Tuesday, October 24, 2023

October 2023 Update

 It has been a very productive month for Copperleaf GCM as we gear up things for our busy season and prepare to take on the many rounds of golf that come with it.

The turfgrass on the golf course is in excellent health. The cooler temperatures that we have recently experienced have slightly reduced the growth rate on both our turfgrass and landscape material, which is a nice change. Keeping up with all of the mowing and trimming on our property is extremely time consuming, and a nice break in the intensity allows us to focus elsewhere and complete small projects and detail work to enhance aesthetics around the property.

Looking back at a sunrise from #4 green. The muhly grass is in full bloom and the course is currently in excellent playing condition.

We recently completed our biannual soil testing of the putting greens, which gives us a clear picture of soil pH, salinity, and nutrient levels. This is similar to getting bloodwork completed on the human body. Any deficiencies or issues are identified and subsequently remediated. In addition to soil testing, root depth is monitored on a monthly basis. During our October inspection, we observed deep, healthy roots, validating the success of our cultural practices and overall agronomic program.

Healthy, white roots are observed in this soil sample. When temperatures and daylight decrease, a reduction in root depth soon follows. It is critical to enter the cool season with healthy roots and a thriving plant. 

Root depth is routinely monitored and logged as a data parameter used to evaluate turfgrass health.

During the fall and winter months, the intensity of our cultural practices are greatly reduced and primarily consist of light surface grooming and biweekly topdressing applications. These methods will provide us with optimum green speeds and a healthy playing surface.

Topdressing #18 green in early October.

One of our summer projects included the reshaping of the greenside bunker on hole #7. Over the years, there has been an accumulation of sand on the grass face at the top of the bunker. This is a common issue with greenside bunkers, specifically those located in front of greens, mostly due to excessive sand splashing from bunker shots. As a result, the bunker becomes much more difficult to play out of. Additionally, approach shots that barely clear the top of the bunker will take an aggressive bounce, oftentimes rolling over the green. The reshaping process consisted of removing the turf around the bunker, softening the slope, and replacing the turf. Fresh bunker sand was then added to finish the project. The end result is a bunker that is much more aesthetically pleasing with an improvement in playability.

The process consisted of removing the existing turfgrass, pulling the sand back, lowering the soil around the bunker and placing the sod back.
A view of the greenside bunker on hole #7 after the work was completed. Notice the top edge was lowered and softened and more of the green is now visible. 

We recently added new material to all of our tennis and bocce courts. This is completed to replace any clay lost through the year from heavy play, winds and rains. Each fall, the courts receive a fresh dressing of new material which ultimately provides us with an optimum playing surface through our busy season.

Over 3,000 lbs of Hydroblend surfacing material was added to our tennis and bocce courts in early October.  

Lastly, I want to thank our members for their continued adherence to the lead group pace of play policy. As a reminder, lead groups are permitted to play no faster than 1 hour and 45 minutes for 9 holes, and 3 hours and 30 minutes for 18 holes. This policy provides the Golf Course Maintenance staff with sufficient time to set the golf course up each morning prior to play. Our team begins working each morning at 5:30 am in order to fully prepare the golf course for play each day. When the first groups of the day play faster than what is deemed to be appropriate, our course setup operation is rushed and the golf course is not properly prepared for play. For example, bunkers may not be raked properly, debris and leaves may not be blown off greens, etc. Additionally, if the first groups of the day happen to pass our fairway, tee, or approach mowers and blowers, our team then becomes sandwiched in between play, extending the time it takes to complete their assignment by an hour or more. While closely monitoring speed and not playing too fast may seem counterintuitive, our ability to properly set up the golf course each morning creates an opportunity for all golfers of the day to fully enjoy their experience.

As always, please feel free to email any questions, comments or concerns to parkerf@copperleafgc.com.