Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Take-All Patch Prevention

Although modern varieties of bentgrass are less susceptible to common diseases than Poa annua, there is a relatively high risk of damage from a disease called Take-All Patch (Gaeumannomyces graminison new stands of turf. Typically this risk is minimized after full establishment, but preventative management is required in the first several years.  

Take-All is a fungal pathogen that produces black/brown mats of growth just beneath the surface of the soil that can damage or kill the roots of the affected plants. Best management practices include aeration and the use of fungicides at the correct time of year.  This morning, our staff completed the fungicide treatment on all playing surfaces which were established by seed last fall. This treatment will be repeated each spring and fall when the soil temperatures are in the mid-sixties until the risk of Take-All is gone (about three years). Because this is a soil borne pathogen, water is applied move the fungicide into the soil.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Fairway Aerification

This week we began deep tine aeration of fairways. Deep tine aeration helps to alleviate compaction, aids in drainage, and increases overall plant health. This practice is one of the primary reasons our fairways look and play well as it has been performed annually for nearly a decade.  Due to the renovation of our fairways, this practice could not be performed in the early spring as it typically is. We plan to aerate about four fairways per week on Monday and Tuesday so that holes are healed over by the weekend. The process should take about four weeks to complete.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Golf Course Renovation: Week 20

This week, our staff laid the last rolls of sod associated with the pond bank restoration project, and our sea wall contractor finalized restoration of the pond bank near the 15th green. Many of the banks sodded this spring still require hand watering on dry, sunny days, but it is great to have this task behind us as it frees up staff to resume a regular mowing schedule on playing surfaces.

Regional USGA Agronomist, Bob Vavrek, paid Wynstone a visit to inspect the health and vibrancy of the renovated golf course prior to opening and to offer advice as we move closer to that day. Mr. Vavrek's insight is very valuable as his finger is on the pulse of many of the facets of turf health in the Midwest.   

Final preparations for playing surfaces are also being completed. This week, approaches were topdressed prior to the last drop in height of cut next week and fairways were fertilized with an extended release fertilizer that will help keep the turf growing throughout the summer. We expect there to be a good deal of traffic on the new turf, and our best management practices to help the turf handle this are aerification, proper watering, and fertilization. That being said, we also expect traffic management with ropes and stakes to be a very important component of our operation in the first year.  

The putting green and practice facilities are open for the holiday weekend.

Regional USGA Agronomist Bob Vavrek inspecting the 10th green

Fertilizer being loaded for fairways

Topdressing helps avoid scalping when lowing height of cut

Waterfall on hole 3 is operational once again

Main putting green is open for the season

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Golf Course Renovation: Week 19

This week we wrapped up our two largest contracted projects, asphalt and concrete. Lemont Paving and Rock Star Concrete have pulled their equipment off site and only have punch list items remaining.

Our staff has been busy seeding the final three holes of cart path edges and planting the large batch of trees that were hand selected at Kaneville Tree Farms last fall.  The 50" root balls weigh 2,600 pounds so handling them with care is very important.  While transplanting large trees can be finicky, when properly done a high survival rate can be expected.  

There have been a lot of questions about whether or not the newly seeded cart path edges will be ready to mow by the time we open.  Seeding began about two and a half weeks ago, and the first 6 holes were ready for a haircut this week.  The last three golf holes are currently being seeded and will be very close to ready by the time opening day arrives.  We expect the other 15 holes to be good to go with all types of traffic by June 5th.  

Our goal for the upcoming week is to put our project work behind us and begin regular maintenance for opening day.  Three weeks to go!

Twenty-six 4" trees planted

Care is taken when hauling to planting sites

Newly seeded cart path edges get their first mow

Topdressing on greens prior to this weekend's rain

Last day at Wynstone for Lemont Paving

Logo applied outside of front entrance

The last of the concrete is down

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Golf Course Renovation: Week 18

While the majority of our efforts are still project focused, we began group training sessions with staff this week regarding changes to maintenance practices.  One example is that the turf on the collars of the greens will be covered with lattice while the greens are being mowed. This is because constant turning of mowers in this area can be particularly damaging to immature turf.  Many of you may have seen this practiced on the putting green last year.  The same practice will be implemented on all greens for at least the first year.  

Regarding other regular maintenance, the greens were aerated with a deep tine aerifier and the walkways from the member tees to the fairways was cut.  Understandably, there is some scalping that occurs when lowering turf from 2.5 inches to 1 inch.  Our staff will mow the walkways several times per week and the turf will recover from the scalping within the next two weeks.  Approaches and several sodded areas in the fairways were topdressed this past week prior to the rains over the weekend.  These areas will be topdressed several more times prior to opening the golf course to help sod seams heal in and help prevent our mowers from scalping as we get closer to in-season mowing heights.  

Concrete work at the clubhouse is nearing completion, and our contractor will meet the May 15 deadline. Asphalt continues as well, and we expect each contractor to have only several days of work remaining. Of course, there will be several punch list items that are addressed throughout the month of May in regard to these to projects. Our staff has been working diligently to place topsoil and sod on our remaining pond banks and will finalize seeding where the sea wall was installed adjacent to 16 tee.

Training day

Deep tine machine in action
Walkways from new tees cut back in on most holes

Approaches and sod in fairways topdressed

Concrete nearing completion

Logo being prepped

17 pond bank

16 pond bank will be seeded soon

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Golf Course Renovation: Week 17

Althought the weather was cold for the majority of the week it was dry and sunny, which really helped our contractors and staff make the most of every day. The greens on the golf course are becoming stronger, and will soon require daily mowing and conditioning as if they were open for play. Yesterday the tees were heavily topdressed which will aid in the elimination of sod seams while helping to maintain firm surfaces. 

Contractor work continued at a good pace.  Leibold Construction has finished sodding all of the first cut of rough.  It is really nice to see grass around the fairways again, however it has greatly increased our work load with over five acres of sod to keep watered.  Our concrete contractor and scoreboard construction contractor are currently working together near the site of our old "erector set" scoreboard to finalize grades so that the new concrete flows correctly into the new structure.  Barring weather, concrete pours should continue next week.  Lemont Paving made good progress as well, and there are currently just three holes to pave.  Our staff has been very busy repairing their tire tracks and seeding next to the cart paths. 

Some rain and some warmth are forecast next week, which is great for all of the sod and seed on the golf course.
14 green looking great
Sand topdressing helps sod seams heal
View of new scoreboard being constructed

Concrete work continues on back side of clubhouse

Last semi loads of big roll sod laid Friday

Three holes left to asphalt

Our staff seeding cart path edges

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Golf Course Renovation: Week 16

Week 16 of the renovation was a particularly busy one.  Contractors are back on site to finish sodding the first cut of rough and install new cart paths, and their progress was very good last week as each contractor completed five and half holes in five days.  The upcoming forecast looks great for continuation and finalization of these two projects.  Once they are complete, our staff will have their hands full establishing turf next to the cart path edges and keeping the many acres of sod watered.

Our concrete contractor has been busy breaking out the next run of concrete around the back side of the clubhouse and preparing it for another large pour this coming week. Meanwhile, our staff has completed installing bank stabilization logs along the final 2500 feet that was left this spring.  Topsoil and sod are to follow.  We have also been working to prepare greens for opening day, which is just shy of 6 weeks from now.  Reductions in mowing height and frequent topdressing will continue throughout that period.  The readiness of the greens is the most important component leading up to opening day, and they are in excellent condition at the moment.  With a little bit more TLC they will be ready to putt on.

Leibold and big roll sod showed back up this week to resume
sodding first cut of rough

Hole 10

Hole 18

A view from the upper patio

Topdressing is easy when the course is closed

Brushes work sand into turf canopy

View of new cocktail patio from upper patio

Lots of concrete broken out this week

Lemont Paving back in action

Five and a half holes were paved this week