Saturday, December 19, 2015

CART PATH ONLY --THE NOT SO NEW INITIATIVE TO IMPROVE THE COURSE.

This December (actually we did this last year but because we had such bad weather not many played) we initiated a cart path only program.   We want to complement the membership for adhering to this policy.   We know it is an inconvenience but the golf course will only be better for it.  Areas in fairways and roughs that would have been worn out this month will have a jump start in the spring making for better conditions next year.   I have been the golf course superintendent for twenty years and this new initiative will pay big dividends.   Not every issue can be fixed with money.  Like divots, ball marks and raking bunkers your help by eliminating this major stress factor to the turf will be rewarded with more consistent, thick and green roughs and fairways. To your credit the golf course has improved steadily over these past twenty years and these programs will only make Rockland that much better.   The GPS feature on the carts allows us to track usage.  Check out the pictures below and you will see how much traffic the golf course handles on a daily bases.  


Yellow lines indicate where carts have driven.   This is and example of a average Saturday.   Notice that we were cart path only on 12 and 13 that day.  Orange areas are "no cart Zones" 


This is form last Saturday.  Notice #6 where we have no path and carts can scatter.    This much traffic being kept off the grass will make a big improvement in course conditions next year.   

Friday, December 11, 2015

WARMEST NOVEMBER. HOW ABOUT DECEMBER?

Don't pack up those clubs just yet.   Forecast is for sunny, mild weather this weekend.  We have completed the fairway expansions that were budgeted for. (holes 16, 3 and 5)  Because of the nice weather, and doing some "in house" construction we plan on sodding small areas on 6 and 14.    Sod will be taken from the beginning of 6 fairway and 14 to keep the process moving.   These little cosmetic touches add up and will add value to the course.

#5 fairway right side before expansion. 

# 5 fairway during expansion.  

# 3 left side just short of green.  

# 16 short right of green.  


Good news,  I just got confirmation that we have been approved for Audubon Re-certification. There are now over 2,200 golf courses enrolled in the program and 891 are currently designated as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.   




Tuesday, November 10, 2015

RANGE TEE, FAIRWAY EXPANSION, AND SEASONAL LAY OFFS

As the season winds down we are completing a few minor--but important course improvements.

We installed a new artificial surface at the range.  Our old mats were old and outdated.  This new surface simulates real turf much better and you can Tee your ball up on it if you want to hit a few drives.

So far it has been well accepted by everyone who has used it.   We plan on using it for the rest of this season in order to give our grass tee a rest and some time to recuperate for next year.




We started enlarging the fairway adjacent to the bunker on 16.  This will help a good drive stay in the fairway.   The rough sod is being recycled to other areas on the course.













we are using the rough sod around some of our bunker edges that succumbed to the harsh summer.  We have completed holes 16, 3, and 11.  We also did a spot adjacent to the cart path on 11 by the ladies tee.  We still have a few areas that we would like to do.











Today, we are sodding the fairway. This is a special bent grass sod that matches our existing fairway.  This is a much better solution than just scalping the grass that is currently there.  Our rough is primary Bluegrass, Rye and Fescue.  If mowed as low as our fairways it would never provide the ball lie that we desire.  The new sod also provides a good visual definition between fairway and rough.







As the season winds down we lay off most of our staff.  Jose Recio and Juan Guteriez have been with us for 28 years.   Jose is our primary rough mower and Juan is our gardener.   They are exceptional staff members.  We wish them well during this off season and hope they return in the spring.


Friday, October 30, 2015

TRICK OR TREAT

No tricks here. Just treats.  (Actually no treats for me either, the pants are getting a little tight).   It is full leaf season.  We have three mowers with leaf shredding and mulching kits attached.  Two large blowers, two large sweepers and several back pack and push blowers.  Not to mention good old fashion leaf rakes.  All are being used to their max.  We had two welcome inches of rain a couple of days ago.  The course was getting very dry and the rain came at a nice steady rate so no wash outs in bunkers.  The fall colors are spectacular. Hope for some more nice days to enjoy them before they all fall.

Picture of 13 green 

11 green and fairway.  





































Marcos on one of our sweepers.  

For some reason we have more acorns than normal.   We have had to resort to picking up some of them by hand.  This is Danny picking up some along side of 13.   

Our last Tagged Monarch was released this week.  We released 30 this fall.   Hope they make it to Mexico.  

