Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Cart Path Paving & Relocation - 16 and 18 Hawk

One of the projects that the Turf Care Department will be working on this spring is the relocation and paving of the cart paths on number 16 and 18 Hawk. The cart paths will be moved approximately 10 - 15 meters to the right of the paths current location as the paths get closer to the green. The purpose for relocating the paths is to widen the playing corridor by moving the paths further away from the fairway and green. There will be fewer golf balls ricochet off the path and the path will be less visible from the fairway. The project will be started after the golf course has opened and will be asphalted once the asphalt plants are up and running in mid May. Once this project is completed all cart paths on the golf course will have been asphalted. Photo Shop image of number 18 Hawk following cart path relocation. (Work to be performed in spring).

Above is a picture of 18 Hawk cart path in the current location, very close to the fairway and green.
Overview of 18 Hawk - Cart path relocated to the right and the landing area expanded to the right.

Above is a picture of 16 Hawk with cart path in current location, close to fairway and green. Below is a picture of number 16 Hawk with the cart path removed with photo shop.

Photo Shop Image of 16 Hawk cart path removed and landing area expanded by moving the path to the right. When the work is complete the path will be less visible and fewer balls will hit the cart path. (Work to be completed in the spring)

Over view of 16 Hawk - Cart path relocated and fairway widened at approach.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Single Colour Flag System on Greens for 2011

A new initiative that members will notice on their first round of golf this season is the implementation of a single colour flag system on the putting greens. The single colour flag system replaces the previous system of red, white & blue. The old system was in place for many years and we recognize the new system and colours may take some getting used to. The reasons for changing to a single clour flag are:

  1. Cost reduction - There are 20% fewer flags required when a single colour is used.

  2. Staff efficiency - Reduction of time required to switch 18 flags / day.

  3. Increased cleanliness and a reduced wear and tear. Staff won't have to handle the flags with dirty hands.

  4. Pin sheets are provided daily for precise accuracy to the hole locations.

As shown in the pictures above: The Raven Course flags will be yellow and the Hawk Course Flags will be orange.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Staff Changes in Turf Care

Congratulations to Mark Begin, the Turf Care Departments long time Sr. Assistant Golf Course Superintendent who has moved on from Priddis Greens after more than 10 years of service to the club. Mark has taken over as the Golf Course Superintendent at the Medicine Hat Golf and Country Club. We wish Mark all the best in his new role.

Fortunately, the transition to fill the void left by Mark's departure has been seamless. The Turf Care Department has a veteran and experienced group who are excited about the opportunity to step in and take on more responsibility.

Assistant Superintendents Chad Armitage and Chris Prodahl have been promoted to Sr. Assistant Superintendents and Lance Morris has been promoted from Environmental Coordinator to Assistant Superintendent. Together with Assistant Superintendent Mike MacKinnon these four Turf Care Department leaders will share many of Mark Begins former responsibilities.

This new organizational structure will eliminate the necessity to replace a full time staff member, helping to streamline the operation.

Sr. Assistant Golf Course Superintendent - Chris Prodahl (Raven GC)

Sr. Assistant Golf Course Superintendent - Chad Armitage (Hawk GC)

Assistant Golf Course Superintendent - Lance Morris (Hawk GC)

Assistant Golf Course Superintendent - Mike MacKinnon (Raven GC)

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Golf Course Update March 24th 2011


March 24th / 2011

Although there has not been any melting of snow in the last week, we can consider ourselves fortunate that much of the heavy snow fall forcasted over the past 7 days has only accumulated into approximately 2-3 cm.

Friday, 18 March 2011


Golf Course Update March 18th / 2011

The video above shows Turf Care staff removing snow from the driving range tee and # 6 Raven tee on Friday March 18th.

The golf course remains entirely covered in approximately 1' - 2.5' of snow.

Driving Range Opening Date?

The driving range happens to be on the highest sunniest part of the golf course where the snow is the first to leave. We annually plan to open the driving range by April 1st, however weather conditions dictate our ability to open the range more than any other factor. Turf Care staff will continue to blow snow from the range to help facilitate a quicker opening. Stay tuned to the blog and the club website for updates.

Turf Hound Range Mats

The Turf Hound range mat system that was installed at the beginning of 2009 seemed to be very well received by the membership. Unfortunately the longer grass (rough height) areas saw premature wear. The manufacturer has improved the manufacturing process and sent us all new mats to replace the failed pieces. The replacement mats were covered under the original purchase warranty.

