Wednesday, December 21, 2011

December 21, 2011

Whatever and however you celebrate during the Holiday Season, may it be meaningful and joyful! I sincerely wish you the best!

Thanks for all your support this year, and throughout all the past years! It’s been great!

Best Wishes,


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December 13, 2011

I caught these two off the cart path again...

Friday, December 2, 2011

December 2, 2011

I am proud to let you know that we have been re-certified by Audubon International as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. We are one of only 842 golf courses worldwide that have attained this honor. Certification is based upon improving wildlife habitat, reducing pesticide use, water conservation, water quality management, and community outreach. Re-certification is required every two years and it is awarded only to those courses that continue working to improve in these areas. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

November 22, 2011

I have strong doubts that the first Thanksgiving even remotely resembled the "history" I was told in second grade.  But considering that (when it comes to holidays) mainstream America's traditions tend to be over-eating, shopping, or getting drunk, I suppose it's a miracle that the concept of giving thanks even surfaces at all.  ~Ellen Orleans

Thanksgiving, man.  Not a good day to be my pants.  ~Kevin James

Got no check books, got no banks.  Still I'd like to express my thanks - I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night.  ~Irving Berlin

“Thanksgiving is the day when you turn to another family member and say, “How long has Mom been drinking like this?” My Mom, after six Bloody Marys looks at the turkey and goes, “Here, kitty, kitty.” –David Letterman

Thanksgiving is the holiday of peace, the celebration of work and the simple life... a true folk-festival that speaks the poetry of the turn of the seasons, the beauty of seedtime and harvest, the ripe product of the year - and the deep, deep connection of all these things with God.  ~Ray Stannard Baker

We wish you all a meaningful Thanksgiving day- Ken and the Greate Bay staff

Thursday, November 3, 2011

November 3, 2011

We have just finished “de-compacting” the tees. We hired Clarkston Turf to verti-quake and verti-drain our tees. The verti- quake has rotating blades that vibrate. The blades sliced down into the soil profile to a depth of approximately 10”, shaking the soil to loosen it and to cause lateral and horizontal fracturing. The verti-drain followed. It is a heavy duty aerator that we fitted with ¾”solid tines, and went as deep as 12”, creating vertical channels to admit air and increase drainage.  Next our staff topdressed the tees with straight sand, just like we do on the greens, and dragged it in.

Continuing this program consistently over the years will produce results much like we have seen on the greens with the drill and fill– better turf health, stronger turf, less disease, deeper rooting, and firmer surfaces. I am pretty excited about it all!

The verti quake and verti drain on the 13 tee                                                                                                  

The verti- quake                                                                                           

The verti drain                                                                                            

Top dressing

Topdressed tee (not dragged)

Trivia question: We have 6 sets of tees, but how many actual tee boxes do we have on the course?

Friday, October 28, 2011

October 28, 2011

I was probably just as surprised as anyone else was this morning to see a thin layer of frost on my windshield. It seems too early to be this cold already....but then again it seemed too early to be 90 degrees last April too. The weather is changing.

Earlier today Bucky made a trip out to my office and we talked about possibilities of having frost delays these next few days. We talked about getting everyone out as soon as possible and to still have the course prepped. We are always trying.

If it does frost, we ask that you stay off the course, including the practice greens, until we clear the course for play. Traffic and frost don’t go well together. The frozen plant cells will crack like frozen balloons if pressure is applied to them. If enough cells are cracked, the plant dies. Damage may not show for days, and sometimes not for weeks. But it will. Trust me - I have seen it.

Bucky and I work really close together when we get frosts, and as soon as we can, with out wasting a minute, we will get you to your tee. Your patience is appreciated, and it pays off with keeping the course in great condition.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

October 20, 2011

Leaves, leaves, and leaves.....We get more leaf fall than snow fall!

From here on in we will be dealing with the leaves from the thousands of trees on the course – blowing, raking, gathering, and mulching. Leaf clean up requires more labor hours per year than any other job we perform, except for mowing greens.

