Wednesday, July 12, 2017

JUST ONE OF THOSE DAYS

Not a good day.  Trouble right from the start.  First, two staff members were out.   Then while heading up to spray the practice green the spray tank sprung a oil leak and its not an easy fix.   The gasket went and you need to basically split the machine in half to fix it.  Tank has to be removed, etc, etc,.....   About a two day job for Moe our mechanic with out interruptions and that never happens.   We had two hydraulic leaks on our fairway mowers.  One in the piston that steers the mower and the other in a hydraulic hose.   The guys did a good job seeing them before they got to big.  

I guess to keep this blog "real" you have to post the good with the bad.  It could have been worse.  The oil leak could have happened on the putting green.  That would not have been good!!!!

Funny what you look at as a superintendent.  We all look to the roads for signs of problems.  Here is the trail of oil left by our spray tank leaving the shop.
Down for the count.  Need to remove the spray tank and split engine from gear case.  
Hydraulic leak on fairway.  It will turn brown and die but luckily its very narrow and should grow out in a couple of weeks.   this happened on two machines today.  The guys did a good job catching them before they got bigger.  
Might as well end on a positive note:   The pond is pretty full for this time of year.  No worries about running out of water.  

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

HAPPY 4TH AMERICA !!!

I hope everyone has a chance to relax and enjoy the day.   The weather is perfect for a nice round of golf.
Happy fourth everyone!!!
last weeks ladies guest day went very well.   Everyone had a great time.

Mr. Paul Jacobs is the North East Agronomist For the USGA .  Paul conducted a site visit last week to share his experience and expertise with me.  We looked at all aspects of the operation from the Maintenance Facility, Staff Size, Budgets as well as Greens, Tees, and Fairways.   Of special concern is our practice putting green.   It continues to struggle.  The main concerns are traffic and morning shade.  We can't do anything about the shade and traffic will always be a concern on any practice green.   We have eliminated two holes and will concentrate the four remaining ones in the sunnier half of the green.  Depending on weather and turf health we may section off  areas.  We may even close the green during hot and humid weather.   We are doing everything we can to get the green to mimic our regular greens.  Unfortunately Paul had no silver bullet to get the green in prime condition but it was nice to hear and confirm that we are doing everything we can to keep the green in as good a condition as possible.
You may have noticed some of our blue tops on our marking stakes have been damaged.  This is (as far as I can tell) from the coyote chewing on them.   I'm all out of new blue ones but have some green ones that I can use.   Hopefully this is a temporary thing and the coyotes find something else to chew on.  
In closing,  another example of  how our irrigation system is paying dividends.   Here we are watering in a fertilizer application.   The quickness and good coverage means better results.  

Saturday, June 24, 2017

ROUGH START BUT GOOD DAY IN THE END

I knew it was going to be a tough morning as soon as I woke up and heard the rain.   Staff did a great job getting the course ready for today's final round.   Sun came out about 8:30 and play started at 9:15.    Only three holes cart path only.  Glad they had a good day to finish up the tournament.

Standing water on 16,  only 45 minutes to tee off.  

3 green in same shape.  

Of course 12 fairway,  one of our wettest areas.   Glad to report no puddles in afternoon. The sun came out and it is a beautiful day.  .  

Owel had to remove water from several greens.  

Friday, June 23, 2017

2nd. LONGEST DAY OF THE YEAR

We just missed the longest day of the year but what do a few seconds of day light matter on the first day of our Member-Guest.  The staff is ready for the challenge.  At first day light preparations begin.  The staff has worked hard for the past couple of weeks trying to get the course to peak at just the right time.  Yesterday was our practice round and we mowed and rolled greens.  Bunkers have been hand raked.  Tees mowed and we finished up edging irrigation heads and some trim work just in time.   Today the matches start.  We double rolled and mowed greens, mowed fairways and approaches and again raked all the bunkers before our 9:00 shot gun.  We are Hoping the weather holds out.  They are calling for Thunder Storms this afternoon.  Fingers crossed.  

Pizza Anyone?   As a special treat a wood burning Pizza truck was set up by the half way house.  

 
Let the preparation begin : First green mowed.  
Marcos and Chico Double Rolling # 2.  
Ready to go!!!  
We added these to alter traffic flow on to the putting green. The Green is only 4 years old and is thinning.   Changing the traffic flow will not solve all our problems but it can't hurt. 

 Congratulations to this years honoree,   Our very own Head Professional Bobby Everett.   Bob has quite an impressive resume.  He literally has been here his whole life.  He started caddying at Rockland at age 12.   He played local High school and college golf winning numerous tournaments.  Bob was recently inducted into the Rockland Community College Sports Hall of Fame.   At age 26 Bob became the youngest Head golf Professional in the history of the MetPGA.  Congratulations  Bob,  Well deserved.   


