forward tee. 
  • The mound on the 6th hole is the process of being removed.  We will soften the feature to create a manageable undulation that will still protect the corner, but will not impact the pace of play.
  • We have removed a few more trees to the right of the 5th fairway.  Hopefully you will have a better chance of finding your ball, but I doubt you will be any happier once you do.
In a future post I will share some of the things we have accomplished over the last few weeks while we have been snowed in the shop.  I hope that the changes to the timing and nature of our programs will make a significant impact on your ability to enjoy the golf course.