Monday, July 15, 2019

FYI 7/12/19

Golf Maintenance FYI

·         The first week of our annual 3-week closure was challenging at best. The first two days we were fortunate to miss the rains that circled us; however, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday saw rain fall throughout the day. The rain causes soft, wet conditions making it difficult to not only get out on the golf course but to also clean up the plugs and verti-cutting material.

The rain has created challenging conditions to clean up debris

·         Our lake levels are now above the high-water line of 14 feet. This creates a saturated soil profile and causes our low areas to become very soft creating a challenge for our equipment to pass through. Additional handwork is needed which simply delays progress and impacts other planned projects.

The water level is only inches below the basins causing saturated soil conditions

·         Compliments to my staff for working through the rain, heat and humidity over the past week to accomplish as much as possible. Their work ethic and dedication to Copperleaf are simply amazing and I can not think of a greater compliment to have employees that want to work with me and get things done. Thankyou to Char Swob for providing snacks and Gatorade to the team this week. Also, a big thank-you to John and Helga Reynolds for providing pizza to the staff this week. The staff were so thankful for the thoughtfulness and it is these little things that encourage them to perform at their best.

A photo of the team with Char Swob in the middle

·         David Forrey has been outstanding again this week coordinating the cultural practices. He had to be extremely creative to navigate around the golf course and identify the driest areas to perform the work with the various pieces of equipment.
·         Over the past week the following cultural practices have been completed:
o   All greens verticut 6 times, aerified, top-dressed with sand, fertilized and dragged
o   All fairways double verticut, vacuumed, aerified, dragged and fraze mowed
o   All greens collars fraze mowed to eliminate the mounding around the collar
o   Practice tee double verticut, vacuumed, aerified and fraze mowed
o   All tees double verticut and vacuumed
·         I can’t thank Ricardo Gomez and Raul Sanchez for coming in on Saturday, their day off, to finish fraze mowing the fairways. Without their efforts we would not be as far along for the upcoming week. I provided them each a $50 Amazon gift card to reward their efforts.

Verticutting Greens

Greens aerification plugs

Aerial view of Hole 9 showing the Verticutting process

Verticut Fairways

Vacuuming the Verticutting debris

·         The amount of material generated is quite extraordinary with over 400 yards of grass cuttings already being hauled off property.

Debris pile ready for pick up

·         Hopefully the weather cooperates this coming week as we will be:
o   Aerifying and topdressing with sand all Tees
o   Aerifying and topdressing with sand all Greens again
o   Verticutting, aerifying and topdressing all Approaches
o   Aerifying all Rough
o   Aerifying all fairways again
o   Topdressing all fairways - will take several days to complete
·         These cultural practices allow our turf to recover from another busy golfing season and to prepare for increased golf play starting in October.
·         The event hosted by Bayer last week was a great success. I was interviewed by several industry journalists on our success here at Copperleaf. This culminated in a site visit on Friday and a more in-depth interview on my own unique story and especially regarding the use of female employees in golf maintenance.
·         Our very own Tina Fry has been awarded a trip to North Carolina in September to recognize women in the turf industry. She will be one of 30 attendees from the US and Canada attending a 3-day conference. It is a credit to Tina and her hard work for being accepted.

Monday, July 8, 2019

FYI 7/5/19

Golf Maintenance FYI

·         What a difference a week makes! It is still hot and humid with heat advisory warnings being issued by the county as the heat index approaches 110 degrees. However, we have now had over 6 inches of rain in the past week and the turf, and your Superintendent, could not be happier.

The heat index at 3 PM, July 4, 2019

·         Compliments again to Tina Fry for fertilizing the greens on Tuesday afternoon in what would I believe to be one of the hottest days I can remember. Pushing a 70-pound spreader across all 20 greens in that humidity was simply an amazing effort. Tina was determined to get it done as we knew rain was coming Wednesday and wanted the course to look its best for the Fourth of July tournament on Thursday. Her efforts are simply amazing so please thank her next time you see her working out on the course.
·         Compliments continue for my staff that are currently trimming all the golf course plants. They work from 6 AM to 4 PM with a hedge trimmer in one hand and a rake in the other. It truly is exhausting work. The trimming removes woody material, provides for new succulent growth and improves playability.
·         A big thank-you to Char Swob for providing Pedialyte powder to our workers to put in their ice water to replenish lost electrolytes. It truly makes a difference and is appreciated by all the staff.
·         Compliments to David Forrey for his work at the golf maintenance building adding a hot water heater to the Chemical room and re-piping the wash sink and rinsate tanks. His work over the past 9 months at our new facility is to be commended.
·         The rain on Friday afternoon, July 5 was simply extraordinary with almost 2 inches of rain falling in less than an hour. There was substantial flooding on the course; however, within a short period of time the course had drained and was quite playable.

