April 30, 2014

Spring update

The calendar says that we are in the middle of spring, but looking out the window it feels more like it's just beginning.  We have been working hard to complete our renovation projects while getting the course open and ready for the golf season.
The greens aeration at the beginning of April has worked out beautifully, although the cool weather has delayed the recovery process a bit more than I had anticipated.  The rain today should put the finishing touches on the recovery, and the playing surfaces should be firm and smooth throughout the remainder of the season.  We will address the tees and fairways in the coming weeks as the weather and work schedule allow, but it will have minimal impact on the accessibility and playability of the golf course.
We now have two major projects complete, and hope to finish the third in the next couple of weeks.  The new mats at the driving range have been installed and have received rave reviews.  The fairway bunkers on the 1st hole have been renovated the sod has been installed.  They should be open for play by the middle of May.
The last major project is the re-grassing of the rough along the left side of the 1st hole.  This project is taking the longest due to irrigation repairs and upgrades which can only be completed at low tide.  These should be completed by the end of the week, allowing us to focus on improving the soil and installing the sod.  We have repaired, upgraded and expanded the irrigation over the last few weeks to improve the health of the turf after the renovation project is complete.
The phragmites are starting to recover from the winter mowing, and we will do our best to keep them under control.  There are a few people that do not like the changes, but as the native vegetation returns to the wetlands I am confident that the majority of the golfers will grow to like the new look.  The only place that there is a general dislike of the removal is along the 2nd hole.  We will be extending the wooden fence at the tee and will allow a 10'-15' buffer to grow back to block the view of the road. 
Soon warmer weather will be upon us and the grass will be growing vigorously.  We look forward to putting the projects to rest and enjoying the warm sun and sea breezes that make Pine Orchard the place to be in the Summer.

April 14, 2014

Fwd: Urgent request for residents of: Branford, Bridgeport, Glastonbury, Manchester & Tolland towns.

On the surface this looks like a no brainer. Eliminate pesticide use at schools to protect our children. In reality it is a tactic to prevent the responsible use of pesticides everywhere. The proposed legislation is based entirely on emotion rather than science. 
Professional turf organizations asked to have a study designed and completed to determine the actual level of exposure to pesticides on fields managed under mandated Integrated Pest Management protocols.  While there is evidence that some pesticides pose a potential threat to human health, there is not evidence that connects the exposure to a dose that correlates to increased risk of illness. 
The initial restriction was for grades k-8. The new bill expands that to all schools AND municipal grounds. Golf courses will be next. That will significantly affect our ability to provide the playing conditions that modern golfers enjoy and have come to expect. 
Please read the message below and consider encouraging your legislator to make decisions based on science rather than unfounded claims based on emotion. 

Pete Gorman
Golf Course Superintendent 
Pine Orchard Yacht & Country Club
Branford, CT

Begin forwarded message:

From: CAGCS <maryjo@cagcs.com>
Date: April 14, 2014 at 2:11:13 PM EDT
To: petegorman@ymail.com
Subject: Urgent request for residents of: Branford, Bridgeport, Glastonbury, Manchester & Tolland towns.

CAGCS Meeting Notice
Urgent request for residents of: Branford, Bridgeport, Glastonbury, Manchester & Tolland towns.

I am writing to ask your assistance, CTEC is counting votes in the Planning & Development committee for a vote tomorrow at 1 PM.

We need these specific areas to get involved! Bridgeport, Tolland, Branford, Glastonbury, Manchester to contact their legislators on the Planning and Development Committee and ask them to vote no on SB68.

Below is our Action Alert:

Call and/or email members of the Planning & Development Committee to OPPOSE SB68 by Tuesday, April 15th at 1 p.m. Call 860-240-0550.

A list of committee members can be found at http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/MemberList.asp?comm_code=PD

Background: SB68 has been amended and now EXPANDS THE BAN on use of EPA registered PESTICIDES on school grounds to include grades K-12.

Today's pesticide products represent an important, effective tool to more than 8,000 trained and licensed Connecticut professionals like me who work hard to keep outdoor spaces healthy and safe.

Well-designed integrated pest management (IPM) programs can reduce pesticide use by using maintenance and sanitation as the first line of defense against insects, rodents and noxious weeds.

However, pesticides do plays a valuable role in IPM programs by providing reliable pest control and preventing pest problems from reaching dangerous levels.

The proper and judicious use of pesticide products help protect towns from harmful pests, noxious weeds and allows for safer playing fields.

SB68 Bans the use of EPA registered synthetic pesticides on school grounds, parks, playgrounds, athletic fields and municipal greens.

Any questions or concern - contact:

Scott Ramsay, CGCS
Government Relations Chairperson

Connecticut Association of Golf Course Superintendents, Inc
P.O. Box 3678, Woodbridge, CT 06525
Telephone: (203) 387-0810
Toll Free: (888) 561-7778
Fax: (203) 387-7866
E-Mail Address: cagcs@cagcs.com
Website: http://www.cagcs.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CAGCS

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New mats installed today.

The new mat has been attached to the concrete pad on the practice tee. We are currently working on preparing the surrounding area for sod, including installation of a small drain in the low spot behind the tee. 
Please refrain from using the new mat until we set up a walkway through the dirt so that we avoid contaminating the artificial surface.  I hope to install the sod surrounding the mats by the end of the week, but that will be determined by the amount of rain we get tomorrow. We will provide updates here on the blog, through the golf shop, and in the newsletter. 

April 7, 2014

Greens Aeration Complete

Today we completed our spring aeration on the greens, which included a 1/2" core aeration and a deep verticutting.  Tonight's rain should wash in the remaining sand that was left on the surface from the winter topdressing, and the sun will drive the recovery process over the next few weeks.
I figured this would be a great time to get the work completed for a few reasons. First, the 3/4" holes from the fall deep aeration had not healed so a few more holes would not hurt. Second, the different grass species break dormancy at different rates leaving the greens bumpy and inconsistent this time of year, so the disruption from aeration would be a minor additional inconvenience. Finally, there are fewer golfers this time of year than during our traditional timing, and most of the golfers that are playing are just trying to find their swing after a long winter. By the time people are ready to focus on their finesse on and around the greens, the surfaces will be healed and we will be shifting our focus to producing firm, fast playing conditions.
Aeration is never a popular endeavor, so we shifted our schedule to minimize the impact on the golf calendar without compromising our ability to achieve our goals.  In the coming weeks we will be shifting our focus to tees, approaches, and fairways, as well as completing the renovation projects on the first hole and driving range.  I will keep you posted on any progress we make on all fronts.  Until then, I hope the weather cooperates and you are able to get out and enjoy the golf course.