We have already begun to send out staff to blow off the greens, tees, and fairways on a daily basis, followed by the rough mowers fitted with leaf mulching kits. We send staff to rake the leaves, acorns, hickory nuts, etc from the bunkers. Sometimes the leaves fall faster than we can keep up, and on windy days, it’s almost impossible as they scurry in all directions to escape us!

Friday, October 7, 2011

October 7, 2011

As the weather cools, we have been doing some “re-hab” to the course. These past weeks we have aerated, fertilized, and overseeded the tees. We fertilized the fairways and are in the process of overseeding areas that have thinned a bit due to the elements and everyday wear and tear. We are sodding the few areas on collars that suffered from the summer’s heat. We are catching up on tree work and repairing cart paths too. Soon we will be overseeding  and aerating the rough.

For the greens department, it is the beginning of the 2012 season. The work we do now benefits the course this year, but it really pays off the next.

Note: The months of August and September have been the area’s wettest ever since weather records have been kept.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

September 24, 2011

For our Audubon re –certification project, we chose to make the course friendlier to the monarch butterfly that passes through the area on its trek north from Mexico in the spring, and back again in the fall.

Early in 2010 we identified and preserved milkweed beds growing along both tunnel slopes to provide habitat for the monarch butterfly. We also preserved areas that were growing flowering plants that the monarch liked as a nectar source. We continued this project through this year, and hope to expand it in the coming years.

The monarch butterfly larvae only feed on one plant – milkweed! And for that reason milkweed is the only plant that the monarch will lays its eggs on. The digested milkweed makes the monarch caterpillar “toxic” to other animals that eat them and makes them sick. An animal soon learns not to eat these caterpillars, and so the monarch specie naturally protects its population generation after generation. It’s an arrangement that worked so well for awhile...

.....except for one thing the monarch could not plan on....Man, his machines, and herbicides. Over the years, development and the “need” to have manicured open spaces has greatly reduced the population of milkweed plants, which in turn has reduced the population of monarchs. This is why preserving remaining communities of milkweed and establishing new ones is important.

We are lucky that we have areas out of play that support the milkweed plant. These past years we have not allowed the staff to cut them down, and we do not use any herbicides in these areas. It is our goal to help the monarch by helping the milkweed!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

September 20, 2011

Lightning 101 - Do not stand under a tree in a thunder storm!

This strike occurred on Thursday afternoon, September 15. It hit the tree top and passed through the tree, exploding its bark and wood, and throwing it thirty yards away. Had anyone taken shelter there... 

If you hear thunder, come off the course immediately and finish your round after the storm passes- its just not worth it to take a chance with lightning.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

September 14, 2011

A few random clips.....

The greens are healing up really well following last week’s aeration. By next week they should be back to normal! Thanks for understanding the reasons for, and the long term value, of aeration. Our staff greatly appreciates your support!

We are aerating tees now– a few at a time, and doing our best not to be too disruptive. We will also topdress and over seed them. Our goal is to make them healthier and denser.

We are still cleaning up from Hurricane Irene. Over thirty trees were uprooted or blown down, and many more trees suffered damage from broken branches and leaders. Yoos Tree Service has come almost every day since the storm to cut up and chip the fallen trees and broken branches, trim out “hangers”, and grind stumps. Some of you asked why there are letters on the’s to identify each tree and compile data regarding the damage suffered by each tree.

We have decided to lay down Ken’Surprise Tournament for this year. With all that’s going on with aeration, over seeding, hurricane clean-up, and coming projects, our staff is unable to give the tournament the time and effort to make it as successful and fun as we’d like. And we don’t want to do it half way....that wouldn’t be deserve better than that. We will hold it in 2012, and we will do our best to make it worth your wait...!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August 31, 2011

#5 with debris and downed trees to the left of the fairway

When I toured the course after Hurricane Irene, I first counted our blessings that the storm could have been a lot worse, and secondly, the twenty three trees that the storm blew down. It was the back end of the storm on Sunday afternoon that brought very powerful south west winds and uprooted most of the downed trees. Fortunately, none came down on any greens, tees, equipment, buildings, or irrigation satellites.

Along with the downed trees and tons of debris, Irene’s heavy rains washed out bunkers and cart paths, which will take a lot of work to restore.