Friday, October 16, 2015

MID-OCTOBER UPDATE:


The leaves are just starting to turn there magnificent colors and after that we "pick-em up".  In the mean time we are continuing our course maintenance.  Our fall fertilizer application's have started.  We should finish up roughs today and will start fairways on Monday.  We are seeding some small areas in rough and I have some sod scheduled for delivery to touch up some bunker banks.  Seeding  these areas would be impossible because of the slopes.   We Seeded the area by 8 black tee (left of 9 fairway) to a meadow-wild flower mix.  This area will be maintained a little different then some of our other areas.   Next year for at least one season we will mow this area at 8 to 10 inches .  This will keep weeds in check and more importantly allow sunlight to reach the perennial flowers giving them a season to become established.  I have learned that the establishment of these areas is very important to long term success.  Putting in time now will pay dividends in the future.

Earlier in the month we found a very rare butterfly.  (at least in Rockland County---It is quite common if you go south)  It is called a Ocala Skipper and is the first one ever found in the county.   It took a little while to confirm the finding because I am by no means an expert.  I can now report that it is a first. A good find and a good finish to another year of butterfly and pollinator monitoring.

Danny helping Dry-ject our greens earlier this week.  





















Once finished we brush and roll and you can hardly tell we did any thing.





















Preparing soil for meadow seed.  

Owel Mixing meadow seed with sand so we can spread it.  It is too fine to spread on it's own.  






















First ever Ocala Skipper found in Rockland County.  A fitting end to our butterfly and pollinator monitoring.   

Friday, October 2, 2015

OUR ANNUAL BILL MORAN FISHING DERBY

Last weeks annual "Bill Moran" fishing derby was the best ever.  Everyone caught at least one fish. We had 18 children and 13 adults participating.   The biggest fish was caught by Gabe Bernstein at 15 inches.  2nd place went to Jake Lagana at 14 inches and in the girls division  Emma Degenaars won with a 9 inch bass.  The fishing Derby is an annual event honoring Mr. Bill Moran for his environmental efforts.   Mr. Moran was instrumental in getting the club Audubon Certified and recognized the value of good stewardship.
Our winner:  Gabe Bernstein with a 15 inch Bass.  

Showing off some of the days catches.  







Getting set up.  
Finding just the right Worm.  
Finding the best spot.  
A family Affair:   Three generations of fisherman 

Showing great form.  











Monday, September 21, 2015

DRY COUPLE OF WEEKS

Our fountain is sitting on the bottom.   Water level is too low to use.  



















Fall officially starts Wednesday. Days are getting shorter and cooler and it's just in time.  Our pond it getting pretty low.  We are not able to run our fountain because it is sticking out of the water.  It is time for some one else to do the rain dance because obviously I can't dance!!!



Much needed catch basin installed by our wash pad.


Cross off another project on the list. We had some spare time during the Member- Member and Monday outings to get some needed shop work done.  It may not look like much
but this catch basin will help keep our waste water from leaving the
property.  We also are starting to use our storage building to contain our pesticides and fertilizers.  This Storage shed is all metal so fire's are not an issue.  And having all the products in one seperatate building helps eliminate one more liability.




We purchased a used storage trailer to contain all of our fertilizers and pesticides.  Amazing what a coat of paint will do.





















Every three years we need to be Re-certified to retain our Certification through Audubon International.  Last Monday I spent the morning explaining how we manage our property as environmentaly responsible as possible.  Pictured below are:

  • Nicole Liable:  Environmental Management Assistant, Rockland County
  • Margie Turrin, Education Coordinator from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory - Columbia University.    
  • Ray Cywinski:   Watershed, Environmental resource manager for United Water New Jersey.  

All three were impressed with our efforts and how golf courses are good for our communities.
Nicole, Margie and Ray in front of our Audubon Bulletin Board.  
                           


























Monday, August 31, 2015

TOUGH COUPLE OF WEEKS

August is going out like a bear and September is coming in like a Tiger!!!!  Hot and Dry are the two operative words for the past couple of weeks. (And the forecast calls for more of the same)    We are putting the irrigation system to the supreme test.   So,  How do we determine what and how long to water?   There is quite a bit to it and I'll give you the quick version so I don't bore you too much.    We first  monitor the current weather using our weather station located by our nursery on #6. That measures Temperature, Relative Humidity, Wind and Evaporation.  We check the Internet for the forecast. Believe it or not Humidity and even clouds can make a big difference. We also use portable soil meters.   Ted is checking the moisture in the 14 green.  Water can move funny through soils.  It is not uncommon to find large differences just a few feet apart.  We do a lot of hand watering to supply just enough water only where it is needed.








