Tuesday, August 13, 2019

FYI 8/9/19

Golf Maintenance FYI

·         The 3-week course closure was a great success with an abundance of cultural practices being completed.
o   All greens were verticut 8 times, aerified 2 times, top-dressed with sand and fertilized.
o   Tees were verti-cut, vacuumed, aerified, top-dressed with sand and fertilized
o   Fairways and Approaches were verti-cut 2 times, vacuumed, aerified 2 times, fraise mowed, raked and top-dressed with sand and fertilized
o   Roughs were scalped, aerified and fertilized
o   The vacuuming and removal of grass clippings generated over 570 yards of material that was hauled off property.

Part of the debris pile

Top-dressing Hole 16 Fairway

·         The turf is now recovering very well and improving every day. Compliments to our employees for working through some extreme heat, humidity, rain and dusty conditions.
·         Our equipment is put to the test during the course closing and we experienced only a few unexpected issues. Compliments to our mechanic, Roman Gomez, for having everything ready and repaired in a timely fashion.
·         The Curfew application completed in June to help control nematodes continues to be successful. An example of this can be seen on Hole 17 where there was a small miss from the applicator and so the Nematodes have continued to damage the turf. Due to this positive response, I have scheduled another application for June 2020.

Hole 17 White Tee – August 2019

     The rain over the past couple of weeks has been extraordinary. There has been rain at all times of the day including lightning that prevents work from being completed and has been extremely frustrating. Compliments to David Forrey for scheduling our staff to complete the work as efficiently as possible whilst maintaining very high standards throughout the course.
·         I enjoyed some time off with my family visiting family members in both Galway, Ireland and London, England. It was fantastic to get away for a while and I can’t thank David Forrey, Tina Fry and the leadership group for their outstanding work in my absence.
·         I will be hosting a local Superintendent event here on Thursday, August 15. It will be an 8:30 AM Shotgun with 50 to 60 expected participants followed by lunch. Member play will be included in the Shotgun. We will be putting our best effort forward to have the course in great shape – let’s hope Mother Nature cooperates.
·         I will be hosting a local Superintendent educational seminar here on Thursday, August 22. It will be held in the clubhouse and will include lunch for 30 to 40 participants. It is an annual event for Superintendents to obtain their Golf Course Best Management Certification that is valid for 4 years. David Forrey will be renewing his certification. Tina Fry and I are currently certified.

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 😊

Friday, June 21, 2019

FYI 6/21/2019

Golf Maintenance FYI

·         The golf course continues to look good and receive positive comments from both our Members and Reciprocal players.
·         The heat index continues to rise with constant “feel like” temperatures approaching 108 degrees. The strenuous work performed by our staff is greatly appreciated.
·         We continue to trim plant material throughout the golf course with Holes 1 and 2 nearing completion. Some plants are pruned quite heavily to remove dead and woody material which then promotes new, succulent growth.
·         We did experience some rain during the week which kept the course wet in some areas. Thank you to Tina Fry for placing directional signs and stakes throughout the course to prevent cart path restrictions.
·         Compliments to the golf maintenance staff for preparing the course for the local Assistant Golf Professionals on Thursday. Our very own AJ Pasqual shot an impressive 68 from the Blue Tees. Well done AJ!
·         All greens were verticut this week to remove excess growth and improve ball speed. Greens will be top-dressed with sand and fertilized with potassium next 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.
·         Washouts along some of the lake banks and rock walls have been filled in this week and will continue into next week.
·         The 3-Day Trees Florida conference was excellent. I was able to learn many new ideas that can be implemented here at Copperleaf including Palm tree health, structural tree trimming and improved cultural practices for our shrubs.
·         Overall, everything is going very well. Our turf health continues to improve from the Curfew application and there is some nice definition between the fairways and rough.

