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.



Monday, November 27, 2017

Short Game Expansion Project

*The following post was written by one of our senior assistants, Mike Nowicki. Not only did Mike provide the content for this blog, but he was the point guard throughout this entire project. Many thanks to Mike and our staff for a great start to our fall improvement phase.* 

As part of our ongoing efforts to improve Kinloch and ensure that we have one of the best and most unique practice facilities in the golfing world, the decision was made to convert the rough located between the chipping green farthest from the clubhouse and the big range tee to approach height bentgrass. From an agronomic stand-point, the tightly mowed turf will better tolerate the foot traffic and wear this area experiences throughout the season. This will mitigate the trampled look often seen at this location. Aesthetically it provides a clean uniform look and a sense of connectivity between our short game area and the driving range.

I would like to take a few moments to walk you through the construction process. We began with stripping all sod to expose the soil underneath. Roughly two inches of top soil was removed to expose a firmer clay subsurface and to provide room for a sand cap. Once the subsurface was exposed it became apparent that we needed to soften the slope from the green to the tee to provide a smoother transition and easier walk. This was accomplished by dragging soil from the high points to the low points using our box blade and dingo excavator. Once we were pleased with the grade a plate compactor was run over all areas that soil was moved to guarantee that we would not experience any settling in the future as a result of this construction.

Next we used one of our aerifiers set up with solid tines to poke holes in the clay at a depth of three inches. This provides deep channels for sand which is a better medium for root growth than the red clay found on the site and will allow for deep rooting quickly after the sod is laid. Following this a two inch sand cap was added to the entire site. The larger particle size of sand compared to clay allows it to resist compaction thus promoting healthier bentgrass with much better traffic tolerance. Sand was added in two stages, we put roughly one inch down then watered it and compacted it then did the same again. This helps stabilize the surface for when we place the sod making it easier to have a smooth finished product.

          Finally we begin to lay sod. Lines were painted to mark where the intermediate cut would go and that was sodded first to give us an idea if we liked how everything was framed. Bentgrass was  then placed inside the intermediate cut. All bentgrass was taken from the far right target green on the driving range. This turf has been at Kinloch since grow in and has evolved to withstand the difficult climate. Using turf that is acclimated to this region gives this project the best chance for success. Immediately after all sod was placed the surface was rolled to smooth out any imperfections. The final step was to replace the sod taken from the target green with sod we bought from East Coast Sod. This turf will be allowed to grow in with minimal traffic stress and will blend flawlessly with the other target greens by next season.

The new approach measures 3500 square feet and provides a seamless transition between our short game and driving range. It was a relatively simple project that adds even more character to an already phenomenal practice facility.    



Wednesday, August 30, 2017

2017 Summer Aeration and Expectations Going Forward

Our summer aeration is concluding this afternoon and the golf course will reopen tomorrow, Thursday, August 31st, 2017. Before I start to cover what was accomplished and what lies ahead, I'd like to recognize our maintenance team, but specifically, our 3 senior assistants: Robert Andershonis; Duggan Cannon and Mike Nowicki. I'd also like to recognize our equipment manager: Terry Kennedy. Although our staff was amazing, as always, the leadership from the guys mentioned above steered the ship throughout.

On putting greens we applied a medium topdressing followed by a deep tine. Once the deep tine cleared the greens, we core aerated with our 648's. After several rolls and some brushing, we fertilized the greens with Hi-Cal Lime, Pro-Mag and Potassium. 10 days later and the greens are healing nicely.

On fairways, approaches and intermediates, we ran a solid tine machine followed by a deep tine. We then applied gypsum and rolled everything to avoid scalping. Like the greens, the fairways and approaches are positioned nicely for a strong fall season.

Our tee boxes were deep tined and then core aerated. We pulled cores on the tees due to some extra thatch accumulation. After a light topdressing and brush, we also applied gypsum to the tees and then rolled them out. The tees looked outstanding this afternoon after their first mowing since the process began.

August can be tricky with respect to weather so we did not aerate our rough. We did, however, install 7 pallets of turf type tall fescue to high traffic areas and areas that will be tough to recover through seed. For August 30th, our rough has had a good a season and like the other surfaces, we are expecting a strong fall season.

Yesterday, we received .75" of rain which cleaned things up nicely. This afternoon, we put the final touches on our detail assignments and mowed all surfaces. All in all, this aeration was fairly smooth and a lot was accomplished.  Once again, thanks to our entire staff and managers.