On Monday we began cleaning up. Our first priority was remove / take down leaning trees and broken branches left hanging in trees. We brought in Yoos Tree service to take down what we were not equipped to do, and for the rest of the week they and our staff will be working together to get everything chipped up. With the added help of staff from the bag drop and clubhouse, we began cleaning out the bunkers and re grading the main cart paths on Tuesday. We are also working to get back on our regular mowing and maintenance schedules, and also to prepare for Memorial Day weekend and next weeks aeration!

We do have our work cut out for us....

#2 greenside bunker completely washed out

Downed pine on #11

Oak on #13

Masses of downed branches on #14

One of the many uprooted trees on #1

Chipping up trees on #1

Thursday, August 25, 2011

August 25, 2011

Thought that I would share an experience that is new to me – flower blooms on an elephant ear plant!

I have been growing elephant ears for over ten years now and I have never had one bloom – I didn’t even know they bloomed!

I called a few of my expert gardening friends to ask if they had ever seen an elephant ear in bloom and they all said “no”, including a friend and grower who has been in the greenhouse/ flower business for over 25 years.

I did a little research and found it isn’t uncommon for elephant ears to bloom, but because these are tropical plants that need heat, blooms are rarer further north than south.  Perhaps the excessive record heat that we had late June and throughout July was the trigger...

Friday, August 19, 2011

August 19, 2011

On Wednesday we stripped the white tees on 9 and 13, and the 7 black, blue, white, and yellow  tees and sodded them with “low- cut” Kentucky bluegrass.

Last June, Dave Oatis, the USGA agronomist for the Mid- Atlantic region, walked the course with Chris, Bucky, Gary, Joel, and I. At that time Mr. Oatis recommended that if we ever had the opportunity to sod any tees, low cut Kentucky bluegrass was proving successful and that we might want to give it a try. Mr. Oatis and other USGA agronomists have observed that the low cut varieties have been showing better recovery and wear tolerance than the traditional bent grasses on many regional golf courses.

We will be re-opening these tees once the sod roots, and from that point on we will be evaluating it for ourselves.  We also encourage you, our members, to share with us your thoughts and opinions of the low cut blue grass (and the bermuda) compared to playing off the bentgrass tees. 

Roll of low cut blue

The finished 13th white tee

Thursday, August 11, 2011

August 11, 2011

Earlier this week, we sodded the 7th yellow and silver tees with Bermuda grass as a trial. Bermuda loves the heat so we think it will perform well in this teeing area. The former drawback of using Bermuda turf in this area was a lack of cold tolerant varieties that could survive cold winters. Over the past decade hybrids were developed through selective breeding, and quite a few cold tolerant varieties of Bermuda grass are now available.

The Bermuda variety that we chose is called Riviera. It is grown by Tuckahoe Turf  Farms of Hammonton in their Estell Manor fields, approximately 15 miles away from here. They have grown this variety there successfully for over four years without winter loss. Other golf courses in our area have been experimenting with this same Bermuda variety on tees, fairways, and driving range tees with good results. It is also the same turf used at Lincoln Financial Field for the Eagles. Knowing that other superintendents have had success with Riviera, and that it can handle the wear and tear of professional football, I am optimistic that it will prove itself here.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

August 6, 2011

A little more than a week ago we fertilized the tees. Due to application errors combined with daytime temperatures climbing higher than was forecast, many of the tees were damaged. We watered and flushed to no avail.

Some of the damaged turf will re grow but too much is lost to fill in satisfactorily. We continue to syringe the tees and apply natural growth hormones to the tees to encourage as much re growth as possible. Paralleling this program we are aerating, overseeding, and lightly topdressing the tees, with the most damaged taking first priority. I am confident that these programs, along with late season deep tine aerification, etc, will make the tees stronger in the long run.