·         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 😊

FYI 6/14/19

Golf Maintenance FYI

·         Not to sound like a broken record but it was yet another hot week at Copperleaf. The "feel like" temperature on most days was over 108 degrees. Compliments to my staff for working long hours on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to get our tasks done.
·         A special thanks to Clare and Ed Donahue and Lora and Ike Eikelberner for providing our staff with some Gatorade this week to quench their thirst and replace lost electrolytes.
·         Another special thank-you to Len Godfrey for providing pizza for the staff on Wednesday. It was greatly appreciated by all the staff.
·         The damage to the turf from the Curfew application continues to heal quickly. I have been very impressed with the recovery and the overall improved appearance of the course.
·         All Tees, Approaches and Fairways were circle cut this week. Circle cutting eliminates thatch and grain and provides an improved appearance by allowing the ball to sit up, rather than down, into the turf. It also allows for an improved aftercut appearance from our mowers.

Circle Cutting Hole 6

Aftercut appearance Hole 3

·         All greens were verticut this week to improve ball speed and reduce thatch and grain. Verticutting involves thinning out the turf grass and helps with smoothing the playing surface. This process generates a lot of grass clippings due to its aggressive nature.

Verticutting Hole 1 Green

The verticut cut lines are visible until being mowed. Our current Height of cut is 0.100.

·         All Roughs were sprayed with a growth regulator this week to reduce grass clippings and provide consistent playing conditions.
·         David Forrey and I attended an advanced irrigation class this week. It was a great class that refreshed our memories and provided some new ideas to improve the efficiency of our irrigation system.
·         I will be attending a 3-day Trees Florida conference next week. I will be attending classes each day and securing CEU’s to maintain my Certified Arborist license.
·         We experienced 1.2 inches of rain last night. The rain was absorbed quickly and there were no restrictions this morning. Thanks to Tina Fry for setting up the golf course ready for play.
·         Overall, everything is going very well. The rain last night was a welcome relief to help with some developing dry areas on the course.

Monday, June 10, 2019

FYI 6/7/19

Golf Maintenance FYI

·         It was yet another hot week without rain. Feel like temperatures over 104 degrees made our labor-intensive work quite challenging this week. Compliments to my staff for continuing to work hard and complete our tasks.
·         A special thanks to Char Swob and Helga Reynolds for providing our staff with some Gatorade to quench their thirst and replace lost electrolytes. It is greatly appreciated.
·         The Curfew application on Tuesday was a success with 60 acres of turf being treated. As mentioned at every opportunity, the scarring of the turf after the application is less than desirable; however, within a short period of time the “burnt” lines will disappear. The machines caused some damage where they hit buried rocks, however, there was less damage than I had anticipated.
·         I met with our electrician on Wednesday where he confirmed that splicing into the irrigation system power supply will work to power the proposed decorative clock. The approximate cost is $2,500 to run the wires and appropriate components from Hole 18 red Tee to the practice area. The electrical connection will only be able to provide power for the Clock and no other future considerations.
·         The Clubhouse, Tennis Courts and Hole 13 landscaping was trimmed this week. Compliments to Flavio Lopez for his tireless work trimming all day in the heat and humidity.
·         All bunkers were edged this week.
·         We started trimming the Hong Kong Orchids throughout the property this week. One member was so impressed with the work he has offered to provide pizza to our staff on Wednesday!
·         Greens were fertilized this week with a 19-0-15 fertilizer blend to maintain health.
·         All fairways were sprayed with liquid fertilizer on Monday to maintain health and encourage recovery from the Curfew application.
·         Roughs will be sprayed with a growth regulator next week to reduce grass clippings and provide consistent playing conditions.
·         We hope to complete the installation of new sprinklers along the fence of Hole 6 this coming week. New plants will then be installed in open areas.
·         50 new Cabbage Palms were installed on Wednesday and Thursday including Holes 4, 6, 7, 18 and between 16 and 17. An outside contractor performed the work.
·         David Forrey and I will be attending advanced training for our Irrigation System Software on Thursday and Friday next week. The class is being held at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples.
·         I will be attending a 3-day Trees Florida conference on June 20-22. I will be attending classes each day and securing CEU’s to maintain my Certified Arborist license.
·         We did experience some rain early this morning, which was much needed, but the timing was frustrating. Our staff got wet as they were preparing the course and we had to stop mowing fairways and rough. I will be mowing fairways this afternoon to catch up.
·         Overall, everything seems to be going well. The lines in the turf from the Curfew provide an unsatisfactory look and I look forward to a full recovery.

