Pheasant Run GC Turf Department Maintenance Blog


Non-Traditional maintenance practices

Many of you who played yesterday morning will have noticed that we tried something new on all three nines. Removing tee markers was a sample project to see how players would respond to it, promote some conversation and reduce some maintenance man-hours. It was likely one of the more short-lived attempts at change we have made here at Pheasant Run. We modified our thought process in the afternoon and placed one tee marker out on the edge of the tee in line with the permanent Golf Association of Ontario markers (which are located in the center of each teeing area with red, white and blue disks).

Though most of you hated it, as a purist (and low single digit handicap player) I personally loved how clean it looked;

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Why did we try this? Well in previous years we have attempted and/or made other significant changes (returned areas to a natural growing state and the fairway/tee mowing pattern to name 2) to the golf course for one major reason….reducing maintenance costs. Tee markers in the rules of golf are for “competition” play only. Seeing how we really only have 2 serious competitions a season that require physical tee markers, the thought was “do we really need them?”. One of the daunting issues with golf is that quite simply “its just too hard” of a game. By removing the markers, we had hoped that the stigmas attached to us (maintenance staff) determining what course you play for the day would be replaced by you the player determining your course.

It’s just the straight facts that golfers are not ready for radical change right now. And that’s ok. We have modified this setup by placing one marker on the edge of the teeing area:

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This setup will remain in tact for the rest of the season except for club events including; the Club Championships and the 27 hole Classic.

On the weekend my son and I had the opportunity to play the new “Yellow” tees. And it was an enjoyable experience and really gives you a different perspective of the golf course. I hope that many others (judging by the divots, some are) will use them and have some fun;

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Enjoy the nice weather and play with an open mind, after all it is “just a game”.

Andrew Hardy

Superintendent

 



New teeing areas and Thinking outside the box

This will my first time posting on consecutive days in a long time. But I just wanted to bring to light some minor changes on the course. First, you may or may not have noticed the addition of yellow tee blocks on all of the fairways and some tees and approaches. Call them what you may “Junior tees”, “Forward tees” and/or “Family tees”. Below is an example of the markers past the bunker on Highlands 2 fairway.

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They have been placed to play about 1500 yards on each nine with the hopes that they will see use from new players, juniors and family’s. Below is the junior camp using them on Southern Uplands.

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We are also going to try something experimental on Monday with the regular teeing areas. We have a green fee special taking place on GolfNow and expect to be busier than usual. So we will be removing all the tee markers (red, white and blue) for Monday and Tuesday. Why you ask? We are going to allow players to play the length/difficulty of course that they desire without the parameters of “predetermined teeing areas”. Let the debate ensue………….

Andrew Hardy

Superintendent

 

 

 

 

 



Greens rejuvenation

This will be my first post to the blog in some time. An extremely hectic spring that has transitioned into a very busy summer has me looking twice at the calendar and having a hard time believing that its mid-July. The one thing that has been consistent this year so far is the lack of consistency with the weather. As I sit here today it is 10 degrees Celsius on July 17th. I cannot remember another July where we have had this sort of cool weather in the mornings. The cooler weather in the mornings is a nice break from the usual hot and sticky conditions that we are used to in a typical summer. The cooler weather also allows us to push things a little more than we would normally be able to.

While spring always seems to produce challenges and make extra work for us. This spring was not any different in the extra chores and tasks that we were faced with after one of the coldest winters ever. It has been well documented the number of golf courses that sustained damages to their greens, ranging from total loss to smaller areas of damage like what we incurred here. Though many high-end private clubs went the route of re-sodding or total renovation. Clubs like ours were left to grow back from seed, allow the Poa annua to rejuvenate itself or sod the patches like we did. Though we did decide that the damage on Southern Uplands 2 green was significant enough (not to mention the green and its history of misery) to totally rebuild the green and surrounds.

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The picture above highlights the steps in the renovation process. The biggest changes in the new green complex include no more bunkers (there were 2) and the green is built up and a drainage swale was routed around the outside to keep water off (the major issue we have faced on this green each spring). The heavy rains (we resorted to tarping the green after rain washed the first 2 seeding’s of the green away) we have had in recent weeks has shown us that the swale works as it should. The green currently has about 60% coverage, but, we are not putting any kind of timeline on the hole being fully open at this point. So the hole will play as a par 3 for the foreseeable future. Total cost for this one green will fall in the $15,000-$20,000 range, so think about what the clubs who are totally renovating all 18 greens are faced with financially. And you will have answered your own questions as to why more clubs “don’t just get rid of the Poa greens”.

The other greens that we faced issues with had areas (some big, some small) sodded. While these areas are visually unappealing to the eye right now. History has shown us that sod is a quicker means to repair than seed, but that’s just our opinion. The greens we sodded have been nursed along since early-May and the greens have been maintained at a different height of cut. As of yesterday we were able to (with a huge assist to mother nature) mow the sodded greens down to the same height as the rest of the putting surfaces.

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The picture above highlights where Highlands 1 green was in April, the work that went into sodding most of the green and what it looks like today. While we will all stare at that sod for a while. the fact is that beyond looks this green along with the few others that were sodded play almost exactly the same as the rest. While many may view this process as a bit ugly and unconventional, it worked for us.

Enjoy the weather and have fun on the course.

Andrew Hardy

Superintendent

 



Hub of Activity

It seems as though each spring has its own way of being very busy. With the transition into a new golf season, the “to-do” lists seem endless. I’m unsure what it is about this season, but, the facts are that this has been (and will continue to be) the year of the to-do list.

It has been much documented about the number of golf facilities in Ontario that suffered serious turf damage from last December’s ice storm. While we were mostly unscathed from the storm. The slow melt, standing water issues and extensive snowmobile damage we sustained are the “fish we have had to fry” this spring. On top of regular golf course maintenance we have had a full list of repairs and upgrades take place late last fall and early this spring.

Past years and experience has told us that sometimes waiting for seed to fill in our damaged areas isn’t always the best option. In the past few years we have sodded damage to gain the full impact from repairs sooner, this allows putting surfaces to match others on the golf course in a shorter time-frame. We were quick to decide to sod some damaged areas on a few greens, and mow them at a higher height of cut until they are ready for the full pressure of mowing at .120″. Below are a few snapshots of the before and after;

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An example of what a lot of snowmobile traffic can do to a green can also been seen here;

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We have also re-sodded the Blue/White teeing ground on Uplands #1;

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We also completed the green surround renovation at Highlands #1 green that was started last fall;

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We will also be seeding the chipping green on the driving range next week. We used much of the turf there for repairs on other areas of the golf course while our new bentgrass nursery grew in after being seeded last August. The new chipping green will be much larger than the old one as well and should be ready for activity before the end of the summer;

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While all greens are now in decent condition (I more critical of that then you’ll ever be) it was decided yesterday afternoon that the green site at Uplands #2 was not going to recover fast enough. This green has been a source of many pains in my 8 years here and would likely continue to be an issue going forward. While we had considered fully re-sodding the green with Bentgrass from our nursery as Bentgrass is able to handle more of the issues harsh winters and hot and humid summer present than mixed stands of Poa annua and Bentgrass in sites such as Uplands 2.

Bentgrass plugs in great spring shape;

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A distinct line where we had sodded an area a few years ago on Uplands 2;

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So starting this morning we are moving forward with a full renovation and re-build of Uplands 2 green, bunkers and green surrounds. The process began this morning with marking existing irrigation and the area that we will be renovating. Monday an excavator will be on site to begin the process of moving earth to build the green up and make a drainage swale around the back of the green to keep the green free of water. This project had been discussed for a couple of years now, but the time to move forward is now given the slow healing of the water damaged areas on this green. We have already stripped all of the sod away from the green complex and will discuss the future location of the green with consulting golf course architect Ian Andrew on Monday morning.

Uplands 2 from behind the green;

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And from about 100 yards out in the fairway;

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How the green site looks today;

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What does this mean for golf on that hole in the interim? The hole will be shortened to a Par 3 for the next few weeks while construction takes place and sod is laid and allowed to establish. While temporary greens are not fun for players or those who manage golf courses, it is necessary in this case. The great thing about this project is that not only will we have a new green, green side bunker and stand of bentgrass, but, the greens new location will make for a better golf hole. I will keep everyone abreast of how the process is going right through to completion. The management of Pheasant Run thanks all of you for your support and understanding during this time of progress and club improvement.

Andrew Hardy

Superintendent



Small Successes

I would suppose saying that I have done my fair share of promoting our environmental rap sheet would be a gross understatement. But as a company we take a great amount of pride in our track record in finding a balance between golf and environment. On one of my course tours recently I happened to notice something in one of the re-naturalized areas. As part of our involvement in attaining Audubon Certification beginning in 2009, we embarked on a project to take a large amount of maintained turfgrass (approximately 40 acres) out of play and allow it to return to its natural state. While these re-naturalized areas would provide contrast, reduce inputs (fuel, fertilizer, water and pesticide usage) and create areas for wildlife. It seemed as though this process would take years to produce wildflowers and regenerate native plant life.

It was certainly nice and certainly encouraging to see many small pine seedlings beginning to grow in the area between 1 Midlands green, 2 Midlands tee and 6 Highlands green;

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While very small for now, these small trees are the true essence of what we were looking to achieve in these areas on the golf course;

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It’s always nice to see a vision from many years ago coming to fruition. I am very proud of another environmental achievement taking place, and its a bonus that these trees won’t affect desired areas of turf in the future. A true win-win.

Andrew Hardy

Superintendent

 



Buzzwords……Like Earth Day
April 22, 2014, 6:35 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

pheasantturf:

Earth Day 2014

Originally posted on Pheasant Run GC Turf Department Maintenance Blog:

As opposed to droning on and on about the good things we do for the environment. I am re-blogging last years Earth Day post. I was also fortunate to be asked to give what my environmental impact to the game of golf has meant to me by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America

http://www.gcsaa.org/Special/Reflections-on-Sustainability.aspx

Happy Earth Day to everyone. Earth Day marks the four-year anniversary of the introduction of the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program becoming law in Ontario. For many courses IPM is a basis for management, while others have seen or undertaken little to no change in their course management philosophy. Earth Day always seem to be synonymously paired with sustainability or sustainable environmental practices. To me sustainability is the most overused phrase used in golf right now. The governing bodies of golf throw sustainability around as if its such an easy goal to attain.

Here at Pheasant…

View original 710 more words



Ready to Roll
April 16, 2014, 11:54 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Although looking outside today isn’t really giving off warm and fuzzy feelings for golf. The 2014 golf season at Pheasant Run will be beginning on Friday. The opening had originally been scheduled for Thursday, but weather certainly threw a wrench in that plan;

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While plans for mowing greens for the first time we to be executed yesterday or perhaps today. Our mode of transportation yesterday looked more like this;

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With the season officially beginning I’d like to wish all the members and guests all the best for this new season. May your drives be long, approach shots be accurate and putts drop. And let’s not forget to repair our ball marks, rake traps and replace our divots.

Andrew Hardy

Superintendent




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