Monday, June 12, 2017

10 DAY COUNTDOWN BEGINS:

What's in 10 days?  The start of our 3 day Member Guest.   Let the preparations begin:   Actually we already have started.  We fertilized fairways and bunker banks last week so that we have good color and nice thick rough.  We started Edging bunkers a week ago but only have half the course done.  We need to keep moving on them.  Today was Not a good day to work in bunkers.   At 90+ degrees even the tough boss that I am (time to laugh) has to say it's too hot to be working in bunkers.  Actually it is all hands on hoses.  A lot of watering being done today.  
Edging bunkers last week,  we are only half way finished.
The back of 13 black tee was caving in.  The guys did a nice job adding this little wall to stabilize the bank.
On a more long term note.   We are having our soils tested to see if we need to address issues that we can not see.  Over the years we have changed our aerification practices.  We decided not to Drill and fill and instead opt for a less aggressive procedure called dry-jet.   We aerify the greens once per year and fill holes with sand.   We have also increased our top-dressing frequency.   We now top-dress more frequently but lighter.  Pictured below is Steve Renzetti from Pinnacle Turf.    We sampled three greens.  The Putting Green,  Six, and Fifteen.  He will send the samples off to the lab and will report on the findings.  The lab measures for Organic matter, pore space and other soil properties that need to be maintained for healthy turf.   It takes a little time,  about 4 weeks for the results.  Stay tuned,  I am very interested in seeing what the results are.  
Steve Renzetti from Pinnacle Turf,  Taking soil samples for testing.  

Friday, May 26, 2017

MEMORAIL DAY UPDATE:

Rain, Rain and more Rain.   Maybe it's because we have been spoiled the past few years but it seems like we have had a lot of rainy days.  Yesterday was miserable, a slow drizzle all day but we only had .32 inches.  I thought good, we should be fine for today.  When I drove through the course I realized that we must have had a pretty good storm roll through late last night.   Another .52 inches in the rain gauge and the course is soaked.   So much for being in great shape for the holiday weekend.   Cart path only for today.  Let's hope the weather pattern shifts and we start to get some more summer type weather.   Once the course does dry out we should be back to normal.  Believe it or not it won't be long before we are hand watering again.  

The putting green is still on the new side even though this is the start of the third season.  We probably pushed it a little too hard for this time of year.  The cold days are not helping either.   We have had it tested for disease and fertility and its fine.  I think in a couple of weeks of letting it grow
 a little and giving it some tender loving care we should be fine.   

Our North American Bird count went well.   We found 44 different species this year.   A Yellow-Billed Cuckoo was a nice surprise.  I have only seen them here once before.  He was too fast for me to get a good picture. 

Blue Birds are always nice to see.   Sitting in the sun shows his colors. 






We have 40 nest boxes on the course.  5 have Blue Birds nesting in them.   Chicks are getting big!!!


 









Why are we watering with all the rain?  We applied a crabgrass control product in our roughs.  In order for the product to be effective it needs to be moved to the soil.  With the new irrigation system we are able to water just the roughs and just long enough to get it to where we want it.  
The Black Swallow- Tail recently hatched that was saved from last year.   
We kept the chrysalis in a cool dry place over the winter tying to mimic mother nature.   Nice to see it worked!!!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY

1.60 Inches of rain yesterday has the course good and soaked.   The forecast for next week is more promising with temps in the mid 80's and no rain for the next few days.    Good-thing,  we need to dry out.   With this forecast it will be all hands on deck just getting the grass mowed.

Big Day for the Kitchen and House staff.   Carmin is busy setting up the tables getting ready for the Mothers Day Dinners.   Looks like a great day ahead.  


Algae is looking a little bit better. 
Course is looking better now that the trees are dressed in leaves.  
Not sure why, but for some reason we have more poison Ivy in our native areas than usual.  If you are like me you avoid it at all costs.  We have been spraying it as soon as we see it.  There is an old saying "leaves of three let it be. Leaves of five let it thrive".   A real good native plant is called Virginia Creeper and has five leaves.   If not sure the best bet is to avoid anything that resembles poison ivy.   If you see some on the course let me or another staff member know and we will remove it.   
These are from the right of 16 fairway and are maple seedling.  A poison Ivy copy cat.  
This is Porcelain Berry one of the most invasive plants we have.  We remove it as soon as we see it.  Of course the best bet is to keep it in the Fairway  :-)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

PLAYING HOOKY----FOR A GOOD REASON

You didn't see me on the course last Friday for a good reason.   I was attending a summit sponsored by United Airlines and Audubon International.  They are in the beginning stages of starting a Raptor relocation project.   I knew birds and airplanes do not mix but didn't know how many or the different species that were of concern.   Raptors in particular are a problem at airports and they are looking for areas to release them.   Golf to the rescue.  The program is just getting started but our first meeting was a huge success.    I am really honored that Rockland and I can be a part of saving these great birds.   Look for more information as this program gets started.