FYI 5/31/19

Golf Maintenance FYI

·         It has been another hot week outside. In fact, Monday was one of the highest temperatures for May on record with a “feel like” heat index of 104 degrees. We have been making sure our staff are well hydrated throughout the day.
·         The hot weather, coupled with no rain, are both highlighting the deficiencies of our irrigation system. Dry spots are becoming more prevalent where water coverage is inadequate. However, overall, the golf course remains in very good condition and continues to receive compliments from both members and reciprocal players. On average, we have been watering over 800,000 gallons of water per day.
·         Tina Fry applied wetting agent to all the dry areas this week to help the irrigation water penetrate into the soil. As the soil dries out it can become hydrophobic causing water to not penetrate. The wetting agent helps break water tension – like adding soap to your dish water – and allows the water to enter the soil profile and improving turf conditions. Over 12 acres were sprayed throughout the golf course. 
The dew pattern on Hole 1 after the Wetting Agent Application

·         The Memorial Day golf event was a success with golfers appreciating the American Flags both on the flag sticks and the inserts of the cups. We will do this again on July 4 and September 11.
·         Pine straw has been installed along the fence between golf maintenance and Sago Point to complete the landscaping project. It is a vast improvement from what the area looked like previously.
·         I am still waiting to confirm the electrical options for the clock. I am hopeful that we can tie into the electricity used to power the irrigation controllers on the golf course. I will be meeting with an electrician this week to confirm. If this is possible, it will be a significant savings compared to adding a new electrical service.
·         Curfew will be applied to the golf course on Tuesday of this coming week. Signs will be installed at all access points for the golf course educating residents to keep off the course for 24 hours. As a reminder, the Curfew will help control the parasitic Nematodes that feed on the turf roots impacting turf quality. Sprinklers will be running all day on Tuesday to keep the soil moist and to help with recovery from the machines.
·         During the application, our staff will be trimming around the clubhouse, tennis courts and common grounds to keep them off the course.
·         Bunkers began to be edged this week and will be completed next week during the course closure.
·         Greens will be fertilized with a blend of both nitrogen and potassium next week.
·         We hope to complete the installation of new sprinklers along the fence of Hole 6 this coming week. New plants will then be installed in open areas.
·         Over 40 new Cabbage Palms will be installed on Wednesday next week including Holes 4, 6, 7, 18 and between 16 and 17. An outside contractor will perform the work.
·         The South Florida Water Management irrigation permit was renewed this week and will be in effect for 20 years. As a reminder, now that we have our own permit, we are saving the Club over $80,000 per year.
·         Unfortunately, we did have to put one of cats, Garfield, down last week. He had developed Glaucoma in one eye, was in pain and did not have a good prognosis. Thanks to Tina Fry for all her help in looking after Garfield. He will be missed :(
·         I have secured another Florida Golf Course Best Management Practices education event for August at our clubhouse. This has become an annual event for local Superintendents to become certified in Golf Course BMP’s. David Forrey, Tina and I are all certified.
·         I attended a board meeting for the Environmental Research and Education Foundation on Friday of which I am a board member. As previously mentioned, many local governments are adding additional fertilizer restrictions to the State 4-month blackout period of June 1 to September 30. Thankfully, Lee County has not made any changes; however, Alachua County (Gainesville area) has just placed an 8 month ban on all Nitrogen and Phosphorous applications. The City of Naples is meeting on June 11 to increase their blackout period and implement a limit of 4 lbs. total nitrogen application for the year regardless of turf species. So far golf courses and professional sports fields are exempt, however, it does affect our Common Grounds. Unfortunately, peer reviewed science and professional recommendations are being ignored in favor of emotion.
·         Overall, the golf course continues to be in very good condition and our staff are working very well together. The Wednesday closures are extremely beneficial to our productivity.