|A November morning sunrise|
This is Thanksgiving week and it is the time of year to reflect on what we are thankful for. Personally, I am thankful for my wife (who contrary to popular belief, and at the relief of her college English professor, does not write these posts or articles), for working in an industry that I truly enjoy, for working with a very talented group of individuals, for not having a November ice storm like two years ago, and most importantly for almost being done with the 2020 year.
I don't have to remind anyone of how much of a circus this year has been, and working on the Grounds Crew has been no exception. This year has transitioned from wondering if we would be able to work; having budget and project cuts; masking up and sanitizing every touchable surface; progressing the putting green cups from raised, to noodles, to cut pvc pipe; having bunker rakes to not having rakes, to having rakes again; and having modified sand divot buckets (or not having I lost count). We all will be thankful to have this virus in the rear view mirror. Hopefully, after a couple more months, we will be seeing an end in sight. Despite all the distractions the agronomy team has been moving forward and completing many maintenance and grounds projects.
The aeration and overseeding of the turf surfaces has been completed, with the play rough finished in the middle of October. Also, the late fall fertilization of the putting greens, fairways and play rough is completed.
|Chris Wheeler aerating #18 rough|
The leaf cleanup operation is winding down with around 90% of the leaves fallen. The trees put on a good fall show this year with many vibrant colors exploding because of the favorable temperatures and timely rainfall. At times the leaves were falling faster than our cleanup efforts, due to the recent windstorms combined with the abundant amount of pin oaks loosing their leaves. However, it looks like we are over the hump and can now start to focus our attention on other tasks.
|Nyssa sylvatica tree in full fall color|
|White ash by #3 tee beginning to show fall color|
|Ginko biloba tree fall color|
|Black Gum tree for Mr. and Mrs. Thomas' anniversary that was planted in between #8 and #9|
|Green ash trees on #9 fairway showing good fall color|
|Honey locust and white ash|
|White ash fall color|
The Horticulture Team has been hard at work removing the summer annuals and prepping the landscape beds for the winter by cutting down grasses, perennials, and cleaning out debris. Also, they have planted 5,000 tulip bulbs and some daffodils for the upcoming spring season.
|Megan Bihl and Carole Snap planting 1,200 tulips around the red oak tree. Great Job!|
Bunker drainage work has begun. There are some bunkers that are holding water after rainstorms and we are replacing and adding drain tile in those sand traps for better drainage. #17 fairway bunker and #10 green side bunker have been completed. Also, we will begin to work on adding drainage in some wet areas around the course and improving other bunkers as time allows.
|Raymond, Julio, Wilfredo, and Miguel working on bunker drainage. Their awesome work ethic and reliability keep this course in great shape. Their importance to this crew can not be overstated.|
|Michael Westendorf working the mini backhoe.|
We continue to add turf-lock blocks to wet areas adjacent to cart paths. #11 tee area is the latest wet area where these blocks have been added. We will continue to add turf-lock blocks as the winter progresses.
Tee leveling of #18 tee and the expansion of #13 alternate tee is completed. With the help of Russ Macke, the old sod was excavated, tees reshaped, and new sod placed on. #13 alternate tee is now double the size of the old tee and the back of 18 championship tee is level.
|Excavating sod on #13 tee|
|Sod stripped to allow for expanding the tee and surrounds|
|Starting to strip the back of #18 tee|
|25 loads of soil removed from back half of tee|
|Tee leveled, ready for bentgrass sod|
|Laying new bentgrass sod on expanded #13 tee|
|Back of #18 tee leveled|
|Tee will be closed until spring to let the sod heal in.|
The Agronomy Team has been experimenting with intermediate ryegrass for overseeding. The overseeding of Bermuda grass in the #3 rough between the creek and green seems to have germinated well. We will continue to monitor and perhaps expand the overseeding next season.
|#3 Bermuda grass in mid October 2018|
|#3 Bermuda grass in mid October 2020 after overseeding with ryegrass, the Bermuda is not as detectable. Notice the right side that was not overseeded compared to the middle that was. Looks promising|
The winter tree work is in the process of being approved. There are some trees that need to be removed because of damage or disease. One example is the pin oak adjacent to #5 tee. It is infected with armillaria root rot (honey fungus) which is a devastating fungal disease that rots heartwood, decreasing the structure integrity of the tree. This tree is recommended for immediate removal. Also, there are many limbs that are affecting play that will be pruned out this winter. We will be beginning tree work during the winter months.
|Armillaria (honey fungus) infecting the pin oak tree by #5 tee. The severe fungal infection extends five feet up the trunk.|
On behalf of the Grounds Department, I want to wish everyone a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!