Thursday, October 6, 2016

October Maintenance Update

Golf Course Maintenance Update

Fall is here and with that comes shorter days and cooler weather.  Irrigation scheduling can be very challenging during this time of year because of the wide range of weather conditions that we can experience.  Generally speaking though, we are watering a lot less with the night cycles and spending more time doing spot watering during the morning before play starts.  The point that I am trying to get across here is that the golf course has never followed a “set if and forget it” mentality when it comes to irrigation.  The oversight that occurs now is critical to prevent over-watering of the course.

This is also a time of year when I have to spend some time reminding residents that they also have a responsibility to be aware of the irrigation of their yards and to start cutting back the watering times.  Overwatering of adjacent properties often impacts the golf course because of the runoff that creates excessively wet areas that can be easily damaged by powered golf carts or mowing equipment.  It is also very wasteful of a precious resource. 

I would like to make a few comments about the management of home irrigation.  As I mentioned before, the management or mismanagement of home irrigation doesn’t just impact a homeowner’s yard.  It can also impact the golf course.  I can understand the frustration many homeowners’ may have with trying to use the difficult to program controller that is in the garage.  The typical Toro or Rainbird controller is very confusing to program and because of that most users just like to set them and leave them alone.  This leads to adequate watering in the summer months, but leads to over-watering in the winter and even worse, watering during or immediately after a rain event.
There is a solution to this problem and it is coming to us by way of the internet and the internet of things.  I recently installed a smart wi-fi irrigation controller at my home and have been really impressed with its capabilities.  I installed a controller made by Rachio.  More information can be found at www.Rachio.com.  This controller was very easy to setup and because it is connected to the internet via wi-fi, it is constantly adjusting the run times of the sprinklers based on the current weather conditions.  I used an easy to follow setup procedure in a web browser and in a few minutes everything was ready to go.  I have been using it since August and have been very pleased with how my lawn and landscape look.  There are apps on both IOS and Android that allow you to check the system status from anywhere.  Rachio is not the only company that has come out with a new style wi-fi connected controller, but I use it and recommend it.  The device will water your yard more efficiently, adjust watering times automatically and even stop irrigation if rain is in the forecast.  The golf course will thank you also.

The golf course maintenance department has aerified and reseeded the driving range.  Fertilizer was also applied.  The range will require frequent daytime irrigation for the next couple of weeks to ensure good germination of the seed.  The seed cannot be allowed to dry out during this critical time.  We appreciate your patience.

Several large Eucalyptus trees were removed from the course in the last few weeks.  The trees were not structurally sound and posed a risk to nearby properties.  They were located on the 13th, 17th and 18th holes.

Rip rap installation has been an ongoing maintenance project.  We have a large stockpile of rock in the maintenance area ready to be installed around the course.  The maintenance department will continue with its installation as a filler project.  Targeted areas are: the rest of the lake to the west of the 12th hole, the lake banks adjacent to Emerald Court, and the lake bank between holes 5 and 8.  The rip rap is used for erosion control and beautification.

It would be greatly appreciated if all members using power carts would always keep all 4 tires on the paths when near the greens and tees.  There is no need to pull onto the turf when parking to tee off or putt.

Please do your best to repair your ball marks, also encourage your families and guests to repair their ball marks and at least 2 others on each green during your round.  It takes almost no time to do and helps to keep the greens in the best possible condition for all players.
Also, I am happy to see so many divots being filled with the sand and seed mix.  Your help is greatly appreciated.  As usual, do not use the sand and seed mix on the tees.

We have a weather station that is monitoring and recording the local conditions.  It is connected to the internet so anyone can view it to see current conditions.  The link is: http://www.wunderground.com/personal-weather-station/dashboard?ID=KCADISCO10#history

Don’t forget to check the golf course maintenance department blog. The link to it is: http://dbgccmaintenance.blogspot.com/

Follow me on twitter; I am @dbgccsuper, for instant updates of conditions.

AFTER HOURS GOLF COURSE EMERGENCY NUMBER: (925) 392-1990
Please use this number for golf course related emergencies only, like broken sprinklers, pipes or fallen trees, etc.

Thank you for your time.
Chris Mains
Golf Course Superintendent

cmains@dbgcc.com

Monday, March 21, 2016

March Maintenance Update

Golf Course Maintenance Update


Spring aerification of the greens is happening this week.  The plan is to use the large 5/8” tines to really open them up to breath.  We can do this in the spring because the growing conditions are ideal for rapid recovery.  The aerification will be followed up with a heavy topdressing of sand to fill in the holes.  We will be doing the front 9 on Tuesday and the back 9 holes on Wednesday/Thursday.  Please be patient while we conduct this very important maintenance process.  This sets the tone for the season.

Aerification of the tees has already been completed.  The maintenance department will be aerifying the fairways and roughs during the month of April.  More information to follow.

Many of you saw or heard about the broken pipe that caused a geyser to run for most of the night last week.  Fortunately, the damage was minimal and easily repaired.  Unfortunately, there was a breakdown in communication and procedures that meant the golf course maintenance department was unaware of the problem until we arrived at work the next morning.  This has been addressed with the HOA and the town to ensure that this does not happen again.  If an emergency like this comes up in the future, please call the 24-hour emergency number which is (925) 392-1990.  The call will be answered by golf course staff that are able to respond to the problem.  The number is to be used for emergencies only.

The continuing rains have revealed some more drainage problems.  The latest areas to be worked on have been the 18th fairway near the lake and on the 4th fairway between the lake and the green.  In both cases, damaged sections of pipe had to be dug up and replaced to reestablish flow.  I am sure that more problem areas will be found before the rainy season is over.

The clubhouse area received some more attention.  The installation of a new split rail fence next to the driveway heading up to the clubhouse was completed.  Also completed was the installation of new ornamental plants next to the fence and at the entrance down at Clubhouse Drive.

Weeds are popping up everywhere.  We have started spraying the areas with selective herbicides to control the outbreak and will continue this process as the weather permits.

Rip rap installation has been an ongoing maintenance project.  The areas that benefited recently are in front of #13 tee and adjacent to the fairway on the 14th hole.  We have a large stockpile of rock in the maintenance area ready to be installed around the course.  The maintenance department will continue with its installation as a filler project.  Targeted areas are: the rest of the lake to the west of the 12th hole, the lake banks adjacent to Emerald Court, and the lake bank between holes 5 and 8.  The rip rap is used for erosion control and beautification.

It would be greatly appreciated if all members using power carts would always keep all 4 tires on the paths when near the greens and tees.  There is no need to pull onto the turf when parking to tee off or putt.

Please do your best to repair your ball marks, also encourage your families and guests to repair their ball marks and at least 2 others on each green during your round.  It takes almost no time to do and helps to keep the greens in the best possible condition for all players.
Also, I am happy to see so many divots being filled with the sand and seed mix.  Your help is greatly appreciated.  As usual, do not use the sand and seed mix on the tees.

We have a weather station that is monitoring and recording the local conditions.  It is connected to the internet so anyone can view it to see current conditions.  The link is: http://www.wunderground.com/personal-weather-station/dashboard?ID=KCADISCO10#history

Don’t forget to check the golf course maintenance department blog. The link to it is: http://dbgccmaintenance.blogspot.com/

Follow me on twitter; I am @dbgccsuper, for instant updates of conditions.

Thank you for your time.
Chris Mains
Golf Course Superintendent

cmains@dbgcc.com

Friday, February 19, 2016

February Maintenance Update

Golf Course Maintenance Update
The rains that the golf course has had revealed some drains that need to be worked on.  On the 7th hole a large 15 inch diameter pipe failed and created a sink hole to the right of the cartpath near the forward tee.  The maintenance staff dug up and replaced the bad piece of pipe.

 

Also, discovered, was a drain on the 13th hole on the right side of the fairway.  A 4 inch drain line is being replaced because tree roots grew into it causing a serious blockage.



An important project that we have wanted to take care of for a while was to replace some of the old style irrigation controllers.  They have been in place for 30 years and corrosion is taking its toll on the metal pipes that support the top section.  In at least one case a controller is being held up by re-bar and another is literally held together with duct tape!  We replaced a total of 3 controllers on the course: 2 on the second hole and 1 on the eleventh hole.  Below is an example of the before and after appearance.




Weeds are popping up everywhere.  We have started spraying the areas with selective herbicides to control the outbreak.  We will continue this process as the weather permits.

Aerification season is just around the corner with the greens scheduled to start on March 22nd.  We will be aerating roughs and tees as weather permits starting soon.

The yardage marker posts on the sides of the fairways are being removed from the golf course so that they can be given a fresh coat of paint.  We are doing it in stages; meaning one side of the fairway at a time.  When the first batch is done, they will be replaced and the rest brought in for painting.
The benches will also be receiving some attention shortly.  We appreciate your understanding.

I am still seeing a lot of people overwatering their yards.  I can’t stress enough how important it is for everyone to reduce the watering days or shut off their irrigation timers during wet wintry weather. The golf course has not applied any water with the irrigation system in weeks.  Your plants and grass will do fine with minimal water during this time of the year.

Rec 800 has begun the process of lowering the lakes on the golf course.  They do this every year to allow for maintenance purposes. 
**UPDATE** The warm weather as required us to postpone the aquatic weed control application on the north lakes to keep a pump station available to irrigate the golf course.  Rec 800 will begin refilling the south lakes during the first week of March.  We will then lower the north lakes for treatment and repairs.

Rip rap installation has been an ongoing maintenance project.  The areas that benefited recently are in front of #13 tee and adjacent to the fairway on the 14th hole.  We have a large stockpile of rock in the maintenance area ready to be installed around the course.  The maintenance department will continue with its installation as a filler project.  Targeted areas are: the rest of the lake to the west of the 12th hole, the lake banks adjacent to Emerald Court, and the lake bank between holes 5 and 8.  The rip rap is used for erosion control and beautification.

It would be greatly appreciated if all members using power carts would always keep all 4 tires on the paths when near the greens and tees.  There is no need to pull onto the turf when parking to tee off or putt.

Please do your best to repair your ball marks, also encourage your families and guests to repair their ball marks and at least 2 others on each green during your round.  It takes almost no time to do and helps to keep the greens in the best possible condition for all players.
Also, I am happy to see so many divots being filled with the sand and seed mix.  Your help is greatly appreciated.  As usual, do not use the sand and seed mix on the tees.

We have a weather station that is monitoring and recording the local conditions.  It is connected to the internet so anyone can view it to see current conditions.  The link is: http://www.wunderground.com/personal-weather-station/dashboard?ID=KCADISCO10#history

Don’t forget to check the golf course maintenance department blog. The link to it is: http://dbgccmaintenance.blogspot.com/

Follow me on twitter; I am @dbgccsuper, for instant updates of conditions.

Thank you for your time.
Chris Mains
Golf Course Superintendent

cmains@dbgcc.com

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

November Maintenance Update

Golf Course Maintenance Update

Happy Fall everyone!  The golf course has received its first significant rainfall of the season and the total for the last event was 0.98 inches.  That is a great start and should go a long way in flushing salts out of the root zone and helping water all of the seed that was applied.

Speaking of seed, the golf course maintenance staff has been busy for the last few weeks putting seed out in the bare areas throughout the property.  We have been putting out lots of signs and ropes to protect those areas.  However, some areas did not get ropes or signs as it would have been overkill or impractical.  We ask that those of you in power carts please do your best to not drive through those areas.  This will go a long way in helping with germination and maturation of the new grass plants.

The club recently purchased a new topdressing machine that will allow us to apply sand to the greens and tees more frequently and a lot more efficiently.  The benefit to you is less disruption of play from the process and consistently smoother greens. 

It is that time of the year when homeowners should be reducing the frequency of their yard watering’s.  We have numerous areas of the golf course that cannot be mowed due to runoff from adjacent yards.  The golf course is only watering on an as-needed basis now which is every 3-4 days.  It would be greatly appreciated if everyone could adjust their irrigation timers accordingly.

You may have noticed that the Ladie’s and Men’s Memorial benches were removed from the golf course recently.  This was done because they were literally crumbling and about ready to fall apart.  Several members are working closely with the country club on a replacement plan.  We want to let everyone know that the plaques that were on the benches have been saved.  **Update – The new Men’s Memorial bench has been places out on the 17th tee area.  We will begin installation of the new brick pavers on the Ladies Memorial bench in early November.  The bench will be installed once the pavers are installed.

The club had to remove 2 trees from the course during the month of October that were beginning to fall down.  The tree behind the green on the 6th hole began leaning more towards a house after strong winds.  The same thing happened to a very large pine tree near the fence on the 15th hole.  If that tree went over it would have taken out the fence and blocked Cherry Hills Drive.
The club also hired a contractor to grind down all of the stumps that were scattered around the course.  A total of 45 were removed.  The crew then filled the holes with soil and seeded the areas.