Rain on Hole 18 green from looking from the Clubhouse. The green is covered in water and looks like it is joining the lake behind it. Within 2 hours golfers were back out on the course.

Hole 13, July 3, 2019

·         The turf grass has responded well to the rain over the past week and is looking great. I received many compliments from our members that enjoyed the 4th of July golf tournament.
·         I have been invited by Bayer Crop Science to be a guest speaker at an event they are hosting in Naples next Thursday. The event is called “Focus on Florida” and is highlighting some of the successful local Superintendents in the area.
·         I look forward to the summer closure starting on Monday. All turf areas will be verti-cut, aerified and top-dressed. There will be an extraordinary amount of work performed and I am hopeful that Mother Nature cooperates and keeps the rain away during the day.

Friday, June 28, 2019

FYI 6/28/19

Golf Maintenance FYI

·         The heat index continues to rise with constant “feel like” temperatures approaching 110 degrees. There have been regular heat advisory warnings issued by the County and so we have been protective of our staff due to the physical nature of their work. Our equipment is also under extreme pressure during the high heat. Many thanks to our Mechanic, Roman Gomez, for his efforts in keeping our equipment running daily.
·         We have not received any measurable rain for over 2 weeks now. The heat coupled with the lack of rain is having negative impacts on the overall appearance of the turf grass in certain areas. Brown, discolored turf areas can be seen in certain areas throughout the course. Wetting agents that improve water efficacy have been applied to these areas to aide in turf health.
·         Our dry conditions were made worse when our irrigation computer quit working last Friday causing no irrigation to occur that night. Both David Forrey and I had to water the course manually with our handheld radios on Saturday, Sunday and Monday night before a replacement computer was delivered on Tuesday. Compliments to David Forrey for his efforts during this challenging time.
·         With over 30,000 rounds of golf being played at Copperleaf this year I am looking forward to closing the course on July 8 to complete the necessary cultural practices to alleviate compaction. This soil compaction is not allowing water to penetrate deep into the soil and creates a shallow root system. With our current high temperatures, the grass easily dries out during the day and becomes stressed before the next irrigation cycle begins at night.
·         There are certain areas throughout the course where the turf has been “burned” by golf cart tires in the afternoon heat. The tires crush the cells in the leaf blade and cause the turf to dieback. I would encourage all golfers to be aware of where they are driving and to stay away from dry, stressed turf.

Tire marks burnt into the turf on Hole 3

·         Compliments to the golf maintenance staff for preparing the course for the local Junior Golfers on Wednesday. It was another hot day with the golfers required to walk the course. Our own Braden Miller played extremely well and was near the top of his flight.
·         All greens were verticut and top-dressed with sand and fertilized with potassium this week. The potassium will help with the extreme weather conditions as it improves turf strength against drought and heat. The sand top-dressing will help to dilute organic material in the soil and provide a firm surface. Compliments to Tina Fry for pushing a 70-pound fertilizer spreader across our greens on Wednesday afternoon during some truly excessive heat and humidity. She truly is an amazing individual and I can’t be more thankful for her efforts!
·         All Tees and Fairways were sprayed with a liquid fertilizer this week in preparation for the July 4 event next week and to strengthen the turf.

A photo of Hole 12 Fairway and Green complex taken this morning

·         Without question, we need rain. One thing is certain though, the rain will be coming soon. Lets just hope it is between 6 PM and 6 AM so that we can continue to get our work done on the course during the day.
·         A reminder that the course will be closed for major cultural practices starting Monday July 8 and re-open Monday July 29. Please plan your vacations accordingly 😊