Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Please Rake Your Bunkers

 When we were forced to remove the bunker rakes from the course last year our members did a great job of adapting to the changes. Now that we have placed the rakes back on the course we ask that you please return to raking bunkers after you have played your shot. 

With the new sand that we have added it is not necessary to use much force to smooth the sand out. In fact, the lighter you rake the smoother the sand will be. Please also remember to rake the area where you hit from but also every foot print that you make. We are into the heart of the season and this means Old Pal, and other matches are being played, which means the ball has to be played down. It is not fair to the members and guests behind you to not have the same conditions that you were able to enjoy. 

Below are two pictures from the same bunker on hole 13 today. The bunker was "kinda" raked by this golfer, but the golfer didn't take the time to finish raking. In the first picture is a ball in their footprint alongside a spot where they did a great job raking. The second picture is a ball that has rolled up to a pile that was left by this same golfer because they raked too hard. Which shot would you want to play in your match? (and no I don't know who did this)

Please note that we have requested the rakes be left OUTSIDE of the bunker, on the side furthest away from the green or fairway.

Again please take a little extra time so that the members and guest in the afternoon enjoy the same conditions that you enjoyed.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Greens Speed

With the ups and downs we have experienced this spring in regards to temperature and weather in general, greens have been running very fast. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your preferred greens speed, the greens will seem to be slowER over the next few weeks. With the latest extended warm up, soil temps have risen to a point where the bentgrass and poa are both greening up together and will start to grow more on a day to day basis. Our goal day to day is to have stimp reading of between 11-12. Last week with little growth we were at or approaching almost 13 on the stimpmeter. Again, conditions were optimal to achieve the speeds we were at. This is not very sustainable on a day to day basis, but can be achieved with extra mows and rolls for tournaments and other events. There are other cultural practices that we use such as topdressing, verticutting, height of cut and plant growth regulators that we use to try and provide the best greens that are true but also sustainable for the entire season. 


Thursday, May 13, 2021

Bunker Rake Placement Change

Photo courtesy of Tim Kirk.

The grounds committee has unanimously decided to make a change to the placement of bunker rakes around our bunkers. We ask that after you rake bunkers to place the rake back on the outside of the bunker.  The decision was made due to concerns of balls coming to rest against the rakes on the downslope of the grass, and in the bunker itself, not allowing the ball to roll to a spot that was playable. If you keep the rakes on the outside away from greens and fairways, it is less likely that the rakes will come into play. 

Friday, April 30, 2021

Colors of Spring


Photo by Clubhouse staffer Devon Desmond

We have been open for almost a month and a half, we are now in full spring bloom. The crab apples and maples have flowered and the rough is growing (some would say out of control). We will have two mowers going for the next few weeks to try and keep up with the rough but its an uphill fight, especially when we lose days to snow and rain. The roughs that were sodded with the bunker project have all been inter-seeded as well this spring. Pure stands of bluegrass and bentgrass need warmer soil temps before they wake up from dormancy. Add walking and cart traffic to these areas and they tend to get thin in the shoulder months of the season. This will improve as the plants mature and acclimate to our soils and cultural programs. With the warm rains on Wednesday night helping to warm the soils, I already notice these areas are starting to green up. 

Like most other seasonal business's we are seeing a slight labor shortage. I have high school and college students lined up and they will be starting in the next few weeks, but it has been a struggle this spring to keep up with detailed tasks. Hopefully this will change this fall, but the staff that we have has done a great job of keeping up with the day to day tasks. 

Ballwashers will go out next week, after what is hopefully our last frost. We will be minimizing the number of washers that we put out on the course. This is due to reduced usage and minimizing clutter on the course. The bagroom has towels to use and there are buckets on the first and tenth tee. 

The spring scramble is tomorrow, good luck to all of those that are participating. Please continue to rake bunkers, fix ball marks and replace divots. 

Friday, April 23, 2021

Sand and snow.

 While the bunker project was completed last year it does not mean that the bunkers are maintenance free. We spend an enormous amount of labor to keep them playable and as consistent as possible. On average 3-5 hours daily to rake them in season, plus mowing and edging of 15-20 hours per week. This is what I would consider "routine" maintenance. We also periodically check the depth of sand in the bunkers, and would like to see four inches of sand on the floor of the bunker. The bunkers lose sand to compaction, wind, and shots that blast the sand out of the bunker. This week we added sand to the short game bunkers, 9 fairway, 14 green and 18 green. When we add sand we are adding an inch or two to the floor of the bunker. This will continue to happen year in and year out and the better we stay on top of this the more consistent the bunkers will be. Yes, these particular bunkers will be different for a week or two, but I would rather do this now than in the summer while events and matches are being played. If we were to do this in the late fall we likely will lose a significant amount of the sand to high winds that we experience in the fall and winter. 

The snow storm really did not hurt the course at all. We received about 5 inches of heavy wet snow, and the only damage was to some branches that could not handle the weight. These were for the most part the white pines and the elms between 14 tee and 9 fairway. Below is a picture of the crab apples right of 15 cart path. Once the snow melted the branches went back to where they should be. 

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Green Aerification

 When I started here in 2015 my predecessor, Dan Salois, aerified greens every spring and fall. He was able to bring the organic matter (thatch) to a manageable level during his tenure.  We sample soils twice a year and I made the decision to just aerify in the fall as our organic matter levels were holding steady or slightly increasing. After three years of just fall aerification the organic matter kept increasing when we sampled the greens so we made the decision to throw a spring aerification in every other year and this has stabilized our organic matter to the proper level. 

    With variable weather in the months of March and April it is hard to plan a date for spring aerification. I try to just pick the first "good" Monday where the weather cooperates. We were fortunate to have decent weather on the 5th of April and we decided to get the aerification started and finished our process on the 6th. The holes should heal by mid next week and we will reap the benefits throughout the rest of the season. These benefits include decreased organic matter, better drainage, more oxygen to the roots and an overall healthier stand of turf. 

Thanks for understanding the benefits of this disruptive process and enjoy the rest of the season. 

Friday, March 19, 2021

Greens to open.......(insert drumroll here)

 We will be opening the golf course on Saturday the 20th at 12:00. You will be receiving an email from the golf shop today with instructions for tee times. Sunday the course will open at 11:00. The reason for the later start is due to the forecasted low temperatures in the 20's. The late start will let the frost burn off and the ground to thaw, especially on greens. Carts will be available this weekend and daily depending on rainfall. The range will be open on the mats. The short game area will be open but not stocked with range balls. The fairway on the short game area is still dormant and we prefer to let that start growing before we beat it up to much. 

As far as the course goes we will only be placing blue tee markers this weekend. This is where 80% of our play will be and we need to not kill the area around the blue stone. 17 and 15 tee will be open and we will have all tee markers out on this hole as to not randomly beat the tee up. 

Flagsticks will still have the foam in the cup, proceed how you see fit. 

Bunker rakes and benches will be placed out in the coming weeks, again proceed how you see fit. 

Please follow and respect our ropes and stakes as the turf is still coming out of dormancy and can not recover from repeated traffic. 

Thanks for following along and here's to a great 2021.