Members will also enjoy new Turf Hound mats that will be used on the par 3 tees. As part of the normal maintenance procedure, practice mats are used for the first 10 days and last 10 days (approximately)of the season to minimize excessive divoting on the tees when the grass isn't actively growing. If mats were not used the tees would never recover (fill in) and the tees would be in very poor condition all season long. The thought process in using the portable Turf Hound mats on the par 3's is that members will know how the mats feel and how the club reacts from their use on the practice facility.

Golf Course Opening Dates?

The decision process for opening the golf course is quite simple - open the golf course on the first day that it is ready to play. Once again weather determines the opening date more than any other factor. Once all or most snow has melted and the golf course has a chance to dry up, staff have work to do to clean up and prepare the golf course for golfers.

The 10 year average for opening day is somewhere between April 21st - April 29th. The earliest the golf course ever opened was April 1st and the latest was May 7th.

Turf Care staff will focus on preparing nine holes at a time for opening. Once one nine hole golf course is open staff will work on another nine continuing until all 36 holes are open.

When the golf course opens in April there are no tee times to book, tee access is utilized on a walk on basis only (first come - first serve). On May 1st tee times are booked if we are open on all 36 holes and league play starts at this time as well.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Warm Weather Starts The Melt

Although it still looks like winter at Priddis Greens, the first melt of the spring season has started. We look forward to more warm weather required to melt the 1.5' -2.5' of snow covering the golf course.

The contractors hired to remove snow from 7 greens covered with the most snow will be finished today.

# 8 Raven green March 14th

Turf Care Staff will continue to blow snow off certain greens and tees over the next 2-3 weeks.

The main reason that snow is removed from specific greens and not others is to prevent standing water on greens that have poor surface drainge and or have excessive spring shade. One of the most important factors that contributes to healthy turf in the spring is keeping the turf dry. Snow removal helps facilitate drying of the ground and turf.

Although we have only been able to view very small areas of turf by shovelling snow and or lifting tarps we are pleased with what we are seeing so far. The next four weeks is critical to good spring conditions.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Preparations Are Under Way

It is March 14th and the turf care department at Priddis Greens Golf & Country Club is well under way preparing the golf course for 2011 season.
This is the first post to our new blog.  We plan on experimenting on what and when we will post to this site over the upcoming year. We hope that this becomes a successful tool in communicating with several different groups; the members, the staff, and the turf care industry.  James, Chris and I will all be contributing to this site. In addition we plan on utilizing the social media site, Twitter, for daily updates on frost, course conditions, and tidbits of information throughout the day.
Unfortunately the 2 feet of snow that blankets the golf course has limited us in what we can do. As of the end of the day on Monday we have snow-blowed 4 greens. All 4 of the greens that we have removed snow on, are heavily shaded greens. We chose these 4 greens due to the fact that there was little chance of them melting naturally over the next couple weeks.

At this point we are limited to snow removal on the golf course but that doesn't mean we aren't going full throttle off the course in our preparations for what we are hoping is going to be our best season ever! We are planning projects, buying materials, and of course confirming staff. At this point, it looks like we may have our highest staff return rate in the history of the turf care department.
Over the next couple weeks, you can look forward to many more updates on when we hope to open and how the course has wintered. Please email us with feedback, comments, and suggestions for future blog posts.
Chad Armitage
Sr Assistant Superintendent

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Archived Blogs from 2010

Plastic Tee Trial

Starting Saturday August 14th the Club will initiate a trial use of plastic tees. The use of plastic tees at prominent golf courses is gaining popularity due to the fact that plastic tees last much longer than wooden tees.  The tees will be available at the pro shop and the starters will be handing out a few tees to each player at the first tee. We would like to encourage all members to try these new plastic tees.

Facts about wood vs. plastic tees
  • Priddis Greens uses more than 300,000 wooden tees / golf season
  • Priddis Greens spends more than $5,000 / season on tees for members and guests
  • Wood tees are often found broken and strewn all over tee surfaces. These broken tees look unsightly and cause damage to mower blades.
  • Plastic tees are double the cost of wood tees, however may last 5 times longer.
  • Plastic tees are bio degradable.
  • There are numerous styles of plastic tees and management is researching the style that may be best for Priddis Greens.
  • We chose the current style only because we were able to trade for with current wooden tee inventory.
  • Many tour pros use plastic tees. Plastic tees have been used in more than 120 tour victories over the past 6 years.
Priddis Greens hopes the use of plastic style tees reduces costs and clutter on the golf course.  Please only take a few tees for each round and not handfuls for your golf bag!

