Friday, February 24, 2012

More Orange Dots

If you are observant, you may notice dozens of small orange dots on the fairway of hole 10. The University of Florida has selected Copperleaf to help conduct testing on products that control Nematodes. After sampling other area club's, Copperleaf's counts of these microscopic worms that live in the soil, were the highest, and so will provide the most accurate data for their trial.

If you look closely on hole 10 fairway, you will see the orange paint highlighting the different test plots. The soil sample locations were filled with white sand.

Nematodes are not visible to the naked eye, however can cause injury and death to susceptible hosts, such as Bermuda grass. The grass becomes weak, thin and drought stressed as the roots are reduced to less than an inch in depth. Unfortunately, the one product that successfully controlled this nuisance pest was removed from sale in Florida over a year ago. There are now many companies promoting the latest and greatest products to control the insect and it is difficult, as an end user, to determine which product is the most effective.

The dark green strips of turf were treated one week prior with Nemacur. The results were so drastic that a second application was made to blend the weakened turf into the rest of the fairway. This picture was taken during the summer of 2011.

Using a grant from Bayer Crop Science, Dr. Billy Crow is testing the effectiveness of one of their products, Nortica, that was released last year. The research data will be shared nationally for all Superintendent's to review once the study is complete.

Unfortunately, Copperleaf is impacted with nematodes throughout the course and it takes additional maintenance practices to prevent damage such as additional watering, the use of moisture retention products and additional fertilizer. Nematode damage becomes most prevalent beginning in March when dry winds, warm temperatures, low rain and compaction from the golfing season begin to take their toll on the turf grass.

The true benefit of conducting such a study at Copperleaf is that we will directly benefit from the data gathered to determine if this new product will improve turf quality under our conditions. We can then determine if applying this new product is worth the investment. I look forward to sharing the results with you as they become available.

Orange Dots

Some of you have asked what the orange dots are located on the edge of our fairways?
These dots are used by our fairway mower operators to indicate the direction to mow that particular fairway each time. This way, the stripe pattern, that you often see on televised golf events, is seen on our fairways. This is been done to the lead up to the Club Championship event this weekend and provides a different appearance on our Bermuda grass fairways. Unfortunately, due to the natural growth habit of Bermuda grass, these patterns are not easily created and so need to be repeated several times. On cool season grass, where the leaf blades are longer, these patterns are very easy to create and maintain after a single pass of the mower.  
The orange paint, as seen here on hole 3, allows our operators to know exactly where to start their first pass.
I hope you enjoy the patterns this weekend; good luck to those members playing in the 3 day event.

Hole 6 with the mowing stripes cut into the fairway.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Greens Spiking

Due to the large volume of play experienced during this time of year, there are several cultural practices utilized throughout the course to continue to provide quality conditions.

One of these practices is to 'spike' the putting greens with thousands of holes approximately the size of a pencil that travel 3 1/2 inches into the soil.

Thousands of tiny holes are created in the putting surface.

The benefit of spiking the greens is to alleviate compaction, allowing water and nutrients to enter the root system and to allow oxygen exchange to promote healthy turf grass. Once the greens have been spiked, a light weight roller smooths the putting surface ready for play followed by a light top-dressing of sand.

Copperleaf utilizes two Toro 648 greens aerifiers to complete the practice before play. Jose Salazar is seen here on hole 16.

All greens are spiked in one day with 9 holes being completed before play in the morning and the remaining greens completed in the afternoon. The end result is a smooth, receptive and healthy putting green that can handle up to 240 rounds of golf per day for over 3 months.

New Tee Signs

As you are enjoying your next round of golf at Copperleaf, please pay attention to the refurbished tee signs located at each tee complex.

The new tee sign on hole 5

The original signs were sand blasted, re-painted black and attached to a new post before being installed. By utilizing the original signs, several thousand dollars were saved over purchasing new.
The end result provides a vast improvement over the faded green signs and posts that were installed over 10 years ago.

Posted by David Dore-Smith
Director of Golf Course and Grounds Maintenance