Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Course to Remain Closed Until Weather Turns

It has been a frustrating few weeks while we wait for a break in the weather.  We are as tired of being cooped up as you are.  We ask you to continue your patience a little bit longer.  The 10-day forecast continues to have freezing temperatures as their lows.  This is the main concern at this point.  As the temperatures drop below freezing, the surface freezes every night.  The root system is then at serious risk of being damaged.  We spend all year trying to grow healthy roots.  These could be compromised (sheared) with foot traffic during the freeze/thaw cycle.  According to our soil sensors, the soil profile at a half inch depth does not get above freezing until 2:00 in the afternoon on average.  After a heavier freeze, the soil would remain frozen further down making it even later in the day.

Unfortunately, the course will remain closed through this weekend and until further notice.  We will get the course open as soon as possible.  Thank you for your patience.

Friday, February 23, 2018

2018 Spring Flooding

After a fairly tame winter in terms of snowfall, we recently received nearly 2 feet of snow.  This alone would have caused water level issues.  Unfortunately, this past week we received an abundance of rain that melted all of the snow and caused significant flooding of the back 9.  The good news is that all of the snow is gone.  The bad news is the course is saturated and portions of it are unplayable.  We are hopeful that the water recedes soon, however, we do not have a prediction of when that will happen.  The water you see in the pictures below is the level of the wetlands.  The flooding is not a result of frozen ground.  

We will open the front 9 when we feel the course is ready.  Thank you for your patience!

View from behind 16 Blue tee
Water has breached the wall on 15 Green
Right half of 17 Fairway

 dd caption

Friday, October 13, 2017

New Equipment has Arrived!

Many of you have noticed our new maintenance vehicles cruising around the course this fall.  We have made a major investment back into the course conditions by upgrading and refurbishing our current fleet.  A few of the items that were purchased include a new fairway aerifier, tractor, fairway mower, bank mowers, sprayer, blower, and maintenance carts.  Since arriving at The Moors in 2002, we have made a concentrated effort on keeping our equipment operating at an elite level.  This is important to provide the quality conditions as well as creating efficiency.  Technology is prevalent in turf equipment as it is in most all industries.  The improvements to the machines are significant and the difference is immediately noticeable.

Our strategy for equipment purchasing hasn't wavered since 2002.  Every five years, we begin a new "package" that replenish and updates our fleet.  At the end of five years, we own the equipment from that package.  We will then enter a new package replacing other machines or adding new machines for specific tasks.  Machines lifespans vary from 5-15 years.  We take all of this into consideration and keep the machines in proper working condition until it is time to upgrade.  This has enabled us to push the course to new levels each and every year.

As we enjoy this beautiful Fall, keep your eye out for the new shiny equipment!  Enjoy the rest of the season.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Aerification Update

Small light color circles are the result of many years of
aerification and filling with sand.
Here is a side view showing the channel that is created by the sand incorporation.

Another year of greens aerification is in the books.  The weather was not as cooperative as we would've have like but nonetheless, we were able to accomplish the process.  We incorporated 60 tons of sand into the greens.  That is an average of 3 tons of sand per green!

Our main goal is to incorporate as much sand into the green as possible.  The sand channels are ideal for root growth as they provide better drainage and gas/air exchange.  As you can see from the pictures above, we have created several channels through the consistency of our aerification program.  The most important thing to understand about turf is that the quality of turf on top is a direct result of what is happening in the soil underneath.  The sand helps dilute the organic matter that builds up from the natural process of leaf and roots senescence or dying off.  Too much organic matter causes problems with drainage,compaction, nutrient exchange, and more.  With our ability to consistently perform this process, we are able to grow turf that can remain healthy in all conditions.

Following the completion of aerification, we wait a couple of days before mowing so that we don't remove any sand from the greens.  We then begin mowing at a much higher height of cut to stay above the sand.  Each day, we drop the height of the mower until we get down to our normal height which will be early next week.  Green speed and smoothness will return shortly after that.