The tees have always presented more challenges to our staff than most other playing areas. Within any tee complex we deal with a wide variety of soils and grasses, water needs, compaction, shade, tree roots, wear, and localized micro environments that can be very harsh. For example, on 4 we range from a very heavy soil that holds water to a sandy mix that is droughty. The former receives irrigation once a week while the latter needs irrigation daily along with afternoon hand watering. On seven, which is a closed pocket, we use fans, but still the temperature will rise 10 to 15 degrees higher than the open areas of the course, placing way too much stress on the turf. Remember the picture of icing down the turf that I recently posted? That was the 7th tee. Every tee complex has different, and similar, challenges.

That’s not to say that the fertilizer application is not to blame – it is. But it explains why any error on a tee will not be forgiving.

Our intent now is to establish an acceptable stand of turf as quickly as possible through aerification, overseeding, and topdressing. After establishment and maturity, I plan to aerify and deep –tine aerify the tees on a more regular basis, and topdress them with a sand/ peat topdressing material, embarking upon a long term soil modification program. At the same time, we will be testing a few different seeding mixes and turf types to see what does best in our soils and micro climates.

In all, we will do our best to make this into an opportunity to do better.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

July 30, 2011

I’ve always told people who’ve asked me about the greens staff that I work with best people that I have ever worked with...every day they teach me something new and inspire me.

The following is an email I received today that goes with everything I have ever said of the greens department staff –

  I just had a call from Melissa Fata - the head teller at Cape Bank in Linwood.  They have been doing a food drive for the last couple of weeks.  Today Clara, Denia, Pedro, Edgar, Marisol, Max, Isabella and Isidro came in to cash their checks and brought quite a bit of food to donate.  Melissa said the box is now overflowing.  She was so touched by their generosity that she just had to call and tell me.  She also said they are always so pleasant when they come in.  Please let them know their “good heartedness” does not go unnoticed!  We are lucky to have them as part of our team.
Have a Greate day!
Candy Jankowski

Saturday, July 23, 2011

July 23, 2011

On Friday, July 22, the temperature rose to 102 degrees with a heat index topping out at 116 degrees. Although we had many hot days last year, this day beat them all. Today is forecast to be pretty much the same.

We continue to do all we can to hold conditions. Cool season turfs such as bentgrass, blues, and ryes will decline in this heat. Poa annua, a winter annual, simply wants to“check out” as it has evolved to do and is supposed to do.

To relieve the heat we increase syringing – not watering. Syringing is the art of applying a small amount of water on the plant to cool it down. Just like us and any other life of cells, turf can suffer fatal heat exhaustion. Consistently cooling it down throughout the day can help to prevent turf from becoming over heated, increasing poa’s chance of survival, and suspending decline of the other grasses.

At the same time, as heat weakens turf and its natural defenses, diseases have an easier time of taking over. Brown patch, pythium, and anthracnose are the most active in the heat, and if left unchecked, these diseases can take out acres of turf in hours-yes! in hours!

We have applied preventative fungicide sprays to the greens, tees, and fairways to suppress these diseases. They can never be eradicated totally, so we have to be diligent and watch for any “breakthrough” so that we can reapply fungicides immediately.

The heat is not a good thing – it is really tough on the grasses, and on people. We will just continue to do the things we do and do them to our best ability so that the turf has its best chance of making it through these ridiculously hot periods.
Using ice to cool turf on 7 tee. Also, as the ice melts, the cold water seeps into the soil and drops the soil temperatures
Poa yellowed due to heat stress, but will recover when the temps go back down.  

Edgar cooling down the 7th green
Close up of a syringe/ misting nozzle.
Pythium on ryegrass rough

Sunday, July 3, 2011

July 3, 2011

The Southern Pine Beetle (SPB) population has been on the increase in southern New Jersey, and we recently have identified it on the golf course, most notably in the areas near the 13th green and 4th tee.

The SPB attacks all pines, but favors the native pitch pine. The adult beetles bore into the inner bark and the female then lays her eggs. The hatched larvae then feed on the inner bark, girdling the tree on the inside.  The beetles also transmit “blue stain fungi” which colonizes in the trees xylem, blocking water movement in the tree. When these larvae mature, they bore out of the tree and fly to a host tree to lay their eggs and the process begins again with a new generation. Once infested with the beetle and blue stain fungi, the tree is certain to die with in a month or two.

