Wednesday, November 24, 2010
I'd be willing to bet if the membership was asked how busy the turf department is in November, probably every last one of them would say, not very!
The course is closed. So what is there for us to do other than bring in the flags, tee blocks and coolers and go home for the winter, right?
Well................actually........I would argue that November may be the busiest month of the entire year. Not only do we have much more furniture to bring in than the three previously mentioned, every piece of furniture is cleaned, inspected for damage which needs to be repaired or replaced before next spring, and inventoried. With the small maintenance shop we have we need to carefully store as much as we can inside so we can get at it through the winter months to refurbish with paint or urethane and do repairs. Unfortunately some items will have to be stored outdoors.
The leaves continue to fall and we are constantly having to clean up branches and sticks so the vacuum can do it's job without getting damaged by the downed branches. Many tight areas such as bunkers, around gardens, and steep hills like the left side of number 3 have to be blown out with a back pack blower as larger blowers can't access these tight spots. The top growth of the turf has stopped, but below ground the roots continue to grow and now is a very important time for us to feed the turf so it can store carbohydrates to see it through the long winter. You may already know the turf is dormant all winter but continues respiration, just like the hibernating bear. So we have been applying fertilizers to all of our turf and the plants take this in even though there is no growth that can be seen. We also apply a winter fungicide to all greens, tees and fairways. This may be the single most important application of the year. Not having a fungicide on the turf would mean complete devastation of the turf as snow moulds would ravage the turf as snow melt begins either during the January thaw we are so used to seeing or in the spring.
We have to be extra vigilant on all the traffic we are putting on the golf course. With no top growth to heal the grass from the traffic we could do a lot of harm which would not recover until soil temperatures return in late May.
We also continue to repair what I call deficiencies. We had a 6 inch drain pipe which we know had been plugged all season, and this is a perfect time to dig it up and find out why it is no longer working. When we got it open, this is what we found,
Interlock and curb installation is also being done at the 18th tee, and below, at the 13th green. You can see the curb starting just behind where the utility cart is parked. We hope all areas will be complete before opening day in April.
The support posts on the rain shelter by the 16th tee have begun to deteriorate to a point where the roof is beginning to separate from the rest of the structure. If left unrepaired it will collapse under the weight of the roof.
So we have put in place a plan to shore up the roof, remove the existing posts, install new supports and set the roof down on the new, level support beams. Watch for a blog in the near future on our step by step process which is sure to be a job and a half.
Another job we have been undertaking is repairs to some of the damaged bunker edges such a the one below.
This bunker edge at the 1st green is now six years old. Over this time sand ends up building up on top of the original topsoil changing the grade and causing a weak bunker edge as the turf is growing completely in a sand root zone which is no where as stable as soil. Something as simple as a golfer stepping on this edge can tear the roots and damage the edge as seen in this picture above.
Digging down with a shovel quickly shows that almost 7 inches of bunker sand has been deposited on top of the original soil. This meant that the repair job will take more time and effort than originally anticipated.
Step one is to use a sod cutter to cut away the turf above the area we need to repair. We used a soil probe ahead of this step to determine where the sand is deepest and how large an area we need to open up.
Next, this area is all dug out by hand. The material removed is contaminated and cannot be reused in the bunker. It is all hauled away to our dump.
We install a bunker board between the sand of the bunker and what will be soil and sod.
Then we add soil to level and shape the edge the way we want it and install sod. This picture above is waiting on soil to be added and shaped.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Somehow, I want to say thank you to Whitevale.
My first year of membership has exceeded my expectations.
Everyone has been great, including the maintenance, back-shop, pro-shop and dining room staff. I've thoroughly enjoyed playing golf with the diversity of members at Whitevale. From the younger, near scratch players to the wiley old veterans (like my Dad and the rubber boot guys), they're all gentlemen. I couldn't be prouder to be a member.
My sincere thanks to you, the other Board members, especially Tony & Blair, for all your hard work in giving us a fabulous golf course experience.
On Nov 2nd in late afternoon I was on the back 9 alone. It was breathtaking. I took these photos with a blackberry camera.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Whitevale Ladies’ Solheim Cup – October 17, 2010
Purple Team captained by Donna Power were determined to retain the cup, but Fuchsia Team captained by Linda Briggs were equally as determined to win it for the first time!
Final Results: Fuchsia team wins!
