We developed this blog to provide golf course maintenance information to our members. From projects, small and large, to updates on course conditions, we want to provide as much information as possible. Although we hope this blog answers all of the pertinent questions regarding our operation, we always welcome more personalized dialogue. If you have questions beyond the information found on this blog, feel free to contact our golf course superintendent, Trevor Hedgepeth.



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Winter Practice Area Maintence

Every winter we limit practice on certain areas which include; main practice tee, short game fairway, back tee and par 3 practice area.  These areas close following Thanksgiving and reopen shortly after spring aerification.  Doing this allows for divot recovery and gives the turf a break from new injury.  This time period also allows us to do other necessary maintenance.

While these areas are closed Kinloch’s maintenance staff are doing practices such as; verticutting, core aerifying, and topdressing.  These processes help to improve playability of our practice areas throughout the season, and allow for great conditions upon reopening all facilities in the spring.  The timing of these practices allow for all our focus of spring aerification to be on the course. 

We are also using this time period to convert the Par 3 practice green to a true putting surface.  Over the last month we have stripped all the sod from the target green, and have used it for sodding out collars contaminated with rye grass.  We have recently installed three different varieties of bentgrass sod; L-93, A1-A4, and 007 on the target green.  Kinloch’s greens are currently L-93, while A1-A-4, and 007 are popular newer cultivars of bentgrass.  We will be using this area as a test plot to see how the newer cultivars react to our environment and maintenance practices.  This green will also now resemble the playability of the greens on the golf course and will allow for realistic reaction to pitch shots and full wedge shots. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Update on Ryegrass Project

We have been diligently working on removing the ryegrass from the collars this Fall.  We have dedicated four to five crew members each afternoon to complete this task.  We have replaced about three thousand square feet of contaminated areas with clean bentgrass.  This will be an on-going task for our team each year, but not to this extreme amount.  As we finish this project, we wanted to give everyone a visual of what we have been removing. In the photograph below, the darker blades of grass represent the rye grass that we strive to eradicate, thus enhancing play-ability and aesthetics.

A sod cutter was used to remove large areas and a cup cutter to more precisely remove smaller areas.  In the below picture a sod cutter was used to remove the contaminated area and prepared for new bentgrass.  In the second picture below, the bentgrass was added.  By the Spring season you will not see the seams of the sod when the bentgrass starts to grow more aggressively.

Now that we are finishing up with removing sod from the par 3 green, we will be replacing the green with new varieties of bentgrass. By doing this, we can stay on the cutting edge of different varieties and decide which is the best for how we manage greens.  Sorry for the disruption, and look forward to seeing you on the course.
Justin Hunt 
Asst. Superintendent 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Late Fall Deep Tine and Vertical Mowing

One of the characteristics that we want to achieve when it comes to fairway maintenance is firm/fast surface conditions. During the spring and fall, these conditions are not overly difficult to provide. During the shoulder seasons, the bent grass doesn't need as much water and the humidity is much lower than say July or August. However, it is our goal to keep the fairways as firm as possible regardless of the season. We cannot control the grass's need for water during the summer, but we can control its access to that water. Grass accesses water through the soil via its root system. If we can help the water infiltrate deeper into the soil and enhance the rooting of the turf, the grass becomes much more drought tolerant during the height of summer. If the grass is more drought tolerant, we can throw less irrigation making the fairway conditions firmer and faster. 

Below, you can see two pictures of our deep tine operation. Deep tine is a form of solid tine aeration where we punch a 3/4" hole, 7-8" into the fairway sub-soil. This hole is large enough and deep enough that it lasts in the soil for a very long time. The pocket or channel that is created allows for plentiful amounts of oxygen and gas exchange. This oxygen and gas exchange encourages advantageous rooting. As we stated above, the deeper the roots, the more accessible the moisture and the less irrigation we are required to use. Also, this fracture makes the fairway surface more permeable so that more rain water is captured within the soil profile as opposed to traditional run-off. 

Aside from deep tining the fairways, we also verti-cut the fairways during the late fall. Thatch accumulation can be problematic from a disease, insect and water infiltration perspective. So, at the end of each season, we remove the thatch through mechanical means. If the fairways have less thatch, they remain firmer and more receptive to water and nutrients.

Our process begins with a double deep tine. Following the deep tine, we verti-cut the fairways and vacuum the clippings. Following a bit of hand work and blowing, we mow the fairways with our baskets attached to remove any miscellaneous debris. 

Once the fairway is mowed, we return for a final blow and the finished product is a fairly undisturbed playing surface.

We are very sensitive to members and the disruption these types of practices can create. We understand that although it is very late in the fall season, people can still find great days to play golf. Having said that, late fall appears to be the best time to accomplish these practices. Member play is much lighter than September - November and the grass is still growing. Because the grass is still growing, we can achieve some advantageous rooting. Waiting until January or February may be too late to see any real benefit from the deep tine holes. Furthermore, we core aerify and top dress during our March aeration so time becomes a major concern. 

At the end of the day, we will continue to be sensitive to disruption on the course. However, we remain confident that practices such as these allow us to have great conditions even when its hot and humid.