Rip rap installation has been an ongoing maintenance project.  The areas that benefited recently are in front of #13 tee and adjacent to the fairway on the 14th hole.  We have a large stockpile of rock in the maintenance area ready to be installed around the course.  The maintenance department will continue with its installation as a filler project.  Targeted areas are: the rest of the lake to the west of the 12th hole, the lake banks adjacent to Emerald Court, and the lake bank between holes 5 and 8.  The rip rap is used for erosion control and beautification.

It would be greatly appreciated if all members using power carts would always keep all 4 tires on the paths when near the greens and tees.  There is no need to pull onto the turf when parking to tee off or putt.

Please do your best to repair your ball marks, also encourage your families and guests to repair their ball marks and at least 2 others on each green during your round.  It takes almost no time to do and helps to keep the greens in the best possible condition for all players.
Also, I am happy to see so many divots being filled with the sand and seed mix.  Your help is greatly appreciated.  As usual, do not use the sand and seed mix on the tees.

We have a weather station that is monitoring and recording the local conditions.  It is connected to the internet so anyone can view it to see current conditions.  The link is: http://www.wunderground.com/personal-weather-station/dashboard?ID=KCADISCO10#history

Don’t forget to check the golf course maintenance department blog. The link to it is: http://dbgccmaintenance.blogspot.com/

Follow me on twitter; I am @dbgccsuper, for instant updates of conditions.

Thank you for your time.
Chris Mains
Golf Course Superintendent

cmains@dbgcc.com

Friday, April 24, 2015

Fairway Aerification: Deep Tine Style

I am sure many of you have noticed the new machine that we have been using to aerify the fairways. 



In the past we have used a different machine that pulled cores and left a big mess that needed to be cleaned up.  That technique is fine and effective to a certain degree but also created a lot of extra labor with the cleanup efforts.  Also, the depth of the hole was at best only 4 inches.  Another thing to consider is the water table and the constant removal of soil without adding any back.  The result is an overall lowering of the rootzone during the past 30 years closer to the water table and the sodium that accumulates there.  Remember that we are only a few feet above sea level here, so we don't want to remove any more soil.  Really, we should be adding material in the form of regular topdressing of the fairways to raise the rootzone up away from the water table.

In the meantime, the club decided to rent a deep tine aerator for the fairways this year.  The machine was setup with solid 1/2" diameter tines that are 10" long.  The solid tine means that no cores are being pulled that need to be cleaned up.  The machine operates on the principle of a shatter effect to create a cracking in the soil profile to enhance gas exchange.  
The solid tine is forced into the ground approximately 6 to 8 inches and then the tines are kicked forward and backward to shatter the soil.  A much larger surface area is exposed compared to traditional aerification.


Another big benefit of this modern technique is the ability to do all the fairways in approximately 40 hours.  It allowed us to get the job done sooner so we could move on to other important projects.

Here is a short video of the machine in operation on the 9th fairway.

video

I hope this helps you with any questions you may have had during the fairway aerification this year.

Chris Mains

Saturday, July 26, 2014

#12 Fairway Update

The 12th fairway has been reopened for limited play after about 8 months of closure for aggressive renovation.

What caused the closure?

Salt. Salt in the soil that makes it difficult to grow or maintain grass.  The high water table in that area of the course is a big contributor to the problem and will always be there.  Capillary action will pull the salt up into the root zone and the irrigation water also has salt in it which builds up over time.
We combat the problem several ways.  The first of which is by applying wetting agents to the soil. They essentially make water wetter to allow it to penetrate and move through the soil better.  The wetting agents allow the heavy irrigation or flushing to move the salts lower in the soil away from the roots.  Secondly, we applied a material that exchanges with the sodium on an atomic level.  Sodium ions likes to bond with soil particles and does not want to let go, so we have to help it by applying something that it will happily change places with.  In our case we apply calcium in the form of gypsum to facilitate the exchange.
Once we had the sodium levels reduced in the root zone, we needed to aerate the fairway and then seed it with perennial rye grass.  We applied starter fertilizer to give the seed a good jolt and then watered frequently to ensure the seed never dried out.

So now what?

Well, we have opened the fairway to play on Friday's, Saturday's and Sunday's.  The fairway will remain closed to play on Monday's through Thursday's.  During this time we will be closely monitoring the turf quality on the fairway.  I will also be using an instrument that the club owns called an EC meter. EC stand for electro-conductivity and is a measure of the salt build up in the soil.  The meter tells me if the salt levels are going up or down and allows me to make management decisions based on science.
In the meantime, we want you to enjoy the newly opened fairway, but please adhere to a strict 90 degree rule to help us keep the turf as stress free as possible.

Thanks.