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.

FYI 5/24/19

Golf Maintenance FYI

·         It has been another busy week at Golf Maintenance.
·         All fairways were raked, and circle cut on Wednesday.
·         All greens were double verticut on Tuesday.
·         All greens were top-dressed with sand, aerified with small tines, dragged and then fertilized with potassium on Wednesday.
·         Typical dry areas on our greens which require daily hand watering were treated with an organic fertilizer; Humus, that will aide with moisture retention. This will ultimately improve turf conditions and eliminate, or at least reduce, the arduous task of hand-watering.
·         Roughs were mowed two times this week and the turf is now becoming more accustom to the 1.25-inch height.
·         All fairways were sprayed with a liquid fertilizer and growth regulator on Monday. The fertilizer strengthens the plant and the growth regulator minimizes grass clippings. We utilize Growing Degree Days (GDD) to determine when the next application is due. Different turf grasses and different heights of cut determine when to re-apply the growth regulator. A computer program is used to calculate the GDD and when to next apply. We utilize both soil and tissue samples to determine what fertilizers are needed so that we are providing exactly what the plant needs. Attached are examples of the lab reports received last week from 9 Green.
·         Celebration sod was installed along the edge of Hole 14 tee complex to aide in drainage.
·         St. Augustine sod was installed around the pump station to repair damage caused when the large generator was stored there.
·         Plants have been installed along the maintenance fence line and Sago Point. Pine straw will be completed on Tuesday to finally complete this project.
·         Garden beds started to be edged and treated with a herbicide to provide a crisp definition between the turf and pine straw.
·         Bunkers will begin to be edged next week.
·         Soil behind our rock walls were negatively impacted after the heavy rain events 2-weeks ago. The rain created sink holes and washouts. It will be a time-consuming task to dig behind the rocks and install new erosion material, backfill, compact and re-sod. We plan to undertake the repairs to the practice area rock wall during the course closure in July.
·         The clock meeting went well on Monday and I am now waiting on proposals for the electrical connection to finalize pricing. The rendering of the clock looks wonderful and it will be a great addition to the Club.
·         I enjoyed a tour of the golf course with Traci this morning and it was nice to showcase what golf maintenance has been doing.
·         Thanks to Heather Becht for coordinating the Health Benefits program for golf maintenance staff this week.
·         We are hosting local golf course mechanics and Superintendents at our new facility on Tuesday, May 28. People are interested in seeing the new building and to learn the successful process we undertook. A local vendor is sponsoring the event and is providing BBQ from Rib City for attendees.
·         Overall, everything continues to be very good and we remain extremely busy both on the golf course and common grounds.

FYI 5/17/19

Golf Maintenance FYI

·         3.6 inches of rain fell on Thursday last week. The golf course handled the water, but the bunkers did not fair well at all. We spent 6 hours Friday morning repairing the front 9 bunkers.
·         3 inches of rain fell on Friday night. Again, the course handled the water very well; however, all bunkers were severely washed out again. With a limited weekend crew, we were only able to repair 3 holes on Saturday and 4 holes on Sunday.
·         Bunkers were deemed “GUR” on Monday due to their condition. We had all available crew members fixing bunkers and they were completed at 3 PM. These washouts confirm the discussion regarding replenishing our bunker sand earlier than first scheduled.
·         It has been a challenge maintaining satisfactory green speeds over the past week due to the heat, humidity and rain. Greens were double verticut and top-dressed on Wednesday last week however, the excessive rain on Thursday and Friday caused a surge in growth. Greens were double cut with sharp reels on Tuesday and again on Wednesday to increase ball speed. They are all in very good condition. All greens will be top-dressed and aerified with small tines next week.
·         Fairways and Approaches have been re-shaped and are starting to show some impressive definition. Some areas were scalped down to the new height while other areas have been left to grow taller.
·         Roughs have been lowered from 1.5 inches to 1.25 inches. Where the turf was “puffy”, typically in out of play areas, it has been scalped to the new height. The 1.25-inch height provides a very consistent playing surface and greatly eliminates the “cauliflower” appearance. We have applied a growth regulator to the rough this week to help control excessive growth, eliminate the scalping and reduce clippings. The GPS sprayer that was purchased last year has been invaluable to accurately apply the product.
·         We are scheduled for the Curfew application on June 4. Dick Hockman and I visited a local golf course as they were applying the Curfew to observe the impact to the turf. Overall, the application is not as aggressive as I have seen in the past; however, I am certain there will be some turf damage due to buried rocks and debris and where the implements lift out of the soil. The course will be closed June 4, 5 and 6.
·         We continue detail work around the maintenance building including completing the conference table, landscaping, connecting the air compressor and installing a water heater in the Chemical Room.
·         We continue work on improving the irrigation along the concrete fence of Hole 6. All sprinklers are being raised to the top of the fence and attached to the posts. This will greatly improve irrigation coverage and allow for new plants to be installed.
·         All golf course sprinkler heads are now being edged monthly. This helps with visibility during cultural practices. We will continue to edge them throughout the summer.
·         We have been improving the landscaping between golf maintenance and Sago Pointe and anticipate completing this task next week with the final plants being delivered Tuesday.
·         Greens perimeters were edged this week.
·         All cart paths were edged this week.
·         Tees were de-compacted this week utilizing solid tines.
·         Fairways have had their height lowered from 0.5 inches to 0.45 inches and were circle cut this week. They will be raked and circle cut again next week.
·         Collars around the greens were verticut this week to reduce thatch and improve playability.
·         I am still observing Mite damage throughout the course and will continue to spot treat these areas. Thankfully the grass is out competing the mite damage in most areas due to the surge in turf growth.
·         We are continuing to battle weeds in the landscape beds. The weather conditions are perfect for weed growth and the recent rain events not only postpone herbicide applications but also, due to the need to repair bunkers and washouts, our staff that usually spray for weeds have been utilized elsewhere.
·         Overall, everything continues to be very good and we remain extremely busy both on the golf course and common grounds.
·         I took my staff to Buffalo Chips for lunch on Thursday to thank them for their hard work. The Copperleaf White Tee Group provided the funds for lunch which was greatly appreciated.

