As with any given season in turf maintenance the winter months bring time to rejuvenate and take in some educational and trade show activities. With each learning opportunity you are presented with a number of ideas that fellow Superintendents are using or have tried. From there I basically steal (just being honest) these ideas and bring them to Pheasant Run.
This season we are going to be implementing some minor and other major tweaks to our maintenance regimen. Some of these changes include a new “Green” product added to our spray regimen, change in tee mowing patterns, fairway proximity markers, cart path improvements, hazard stakes and the major change will be with bunker maintenance.
We are starting some trials this season with a product known as Civitas. Which for lack of a better term is a “chemical free pesticide”. Civitas is excluded from being reported in IPM Annual Reports as it is deemed a Class 11 Pesticide. This product will be used on greens, tees and fairways and has shown to reduce synthetic pesticide and fertilizer use. It will be quite noticeable because of the green pigment that is the carrier product for what is Mineral Oil the active ingredient. You can read more about the product and research done with it here: www.civitasturf.com
As you can see above we have altered the tee mowing pattern to match up with the fairway mowing pattern. Early indications this spring have shown a decrease in tee mowing time by shifting to this pattern. I love the look and it will be supplemented with a cross-cut once a month same as the fairways.
On the fairways we have eliminated the 100 yard Red markers and the 200 yard blue markers. Given the fact we had the yardage’s on the sprinkler heads done last season. We really felt that it was overkill with all the various markings on the fairways. This really fits in well with our “clean” look on the course.
We also have preliminary plans to extend two of our headache cart paths. The paths on #1 and #9 Midlands have been a maintenance pain for the past couple of seasons. Using ropes and directional arrows along with plywood during really wet periods are certainly an eyesore.
Above #9 Midlands will be extended past the pond.
#1 Midlands above will be extended to just shy of the bunker that splits #1 Midlands and #7 Highlands fairway. Given that these paths are going to be done in interlocking brick (to match what we have throughout the course) it is no small expense to carry this project out. We will be starting the excavation next week by stripping the sod and building up the path via limestone screenings. The brick will be laid by mid-summer.
I’m not going to dwell on hazard stakes. We did cut them shorter in length and add a spike to the bottom of them so that mowers and trimmers can easily move them. Again just a cleaner look.
As for bunkers, well the experimentation never seems to end. I find it to be wrong that we spend more time, money and man hours maintaining bunkers than we do on greens. On our end of it greens are the money-makers and are what make Pheasant Run a memorable golf experience not the bunkers.
The USGA deems a bunker as;
So some of the larger, less in-play bunkers are going to be reverted to waste bunker status. The bunker on the left of #3 Uplands, the large bunker to the right of #6 Uplands and the huge bunker on the dogleg of #7 Uplands will now be considered waste bunkers.
Waste bunkers allow you to ground your club and will be maintained less. They will likely be raked once a week or once every two weeks.
As for the rest of the bunkers, they too will be maintained differently this season. For those of you who watched the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne last winter things may look familiar. The bases of the traps will be all that gets rake mechanically, while the sides and edges will be broomed (dry days) or roller squeegeed (wet days).
As with anything that seems to be a great idea in the winter. I will be tracking the time and maintenance with this raking method. But I am hoping that these changes will allow us to do things such as fairway divots, range tee maintenance and many other detail oriented cultural practices.
So the course has survived winter and is in fact in terrific condition right now. Our week of “fools summer” in late March certainly got hopes up for an early summer. But seasonal temperature the last two weeks have slowed things down dramatically. Here’s to spring weather starting in the next week and a great spring of golf.