If we look back to the winter of 2010, by January 13th of that year, we had already been completely encased in ice for over a month. As of today, the only ice on the property is small areas in some of the lowest lying pockets on a couple fairways. These small ice pockets have only been there for slightly over a week.
So there’s really no news to report back to our membership at this point. No news really is good news!
This has been "The winter that wasn’t” so far. The slight fluctuations in temperature from above, to below freezing that might normally cause the turf some grief has been a non issue mainly because the temperature swings have been minor and because we have no snow on the ground to melt and refreeze. At this point we have shovelled a small amount of slush off 3 greens, but we really don’t have anything to worry us…………..at least at this point. Having no snow cover on the turf can be a big problem if we get very cold arctic air and strong winds. But so far we have not had either. Tarps are installed on our greens that are most susceptible to desiccation from these winds if they do ever materialize. Currently we have very little frost in the ground, and providing we don’t get any extreme weather patterns, we should not have any nasty spring surprises. But I’d still like to see below freezing temperatures for the rest of January and all of February along with a good 10cm snow fall!
Some people have asked me what the late arrival of winter means for the spring. Does it mean spring will also be late delaying opening day? Does it mean we are into a warming pattern meaning an early opening and an extremely hot and dry summer? Well if I could accurately predict that I could make a lot of money. We will all just have to wait and see what each week brings us!
On another note the exceptional fall weather allowed us to strip sod off the back left side of the 3rd green last December to re-grade the surface allowing water to naturally flow off the green. As you are well aware, this low spot trapped water and has caused ice damage far too often in this area in the past. The re-grading we did changes the low spot water will flow towards. This low spot used to be on the green, but now everything flows to the cart path so water will not sit on the green as it has in the past.
Water can easily flow off the putting surface, drastically reducing the potential for ice build up. This area will require some “grow in” time in the early part of the 2012 season before it is ready to have pins cut in the location, and putting on the relayed sod will be bumpy until we get some good growing conditions and we can get aggressive with the top dressing required to smooth the area.
The stakes indicate where water tends to pool up. the puddle is the lowest point before our work begins. the objective is to make a slope from the puddle towards the cart path.
The first step is to strip and safely stock pile the sod so it can be reinstalled when we are complete.
Most of the work is now back breaking shoveling and shaping with hand tools. The are we strip of sod is much larger than what we need to change the surface flow, but we must also be able to tie the grades back to existing areas and still have it playable. too steep a slope would not be playable.
It took us about a week to get it to this point where we were starting to smooth and finish the new surface.
We are constantly checking that we have positive flow off the former low spot with a level.
The carefully saved sod froze together and had to be brought into the heated mechanics bay for 3 days to thaw out. A special "thanks" to our equipment manager Scott for working around this inconvenience without so much as a complaint!
Once we had the final grade where we wanted, be began the tedious task of reinstalling sod. each piece of sod has to be carried on a sheet of plywood because of the minimal thatch layer. if we did not use this method the sod would fall apart as we attempted to carry it!
As for the finished product........well you are just going to have to wait until opening day!