FYI 5/10/19

Golf Maintenance FYI

All greens were double verticut, top-dressed with sand and fertilized on Wednesday.
Greens will be top-dressed and aerified next week on Wednesday utilizing the same small tines used during the season.
The golf course turf was fertilized on Wednesday.
David Forrey will be working this weekend.
Cart paths will begin to be edged this coming week.
We have started lowering the height of the rough from 1.5 inches to 1.25 inches. This practice eliminated the “puffiness” of the turf and provides a clean even surface. It will take several weeks for the turf to acclimate to the new height.
We are planning to host local golf course mechanics and Superintendents at our new facility on Tuesday, May 28. A lot of people are interested in seeing the new building and to learn the successful process we undertook. I am hopeful I can coordinate some food from our kitchen for the event and will work with Traci and Chef Paul on the details. I am hopeful for 25 to 30 people to attend.
Thanks to David Forrey for re-connecting the air compressor and completing the air lines to the main building and chemical room. He is now working on installing the hot water heater in the Chemical Building and moving the shelves and products back in.
Compliments to my team today! We received 3.6 inches of rain yesterday evening in a very short period. Thankfully the golf course absorbed the rain and we were without restrictions today; however, the bunkers weren’t so lucky. 10 staff members spent 6 hours today pushing sand back and removing sediment and were only able to complete the front 9 holes. The back 9 will be completed tomorrow. There is more rain forecast for tonight and is becoming more consistent in the extended forecast. It would appear the rainy season may have started early this year.

FYI 5/3/19

Golf Maintenance FYI

·         Trimming of all plant material continues throughout the golf course this week.
·         All fairways and Approaches have been re-shaped where necessary. Some fairways have been lengthened toward the tee and some have either been widened or narrowed to improve the overall appearance. It will take several weeks for the grass to acclimate to the new height.
·         Tina will be working Saturday and I will be working on Sunday this weekend.
·         All fairways were raked, and circle cut this week to improve turf quality. The raking removes thatch and overlaying turf while the circle cutting cuts off the excess leaf tissue. We will continue to perform this practice throughout the summer months.
·         All sprinkler heads were edged this week and will be completed each month throughout the summer.
·         Work continues on improving the landscape along the southern maintenance area fence. This will help the residents of Sago Pointe by blocking the chain-link fence and providing a cleaner appearance. This project will be completed this week.
·         We will continue installing plant material throughout the golf course and common grounds over the summer months.
·         The entire golf course will be fertilized this week on Wednesday. This will be a controlled release fertilizer providing nutrition to the turf for the next 2 months.
·         Cart paths will begin to be edged this week.
·         I visited a local golf course with Dick Hockman this week to see the Curfew application in person. It was interesting to see the process and to provide some ideas. Everything will be in place for our own application on June 4.
·         We are planning to host local golf course mechanics and Superintendents at our new facility at the end of May. A lot of people are interested in seeing the new building and to learn the process we undertook. 
·         Overall, everything continues to be very good.