Fuchsia Team 12 ½ Purple Team 12 points
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Below is an article from the Durham Region News.
PICKERING -- The results are in and Pickering council will look a little different when the group starts its new term in December.
After months of buildup, debates, and campaigning, Pickering residents have chosen who they believe will best represent them at Pickering City and Durham Regional council.
Voter turnout was up in the 2010 municipal election, with 32.2 per cent of eligible voters heading to the polls. In the end, 20,560 of the 63,938 eligible voters cast their ballots. That's compared to 28 per cent in 2006 when of 65,406 eligible voters, 18,311 voted in that election.
Rick Johnson lost his Ward 3 Regional seat to his only challenger, Peter Rodrigues. He attended the Pickering Civic Centre as the results came in and took his loss gracefully.
He wished Ward 3 constituents and Mr. Rodrigues all the best. He said he's looking forward to living the retired life, and spending more time with his wife and family.
"It's great to be back," he said.
He congratulated his opponents.
"It was an open seat with no incumbent, so there was a good exchange of ideas, and five quality candidates," he said.
Coun. O'Connell beat out incumbent councillor Bonnie Littley for the Ward 1 Regional council seat with 4,065 votes. Her challenger received 3,313 votes.
Councillor Doug Dickerson reclaimed his Ward 2 City Council position, and Councillor David Pickles reclaimed his Ward 3 City seat. Ward 2 Regional Councillor Bill McLean went unchallenged, and was acclaimed.
Jim McCafferty, chairman of the Durham District Catholic School Board, has also been re-elected, beating out Gino Sgovio. Sylvie A. Landry is the trustee for the French public school board, and Olga Lambert is the trustee for the French catholic school board.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Saturday, October 2, 2010
2nd place team of Kitty Braid, Norma Columbus, Melody Robinson and Betty Lemon
Monday, September 20, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
I can't tell you how many times I have heard a golfer say, "Just when the greens were good, you go and wreck them by punching them full of holes and cover them in sand"!
Aerification (or coring) is a very long and hard task that I for one would be happy if it was never required. But there are many reasons why aerification must be done. I can simply say it is for the health of the turf. But more specifically it does many things. It removes thatch which naturally builds up over time and if left to increase will eventually be thick enough the roots will be growing completely in the thatch and not in soil. This would result in the death of the turf when any weather extremes such as heat, drought or ice build up happened. Thatch will also harbour insects and increases the greens susceptibility to diseases. Aerification also helps to increase the oxygen levels in the soil. The roots of the grass need oxygen just as much as you or I. In addition to these, aerification also allows for better infiltration of water and fertilizer to the roots, it reduces compaction caused by equipment and foot traffic, and it helps to level out the playing surface from ball marks and hole changing. It will also remove layering in the soil, improve the grain on the surface, and it even firms the green which will help to improve the putting and the greens ability to better stand up to ball marks.
Cores are shoveled off the green surface by hand. There are core harvester machines that would save this back breaking process, but every time I have used them they dig into the putting surface leaving mechanical damage that is slow to heal. So, plastic snow shovels it is!
(By the way, a special thank you to my staff for not telling me where to go when you were asked to do this task!!)
Once the cores are off the green surface, crews shovel them up into utility vehicles and haul them away. This material is stock piled for use in other projects as the soil itself is very usable.
Both fertilizer and Bent grass seed is applied to the green.
A layer of sand, or "top dressing" is put down. If too little sand is applied, we end up with open holes, requiring us to go back and add more sand. Too much sand requires manual removal and is obviously wasteful, so having a keen eye as it is being applied is critical. The sand is left to dry so it can be worked into the holes. On the days we punched clouds slowed this process. Having too much sun and high temperatures can cause the turf to go into heat stress and die. Thus, having the adequate balance between warm and dry but not too warm and sunny is always a concern. The application of sand is the single slowest process of this day. The hopper usually empties between two to three passes, then has to be driven back to the parking lot to fill up with sand again.
Once the sand has had a chance to dry a brush is pulled over the sand knocking it into the open holes. Usually three times over in slightly different directions will fill most holes.
We then send a triplex over the green with special brushes which will pick up debris left behind from the process.
A roller is now sent out to settle out any high spots caused from the tines being pulled up and out of the ground. This also firms up the entire surface.
Now we use a tool called a Level Lawn to push any excess sand around to fill any left over holes or to remove extra sand completely off the surface.