Friday, May 24, 2013

Vertical Mowing

Starting next Tuesday, we will begin to "verticut" all of the fairways, tees, and greens collars. Verticutting is the process of cutting the grass in a vertical direction as opposed to the horizontal position that we normally cut the grass.  A set of blades spaced about an inch to two inches apart spin at high speeds cutting slits into the grass.  Normally, the slit is no deeper than a quarter of an inch deep. 
Vertical mowing a fairway with a verticut mower.
Regular vertical mowing is one of the most beneficial maintenance practices we can perform to maintain desirable turf and playing conditions.  Verticutting stimulates the turf to grow more aggressively, denser, and tighter; all characteristics of quality playing surfaces.  While you will see the slits in the turf, playability will remain excellent.  The only downside to this process is that it must be done while the turf is actively growing, and the temporary aesthetic appearance of the slits.  With good growing conditions, the fairways, tees, and collars will all look normal after about two weeks.
Vertical mower for tees and collars.  Note the vertical blades.
As always, we appreciate your patience while we work to improve the golf course.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Lightning Safety on the Golf Course

     Recently I read an article in one of my trade magazines that dealt with lightning on the course.  It highlighted several cases from last year of golf course staff and golfers that were hit by lightning.  Some didn't survive.  With the season for rain and thunderstorms upon us, I feel it is a good time to reflect on some simple safety guidelines concerning lightning.

     Every year more people are killed or injured by lightning than by tornadoes, floods, or hurricanes.  In fact, it is estimated that in the United States, as many as 300 people are killed by lightning each year.

      Because golf courses are generally open areas with scattered individual trees, they can be a dangerous place to be during a thunderstorm.  A lightning bolt will take the shortest route between the cloud and the ground, which means that a golfer standing in the middle of the fairway or huddled under a tree is a prime target for a strike.

     However, there are several safety measures we can take to avoid being hit by lightning:

Ø  Use common sense

Ø  Seek shelter at the first sign of a thunderstorm

Ø  If possible, get off the course

Ø  Do not stand under a tree.  This is where most people are injured or killed

Ø  Stay away from water

Ø  Stay away from your golf clubs, these can act as lightning rods

Ø  If stranded in the open, go to a low place such as a ravine or valley

Ø  Listen for the safety alarm

Ø  Don’t take chances (you can play after the storm)
Tree damage after a lightning strike.
     These are just a few safety measures we can all take during a thunderstorm.  The storms here in the mountains can appear quickly, and many times do not show on the radar.  Because of this, we must act quickly and use our common sense. We all want to see our friends and neighbors on the course the following day.  Also, please remember that all members are responsible for using their own judgment in seeking safe refuge during a storm.

Lightning strike in the mountains.
Also, I want to thank all the members who have been following basic course etiquette in fixing ball marks, divots, and using the 90 degree rule.  It only makes the course better and after all, it is the rules of golf.  Lastly, thank you for your continued support.  If anyone has any questions about the course or any projects, please feel free to contact me.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Course Update 5/3/13

The season has begun and we are now open for play.  We are still wrapping up a few small projects that have been delayed by deliveries and the weather.
Rain has been the norm this Spring.
Cool temperatures and rain have been the norm this Spring.  As a result, the grass is growing slowly, most notably on the greens.  At this point the grass on the greens is only producing leaf tissue and not spreading like we would like.  This will change just as soon as the temperatures start to warm up.  What this means to you now is that the greens will putt slow.   This is because the turf is not growing through the sand that was applied after aerification of the greens.  Until the grass starts to grow through, we cannot lower the height of cut which in turn increases green speed.  
Installing new sod on #6.
A project we perform every Spring is sodding weak areas in the rough and fairways.  We have had several large areas ready for new sod for the past two weeks but only just now have we received the sod.  The reason for the delayed deliveries, rain.  Because of the regular rainfall this Spring, the sod fields have been too wet to cut, thus the delays.  However, with our latest delivery, we have been able to finish the last of the areas that needed sod and we are now able to focus on some of the finer details throughout the course.