FYI 4/26/19

Golf Maintenance FYI

·         All Bunkers were edged this week along with drainage basins throughout the course. Cart path edges will be trimmed next week.
·         I will be working Saturday and Tina on Sunday this weekend.
·         Greens were Verticut on Tuesday and top-dressed and fertilized on Wednesday. They remain in very good condition although there are a couple of greens with some dry areas on them. We have been hand-watering these localized dry spots to encourage deeper roots.
·         Tina Fry, David Forrey, Luis Altuzar and I had some additional training on our moisture meters this week. The unit not only measures moisture, EC, Surface Temperature and Salinity but also ca be used to map sprinklers and other features of the golf course. It is an impressive tool.
·         I have started reshaping the fairways and approaches on the course. The changes will be subtle, but you will see orange painted lines for a few weeks as the grass is mowed at its new height. 
·         I attended a Superintendent educational event on Thursday to get caught up on the industry news and research. There are many things going on but perhaps none as important as the ever-increasing Fertilizer blackouts and fear of Round Up. A county north of Tampa, Alachua, just passed an 8-month total ban on fertilizer applications.  Unfortunately, politicians are ignoring science, which recommends applying the right amount of fertilizer when the plant is actively growing (the summer months) and are making decisions on emotion. In June, the City of Naples will be voting on their fertilizer ordinance and will be making a similar recommendation. Is Lee County next? 
·         Annual flowers were installed this week and look great. They will soon be displaying purple and pink flowers.
·         We have started work on improving the landscape along the southern maintenance area fence. This will help the residents of Sago Pointe by blocking the chain-link fence and providing a cleaner appearance. 
·         I have spoken with Jason and suggested looking into Tuesday shotguns as this then would provide a continuous day and a half to have the course closed. As it currently stands, the course is closed Wednesday to complete projects and cultural practices, we then get the course ready for the Thursday morning shotgun and then the course is closed again that afternoon. Jason will look at the numbers and see if it is possible to have Tuesday shotguns in June and August. Either way, I am thankful for trying this approach.
·         Compliments to Ray Houle who, as usual, was very helpful diagnosing and fixing an electrical issue at the pump station. Thank you Ray for all you do!
·         Overall, everything continues to be very good.

FYI 4/19/19

Golf Maintenance FYI

·         We will be watching the weather this afternoon as there is gusty winds and rain projected. The golf course will benefit from some additional rain as the weather has been dry and windy over the past couple of days. There appears to be signs of rain in the extended forecast as well that we will be keep an eye on. Jason, Brian and I have been communicating regarding the weather and everything is in place.
·         The golf course was fertilized this week. The fertilizer had a pre-emergent herbicide attached with it that will prevent weeds from germinating in our turf grass for the summer.
·         David Forrey will be working this weekend.
·         Greens were aerified this week with the small pencil tines. It is a labor-intensive practice but extremely beneficial for the health of the greens. This all gets done in front of play over 2-days. Thank you to Jason Miller for helping with Tee Times. 

Hole 2 Aerification ahead of play

·         Greens will be verticut on Tuesday next week and top-dressed and fertilized with a potassium/calcium blend on Wednesday after the Shotgun.
·         Tina Fry and Luis Altuzar enjoyed the 2-day training seminar on our irrigation program this week. David Forrey and I are scheduled for the Advance Training in June to refresh our knowledge.
·         I will be away on Monday attending a Superintendent meeting in Citrus County.
·         I awarded some gift cards this week to Ricardo and Emanuel for their work on the retaining wall at the staging area and one to Roman for his efforts helping me with the irrigation valve last week. They were all extremely thankful for being recognized in this way.
·         Annual flowers will be removed on Monday and replaced with Pentas on Wednesday.
·         Overall, everything continues to look good throughout the community. We look forward to the Wednesday closures starting in May! Golf Maintenance staff are working well, and we currently have no vacancies.