We also have soil sensors in the ground.   Here is a picture of a repeater that transmits the data from the soil sensor unit to the shops computer.  We can  monitor moisture and  temperature at two different soil depths.  3 inches and 7 inches.














Here is picture of the computer screen showing moisture and Temperature readings at the 3 inch depth.   The sensors also measure Salinity which we don't have to worry too much about.  

















Here the screen is tracking the daily history.  You can see there are quite a bit of ups and downs.   Temperatures fluctuate greatly from day to night and you can also tell when we irrigated.










As you can see there is a lot that goes into the decision as to what, where and how much water is applied.  We are constantly monitoring and checking.   Trying to keep the moisture levels in the "Goldilocks Zone"  Not too wet and Not too Dry.








Friday, August 21, 2015

AERIFICATION UPDATE


Some good news:  This years aerification went quite well despite the hot weather.   We made smaller holes this year.   Ball Roll is not severely impacted and they actually were stimping at 10 this afternoon.  Some spots in fairways dried up a bit but I expect them to recover with in a week or so. We are playing winter rules until then.
The aerification process being done on 9 green.  

#11 fairway just after it was aerified.


6 green after clean up and top-dressed.

 
7 fwy.  after clean up.   --playing winter rules 






Thursday, August 13, 2015

RECYCLE, TRIM TREES, AND HERE COME THE MONARCHS!!!



This year we started providing 
bottled water.  One of the Greens staff is taking advantage of the nickel deposits.  Here is Chico with a loaded car.   We were recycling but the town does not give us any rebates for doing this.  I am glad someone is taking this opportunity to the bank!!!!!   


These guys sure look vicious but they are really harmless.  They are Cicada Killing wasps.   They catch a cicada, bring it to their burrow and lay an egg on it.  The Cicada becomes breakfast for the newly hatched wasp.  



There were some low hanging branches on # 6.  They were stopping the irrigation water from reaching the rough.   Here Tony and Marcos are removing the lower limbs. 






Irrigation water can now reach the rough on the other side of the tree.  











I am glad to report that the Monarch Butterflies have finally arrived.  They have been placed on the threatened species list and need all the help they can get.  








We have set up our aquarium again this year.  You can follow there development from Egg, Caterpillar, Chrysalises to 
Butterfly. 
They only lay there eggs on Milkweed which we allow to grow in different areas around the course.   They migrate all the way to Mexico every winter.   We joined "Monarch Watch"  which is a program run by the University of Kansas.  Every fall we tag and release Monarchs in an attempt to help study there migration habits.  





















Friday, July 31, 2015

LAST DAY OF JULY

Last day in July and we are in the middle of a heat wave.  The course is holding up fairly well. Things are nice and green.  I am amazed at how fast green speeds change.  We had a little storm roll through here last night and dumped 3 tenths of an inch on the course in about 15 minutes.  Not bad as far as storms go.  (it could have been much worse).     It must have released some of the fertilizer because the grass has exploded.   It makes for green greens but our ball roll dropped almost one foot. We are going to double cut and roll tomorrow to get things back to where we want to be.  Of course its going to be 90 again tomorrow which will make for a long day.  




Top:    Owel, Ted, and Greg Putting fountain in pond:


Right:    Fountain is up and running. We are having some problems with the lights.  I am hoping we just need to change a circuit breaker.  The electrician is scheduled to stop by Monday and check it out.












 We dug out the dirt path by 14 ladies tee and added 4 inches of gravel and topped with mulch.  A nice improvement and it only took Owel, Marcos, and Manuel one day to complete.   Next, I want to do the same thing to connect the paved paths on 4 and 5.  We use these areas more for maintenance than the players would use them.

This is the finished product.  Much nicer and a lot less dustier.  



















Add another bird to the list!!!!  This is a Indigo Bunting perched on a tree on the right side of 14. I  Happened to hear him singing.  He is all blue and quite handsome.   I know its a "he" because the males are blue and the females are a brownish color.  First time I have ever seen one.