Friday, September 17, 2021

Project Update!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper! Today is Friday, September 17th and much has happened in the last ten days so let's get you updated!

First off was putting green aerification. On Sep 7 we punched over 6.7 million holes removing a 1/2 inch diameter core spaced two inches apart.  This impacted approximately 12% of the total surface area based on the outside diameter of our hollow tines.  After the greens were removed of cores, they were blown free of lingering debris and rolled 2 times to firm the surface.  

The following day we applied two soil amendments, topdressed all twenty-two surfaces with over 60 tons of kiln dried sand and then brushed into the holes.  The day after we performed a light vertical mowing to help incorporate and distribute the sand more evenly across the putting surfaces.  The greens were then rolled each day to smooth out tire marks caused from the topdresser and utility vehicle with tow-behind brush.

Monday all greens were treated with wetting agent and we began mowing at an adjusted height of cut. This weekend we will begin stepping the height of cut back down and should be back to normal sometime next week.

Hollow Core Aerification

Light Vertical Mowing

Finished Product

But let's not kid ourselves, I know you're not here to hear about the aerification. You want to know about the installation of the Capillary Bunkers on holes 1 and 2.  The team from Golf Course Services wasted no time on Sep 7 taking advantage of the closed golf course and getting the ball rolling.  The process for this project is to remove the existing turf surrounding the bunkers in order to recapture the original contours of the bunker cavity.  Holes 1 and 2 were first built in 2005 and opened for play in 2006 so we are talking about 15 years of sand buildup on the faces and surrounds.

Sand Buildup

Recovering Original Contours

The old bunker sand was removed and stockpiled to be used as fairway topdressing in the future.  The drain lines removed and inspected, and reinstalled with clean gravel.  New sod installed on the slopes and the bunker is now ready for the liner.

Inspecting Drainage

Ready for Liner

The porous concrete liner requires all hands on deck to quickly transport the material from the concrete truck to the bunker and spread to the proper two-inch depth.  The surface is rolled to firm any loose material on top and then the bunker is covered with plastic overnight.  

Installing Capillary Concrete

Ensuring Correct Depth

Ready to Cure
The following day the plastic is removed and new G-Angle sand installed. The sand will be plate tamped and the bunkers ready for play soon.  So far we have kept holes 1 and 2 closed for the majority of this project and I truly appreciate your patience and cooperation.  It is far more efficient and safer for all parties involved to work without interruption.  

New Sand
When the holes do reopen we will mark the bunkers as Ground Under Repair in order to preserve and protect the recent work.  Please do not walk into or out of the new bunkers when possible and use the long handled rakes provided to retrieve your ball and enjoy a free drop.

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG 

Monday, September 6, 2021

Better Late Than Never!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper! Today is Monday, September 6th and I apologize for the delay since my last update Click Here thirty-seven days ago. Hopefully by now most of you have seen and read the Ross Report. It was a pleasure to submit material for the club's new e-newsletter, and I did not want to spoil the surprise with a post here. I will be sharing some of that information below, along with weather related statistics about last month, and wrap up with a quick reminder of what takes place beginning tomorrow morning!  So let's go!

This is certainly an exciting time for the golf course as summer winds to a close and we enter our busy fall season!  The cart path improvement project saw numerous areas adversely impacted by tree roots demoed and repaved eliminating the bone jarring bumps and creating a smooth ride.

The work was carried out over several Maintenance Mondays with the folks from John E. Jenkins, Inc. out of Gastonia.  They have been grading and paving since 1948 and were a pleasure to work with.  They were thorough and careful removing all the offending roots prior to resurfacing and they even carried out some additional skim patching at no extra charge on areas they identified in need.

Demo Adjacent to 18 Tee

New Surface 18 Tee

After completion we ordered new sod to patch the edges where needed from the repair work. It is most cost effective to order a full truck load, so we patched up other areas throughout the course as well. By now you've probably noticed additional stakes to keep all traffic off the new turf until it has sufficiently rooted.

Thin Areas from High Traffic

Celebration Bermudagrass

I elected to sod these areas with Celebration bermudagrass, as it has a higher shade tolerance than 419. Nearly ever area targeted aside from the path edges were areas impacted by high traffic in conjunction with the stress of shade. We can adjust our mowing patterns to help with the traffic in the future, and hopefully you will adjust your cart usage patterns to assist us in our efforts to provide you superior conditions. In fact, if folks would simply refrain from parking behind the 4th and 6th greens we could keep the main artery of golf car and utility vehicle traffic flowing without the need to go around by driving on the turf.

Well, if you thought last month was unusually warm that would be putting it mildly. The oppressive dew points and subsequent humidity made the final stretch of August one to remember. When the dust settled August ranked as the 13th warmest all-time in Charlotte and warmest since 2016. I know the greens were experiencing weather induced stress and this change in the pattern we've all enjoyed the past few days brought an amazing bounce back!

Courtesy of Brad Panovich, WCNC

I even texted with my former major professor from VA Tech last Thursday morning telling him the resilience of bentgrass still amazes me after all these years. The plant's natural response when the stressor is removed is a beautiful thing indeed.

So if you did read the Ross Report, then you know starting tomorrow we have an exciting project taking place on Holes 1 and 2. Our friends Golf Course Services, Inc. will be renovating the 8 bunkers located on those two holes using the capillary bunker system The process includes removing the old bunker sand and stockpiling on site (we will use for future topdressing). Removing the existing drainage pipe and gravel. Stripping the turf from the bunker faces and surrounds. Setting a new 6-inch bunker edge. Reinstalling drainage pipe with new gravel. Installing the Capillary bunker liner. Installing new sod on the bunker faces and surrounds. And finally installing new G-Angle bunker sand.

We expect the project to take approximately 2-3 weeks and our intent is to minimize your disruption as much as possible. When necessary we will either move tees forward into the fairway, use a temporary hole located in the approach, or close access to the hole in order to ensure workers can complete this work in a safe and timely fashion. We will communicate daily with the Golf Professional Staff so you will know what to expect each day of the project.

But that's not the big news starting tomorrow. The big news is greens aerification takes place as we will be performing a hollow-core aerification and topdressing Tuesday and Wednesday. This will be the first September aerification to our bentgrass greens since 2017. That's right, we moved aerification to early summer in 2018 for the U.S. Mid-Am and attempted similar practices in 2019 and 2020. Last fall with the record play the greens just did not possess the same vigor and vitality entering the winter, so the decision was made to reinstitute a traditional fall aerification once more. 

Big News Big Tines
Contrary to popular belief, I do not lie awake at night dreaming up ways to torture you and your golfing soul. Despite the ominous appearance above I assure the greens will heal relatively quickly and be ready for whatever Mother Nature brings our way between now and next spring.  Be sure and check back for a recap of aerification and the bunker project in a few weeks.

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG