Thursday, October 18, 2012

Drainage Wrap-Up, What is That, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Hummocks!

Hello and welcome to "The Greenkeeper"! Today is Thursday, October 18, 2012 and below I have 10 pictures for you to see and I have much to describe so let's get started.  Since my last post the crew from Golf Course Services, Inc. wrapped up all the drainage improvements we planned and then we managed to add a couple more locations since we were under budget.  The drainage plan on 7 was completed followed by enhancements on 6 (short of the fairway), 2 (landing area), 10 (right of the fairway), 5 (left side of fairway) and 15 (left side of fairway).  Many thanks to J.D. and his team from GCS for the fabulous denoted by my special inspector!

Solomon inspects the additional drainage in 7
We actually unearthed a small fresh water spring in this area on number 6.  Not surprising considering all the stories from the older members regarding this property "back in the day".  This drainage addition will make life much better for the walkers!

New drainage on 6
Although golf car traffic is not permitted on the second hole this drainage was added to assist with mowing operations and playability during the winter season when the bermudagrass turf is dormant.

More drainage on 2
This long line of new drainage will be a tremendous asset in permitting golf car traffic on the tenth hole during the winter months.  This past winter it was nearly impossible to get a golf car through this swale to the fairway!

New drainage on 10

On the day I took the picture of the drainage work on the tenth hole I spotted this critter making its way up the bank between the green and white tees.  It is a green horned caterpillar or tomato hornworm (Manduca quicquemaculata ) and I don't know where it was going.

Green Horned Caterpillar
Perhaps in the past few days you have noticed an interesting aroma coming from parts of the golf course.  If so, that smell is the compost we have been applying to our natural/native areas in efforts to improve soil conditions and grass establishment.  We have been interseeding several natural/native areas with our native short mix seed in efforts to bolster and enhance their performance and appearance.  More on this work in a future Greenkeeper.  This concludes the Lynyrd Skynyrd portion of this blog post!

Last week Stephen Woodard (Greens Committee Chairman) and I hosted Kris Spence to look at proposed tree planting locations in keeping with the master tree plan Kris prepared for Carolina last year.  During that visit Kris recommended we remove the tree affected with bacterial leaf scorch (Monday, July 16th: Fairway Aeration Cancelled, Goldilocks and Other Stuff!) and change our grassing strategy around the mounds.  (Sidebar: Do you think we need a catchy nickname for these features?  I know there are some out there for a few of the bunkers on the course and areas near them but what about these mounds?  Does dew drops, chocolate drops, Hershey Kisses or Himalayas strike a chord with anybody?  Maybe you would prefer hummocks?  I don't know, it is just a thought.)  He also recommended we remove all the cool-season grasses and replace with bermudagrass sod in most of the flat terrain and the largest, most prominent mound features would be reestablished in the native short mix (native grasses).  Thanks to cooperation from the Greens Committee and Board of Governors we turned this project into a quick one with GCS still on site!

Area is stripped of all grasses yesterday!
The GCS team worked late yesterday removing all the grasses from the area and picked up this morning as they continued to prep for seed and sod.

Inspection of prep work early this morning!
Ready for grassing!

At this stage my staff treated the mounds/hummocks with compost and hand seeded.  We applied a pre-plant starter fertilizer to the entire area and then turned things back over to the GCS team.  They covered the newly seeded mounds with erosion control matting and stapled into place.  Once the sod truck arrived early this afternoon grass started to go down (green side up, of course) and the area took on a whole new look.

Looking Good!

What a Difference!

This renovation will make a tremendous difference to the overall appearance in that area of the golf course but also to the flow of golf car traffic as it exits both the fourth and seventeenth fairways.  Greater options will be afforded to me where I can place the exit point preserving turf conditions nearer the green.  I will post again first part of next week and include more pictures of this area plus talk about the war on leaves and an unfortunate incident.  Until then...

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton
Golf Course Superintendent

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