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, March 31, 2015

Kinloch Golf Club
1st Quarter Golf Course Maintenance Update 

Although the winter weather has been sporadic, our golf maintenance team has remained very productive. Over the past 3 months, we have accomplished many tasks and projects while maintaining the course for daily play. The following report will cover our production throughout the off-season. We have organized this report into the following sub-sections: 
I. Completed Projects 
II. Projects Underway 
III. Upcoming Projects 
IV. Perennial Practices 
V. Spring Aeration 
VI. Aeration Recovery Time-Line 
VII. Detail Work 

I. Completed Projects

Under the guidance of our design team, Lester George and Vinny Giles, we have completed several projects across the property. 

Cleaned up and restored the native area to the front right of the 3rd tee complex. 
Removed hardwoods behind the 3rd green. 
Set-back the tree line to the left and rear of the 4th green. 
Restored the native hillside to the left of the 6th fairway (upper) 
Expanded the bent grass approach around the rear and to the right of the 9th green 
Cleared a line of sight to the right lower fairway on the 9th hole
Converted the first10 yards of the right lower fairway on the 9th hole to rough
Installed bluestone pathways at porch exits at Cottages 2 and 3 
Re-grassed the par 3 green to new varieties of bent grass 
Re-sodded all collar areas infested with perennial rye-grass 

II. Projects Underway 

Install new teeing area to the right of the fire-pit 
New paver path and landscaping to the left of the 2nd green 
New landscaping at the pro-shop entrance 
Restoration of the native area to the left of the 15th tee complex and fairway 
Grading and mulching the gravel access trail behind the 17th green 

III. Upcoming Projects 

Reinstate 19th hole teeing area along the dam 
Creek restoration on the 10th hole between the tee complex and fairway 
Creek restoration behind the 11th green 
Paver path way from porch exit at Cottage 1 
Landscaping installations to the left of the 10th green and behind the 15th green 
Landscaping installations along the new patios at all 3 cottages 
Install new irrigation caps on all broken heads (new distance plaques) 

IV. Perennial Practices

Double deep tined fairways and approaches 
Vertical mowed all bent grass surfaces 
Drainage installed in the 3rd and 9th approaches 
Cut-back all over-grown wetland/native areas 
Cleaned up underbrush on the opposite sides of the cart path 
Pruned tree limbs near pocketed green sites (#3,#4,#5,#7,#11,#17) 
Re-furbished all benches, trash cans and other course furniture  
Re-painted all tee marker borders 
Cleaned up all leaves across the entire property 
Fertilized all of our existing plant material 
Planned and ordered all chemicals and fertilizer for 2015 
Removed many dead or dying trees across the property 
Mulched all landscape areas (in progress) 

V. Spring Aeration 

Our annual spring aeration has gone very well. I remain very thankful for all of the member support that we receive during both the spring and fall aerations. Other than perhaps Member Invitational, there is not a more stressful period(s) than aeration. Although we are very excited about the positive benefits of an aggressive aeration program, there is no one more impatient than our golf maintenance team with regards to recovery time. To keep this report as concise as possible, I would direct you to our blog site for a detailed recap of this year’s aeration process. http://kinlochgcm.blogspot.com/.  We look forward to re-opening on Tuesday, March 31st. 

VI. Aeration Recovery Time-Line 

Once aeration is completed, we immediately focus our attention on the recovery of our playing surfaces; particularly the putting greens. With our process, we apply a great deal of topdressing sand. We do this this for three reasons: (1) to fill all of the aeration holes thus creating clean pore space for months on end; (2) to smooth any imperfections within the putting surface and (3) to firm up the surfaces for the long-term. Although we will remain committed to an aggressive top-dressing program, it does limit our ability to roll the greens directly after we re-open. We do not want to press tender leaf tissue against the grainy sand that has yet to be fully worked into our canopy. Thus, during the first week after reopening, we will single cut the greens each morning with little to no rolling. Beginning with the week of April 6th, we expect that the grass will have grown through the sand to a point where we can re-introduce rolling in conjunction with mowing. Ultimately, we target Master’s Weekend (April 10th – 12th) for consistent putting green performance. This timeline allows for proper post-aeration recovery and dovetails nicely with our opening day celebration. We already feel very fortunate to have such a patient membership regarding our aeration practices. We hope that by explaining our recovery time-line, you can fully appreciate our process and trust that we want to push our surfaces as soon as possible. 

VII. Detail Work 

A key differentiator in Kinloch’s maintenance practices has always been our strong attention to detail. Nowhere is the commitment more evident than in our care and concern for crisp edges and straight mowing patterns. Following the clean-up from aeration, we will begin edging all of our features while re-marking and straightening any skewed mowing patterns. Throughout the year, we edge every feature on our property every 14 days. However, the first edging of the new season is always the most intensive. Furthermore, we are beginning to mow turf, applying fertilizer and finishing our project list mentioned above. With all of that taken into consideration, our plan for detail work over the coming weeks is as follows: 

1. March 30th – April 3rd – Edge Cart Paths/Sod Damaged Edges and Mulch Work 
2. April 6th – 10th – Edge Bunkers and Mulch Work 
3. April 13th – 17th – Edge Sprinkler Heads and Creek/Pond Banks and Mulch Work 
4. April 20th – 24th – Edge Mulch Beds and Complete Mulch Work 

Ultimately, our seasonal crescendo is the Member Invitational, but we hope to have most of the detail work completed on our around our Opening Day Celebration. 

We hope that you find this report useful. As always, if you have additional questions, feel free to contact me either by phone (804) 840-8320 or email at thedgepeth@kinlochgolfclub.com. You can also access more detailed information on our blog site: http://kinlochgcm.blogspot.com/ and you can see daily course updates on our twitter feed: @kinlochdaily.com. Thank you for reviewing this report and we look forward to a great spring season.

Trevor Hedgepeth 
Golf Course Superintendent

Friday, March 27, 2015

Spring Aeration 2015

Each March we perform our annual spring aeration to the golf course. Aeration is important to growing and maintaining sustainable turf because the process: reduces thatch; improves infiltration rates; increases porosity; alleviates compaction and firms up our surfaces. Without an aggressive aeration program, turf grass would be very difficult to manage throughout the heat and humidity of summer. Although a 14-day disruption to play, aeration is a "necessary evil" in providing championship conditions throughout the growing season.

In this blog post, we will walk you through our typical spring aeration... step by step.

  • Verti-cut the surfaces at a depth of .100" 

  •  Deep tine at a depth of 7" with 1/2" solid tines on 2"x 2" spacing 

  • Dry-ject the greens to a depth of 2.5" (for an explanation of dry-ject click here)
  • Core aerate with 1/2" hollow tines on 1.5" x 1.5" spacing
  • Remove cores and blow off greens 
  • Apply top dressing sand at a rate of 700 lbs. per 1000 square feet 
  • Drag sand with a sweep n' fill 
  • Blow and brush sandy excess 
  • Roll greens with a 1-ton asphalt roller 
  • Amend greens with fertilizer based on our soil tests 
  • Water in amendments 
  • Roll greens with our DMI Speed Rollers 
  • Mow greens with no buckets on the final afternoon prior to re-opening 

Tees and Approaches 
  • Vert-cut with our Weidemen Super 600 to a depth of .75" 
  • Drag and blow clippings from the vertical mowing 
  • Solid tine to a depth of 3" on 2" x 2" centers with 5/8" tines
  • Apply top dressing sand at a rate of 700 lbs. per 1000 square feet
  • Drag sand with a sweep n' fill 
  • Blow and brush sandy excess 
  • Edge and replace tee plaques 
  • Roll with our DMI Speed Rollers 
  • Amend with fertilizer based on our soil tests

  • Deep tine fairways to a depth of 6" in two directions 
  • Vert--cut fairways on 1" spacing to a depth of 1/2" 
  • Core aerate fairways with 1/2" tines on 2" x 2" spacing 

  • Drag cores with drag mats 
  • Blow cores towards the center of the fairways
  • Vacuum cores with our Stec machine 
  • Apply top-dressing sand at a rate of 500 lbs. per 1000 square feet 

  • Drag sand with our sweep n' fills 
  • Final blow on fairways 
  • Apply gypsum at 15#'s per 1000 square feet 
  • Drag in gypsum with a steel mat 
Roughs and Intermediate Cuts 
  • Core aerify roughs with 3/4" tines to a depth of 1" on 3" x 3" spacing 
  • Drag roughs with a harrow-tine 
  • Apply gypsum at 15#'s per 1000 square feet
  • Drag in gypsum with a steel mat 