Spraying a pitch pine near the 11th green.

Having found the SPB, we have contracted with a local tree service to do preventative sprays to do our best to hold off further infestations. Last Thursday we sprayed about 50 trees and next week we will spray at least as many more. Due to the expense, we will be concentrating on the specimen pine trees and ones that are “part of the course”. Our plan is to protect as many of these pines as is feasible.

Dead pitch pines to the right of the 13th green that were attacked by the SPB and blue stain fungi earlier in the year.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

June 21, 2011

The summer solstice occurs at 1:16 pm today! and is the day of the year in the northern hemisphere with the most time of daylight! Sunrise today occurs at 5:32am and sunset at 8:28pm – 14 hours and 56 minutes of daylight today! From this day on til the winter solstice in December, the days will become shorter...

The summer solstice is considered to be the first day of summer, although there is no official decree or law to make it so. It’s just an “easy out” on the calendar! Throughout the world, people celebrate the solstice with parties, pagan ceremonies, prayer, music, etc, and of course, somewhere, probably at a Wal Mart, there is a solstice day sale.

No matter how, or even if, you celebrate the solstice, have a great day and a great summer!

Monday, June 20, 2011

June 20

What makes greens speed? Is it just shaving the down the greens? Is it really that simple?

Greens speed isn’t that simple. Height of cut does play a role, but shaving down the greens is not the only factor. Green speed also depends on many other factors and the consistency of maintenance programs – some of these are mowing frequency, rolling, topdressing, soil moisture management, verti-cutting, growth regulators, and fertility. Green speed is also a function of weather and turfgrass variety. Because of all the necessary programs, green speed also depends on a lot of person power. Green speed is something that must be planned for, not just “made”. And not just accomplished by green height.

When we plan for a tournament, preparations to produce a target green speed begin at least six or more weeks in advance. All the programs are increased to peak the greens at the time of the tournament. If we have timed every thing correctly, the greens will top out at tournament time, and be healthy enough to recover from the stress incurred. The longer we maintain them in this manner, the weaker they become due to all the stresses put on the plants, which is why the greens cannot be kept at tournament speeds at all times. Even US Open and Master’s greens don’t stay fast for very long...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

June 9, 2011

Everything these days are computers, ipads, clouds, blackberries, and all the other stuff that can do it all...but I am a bit like Wendell Barry, who in his essay, “Why I Am Not Going to Buy a Computer”, explains why he still uses a pencil when he writes...

I am that way about some things...

I still use a knife to cut open the turf to look for bugs and make counts, check the greens with an old fashioned soil probe to look at the roots and the soil moisture. I dont use a lot of the digital stuff that claims to do this for me....I still like to rely on my own senses and instincts that I have honed and have learned to trust over the past 50 plus years...and I still like to use the old traveling sprinkler.

I have been using these things since I started out in the business. Some are driven by a diaphragm, and others are gear driven; both use the water pressure as energy. Ours are gear driven. Not much can go wrong!

Traveling sprinklers are a great to supplement large areas that do not get enough coverage from the “computerized” automatic irrigation system. Many days we use ours on the rough areas on 4, 7 and 8. All we need to do is set it up, and then move it when it gets to the end of its run. The traveling sprinkler is very dependable and efficient, and while it is doing the watering, we can be off somewhere else doing other things!

I guess I could add a digital readout, a key board and some blinking lights to the frame to make it look high tech, but I know it wouldn’t work any better. It’d probably get a virus and I will leave it the way it is....plain and dependable!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

May 28, 2011

I am hoping that you have noticed a few “changes” that we’ve recently made to the golf course!

On the fourth green we completely renovated the green surrounds. We re-graded and drained the entire area, redesigned both left side bunkers – even making a sod wall bunker back left - updated the irrigation, removed trees, and planted a privet hedge to screen out the road that runs right of the green.

On the fifth tee we removed five trees that interfered with tee shots and removed a section of the cartpath. We removed one chestnut tree at the left of the fairway too.

Behind the fifteenth green we planted 65 Leyland Cypress trees to screen out the traffic on Route 9. We planted more privet behind the seventeenth tee and fourth tee, also to screen out traffic on Route 9.

