Friday, April 27, 2012

A New Hope, Catching Up, New Toy and Protection!

Hello and welcome to "The Greenkeeper"!  Today is Friday, April 27, 2012 and Guest Day at Carolina Golf Club is off to a spectacular beginning.  Greens were both mowed and rolled today for our fun competition and the weather is the best its been since...well, you know what I mean.  Some of you may be asking where I have been lately considering I haven't posted an update in a few weeks.  I have been here at Carolina working diligently with my staff to prepare the course for the Pre-Qualifying and Qualifying Tournaments for the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship (the Pre-Qualifying Tournament was yesterday).  Also, I have been praying the above normal weather we experienced in March would quickly return.  It seems we replaced nearly 15,000 square feet of bermudagrass sod on our green's collars and immediately Mother Nature couldn't make up her mind whether it was March or May.  Considering it was April all this time and March felt mostly like May and April felt mostly like March, what will May feel like?  Help me Jim Cantore, you're my only hope!

Since my last blog update, my staff and I installed new irrigation on the event lawn (my apologies for not having pictures of this project).  Prior to the new patio construction the lawn area was irrigated with a couple of golf course irrigation heads.  Those have been removed and we installed new, smaller sports field heads to give us greater coverage and control... all while ensuring we are only watering the event lawn and not the new patio!  In the past few weeks we have also had all tree stumps removed with a stump grinder.  Stump holes were filled with soil and either sodded to bermudagrass or seeded with our natural area seed mix and mulched.  We rerouted the discharge line of the well located near the creek crossing between the 4th and 17th holes.  The well now discharges upstream in the retention pond left of #15 fairway and supplies a continuous stream along the creek channel.  All landscape beds on the property have received a fresh supply of mulch (this includes parking lot islands, club house and pool landscape areas and golf course trees).  Sprinkler heads were recently edged and we continue to fine tune the golf course as we patiently wait for Mother Nature to turn on the heat and bring the bermudagrass mowing season upon us full speed ahead!

In other golf course maintenance news, the Board of Governors approved (with the recommendation from the Greens Committee) the acquisition of an AeraVator!  I know, you are thrilled...

Actually, I am very excited about our new "toy" and once the qualifying tournaments are complete I intend to use it very extensively.  The AeraVator uses both solid tines and vibratory action to create a hole and "shatter" the soil profile simultaneously thus alleviating compaction in extreme cases.  I proposed the acquisition to the Greens Committee earlier this year as a great tool to help us combat the over compacted turf in many areas where traffic is unreasonably high.  The machine does NOT remove a core of soil thus the impact to the surface and playability is minimal.  As we begin to incorporate the unit into our maintenance regime I will post more pictures as well as before and afters.

Also, the Greens Committee decided to contract Arborguard to assess and install lightning protection on our property's specimen hardwood trees.  I met with their certified arborist, Barry Gemberling to tour the entire course earlier this month.

We identified 13 specimen oak and poplar trees worthy of protection based either on appearance/size and/or strategic impact of the golf hole.  Barry and his team were great to work with and completed the task in three days.  Arborguard also performed soil injection "therapy" to those same selected trees to aid their ability to survive in a golf course turf environment.

That's all for now!  I need to go and get ready for a busy weekend of member and guest play as well as practice rounds for the Monday qualifying tournament.  I will post a new update sometime Tuesday sharing information with each of you regarding the course set up for the qualifying tournaments and anything else I may think of along the way.  Until then...

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton
Golf Course Superintendent

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Jim Nantz, The Driving Range Tee and 7:46 PM!

Hello and welcome to "The Greenkeeper"!  Today is Thursday, April 5, 2012 and a tradition unlike any other is underway in nearby Augusta, Georgia!  Thanks to my grandfather and his love for the game of golf, this is my most favorite tournament in the world.  Funny thing is I spend most of this day each year humming the old holiday classic, "It's the most wonderful time of the year!"  (I guess it's only fitting to think of Christmas so close to Easter!)  Anyway, The Masters is like the unofficial start of the golf season as everyone gets the fever to play and activity at the club increases daily.  Although this past winter wasn't that cold it is still nice to see green grass and more friendly faces each day at Carolina!

I figured today was a great day to open the driving range tee for use!  As you head out to the club you will see we are once again on the turf at Carolina.  You may also notice we recently installed new flags on the target greens (same color scheme but these flags are slightly oversized for greater visibility).  Also, we added reflectors to the top of each flagstick (same as on the course) for those of you wishing to measure your own distances with laser devices.  Tomorrow we will adorn the course with new cups, flags and flagsticks as we do every spring.

Last time, I addressed the issue we were experiencing with the collars and promised an update along with some photos.  We began removing the affected areas this past Monday (while simultaneously prepping the event lawn area for new sod to tie back into the new patio and sidewalk).  Sod arrived first thing Tuesday morning and with two crews we were able to repair the event lawn and resod the collars of the first seven holes (we stopped here because we were not able to have any more sod delivered until Wednesday morning).  The sod truck scheduled for 7:00 am Wednesday morning arrived shortly after 9:30 am (don't you love it when a plan comes together) and we worked diligently to complete the job before the day was done!  At 7:46 pm I took this picture of some of my crew members topdressing the sod we had just installed around our last putting surface.

End of a long day!

With the sun beginning to set the guys were happy to be completed with the task!  Evan Long (former Carolina Invitational champion) and his young son Ben were enjoying a twilight nine together (the Dogfight had already come and gone by this time).  When we started we were targeting affected areas such as this:




Once complete all the new turf was rolled, topdressed and hand watered.  Next week we will feed the turf with liquid fertilizer and continue to roll and topdress to ensure a smooth surface.  We will also mow the new collars as soon as the turf tacks down new roots.  In the interim, please treat the areas as ground under repair and take free relief.  Where applicable, please step across the sod and when necessary please be mindful and tread lightly.  Thank you in advance for your cooperation! 

Come Solomon!  The Masters first round will be replayed this evening on ESPN!

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton
Golf Course Superintendent