So, this gives everyone a nice summary of our process. In terms of time-lines, days 1-5 are used for the aeration/topdressing/amending processes. Days 6-7 are used to tweak any areas that we missed and clean-up the golf course. Day 8 is used to re-set all play supplies and conduct a final inspection of the course. After re-opening, we use the first week to mow-off excess sand and debris while re-setting all of our mower lines. Although it is tempting to aggressively roll and mow the greens once re-opened, we choose to slowly ramp up our intensity. One of the worst things that we can do directly after re-opening is to press the grass tissue against all of the sand that has yet to be worked below the canopy line. This potential abrasion can counter-act the strides we make during the aeration process. Our goal is that by week 2, (April 6th) we are aggressively maintaining the surfaces in preparation for our Opening Day Celebration and Master's Week.

We hope this blog helped to explain our spring aeration practice. Although a disruption to play, it is a necessary operation for our course. We cannot wait to get passed the clean-up so that we can offer championship conditions on a regular basis.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Spring Project Season

Our golf course architect, Lester George,  has created a Master Plan for improvements across the golf course. Just recently, we were approved to begin several projects from within that Master Plan. Over the next several weeks we will keep you posted on projects that we have completed. 

One of the first projects that we have completed is select tree clearing behind the 4th green. This was a delicate project as the existing tree-line frames the 4th green beautifully. Mr. George hand picked the trees that were to be removed so that we could accomplish our agronomic objectives while not damaging the overall look of the hole. 

Before we get into the project details, let's discuss the agronomic purpose of this project. Grass plants perform two major physiological functions to produce and consume food. Photosynthesis is the process of making energy and respiration is the process of using energy. The plant needs both to survive, but photosynthesis is the most crucial because the plant cannot consume food unless food has been created. 

If you look at a photosynthesis/respiration timing curve, you can see that photosynthesis reaches its 
apex in cooler temperatures relative to respiration. 

Image result for photosynthesis respiration bell curve

In layman's terms, the hotter it gets, the plant consumes more food than it is making leading to a net-negative food deficit. In this state, the plant is not producing enough carbohydrates to support vigorous growth and repair. 

So, how do we maximize plant food production throughout the summer? We supply the plat with the raw material it needs to photosynthesize efficiently at key periods of a hot day. The raw materials in question are water, sunlight and carbon dioxide. The key timing of a hot day is in the morning and to a lesser extent, the late afternoon. The reason these two periods are important is because the plant wants to make food in cooler temperatures. On a hot summer day at lets say 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon, the plants photosynthetic rate is much lower than lets say 6:00 or 7:00 in the morning or evening. Furthermore, at the hottest parts of the day, not only is photosynthesis inefficient, respiration spikes. 

We cannot stop these processes as they will remain a challenge with respect to cool season grass in warm climates. However, if we can ensure that we water well and that the plant has adequate sun at the key points of the day, we can maximize photosynthetic potential and mitigate some of the net-negative energy production cycle. 

This brings us to the tree project on #4. The pine tree canopy to the left and rear of that green creates a heavy shade line that doesn't allow sunlight until later in the day while re-casting shadows quickly in the afternoon. In other words, the two points in time when that green may be able to make food, there isn't enough sunlight to support efficient photosynthesis. By moving the tree line away from the green, we were able to move the shade line and .... increase sun light onto the putting surface both earlier and later in the day. By doing this, we have given the 4th green a better opportunity to make food when possible. 

In the photo below, taken at 4:00 pm in mid-March, you can see that the shade line is just starting to re-appear on the back left corner of the green. Prior to the tree removal, that shade line would have set-up by 2:30 or 3:00. During the afternoon hours, we have added 1-2 hours of photosynthetic potential. The same trend is seen in the morning where the shade line wasn't off of the green until almost lunch time. Now, we are seeing full sun on that green by 10:00 or 10:30 in the morning. Again, we are picking up 1 to 2 hours of sunlight each morning. Our net increase is 2-4 hours of sunlight. Over the course of a growing season, this increase is monumental in allowing the plant to not only build, but store excess carbohydrates (food). 

The first step: tree removal with chain saws. 

The second step: grind all of the sumps. 

The third step: clean-up stump grindings, grade and seed to fine fescue. 

The fourth step: sodding any tree wells that were in primary rough. 

The finished product: a new shade line with the original framing in tact.