Tees and fairways have also been completed except for 1,9, and 10 fairway.  The main idea here is to simply remove thatch and reduce compaction.  Once again, weather hasn't been on our side for some of this process.  Unfortunately, an ideal day for aerification is also an ideal day for golf.  Thank you for your patience while we are performing this process.  The conditions of the golf course are largely related to what we do during these two weeks.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Aerification September 6th

We hope everyone has enjoyed their summer so far.  It is hard to believe that it is almost Labor Day.  Overall, the weather this year has been exceptional with very few prolonged periods of heat.  Rainfall was at a minimum as we have only received one-third of our July through August average.   As a result, our irrigation system has been working overtime.  The health of the turf is excellent for this stage of the season.  One major factor in the turf’s ability to withstand the stress of the summer months is the practice of aerification.  This process is necessary for many benefits including compaction relief, better drainage, thatch management, and gas exchange to name a few.  We have consistently aerified for many years resulting in surfaces that are able to be pushed further than they were designed to be.

Aerification of the greens will begin on Wednesday, September 6th and will be completed on September 7th.  The course will be completely closed on Wednesday.  Nine holes will be open on Thursday at noon.  This schedule is weather dependent.  In the event of rain, we will continue to push to the next day that is suitable to work the sand into the surfaces.   We will be using solid tines again this year which significantly increases the recovery time.

Tee and fairway aerification will occur in the following weeks.   The course will remain open during this process.  We understand that it creates less than desirable playing conditions while we are performing the work.  We apologize for the inconvenience.  The course is grateful when it is all complete.

We look forward to an excellent fall.  We appreciate your patience!

Friday, July 14, 2017

When It Rains It Pours

In the past week, we received over 3" of much needed rainfall.  This was the first significant rain amount since the middle of May.  Our June total was 1.3" which is well below an average month for us.  The rain has it's obvious benefits to the golf course such as providing adequate moisture as well as giving the irrigation pumps a rest.  However, the abundance of rain has caused a few soft areas.  The excessive moisture is also a catalyst in disease development in which we have witnessed some.

Most superintendents would choose no rain versus too much.  We are normally in the same boat.  The one exception to this rule is when we experience a long period without a significant rain event.  Our irrigation system can add adequate moisture most of the time.  The problem is that our water source (well water) is high in bicarbonates.  Frequent watering raises the bicarbonate level in the soil which begins to tie up important nutrients.  The soil will not function as efficiently making it more difficult to get the soil "wet" for the turf.  Bicarbonates have a high pH.  Rain water has a more acidic pH.  As a result, when a significant rain event occurs, the more acidic rain water strips all the bicarbonates and releases the nutrients and "resets" the chemistry of the soil.

Needless to say, we were happy to see the rain come through.  It gives us and the turf a chance to breath a little.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Sandy Greens

Members often ask why there is sand on the greens from time to time.  This sand is the result of a process called topdressing.  We try to topdress the greens every 2-3 weeks.  During the process, we apply roughly 5 tons of sand across all of the greens.  Following the application of sand, we use a brush to work the material into the canopy of the green.  Typically, the sand is visibly present for the next 3-4 days.

Topdressing is a very important process to ensure healthy greens.  Grass is constantly forming new leaves.  As the new leaves are formed, the older leaves die off and become organic matter (OM).  The same can be said for the root system.  In order to maintain the proper OM level in the soil profile, the sand is added to "dilute" this.  The proper OM level is important to encourage drainage, nutrient uptake, and gas/air exchange.

In addition to OM levels, topdressing aids in keeping a firm, flat surface.  One of the key ingredients in green speed is how recently fresh sand has been applied.  The ideal timing for green speed is roughly 4-5 days after topdressing.

The process is not all positive as the sand is tough on the blades of the mowers.  In addition, on wet mornings, sand has a tendency to stick to the ball and everything else.

I hope this helps clarify why we would "clutter" the greens with sand.  If you have any questions, please reach out to me mostrander@moorsgolf.com.