FYI 4/12/19

Golf Maintenance FYI

·         The golf course was in very good condition for the Member/Member event and received plenty of compliments. Thank you to all my staff that went above and beyond including several that will be working 26 days in a row without a morning off. They are awesome!
·         Although the building construction is over there are still many small details to complete and for this reason, it is my recommendation to postpone the planned Open House until the week of the Welcome Back Party in October. Roman is not yet fully in his office, the Chemical Room is not organized, the conference table is not in position, landscaping is not complete, the nursery area needs to be grassed, pictures need to hung, etc. With our focus on the golf course we simply have not spent enough time in completing the details at golf maintenance. 
·         Speaking of the conference table, we were graced with the presence and talent of Board Member, Scott Johnson, this week to help sand the old table and prepare it for its new life at golf maintenance. I can’t thank Scott enough for his time. 

Scott Johnson working hard on the conference table

·         Roman Gomez will be working this weekend, and everything will be ready for the 8:15 AM Shotgun on Saturday. I will be celebrating my daughters 13th Birthday this weekend!
·         All Tees will be sprayed with a liquid fertilizer on Monday to continue their health. A Mineral Oil, Civitas One, will be added to the tank to help control the Bermudagrass Mites. The mineral oil has no resistance concerns which could be extremely important as we continue to treat this troublesome pest.
·         All fairways and approaches will also be sprayed with a liquid fertilizer on Monday to continue their good health. Besides a replacement pump, Our GPS spray rig that was purchased last year has been performing superbly.
·         Greens will be sprayed with liquid fertilizer on Friday. A Nematicide, Indemnify, will be added to the tank to help control the microscopic worm. Soil samples specific to Nematode identification, called Assays, were sent away to the University of Florida 3 weeks ago and unfortunately the results showed excessive counts of both Sting and Lance Nematodes in our greens. Indemnify is $1,600 per acre or $4,800 per application and requires two treatments 2 weeks apart. With one treatment already completed 2 weeks ago, our roots on the greens have responded incredibly well and the yellowing areas have been eliminated. This is extremely important to have thriving roots as we enter the hot and dry months.
·         I have scheduled the application of a fumigant, Curfew, to the golf course on June 4; the first day of our 3-day closure. Curfew is a nematicide and requires a 24-hour no re-entry period.Signs will be posted along the golf course boundary and at all golf hole entrances. The fumigant is injected into the soil and then sealed by rolling the turf. I will be taking Green Committee Chairman, Dick Hockman, to see an example of the application at a local golf course on April 30 after the Budget meeting. The method of the application can have some damaging effects to the turf initially, however, the step back is worth the 3 steps forward.
·         Speaking of hot and dry, March was just that. In fact, we irrigated the golf course with 16 million gallons of water. That is a lot of milk jugs! Thankfully, for golf maintenance anyway, there was one rain event where we received just over an inch of rain which allowed us to turn the pumps off for 2 days. The turf really responds to natural irrigation.
·         Compliments to Luis Altuzar for his tedious work fixing a substantial irrigation leak at the entrance to the Clubhouse. With help from David Forrey, we are confident the leak has been repaired and the massive hole can be backfilled.
·         Compliments to Roman Gomez, our mechanic, who continues to amaze. He stayed back past 5 PM with me on Monday evening to help repair a damaged mainline valve on Hole 18. Without his help we would not have irrigated the golf course as the entire pump station had to be turned off to complete the repair. We have been experiencing issues with our mainline valves not opening or closing in recent months. We have been slowly replacing internal components; however, it is a tedious task as many of the valves are buried deep in the ground. I can’t thank Roman enough!
·         Tina Fry and Luis Altuzar will be attending a 2-day seminar in Sarasota next week learning the use of the irrigation computer. It will be a great class for them to hone and learn new skills.
·         Our tennis courts had additional clay added to their surface during the week by an outside contractor as part of their quarterly maintenance and are in very good condition. The Tennis Committee have requested an additional viewing area on the West end of the tennis courts close to the sidewalk. At first thought I am not too receptive to the idea but will show it to the Greens Committee and Traci for their input. I just don’t think there is enough spectators to warrant the time and effort to add suitable pavers and seating to the area.
·         I have created a neat competition for my staff. I have asked them to provide me photos of Copperleaf that they have taken. The photos will be judged by all of us and the winning 10 photos will be printed on canvas and hung in the new maintenance building. The winning photographers will be awarded a small gift card. 
A photo by Mark Caruso looks fantastic

·         A reminder that our Annual flowers will be removed the week after Easter and replaced with Pentas.
·         Overall, everything continues to look good throughout the community. We look forward to the Wednesday closures starting in May! Golf Maintenance staff are working well, and we currently have no vacancies.