Now that the aeration is complete, its time to plan our recovery and return of playable conditions. While the fairways, tees and approaches will play well right away, the greens will take a bit longer. Starting today, we single mowed the greens with our floating head mowers. We use these mowers because the floating heads will produce less scalping on the freshly aerated surfaces. We will single mow for the next 7 days. You can expect increasing smoothness and speed as each day passes. However, during that first week, our goal is not to produce tournament ready surfaces but to produce healthy, well mowed grass as we transition to more aggressive maintenance. On our around the 6th of September, we will re-introduce our fixed-head units. These mowers cut tighter than our floating head units so we want to remove any bumpiness prior to their use. From the 6th of September through September 11th, we will continue to single mow the greens. Sometime during the week of the 11th, we will re-introduce semi-regular rolling in conjunction with daily mowing. And by the week of the 18th, our goal will be daily maintenance that produces firmness and quickness. From start to finish, considering the aeration itself, this process takes about 4 weeks. But, these 4 weeks will lay the foundation for great conditions through Thanksgiving and beyond.

Thanks to our membership and management for the flexibility to do the things necessary for the care of the course. We are excited about what has been accomplished, but even more excited about the fall season ahead. See everyone soon...

Saturday, July 1, 2017

New Face on an Old Adversary

Example of a 'fried egg' lie

Recently at Kinloch Golf Club we have adopted a new style of maintaining bunkers, often referred to as the ‘Aussie method’. Our goal is to address and eliminate the occurrence of a ‘fried egg’ when a player’s ball lands on a bunkers edge and sinks into the sand, leaving them with a bad lie.

This new method involves using a squeegee/roller to roll the bunker edges smooth, compacting the sand and over time creating a hard layer to allow the ball to roll off the face easily. Kinloch staff first hand-water the bunker faces, then using their roller, gently smooth the edges of the face until a uniform look is achieved. Once the edges are completed, the staff member rakes the center of the bunker to smooth out any foot traffic.

New bunker style

An added bonus, the bunkers smooth face helps funnel rainfall down to the center, reducing the effect of sand wash-outs and moderately reducing the labor required to repair bunkers after heavy rainfall.

Friday, March 10, 2017

#15 Tree Relocation Project - The Tree is Home!!!!

In our last blog post, detailing our tree relocation project, we left off as the tree was being piped and strapped down for the moving process. 

Since that initial post, 16 days ago, a lot has happened. Most importantly, a 75' tall white oak once again resides on our 15th golf hole. As you can see in the photo below, this tree was crucial to the original design intent of this hole. Although a short par 4, the approach to the 15th green hinged on properly negotiating this tree from the teeing area. A misplayed drive could leave you in trouble, but a long, aggressive and accurate drive could leave you with a short pitch for birdie. This particular tree was the "risk" portion of this "risk/reward" par 4. 

Before we walk you through the actual relocation process, I'd like to recognize Erik Hess and his amazing team for an unbelievable job. I'd also like to recognize Lester George, our golf course architect, and Jonathan Ireland, our general manager, for their support and leadership. Finally, I'd like to thank the Kinloch maintenance team for their efforts and the Kinloch membership for their support and patience as we worked to restore the design intent of our 15th hole. This was an unbelievable project that required great teamwork, perseverance and collaboration. At the end of the day, we are very proud of what was accomplished. 

Once the root ball was properly secured and stabilized on top of the piping, Hess Landscaping used 4 large excavators to slide the tree. One excavator was at the rear of the tree to provide a lift and a push, while the other 3 machines were tethered together to make the pull. 

After an initial pull, Hess realized that the root-ball was being very stubborn. So, using very large steel cables, Hess "cable cut" at the base of the root-ball to relieve tension. The tension was so tight due to the tree's weight (300,000 lbs.) that Hess decided to excavate beneath the root-ball to assist in the "cable cut" process. 

Once the root-ball was freed from its old home, the relocation began. As you can see in the picture below, the tree has moved about 10'. 

This picture shows the tree in transit. 

This photo shows our tree from the tee box. As you can see, the tree is pivotal to the golf hole. 

