Friday, September 15, 2023

September 2023 Update

It has been an extremely busy past few months at Golf Course Maintenance as we have been working hard preparing for season and wrapping up our summer cultural practices. 

In early August, we were almost fully recovered from our major aerification when a main line irrigation leak was observed underneath the road crossing between holes #13 and #14. The repair was extremely problematic and took 8 days to fully complete the repair. Unfortunately, we were left without irrigation water for 8 days in the heat of the summer while the system was shut down during the repair. I am incredibly thankful for my staff in persevering through the challenges and successfully executing the repair. 

In the early stages of the repair, the existing pipe was removed from the 15" sleeve located underneath the road.

The removal process of the existing pipe proved to be very challenging as there was not much room between the sleeve and the existing 10" pipe. Several different pieces of equipment were required to dislodge the pipe and remove it from the sleeve.

Once the pipe was removed, a new 10" pipe was inserted into the sleeve and the appropriate fittings were installed.

The repair consisted of many days working sun up to sun down.

Once the new 10" pipe and fittiings were installed, the system was slowly repressurized and operational following an 8 day shut down.

While we were fortunate not to have any long-term negative effects as a result of this leak, there have been several areas that suffered from the dry conditions needing some extra TLC, specifically in the fairways and greens. We have been diligent in our recovery efforts and these areas are slowly showing signs of new growth. We are confident that the golf course will be in pristine shape by early October.  

It pains me to post a picture like this, but it is important to recognize the stress observed throughout the golf course without the appropriate irrigation.

This photo was taken 25 days later. New growth has been observed and these areas are fully recovering.

Our September, three-day-closure allowed us time to deep tine aerify all fairways with 3/4 solid tines. This allows for additional compaction relief and oxygen exchange at a depth of over 8 inches. During this closure we were also able to catch up on much needed trimming, edging and detail work. 

All fairways were deep tined during our September closure.

Additionally, on September 13th, we completed our annual Dryject application to all putting surfaces. Dryject is a technology that uses high pressure water to inject columns of clean sand into newly created aeration holes. The benefits of this process are compaction relief, an increase in water infiltration and percolation, and amending the organic layer of the rootzone with sand. Furthermore, this is an extremely non-invasive procedure that hardly affects playability. 

The Dryject machine is loaded with kiln dried sand. Three machines in total were used. Each machine required three of our staff members to keep the hoppers full of sand at all times.

#1 Green immediately following the Dryject procedure.

#1 Green after rolling, dragging, and mowing. Picture was taken 24 hours after the photo above.

The Dryject process fractures the soil and inserts a column of sand into the soil profile diluting the organic layer and creating a healthy growing medium for new root growth.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

2023 Aerification

Despite the record setting temperatures experienced over the past several weeks, the weather has cooperated and allowed us to successfully carry out all necessary cultural practices during our aerification closure. 

Our final week of closure will consist of some final cultural practices, fertilization, and putting the golf course back together so it is ready for play upon reopening on July 31st. 

Here is a breakdown of the major cultural practices that will have been completed upon reopening:

Greens - Verticut 4x, Aerified 2x, Topdressed 2x

Fairways and Approaches - Verticut 4x, Aerified 2x

Tees - Verticut 2x, Aerified 2x, Topdressed 1x

Rough - Aerified 2x

The most time-consuming part of the process is cleaning up after each of these practices. The cleanup process consists of numerous tractors, utility vehicles, sweepers, vacuums, brushes, mowers and blowers. This ensures the playing surface is as clean as possible for sufficient recovery. 

Prior to reopening, the entire golf course will have been fertilized to encourage new growth and expedite the recovery process.

While the golf course was in excellent shape prior to our closure, it is vital that we carry out these major cultural practices each year. Aerification and verticutting both offer numerous agronomic benefits, such as compaction relief, thatch removal, improved air exchange, deeper rooting and enhanced nutrient and water uptake.

We are incredibly fortunate to have such a hard-working maintenance staff at Copperleaf. The team has endured extreme temperatures, late hours and a myriad of different tasks necessary for us to successfully complete all of our aerification practices.

Below are some pictures highlighting our work over the closure.

Prior to the greens being aerified, a layer of topdressing sand is applied to the surface.
Once topdressed, greens were then aerified with 5/8" coring tines. The cores are collected in the rectangular box mounted behind the machine and dropped at the end of each pass, where a crew will remove and haul off the debris.
Once the greens have been aerified and cleaned, they are rolled and brushed in several directions to help incorporate sand into the channels created by the aerifier.
Finished product of our putting surfaces after two aerifications.

First mow on greens following both aerifications - Friday, July 21st.
Our Toro Procore 1298 in action aerifying #9 fairway.
Fairways were verticut immediately after being aerified. They were verticut a total of 4 times during the closure.
Our two VC60 Fairway verticutters are seen on hole #6 with the 1298 aerifier finishing in the background.
Aerial view of our three vacuums cleaning debris on hole #4.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

June 2023 GCM Update

Summer has officially begun at Copperleaf! We have fortunately been receiving steady rains to help fill up our lakes and provide the Golf Course with some much needed moisture.

The turfgrass on the Golf Course is in excellent health as we begin to put plans in place for our major cultural practices scheduled to occur during the three-week July closure. 

The recent summer rains have balanced out our aesthetics and
filled up our lakes.

Our annual Curfew soil fumigant application was successfully completed during our June, three-day closure. Curfew is a nematicide applied to eradicate parasitic nematodes in turf. Nematodes are microscopic roundworms that feed on plant tissues. Each year, this product is applied to control nematode populations to ensure that our turfgrass is healthy and performs to our high standards. The slits from the machines have left temporary scars, as expected, and should be healed in the next week or two. We recently applied a bulk fertilizer application to the entire golf course which will expedite the recovery process.

The Curfew application is completed by injecting the product
5-7" into the soil. 
Temporary linear scars can be observed for 2-3 weeks
following the application. 

With the warmer temperatures and active turfgrass growth, we have been routinely vertical mowing (verticutting) our putting surfaces. Verticutting is accomplished by utilizing a mower with thin blades that cut vertically into the green. This practice is completed to remove excessive leaf growth, improve surface smoothness and promote upright turfgrass growth. 

Our Summer Annual flowers were installed earlier this month. Red and Green Coleus have been planted and are growing in nicely. The red and green color contrast will offer enhanced aesthetics around our key areas of the entrance and clubhouse over the next several months. 

We have recently started the process of preparing to install turfgrass to a large area in between holes #16 and #17. The Greens and Grounds Committee has supported the idea to eliminate a large section of pinestraw and native grasses. In the past, this bed was nearly 400 yards long consisting of native grasses, palm trees, olive trees, and other native plants. Unfortunately, this extremely large area was very popular for golf balls, in addition to consuming a great amount of our time and resources in both trimming and weed control. During our July closure, we will harvest sprigs from our fairways during the verticutting process, and then plant this area with Celebration bermudagrass. We are confident that the pinestraw bed reduction will be aesthetically pleasing and much easier to play from, with a secondary benefit of helping pace of play.

During the aerification process, we will use sprigs generated from
our fairways to plant this area with Celebration Bermudagrass,
matching our existing turfgrass.

Ornamental grasses, native plants, and pinestraw were removed in
a large section of the bed located between holes #16 and #17.

A view of the project from #17. The existing palms and trees
will continue to offer separation between these two holes,
but playability and aesthetics will both be enhanced. 

As always, feel free to email any questions, comments or concerns to