On the sixth hole, we repaired the right side bunker and sodded the high traffic area near the green.

I think that these changes will make the course more playable and enjoyable for everyone.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

May 14, 2011

Many times I am asked why I wear long sleeve shirts and rarely wear shorts... cancer.

I don’t have skin cancer, and I don’t want to get it if I can help it. My cousin died of it when he was 26. My mom has been through it. One of my friends continues to have it surgically removed on her arms, stomach, etc. Most people know at least someone who has had it, but most people probably know more than one. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in the U. S.

It is also the most preventable cancer, and if caught early, the most curable too.

To reduce the risk of developing skin cancer, limit your exposure to the sun. This can be done by taking advantage of shaded areas, wearing clothing that covers as much skin as possible, wearing a wide brim hat, and using sunscreen. Also, use lip balm that contains sunscreen and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and eyelids.

It’s very important to check your skin often for any changes such as sores, red and /or irritated areas, colored spots, etc. Moles are extremely important to look over – look to see if they are getting bigger, growing uneven edges, changing colour, or becoming raised. Basically, any changes to your skin can be an indicator of skin cancer.

If you suspect anything, it’s best to see your doctor. It is also a good idea to visit your dermatologist on a regular basis.

As golfers, we spend a lot of time in the sun, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just that we need to use a little common sense and caution about the risks we take. Skin cancer is one of those things that we need to know about so that we can keep our risks in check.

Friday, May 6, 2011

May 6, 2011

Today we finished up the greens aeration!

We first used the Graden machine to deeply slice into the green – more or less a vertical cut – which pulls out thatch. Following the Graden operation we aerated the greens with small open tines on a tight spacing. After cleaning the thatch and plugs, we topdressed and applied a calcium fertilizer, then matted it in.

Everything went well, and we will now concentrate on healing them up and getting them back to what we are used to!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

April 23, 2011

So much is going on that I have a hard time focusing on any one event or subject to write it’s probably best to post an overview for now.

We have begun cutting rough on a daily basis now. The turf is really growing with this moderate and somewhat wet spring weather. We are also back to our normal fairway and tee mowing schedules.

We are grooming and rolling the greens every other day along with the normal daily cutting to reduce the slight bumpiness caused by the uneven growth of the many varieties of poa and bent on the greens.

But mowing is just the tip of the iceberg...we are starting up the irrigation system, rebuilding the rail road tie garden beds at the half way house, fertilizing, applying our pre emergent controls, applying fungicides and herbicides, taking measures to suppress the annual bluegrass weevil population, prepping for next weeks green’s aeration, etc.

If you’ve been playing, I am sure you have noticed that we have re shaped many of the tees into the traditional rectangular shape, capturing the time and vision of Willie Park Jr.

We have just begun a project to restore the #4 green “walk on” and re-edge the left side green bunkers. I will most likely post more about this next week.

We recently finished planting a Monarch Butterfly Way Station garden near the clubhouse practice putting green as part of our Audubon Sanctuary certification program.

There always is a lot going on in our department no matter what time of year it is, but every spring we are exceptionally busy with the rush to stay ahead of Mother Nature and prep the course for a great year. And its all good! We are loving every minute of it!

Friday, April 15, 2011

April 15, 2011

In just few days this week the golf course went from dormant to flushing green growth!

If you played Monday of this week and again today, Friday, I am sure you noticed the difference! On Monday the greens had little colour, yet today they are green and growing fast. The same is happening with the tees, fairways, and rough. This flush of growth makes the surfaces a bit uneven, as some turf sprints while other varieties jog – they grow at different rates. Fortunately, this will begin to settle out in a short time. With this flush of growth, our staff is shifting focus from spring cleanup and spring projects to mowing and grooming to catch up with the flush.

It’s great to see the turf growing again, smell the fresh cut grass, and see the members back on the course! We are looking forward to a great year!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

March 29, 2011

Behind the 11th green, we installed a linear trap designed to catch annual bluegrass weevils as they make their way from their over wintering areas in the adjacent woods, to the green where they will lay eggs. When the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the poa annua, weakening it to the point that it dies.

