Please don't think I have been avoiding it. The Fall is certainly the busiest time of the year for me. Once we lose our students on Labour Day weekend, our staff is almost cut in half, and we still need to attempt to maintain the course to the same conditions we have all summer. We are also doing our best to aerify all greens, tees and fairways. It is also the time I need to prepare both the operations and capital budget for the following season. Throw in the fact my wife and kids expect me to come home and pay them some attention at some point, and I've got myself a pretty full agenda!
The aerification is close to complete. We do have some tees left to do but they are much easier to work on around the play of our membership. Thank you to all members for being patient with the time it takes for the greens to recover and putt somewhat normally, and for playing around all the mess and dust created during the fairway aerification. In case you still haven't heard enough on why we must aerify let me touch quickly on what we are accomplishing by doing this invasive procedure.
TURF CULTIVATION (i.e. aerification) is the answer to many problems.
Carbon dioxide toxin is better released from the soil
Compaction in the soil is alleviated
Disease resistance of turf is improved
Fertilizer applied to the soil is more effectively placed
Heat and drought stress resistance of turf is improved
Organic matter in the soil is removed
Oxygen absorption in the soil is improved
Oxygen movement in the soil is also improved
Root system is deeper, healthier, and revitalized
Seed germination is improved for over–seeded turf
Soil is loosened and easier for roots to penetrate
Thatch decomposition is increased
Water absorption in the soil is improved
Water movement in the soil is also improved
We all know a picture is worth a thousand words.
Just look at how the roots find the hole made through the process and how well they grow, making the turf stand stronger and healthier!
I won't go into detail on the budget preparation other than to say we track all money spent within the turf budget. Be it on labour, fertilizer, dollar spot control, fuel, hazard paint or even toilet paper. Knowing what products will cost, how many of each will will use over a season, how long it takes to complete each job, and how often the jobs are done is how I put together the operations budget for the following year. And it is not a fast process. But the fact that in the eight years I have been here, I have never once been over budget, must mean the time I put into preparing it, is time well invested.
Something you will see next time you are playing is that we have replaced four boards on the bridge on 12 with a steel grate. The wood on both bridges are 12 years old and have begun to rot and must be replaced. We are trying this steel product knowing if we reinstall wood it will need to be ripped up again in another 12 years. This steel base has an anti slip top and we expect it will last 10 times longer than wood. The rubber mat down the center will remain in place to eliminate forcing members to walk on the steel. Our current plan is to replace all wood boards on both bridges with the steel grate top after the course closes this fall.
A rubber gasket between the grate and the bridge will actually make cart traffic quieter as they drive over them next year. The plan is also to remove the asphalt at either end of both bridges and install interlock in order to eliminate the big bump that is felt when driving onto or off of the bridges.
And speaking of driving over bumps............by now you must have noticed we have installed a series of speed bumps on the cart path hill leading down number 4. There has been 6 accidents in which carts have been flipped over because the carts were going too fast down the hill this season. Drivers locked up the breaks trying to slow down causing the carts to spin out. Luckily no serious injuries were caused, but we want to eliminate this issue in the future, so the speed bumps will force all cart traffic to slow to a crawl when decending this hill.