I've included 3 video links below that show the relocation process. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Tree Relocation Update - #15

In our last post, our contractor, Hess Landscaping, had begun excavating the root-ball of a 75' tall white oak tree to be relocated on our 15th hole. To refresh everyone's memory, our 15th hole was designed around a similar tree. We lost that tree back in June during an intense thunderstorm.


Since we took the photo above, the root-ball has been fully excavated (see below). To put this project in perspective, that root-ball is 22' in diameter and cut to an average depth of 6'. Doing some math... the root-ball alone is 84 cubic yards and weighs approximately 250,000 pounds. 

Once the root ball was fully excavated, the crew began cutting a road for the tree to slide along. 

 These pipes are driven under the tree on 8" centers. These pipes are 31' long and 5" in diameter. Once installed below the root ball, they will be welded together to form a "raft". 

The tree will be drug along this newly built access road. The road was constructed using the spoils from the root ball excavation. Once the tree is moved, this soil will be cleaned up and used as back-fill for the hole left behind. 

The picture below shows the final destination of the tree. 

More updates to come!! 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Member Update - Tree Relocation #15

Dear Member,

We are pleased to announce the tree transplant project is underway.  The contractor arrived Monday, February 13th and, as you see in the included photo, has begun working to expose the tree’s root ball.  The area being excavated is approximately 22 feet in diameter and as much as eight (8) feet deep.  Over the next two weeks, they will be constructing a box to encapsulate the root ball.  Weather permitting, the contractor plans to conduct the actual relocation on or about March 1st.   The tree, a 70-foot white oak, will be moved from the right side of the 12th hole to the 15th hole and placed in nearly the same location as the previous oak tree lost during a severe storm last June.

Time-lapse cameras have been set up to document the entire process.  Kinloch Superintendent, Trevor Hedgepeth, and his team will also provide periodic updates on the Kinloch Maintenance Blog (www.kinlochgcm.blogspot.com ) as well as our Twitter Feed (@KinlochDaily).  We encourage you to view both areas for informative updates throughout the season.

This transplant is an exciting undertaking.  As we approach and confirm the actual relocation day, we will communicate that information.  We welcome you to visit the club at any time during the coming weeks to view the process firsthand.

We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you at the club soon.

All the best,
Jonathan Ireland

Friday, February 3, 2017

New Walk Trail To #2 Tees

Over the years, the walking trail between the 1st green and 2nd tee has been problematic. Between shade and poor drainage, the grass on this trail has always succumbed to traffic stress over the course of the golf season. In fact, many times in late fall, especially after a rain event, it became not only unsightly, but oftentimes impassable. So, as part of multiple off-season projects, we decided to re-build this trail as a hybrid grass/stone path. Below there are pictures that walk you through the project. The final product is an aesthetically pleasing and sustainable walking trail that should hold up to moisture and the rigors of traffic. 

Step 1: Clear the existing material, lay a base layer (2-3") of drainage sand

Step 2: Lay out the paver stones in the pattern we designed  

Step 3: Recess the paver stones below grade by 1-2" 

Step 4: Sod in between the stones to create a "broken stone" look

One of the main goals with this project was to merge functionality and aesthetics. By choosing a more informal stone design, we believe we have achieved this goal. We hope our members and guests appreciate the improvement to this area. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Winter Aerifcation

Recently we have began our winter aerification process, which entails punching 3/4” solid tines set to a depth of 8” on fairways and 1/2” solid tines with a 6” depth on tees and approaches. Fairways will be punched twice in opposite directions, while our more challenging fairways such as #13 will be punched three times.
3/4" solid, 8" depth

The deep solid tine aeration process allows us to open up deep channels in the soil and breaks up compaction. This process releases gases trapped in the ground and permits new available oxygen to the plants root zone. By leaving open holes and improving available oxygen to the plants root zone, microbial activity in the soil is increased. These microbes in the soil break down nutrients such as Nitrogen and make them available to the turf plant.

These new deep channels will also persist into the spring, creating a better environment for the grass plant to root in the upcoming growing season. Deeper roots allows us to push the turf grass harder in the summer by using less water; as a result increasing both firmness and ball roll.
In addition to creating gas exchange, these new fractures in the soil improve water movement allowing the turf to drain quicker, both reducing the opportunity for disease causing pathogens and improving playability by allowing the turf to dry.

Once aerated, our process finishes once we roll fairways in one direction, and mow them back in another direction. The end result are deep channels with very little disturbance to playability.

Rolled and mowed fairway