We encourage feedback from members

Golf Course Update August 3 , 2010

Golf Course Maintenance Day (Raven)
Before the last putt had fallen to determine the Club Champion, Turf Care staff had already changed directions from tournament preparation to focus on the one opportunity per season to aerate greens. Monday night August 1st  the Raven golf course was closed at 3:00pm to start aerating greens and fairways.


The process for putting green aeration is as follows:
  • Fertilize the greens twice the week before aeration to encourage the holes to heal over quickly.  *Careful not to fertilize too much as to slow green speeds down for club championships.
  • Verticut the greens aggressively in two directions to remove thatch and reduce grain
  • Mow the green to help remove debris form verticutting
  • Heavy topdressing layer of kiln dried topdressing sand applied to every green – approximately 3,500lbs  of sand / green
  • Solid tine aerate the green
  • Work the topdressing sand into the holes with blowers and hand brooms
  • Roll the greens to smooth the surface from the equipment used during the aeration process
  • Fertilize the greens with 5 different types of fertilizers determined by soil testing
  • Water

*It is vital to the success of the project that weather and green surfaces remain dry. Unfortunately we were caught with heavy rain during a Monday night thunder storm. The rain shut our operation down that evening and caused a slow start Tuesday morning. It made for an extra long day Tuesday but we avoided more forecasted showers and the staff was able to get the job done


*Aeration methods (tine size and spacing) are predetermined by soil testing performed annually to monitor the aging process of the greens. We have been working toward eliminating core aeration and increasing our solid tine or venting programs with increased topdressing rates. While this program enhances playability immediately following greens aeration, recent soil test results show a regression in soil physical properties. We will be monitoring this closer than normal with increased soil testing

Fairway Aeration

All fairways on the Raven golf course were also aerated. The five fairways with the most thatch were core aerated and the remaining fairways were aerated with a deep solid tine aerator.
Tee Topdressing
All 18 holes on the Raven course had tees aerated while the golf course was closed.

**The pictures below show the work being performed**

Verticut Lines Following Two Directions Of Verticutting



Topdressing The Green With Kiln Dried Sand


Solid Tine Aerating The Green Following Topdressing




Blowing Sand Into Aeration Holes



Hand Broom Sand Into The Aeration Holes To Get It Perfect


Smoothing The Green Surface Following The Entire Process




Final Product Ready For Play




Fairway Aerator In Action



Sweeping Aeration Cores



Priddis Greens Staff Hauling Aeration Cores Away To Dump Site


Priddis Greens Staff Manually Finishing Clean Up Of Fairway Cores

Fairway After Clean Up Process



False Alarm - Giant Hogweed turns out to be Cow Parsnip

Last week we reported that a noxious weed that posed a threat to human health was identified at Priddis Greens. The club brought out an expert in the field of plant identification and concluded that the weed that is prevelant is not Hogweed but rather Cow Parsnip. Cow Parsnip is in the same family of weeds as Hogweed, however Cow Parsnip does not pose the same health risks associated with Hogweed.

Raven Aeration

Following club championship on the August long weekend both the Raven golf course greens and fairways will be aerated. The greens will be punched with a solid tine (no core pulled) and topdressed with sand. This process was used on the Hawk golf course in May and seemed to work well. This process should be less obtrusive than the standard aeration process of pulling cores and will also heal quicker, resulting in improved putting green quality.
The fairways will also be aerated during this course closure. Contractors are brought in to assist the Turf Care staff to complete the job in one day.

Golf Course Update – July 7th 2010


Over all conditions seam to be in good shape. The following comments highlight specific issues with different areas on the golf course.

Greens: Putting green quality has been  good the last few weeks. Staff are  double cutting greens at a lower height of cut than normal ( .110” -.120”) as well as rolling greens on a regular basis to achieve the desired green speeds. Extensive brushing to control grain is also being used almost daily. Staff are also using the stimp meter on all or close to all greens daily to ensure consistency in speed from green to green. Greens have seen very little water from sprinklers in order to keep them as firm and dry as possible to help achieve the targeted green speed and the firmness helps with wear and tear from ball marks and foot traffic.