With the trap, we know when these insects begin to move, and get a rough idea of the initial population that we are dealing with. With this info, we time and manage our sprays to suppress the population of adults prior to egg laying.

Managing these weevils is a year long battle - they can have four or more generations a year. They attack poa anywhere too- greens, tees, fairways and rough. They are also resistant to many of the available treatments. For the best control, timing and rotation of different type insecticides is best.

There are many types of insects that attack turf, yet the annual bluegrass weevil is by far is the most challenging.

Pictured below is the linear trap, Edgar preparing the area for installation, and Denia flagging it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March 23, 2011

When a seed germinates, the root is first to emerge from the hull, anchoring the expected green shoot, and sending up water and nutrients to feed it. Without the root, the green shoot would fall over, wither, starve, and die. The importance of the root over rides the importance of leaves and shoots throughout the plant’s life. If roots are strong and healthy, then most likely, the plant will have the ability to compete with traffic, drought, temperatures, disease, and other stresses that man and nature create.

Friday, March 18, 2011

March 18, 2011

On Sunday, March 20, the spring, or vernal, equinox occurs at 7:21 pm EDT. Its the moment the earth is tilted to the sun so that it follows the celestial equator, and the day is twelve hours of light and twelve hours of darkness. From the moment after, daylight lengthens until the summer solstice occurs on June 21.


I’d like to remind everyone that we will be aerating fairways and tees on Monday, March 21, and Tuesday, March 22, weather permitting. We will do the front nine on Monday and the back nine on Tuesday. There will always be a nine open for play!

We will aerate greens May 4 and 5th. We feel that waiting a bit gives the soil time to warm and for the greens turf to start growing aggressively, which will cause the greens to heal much faster than if we were to do it this early.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

March 10, 2011

About every two or three years we like to tour all of the tree-lines on the golf course and decide which grassy areas are receiving the most competition from trees. Tree roots typically grow near the soil surface and “steal” water and nutrients from our greens, tees, fairways, and roughs. Most of these areas are already tough to grow grass in because they are heavily shaded and receive plenty of traffic. Allowing trees to impact turf from above and below just doesn’t seem fair. On Wednesday, Clarkton Turf Services visited Greate Bay to do some tree root pruning for us. They have an impressive machine which uses a series of curved blades that penetrate about ten inches into the soil (most grass roots grow two to six inches deep), slicing all of the tree roots that could make growing grass even more difficult. Their machine is very efficient and can prune everything we need in about one day. Root pruning is another tool we can use to improve conditions on the course, and when performed properly, is completely safe for trees. The rule of thumb is to avoid pruning more than 1/3 of a tree’s roots in any given year. Our method only impacts about ¼ of the root system, and we have yet to “lose” a tree because of pruning. Check out the video to see just how the machine works.


 Post, pictures and video contributed by Chris Lare, Assistant Superintendent

Friday, March 4, 2011

March 4, 2011

We recently placed strobe lights in both ponds – the entrance pond and the pond bordering the 12th hole – to discourage geese from nesting along the shores and raising their young in the surrounding areas. The solar powered yellow strobes are anchored in the ponds and automatically activate in darkness (evening through sunrise). The blinking yellow light is very disturbing to the geese that overnight in ponds or along the banks, encouraging them to move on and take up residence else where.

During the day, we chase the geese using other methods. Some of these are running Apollo (Joel’s dog) and Rocky (Heather’s dog) and scaring off any geese that might land. We are also using radio controlled boats to chase the geese off the waters where the dogs can’t go, or can’t swim fast enough to get close. A lead goose will break off the main flock and “tease” the dog away by swimming just out of reach and away from the flock, eventually tiring the dog. The geese aren’t so clever with a boat....the boat can get up to 30mph and so this teasing doesn’t work.

Our goal is not to hurt the geese...but just to give them reason to move on. Besides their droppings (up to 3lbs per day per goose) that make a mess, the geese will eat turf down to its crowns, thinning and killing turf areas. By moving them on, they will find other, and hopefully, more natural breeding areas. That’s best for all of us.