Pictured from left to right:   Christine Kane, Executive Director Audubon International,  Mr. Jim Jones, Volunteers for Wildlife,  Mr Tim Connolly,  Golf Course Superintendent, TPC Jasna Polana (and our host)  Mr. Aaron Stash, Senior Strategist Environmental Sustainability United Airlines, Ms. Mikki Viehoever, Wildlife Biologist Airport Operations Seattle - Tacoma Int'l Airport and Mr. Jeff Kolodzinski, Senior Wildlife Biologist Aviation Department, John F. Kennedy International Airport.  

Saturday, April 29, 2017

FINISHING UP APRIL

We have had the April showers, now its time for the May flowers.    I have had a lot of questions regarding the color and patchy-ness of the greens.  First off-- nothing to worry about.  It is not a disease or winter damage it is just the different types of grass and the way they grow during colder weather.   Our golf course is over 100 years old.  Can you Imagine what kind of Tomatoes were planted 100 years ago?   The evolution of Tomatoes is similar to the evolution and breeding of Turf grass.   Obviously there is a big variation in Tomatoes just like our grasses.   Below is a picture of our putting green.  The bright green grass is from plugs that we took off our nursery.  You can see smaller spots that are starting to appear.  This is Poa that is spreading in to our green.  One of the many different Bio-types of grasses currently growing in our greens.  Other areas such as our 15th green are different types of Bent grass.  The patchy-ness of 15 is due to the severe winter damage we had three years ago.   The bent grass that you see survived. Other grasses did not.  This particular grass type is slow to wake up in the spring.  resulting in different colors.  

A larger view of our putting green.


We are planting the new mounds to the right of the new 13 tee with native grasses and flowers.  This berm was installed to hide the tennis courts.

It will take some time but in the long run this will become a nice addition to the course.




Their is more Algae in our pond then we would like.   I am watching it closely.   I am hoping it is because our weed eating fish woke up later than usual and haven't started eating.   If the algae persists we may have to use chemical control.  I hope not.  It is expensive and we have not had to resort to chemicals in many years   




Thursday, April 20, 2017

FINISHING UP OUR PROJECTS, GETTING COURSE READY AND LET ME INTRODUCE YOU...

We are putting the finishing touches on our capital projects.   The 13 championship tee is looking good.    Irrigation is installed,  soil has been fine raked and we are ready for the sod installation.      In the next few weeks we will landscape the berm and before you know it will be ready for play.  

Early morning sod delivery.  



They work fast.   Tee and surrounds completed.


We added some erosion control fabric to the back of the tee to prevent the soil from washing away.  
Added  our Audubon Sign to the range.  Not too much to look at now but give it a couple of weeks.  Lot's of flowers and native grasses ready to pop.  I was told a lot of people were taking pictures of this area last year.  
The Club House is getting geared up for the season.   This is Vinny giving the entrance a much needed touch up.   
Golf course is "greening up".  Ready for the Member-Member on Saturday.  



Let me introduce you to Maurice Wilkens as our newest member to the Greens and Grounds Staff.  "Moe"  has accepted the Mechanic's position and has already helped us get things going. His accomplice "A-Rod" lends a helping paw when ever he can. 












Thursday, April 13, 2017

FULL SPEED AHEAD!!!

Our seasonal Staff returned to work last Monday.  It has only been a week and a half and a lot has been accomplished.   We are full speed ahead.  Our priorities:

  • 1:  Get the course cleaned up,  We have the middle of the course all clean and ready to go,  now we are cleaning up the O. B. line and out of play areas. 
  • 2:  Rake bunkers:   We start by making sure they are clean.  Then we check the depth of sand and make sure we have a consistent depth of 4 inches through out the bunker.  Add the rakes and we are good to go.  All the bunkers are ready for play.  
  • 3:  Start Mowing:   This warm spell has really got the grass growing.  We have been mowing greens pretty regularly.  Tees, approaches, and fairways have been mowed once.  Today we hope to get the step-cut mowed.  Next week we will have to start roughs and surrounds.  
  • 4:  Of course all the other projects related to the course are well under way.  Putting out Ball-Washers, Benches, Garbage cans,  Getting our water features up and running on 8 and 4.  Getting our winter projects buttoned up, Checking all of our machines and making sure cuts are of good quality.  Getting our Irrigation system up an running,  etc, etc.   plenty to keep us busy.  

Irrigation System is up and running.
We pruned the Hickory tree behind the 9th green to get more sun on the green.  This picture shows the shadows it casts.  It will get much worse when the tree leafs out.   
Mound on 17 has been leveled and new fairway contours have been changed.   The soil areas will be sodded to fairway.  
The finished product.  Please avoid  the new sod for a few weeks.




6 ladies tee is almost complete.  Because of  Easter our contractor will be back on Monday to finish things up.   We have to finish 13 black tee expansion and a few other areas where we ran out of sod.   We expect to be finished by next Wednesday.  Just in time for the opening men's member - member.
Nice to see our Osprey's are back this year.