Tees: All tees have been fertilized this past week and 18 holes worth of tees topdressed over the past two weeks. Topdressing helps firm the tees which helps with playability, it fills divots and helps dilute thatch. Staff also fill divots weekly with green sand. The remainder of the tees will be topdressed next week July 12-13-14th. The discolouration or brown patchs on 1 Hawk tee was caused from a freak incident that happened Sunday morning. After a power outage shut down the irrigation system an excessive accumulation/concentration of sulphuric acid was injected into the irrigation lines. When the system turned back ion the first areas to receive water 1Hawk tee and a few back nine Raven green surrounds received a dose of water that had a very low pH due to the sulphuric acid. These areas should grow out in the next week.

Fairways: Fairways are good with the exception of a few holes that are still recovering from winter injury (16 & 18 Hawk) We will continue to topdress / verti-cut, fertilize, spike etc.. until the fairways have filled in. Staff have been trying to manage the moisture content in fairways on the dry side so balls bounce and roll down the fairway. All fairway moisture levels are monitored closely with digital moisture probes then each fairway receives a customized irrigation program based on its own micro-climate. Fairway moisture levels must be increased when the golf course receives excessive golf cart traffic. It also becomes more difficult to manage the fairways on the dry side when a the golf course goes through periods of hot dry weather.

Rough: Still a little spotty from winter injury causing the odd poor lie. These areas should fill in with the good weather we are experiencing. The stake to stake cart path rule seems to be helping the condition of the rough. It is going to really pay off now that we are getting into hot and dry weather. We still need to spread the word to members to keep their cart on the fairways and out of the rough if possible.

Bunkers: Staff having been very busy in the bunkers in the past few weeks. All 36 holes have been edged, weeded and we are in the process of adding new sand to any bunkers that are deficient.

Ponds: With the warm weather comes pond scum, algae and aquatic weeds. Staff spend numerous hours a week in pods hand weeding to compliment the biological weed control program. No aquatic herbicides are used for environmental reasons.

Cart Paths: Repair work to broken asphalt cart paths were performed last week as well as widening of many paths besides tees or greens. The widening was performed to provide room for carts to pass each other with out rutting the turf during wet weather.

Trees: A crew of contract Arborists have been on site removing trees that pose a danger to the Fortis power lines. The trees will be removed or limbed, the branches chipped and the logs stacked.




Golf Course Update (June 11th / 2010)

Putting Greens
Due to an extended period of cold, cloudy wet weather, there has been an outbreak of a turfgrass fungus on a number of golf course putting surfaces. Fusarium Blight (turfgrass fungus) is a turf disease that is not normally a problem at Priddis Greens this time of year but is a disease that is often found on the west coast in the winter months. When we have been infected by Fusarium Blight in the past and it usually goes away with a few days of sunlight. However, we have started to see some turf loss in small circles almost exclusively on Poa Annua. We determined a fungicide application necessary on the following greens: Practice putting green, chipping green, old hawk greens and 11 Raven green. The fungicide application was made prior to play on Friday morning June 11th. We have posted that information on the IVR net important message page, Golf Shop door, and the starters have been directed to brief all golfers that an application of fungicide has been made. We don’t believe this disease will have a significant impact on playability. (attached are photos of Fusarium Blight on the practice putting green)

Golf Course Projects
Eleven Spruce trees were planted on the golf course this week. Six Spruce were planted on the left side of number 1 Hawk. These six trees were planted as a barrier to protect members vehicles in the parking lot. Five Spruce trees were also planted on the right hand side of number 6 Raven. These trees were planted as future protection for the inside of the dog leg as we have lost numerous Poplars in that area over the past few years.

Golf Course Playability and Cart Path Rule
Again with excessive precipitation, a lack of sunshine or heat to dry the golf course we are very wet. Unfortunately the golf course will likely remain paths only throughout a good part of the weekend. We will allow golf carts back on the fairways as soon as conditions improve and the risk of golf car damage is no longer prevalent.

The turf on  fairways and rough will be somewhat longer than normal over the next few days because rough mowers that are normally scheduled to mow have been called of for risk of damage due to soft conditions.

The entire golf course was fertilized this week. With the moisture in the ground  and some forecasted sunshine we hope the grass finally starts growing consistently, and weak areas start filling in.

