Thursday, August 31, 2017


Getting ready for the unofficial end of summer.   Hope you are able to get some time to play a few rounds this weekend.  Greens are starting to heal from the aerification and Fairways are very playable.    We just started mowing greens with old mowers.  Why old mowers?  because there still is enough sand on them to dull the mower blades.   It will take a few more days for the grass to grow around the sand to the point that the sand will not affect the cut.  but we are still able to mow even though we don't get that great a cut and rolling also helps smooth the surface.   
It has only been 9 days since we finished aerification.  Won't be long before we are back in great shape.  

  Close up view.   Holes are filled in and enough sand is on the surface to dull our mowers but the sand helps keep the surface smoother and also helps with drainage and compaction.  

We are taking the opportunity with the great weather to bang out a few tees.   We can do four holes in a day with no problem and it really doesn't impact play.  

This past Monday, it was my honor and privilege to host a group of citizen scientists from Rutgers.   They are interested in how we manage our native areas for habitat and cost savings.  As always it starts with good greens, tees, and fairways but there are a lot of opportunities on golf courses to provide good habitat for our native critters.    Pictured from left to right are:  

Christina Kaunzinger, an ecologist and an assistant research professor at Rutgers University;

Holly Nelson, the Rutgers University BSLA program director and an associate professor for landscape architecture;

Andrew Malkinski, an undergrad in the Rutgers Landscape Architecture program and an intern at the Rutgers University Golf Course;

Peter Greubel, president of Clifton Landscape Contracting Inc;

Erika Schellinck, an undergrad in the Rutgers Landscape Architecture program and an intern at the Rutgers University Golf Course;

Lisa Jensen, the Rutgers University Golf Course Pro and Manager;

Michael Young, a student in the Rutgers graduate program for Landscape Architecture and pursuing independent research at the Rutgers University Golf Course.

Finally I happened to catch this bee building her nest in one of our bee houses. Glad to help out our native pollinators and nice to see these actually work.   

Thursday, August 24, 2017


We have been busy.   We started Sunday evening and finished up Wednesday.  All greens have been aerified and holes filled with sand.   All the fairways are done and cleaned.   Time for the healing to begin.

We started with the greens on Sunday afternoon.

On Monday, our contractor started aerifing fwys.   They had three machines and were done at 4:00. We take the clean up from there.....

First, we break up the plugs by dragging a mat across them, then blow the thatch into the center.

We then use our sweeper to clean them up.  The process is very dusty. Luckily, we had good weather, the plugs must be dry or they just turn into "mud".

Back to Greens:  On greens we pick up the plugs and compost them.  We then top-dress to fill the holes.   This removes the excess thatch and adds sand that resists compaction and allows for good drainage.

A final brush and roll finishes the process.   By that time things are getting on the dry side so a couple of turns with the sprinklers is just what is needed.

All in all it went very well.   In a couple of short weeks we will be back to normal.   Ready for our big MEMBER - MEMBER tournament.

Sunday, August 20, 2017


No one likes to aerify.   It is a difficult time consuming task.   If we didn't have to do it we would love to skip it.  However to ensure good conditions in the future we have to.   Farmers plow, they have the luxury of just turning the soil over but as disruptive as aerification is I think plowing is not an option. To make sure all the equipment is performing we aerified our nursery this past Wednesday.   We will be aerifing  all the greens and fairways.  The course is closed while we do this.  We we open the course again on Thursday.  Until then stay tuned for daily updates.  
Top-dressing our nursery that has just been aerified.  

Here is the nursery after it has been top-dressed and brushed.  We try and fill all the holes with sand.

This week we cleaned the ditch between 12 and 13.

You may have noticed that we have mowed some of our native areas.   Mowing is the fastest and cheapest way of controlling certain weed species.   This picture it the native area between 4 and 5 and has become over run with foxtail a annual grassy weed.   By cutting it down it won't be able to produce seed for next year.  .

Another reason for mowing this area is that it has been seeded with a perennial wild flower mixture.  It takes a few years for the perennials to mature enough to compete with other plants.   By mowing you allow light to reach these developing flowers.   We should be able to reap the awards next season.  This is a picture of a Black eyed Susan and a Bee Balm.

Friday, August 11, 2017


Big weekend starts tomorrow.   It's been one of those weeks.  We didn't get the bunkers put back together until Monday---Then it rained again forcing the outing to only get 9 holes in before we had to stop them because of standing water on the greens.   We noticed the fairways were off color from a growth regulator we sprayed last week.   We applied a green pigment on Tuesday and Wednesday to solve the problem.  On Wednesday I noticed the water fall pump was off.  Upon further inspection we must of had a power surge and our control panel was, as they say "fried".  Then we noticed the irrigation pumps were not working.  Of course it is now starting to dry out.   A quick call to DAF Services was in order.  Ed was here the next day and got us up and running.  Then to put the final cap on a very eventful week Ed was back on Friday to fix the other pump that we thought was fine.  All in  a weeks work.  We are ready for the Championships ---just hope it doesn't rain.
Jay spraying green pigment.  He has two passes on the left side completed.
A close up.  you can see it is greener on the left.
Here  is Ed, our pump man to the rescue on Thursday.  

Here is Ed back at it on Friday.   Thought we had if fixed yesterday.  So.....You know what's going to happen.  If we didn't have any pumps you know it would not rain.  Now that we have them up and running it will probably pour.   Seems to always be the case.  
In closing,  These small green caps are bait to control ants.  We have a problem on a few tees.   The distributor dropped off a few of them at no charge to see how well they work.  Ants can be difficult to control because you have to kill the queen.  This container holds a bait that the ants take back into their nest.  

Sunday, August 6, 2017


Yesterday we received 1.4" of rain just before dawn.  Because of standing water on greens and fairways we delayed opening until 8:30 and then it was cart path only.
Standing water on 14 green.  
We had a river running across the valley on holes 18 thru 12.

The bunkers took the brunt of the storm.  We fixed most of them today.  Only a few holes left but because of play (We can't get much done when the course gets too crowded and you don't want us getting in your way --can't say as I blame you)  We will finish up the few remaining ones on Monday.  

Major washouts in a lot of our bunkers.  
Staff did what they could,  a lot of work putting things back together.

Yesterday we had a Greens Committee meeting.  Topics covered were Green speeds,  Cart paths, Native areas, and Fairways.  Green speeds: have been acceptable these past few weeks.  We came away with the understanding that we will maintain ball roll as fast as we can given weather, time of year, staffing, and member events.  In order to do this we will be increasing our aerifications.    Cart paths:  There are some edges that need to be touched up and we will tackle them as time allows this fall and winter.  Native areas: will be looked at in terms of aesthetics and play ability.  We will be reviewing these aspects in the near future.  We have many different types of native areas.   Native grass areas, wild flower areas, forested areas, and of course our water features.   All require special maintenance.  We want to keep our main goals of providing habitat for wild life, removing invasive plants, adding beauty and an element of risk reward for a well played stroke all while saving precious budget dollars.   Fairways: were looked at with respect of trying to get the grass to "stand up" more.  We are going to look into verticutting our fairways.  If approved we will need to purchase a machine to do this and add it to our maintenance schedule. 
It was a great meeting and much discussion will follow.  Stay tuned!!!!!