Thursday, 31 July 2014

Slit Drainage Holes 12 & 13 Hawk (Starting August 4th / 2014)

The slit drainage project that will enhance drainage on Hawk holes 12 & 13 is scheduled to begin immediately following club championship on August 4th. The drainage installation on these two holes is scheduled to be completed by the end of August. The goal is to minimize member disruption so the contractors have been asked to keep the work area limited to one hole at a time. However, there will likely be some over-lap and workers will be seen on both holes periodically. While the contractor is working on a hole, the golf hole may play as a par 3, hitting to the green only from a temporary tee. There may be a temporary green or the hole may be closed. We will try to keep the closures to a minimum.

Member’s golf car traffic will also be affected during this process. When the contractors are driving down the cart paths with equipment full of sand and gravels, members will be given direction to drive on the grass to minimize the equipment from causing damage.

We would like to thank the membership in advance for your understanding and patience. We believe the short term pain is worth the long term gain as we have seen on the previous holes on 6&7 Hawk.

The project is scheduled to be completed in 3 weeks. Weather will have a factor in the speed in which the contractor can complete the project. If the weather is dry, we expect the project to be completed in 3 weeks. The equipment cannot work in wet conditions therefore if wet conditions persist, the project will take longer.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Hawk Greens Aeration

The annual Hawk Golf Course greens aeration program is scheduled for Monday, July 7th. The golf course will be closed for the day to provide Turf Care staff the time required to complete this essential procedure.

Greens Aeration Information:

Soil Testing:

  • Greens are soil tested 1 month prior to the scheduled aeration to determine requirements for aeration. The soil test provides scientific information that helps to determine what type of aeration is best for our greens. The categories of the soil test include information such as:
    • Compaction - How hard the green surface has become over the past calendar year
    • Air porosity ratio - