Saturday, December 3, 2016

Winterization

As we brace for winter please take a peek into the typical WINTERIZATION process at Minor Park and other courses just like ours, we have been busy checking items off the list and ensuring a successful transition to the already much awaited spring/summer season.  We invite play all year long, and hope to better educate about off-season practices with some of the information in this month’s blog.
Why cart path only in the off-season?
ü  Golf Course:  This is a biggie and likely the most impactful for those golfers who prefer riding.  Simply put…Zoysia goes dormant, so fairways are extremely susceptible to damage.  As a 500-600lb cart (with riders 750-1000lbs) rolls along, especially in high traffic areas, it compacts the soil and crushes the grass blades down below the crown of the plant. The crown means everything to overall plant health, the last mowing of the season grass is left at a higher height to allow the crown some insulation (like a down jacket) so it is protected from winter snow, ice and temps.

ü  Golfer: Please keep in mind heavy repeat traffic over dormant zoysia risks stripping the insulation off the crown thereby exposing the plant to elements that may kill it, this will only be noticeable come spring when growth should begin.
Please keep carts on the path at all times when requested. It may be tempting to sneak off when no one is around but come spring everyone will see the effects of misplaced cart traffic.  Please do your part so the course environment is more sustainable and cost-effective.  We will distribute flags for those who have a physical disability when the conditions allow, please ask the staff so we can assist!
Why no ball washers and water coolers?

ü  Golf Course: Another item on the checklist…removing the water coolers and ball washers to preserve them for repeat seasons.  Like irrigation drainage we do this because of freeze/thaw to prevent cracking and damage. With each 10 gal cooler costing $100 and each ball washers $220 they are only used in-season. We know wet conditions can require help with ball cleaning so on Par 3s we leave them out with a mix of water/windshield wash which won’t freeze. Preserved ball washers are taken in each winter and refurbished to avoid total replacement.

ü  Golfers: Please bring a damp towel to clean your ball and extra water in case of off-season/weather permitting set-up
Why 1-flag but 2 holes (cups) in the green?
ü  Golf Course:  What is the ‘2-cup rotation system’?  With compounding frosts and below freezing temps the ground below the surface actually freezes, which prevents cup cutting, therefore to scatter foot traffic we use alternating flags and cut new cups when turf will accept it.

ü  Golfers: With the 2-cup system, golfers play to the flag then when finished putting please move the flag to the opposite hole for the next group of golfers.  If every group rotates the flags this way, it helps with traffic/cup wear.  The difference in turf health in the spring is dramatic when this is done properly!
What are ‘winter’ tees?
ü  Golf Course: The majority of Minor Park’s tee boxes have an area of cool season grass; their only purpose is to serve as a teeing ground during zoysia dormancy.  The few zoysia-only boxes are closed and adjacent cool season grass is mowed down to provide a temporary tee.   When tees and fairways are warm season Zoysia, it means exactly that…it’s a WARM season variety.  Zoysia flourishes during hot summers, but when the temps get cold and it’s no longer green it’s no longer growing.  Therefore any damage (divots, traffic) cannot mend until spring, so concentrated areas of turf loss cause poor playing conditions plus the expense of replacement sod.

ü  Golfers: Golfers should tee off from the intentionally placed tee markers; while this makes the course shorter for a period, it sustains perfect tee conditions for all to enjoy in-season.  Hey…this is your chance to take it low!
What’s the deal with frost delays?
ü  Check out this quick video if you are interested in what’s up with frost…


Irrigation drainage
 This process uses a large air compressor that hooks up to the system that pumps air into the lines, pushing the remaining water in the lines out through irrigation heads.  Just like disconnecting your hoses at home, golf courses must prevent miles of pipes from cracking due to freeze/thaw.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Where is Fall?

If you have played golf in Kansas City lately you have realized we are going through some unseasonable warm weather. Typically when the leaves are falling I have on my trusty hooded sweatshirt and stocking cap. But this fall we are still comfortable in shorts and a light jacket. As the leaves rapidly fall, and we have  more golf out due to the  warm weather we have to battle leaf blowing and mulching  daily.   To help with combating leaf buildup we have 2 buffalo blowers and a large rough mower to mulch them up. So when you come out and play hopefully you notice that we take great time and effort in clearing the course for your round. Please come out and play because sooner then later the course will be covered in snow.




Update on 6 Green. We lost some grass on 6 green late August. Here is a picture  of what it looks like now:

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Best Time of the Year

Just a little information for your lawn as we head into winter. If you haven't already seeded those bare or thin spots in your yard you may want to think about getting it out a soon as possible before your window of opportunity runs out. Also this time of the year is great to fertilize your yard as it prepares for the winter.  This year we got out around 800 lbs of Fescue seed into our rough around greens and Tees.  The germaination is coming up nicely and in a few weeks we will fertilize these areas to help it continue through the winter. 

      With the cooler temperatures you may have noticed that the zoysia is slowly yellowing off and beginning its dormancy for the winter. We will be mowing them once a week and as the temps continue to fall we will stop mowing and allow the height to come up to allow a blanket of insulation for them.  


       After aerification is always the best time of the year to play. So please come out to Minor Park and enjoy the ideal playing conditions before winter is upon us. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

6 green

Number 6 green at Minor Park Golf Course has had some issues in the past and finally after the summer we just had in 2016, it has reared its ugly head again. Since I started here in 2012, we have not replaced more than a few plugs on this green, but our Kansas City area weather proved to be too much this year and we lost approximately 30 percent of 6 green. An August with 8+ inches of rain, temperatures in the upper 80’s to mid-90’s and dew points in excess of 70 degrees, left the ground saturated.  Weather like this was detrimental to the cool-season turf that was already stressed from the stifling heat of July. This is the third time in the past 10 years that a major amount of grass was lost on this green and resulted in the use of existing nursery sod for repairs.  This type of turf decline doesn’t happen on every green, so why is this one prone to it?  If you consider the layout of the course, number 6 green is tucked back in a corner surrounded by trees.  The location prevents adequate air movement to help dry out the turf during soggy conditions which leads to suffocating roots. In order to supplement the air movement, I propose the golf course acquires a large portable turfbreeze fan capable of moving air across the surface of the green as a vital part of stopping this repetitive turf decline. 


We have already begun the process of growing grass back on the surface of 6 green. Last week with the cooler temperatures we were able to dimple tine and apply extra Penncross seed. This will be our first process in restoring this green back to normal playing conditions. We are anticipating some seedlings will come up before we begin our aerfication process on September 15, 2016. At that time, along with our normal aerification procedure, we will add more seed and fertilizer in hopes to incorporate more seedlings into this area. After a few weeks of monitoring the growth, we will determine if there is an adequate coverage of grass returning.  If we do not see this, we will begin the sodding process to get the green back to normal playing conditions.
6 green as of September 7th. Getting some green back


As we work diligently to improve this green you may notice it is a bit taller than the rest of the greens at Minor Park.  This is due to less mowing of the green as we try to get the seed to establish. Think of this as a temporary hurdle as we bring this green back to the standards of the other 17 greens at Minor Park Golf Course.
Germination of seed



Thursday, August 4, 2016

Groundhog Days

Ah yes, it’s August 2nd…another forecast of high temps and humidity. Clouds, fog and haze this morning, so no shadow would be seen…does this mean we will we have 6 more weeks of summer or an early fall?  I think we know what we all wish for!
Hopefully we have less than a month of this weather left and then it’s on to aerification, cooler nights, and football season (Are you ready for some football?!).

In the Turfcare industry this summer has been a tough one. We began the season with buckets of rain, then no rain, then sporadic heavy rain.  We backed this pattern with high temperatures plus brutal dew points, and because of this, we (like many others) have suffered areas of thinning and dried out turf.  All in all Minor Park as come through this barrage of ugly weather in quite good shape!

When the heat is on, and on and on…Our Best Practices are as follows:

·        Cooling and Hand watering: Which allows up to drop the surface temp and also only puts water where it is needed.
·        Venting and Top Dressing to ensure the roots can breathe and also helps breakup thatch layering and puffiness.
·        Watering judiciously to prevent disease, conserve resources, and maintain healthy turf.

That being said I would like to thank my hard working staff, Minor Park is in great shape considering the ‘transitional’ weather and a lot of it has to do with the dedicated people who show up daily at 5:30am ready for manual labor in tough conditions.  We hope you have been playing as much golf as you can, as we take pride in bringing you the best golf experience we can.  Enjoy playing this great game, soon we will be putting on the stocking caps…February 2nd is not as far off as it sounds.


Thursday, July 7, 2016

How We Deal With Excess Moisture

With the  rains we have had late June early July at Minor Park the golf course is looking great. Here at Minor Park we were fortunate to be able to purchase 2 moisture meters to help measure moisture levels on greens. These meters have helped us know where we need to put water and also when we need to start irrigation after a rain event. Here is a picture and a brief description of what this equipment allows us to accomplish:

Spectrum Moisture Meter


These meters allow the user to probe greens and get a base reading of moisture in greens. After getting this initial reading this can be used in the morning and afternoon to test greens and see where we are on moisture and if they will last for the remainder of the day. For the greens at Minor Park we like to have ours between 15-18%. Anything below 15% will typical becomes a localized dry spot.

You may of seen David and I out probing greens looking at the percentage of moisture in the green

This was taken 7/7/16 after 1 inch of rain. As you see the percentage is 30.6. This shows us that we can shut off irrigation for at least a couple nights or more. 


Venting of Greens


Another cultural practice we are able to do is vent greens. We are able to get out once a month in the summer with bayonet tines and poke tiny slits into the green to allow gasses to escape. As the weather heats up and turf growth continues, destructive gasses such as methane and CO2 can build up in the root zone. Couple that with the excessively wet weather and you have a recipe for sick turf. This is the ideal time of year to vent greens. Venting allows bad gasses to escape and oxygen to penetrate the root zone. It also improves drainage and penetration of water. By reducing water, increasing oxygen, and allowing bad gasses to escape the soil microbes become more active, roots thrive, and overall plant health improves. The turf is now much stronger to heal traffic damage and fend off disease pressure. All without golfer interference! 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Fore The Golfer: Watering For Healthy Turf

Also a friendly reminder,  it is the season of hand watering. As you play Minor Park please be on the lookout for my staff as they fight the fires of summer. Before you strike your ball please make sure that there is some sort of contact between my staff and yourself . My guys will do there best to keep an eye out for you guys, but if need be feel free to holler or wave at them to acknowledge you are there before you hurl that torpedo rocket at them. Here is a small video that will show you why we water the way we do.



Thank you and look forward to seeing you out at Minor Park Golf Course. 






Friday, June 10, 2016

The Rough.... is not rough!

Since the heat is upon us the last few days the rough has began its summer survival mode and has slowed down growing. If you have played Minor recently you may have noticed that it is becoming easier to find your ball. The course in in great shape so come out and enjoy.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Hazards of the Job

Last week after we were able to dry out for a day or two, Assistant Superintendent David Carlson went to mow outside the fence along Holmes road. Everything was going smoothly until his last pass.... That's when the trouble started. The Jacobsen turfcat started to slip on the hill, it was stuck. He turned off the blades, and proceeded to raise the deck, at this moment he could tell he was in serious trouble. The mower started leaning and at that moment he had to decide to bail  and run for the fence. As he got to the fence he turned around in time to see the mower begin its trip down the hill.  He told me that it never hit the ground when it flipped down the hill. Luckily everyone was safe and we were able to push the mower back on its side. All we had to do was get the rear tire filled with air, put some much needed oil into the motor that was lost. And then with about 5 mins of blowing out pure white smoke this piece of machinery was back to normal. Something like this doesn't happen everyday but we always have to be on our toes in this profession because you never know when something like this can cause you problems.





Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Rough is...well ROUGH!


As you have probably noticed lately Minor Park and golf courses in general are producing long and lush roughs (hence more lost balls!). Thanks to fertilization and perfect weather (well-timed rains and warm temps) the rough is growing at an accelerated rate as it does every spring. Our rough areas and banks at Minor Park are mostly tall fescue which is a cool-season grass. This variety flourishes in the spring, is a survivalist during hot dry summers, and mounts it's comeback in the fall. Here are some facts about cool-season grass:
· Roots of a cool-season grass plant begin to absorb water and nutrients as soon as the ground temp reached 55 to 65 degrees F.  In response, the grass blades soon follow with prolific growth, especially with the air temperatures ranges between 60 and 75 degrees F.
· So with the warm weather early this year coupled with the Barricade plus fertilizer we put down for weed control AND multiple rain events, it's a perfect storm for more rapid blade growth.
Please bear with us another couple weeks, to help alleviate golfer frustration we are lowering mow height and continuing our schedule of cutting rough 5 days a week!  Perhaps the only thing to get excited about HOT weather is the effect it will have on the rough, this will cause cool-season fescue to thin out, then all of us can appreciate a slower rate of growth and easier shots from next to the fairway!