1) Hawk Greens Aeration
·         Hawk greens aeration will be performed on Tuesday May 25th.
·         Soil test results are used to determine what type of aeration process is required. Our most recent soil test results look  good in almost all categories therefore we plan on solid tine aerating with a topdressing. This process should be less invasive than a standard aeration where cores are pulled.
·         The Hawk greens were fertilized  this week to prepare them for the stress of aeration and to help the hole fill in quicker following aeration. The Hawk greens will look very healthy however putt slower than normal this weekend.

2) Nine Raven Bunker Addition Project

·         Weather permitting the construction of the new bunker will commence Tuesday May 25th and should be completed Friday May 28th.
·         The bunker will be a relatively small fairway bunker approximately 260 yds from the black tee, 245 yds from the silver tee, 188yds from the white tee and 176 yds from the red tee.
·         During construction Raven #9 will have to play as a Par 3 for contractor and staff safety.

Construction Process:
1)      Strip sod of working area
2)      Haul approximately 200 Cubic Meters of fill  for enhancing the grade and bunker visibility
3)      Shape bunker feature
4)      Install bunker drainage and tie into existing drain line
5)      Add irrigation (2 small sprinklers)
6)      Sod bunker perimeter and construction zone
7)      Add bunker sand

3) EZ Hole Locator

We have initiated a new system for determining daily hole locations on the putting greens. The new system uses a computor software program that generates the daily locations using specific parameters that we have built into the program. 

Why did we decide to use this new system?
  • The old system was determined by Turf Care members  each day and  each different staff member  would use their own judgement on a good hole location and because of habit would eventually go back to the same locations over and over again. This system lead to many member complaints about redundency and more importantly lead to weak turf conditions in certain areas of the green. The new EZ hole locator system ensures that all wear and tear is moved around each green and takes  human error, habit and judgement out of the equation. The new system will also provide members with much greater variety than seen in the past.
How did we determine each specific hole location?
  • Each and every hole location was predetermined and approved by myself and Sr. Assitant Superintendent Mark Begin. Using a basic set of parameters for each set of hole locations we went out and measured every hole location on every green prior to entering the measurements into the software program. The parameters were: 1) no hole shall be closer than 3 paces from the side of a green 2) No hole shall be closer than 4 paces from the front edge of a green. 3) Each hole location shall be relatively free of severe slopes in a three foot circumference around the hole. This last parameter was really tough because our greens are so severely sloped.
What are the benefits we expect to see from using this system?
  • More consistant turf conditions on the putting greens because of better hole location distribution.
  • Greater variety from day to day and week to week in hole locations.
  • Greater member satisfaction
  • Much greater efficiency for Turf care staff in terms of planning time and supervision.
  • Quality hole location / pin sheets for members and guests. Ask the starters for the sheets.
  • Over all improved  golf experience for members

Observations of the new course set up system (EZ Hole Locator).

1)      Hole locations are being spread around the greens more consistently and the turf is healthier**.
2)      Some hole locations  are making the golf course play tougher.
3)      Members have commented that there is more variety in hole locations than ever before.
4)      Staff are much more efficient with their time
5)      Some members have commented favourably on the new pin sheets
6)      Each green on the golf course has a different ratio of front, middle and back hole locations. In years past, staff used to rotate pins on a three day schedule from front, to middle to back. Specific greens will now have a blue pin more often and some greens may have a front pin more often.

How to read a pin sheet

+2  -  Hole location is plus 2 yards from the center of the green.
17  - Hole location is 17  yards from the front edge of the green
7L   - Hole location is 7 yards from the left edge of the green
Depth 31 – the depth of the green is 31 yards


Cart Path Rule - 90 degrees stake - stake

Please observe the following procedure while using golf carts. When 90 degree stake to stake rule is in effect, drive down the cart path and enter the fairway beside the green stake with a white tip, proceed down the fairway remaining on the fairway the entire length of the hole (please dont drive into the rough). Leave the fairway at the second green and white stake to get back to the cart path.

The purpose of this procedure is to keep carts from driving back and fourth between the cart path and fairway. The fairway turf is generally in better condition and better able to handle golf car traffic.  

 Hort Report
The horticulture crew are busy turning the beds this week in preparation for their first large shipment of annuals on Monday, May 24th. Beginning with the hardier, acclimatized annuals and working into June until just over 15,000 annuals are in the ground.