Check out this image showing the growth pattern of Cool-season grasses:



Friday, May 6, 2016

Clubhouse Mulching and upcoming flowers

With the few rain days in April we were able to get out and mulch around the clubhouse and the tee features on the course. In the upcoming week we will be getting in our flowers from the City of Kansas City, MO and will start planting them on holes 3, 7, 12, and up by the clubhouse. If you haven't starting planting or mulching at your house now is a great time to start.

So if your out playing in the next couple of weeks please look for these lovely flowers that the City of KCMO grows for us.  As always, I really hope that you enjoy coming out and playing at Minor Park Golf Course.
Before

After





Saturday, April 2, 2016

Photo Quiz

What do you see in this picture?


Answer: Unrepaired Ball Marks. Just in this small picture you will see 5. 

At the start of every season many superintendents have to talk about the amount of unrepaired ball marks they have on their course and how we have to keep letting the golfer know the proper way to fix them. Instead with this post I would like the share the WHY we need to fix them. I found a great article from GCSAA that talks about how long an unrepaired ball mark takes to recover. Here is a insert from that article:

The basis for ball mark repair and divot replacement is for competitive and agronomic reasons. Balls that land in unrepaired divots place a golfer at a disadvantage, just as having to putt over a ball mark. By leaving turf damaged (unrepaired), it becomes susceptible to disease and/or infestation of weeds, resulting in a lower quality of playing surface. This necessitates the need for attention by golf course superintendents and their staffs, thereby taking them away from more pressing duties. As a general rule, a ball mark repaired within 10 minutes will heal with a smooth surface within two to three days. An unrepaired ball mark may take as long as three weeks to heal, but the result will be an uneven surface.

As you can see if you can replace your ball mark within 10 mins of it happening that mark will heal in 2-3 days.  On the other end as you see in the photo these can possible take up to 3 weeks to repair itself.

Have a great day at Minor Park and please repair your ball marks. It makes for a more enjoyable round of golf for yourself and allows myself and my staff time to work on other things to keep Minor Park looking the best that it can be.

Also just a reminder that we will be starting Aerification on Aril 4th and 5th.  



Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Stump Grinding

Last week we were able to get around 75 old and new stumps ground up at Minor Park. We used a Vermeer stump grinder that we got after winning this auction item at the S and R tournament. Grinding stumps can be a time consuming event but with the grinder we were able to use we knocked out the stumps in about 10 hrs. After grinding the stump we pick up the leftover debris, back fill the hole with topsoil, and will seed or sod the bare spots. Here are a few pictures of the results:

After Grinding
Removal of stump debris

Fresh topsoil waiting for seed or sod


After mowing, 1/2 inch of rain, and nice temperatures greens are looking really good.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Clubhouse Landscape

With the nice weather, we were able to get out and do some much needed trimming of the landscape around the clubhouse. After doing some research on Euonymus (Burning Bush) and Privets we found out that this is a great time to trim them back aggressively. For theses 2 types of plants we trimmed off around 3 feet of old growth to get them down below the windows of the back clubhouse. While we were up there we also reshaped a few shrubs and trimmed off the lower branches of pine and cedar trees. Here are a few pictures of what the landscape looks like now.





Friday, January 15, 2016

Goose Damage Again

It never fails, every year at Minor Park Golf Course geese begin their yearly destruction of green edges. This year it seems to be a bit more evident due to the winter we are having. With the course being thawed for so long it allows the geese to dig and tear holes into the greens while leaving their unwanted mess behind. We go out every morning and on no golfer days we make multiple rounds scouting for geese and scaring them off with our Bird Screamers. This is a type of firework that we shoot out of a .22 pistol that sends a screamer firecracker into the air. This firecracker produces a loud bang sending the birds into flight and off our property. As this next wave of cold and hopefully some snow cover funnels in we can start to reduce the holes that the geese are digging due to the ground getting frozen.



NEW Maintenance Building!

       We have broken ground!!! On October 24th the construction began on our new Maintenance building. We are very excited and have been wa...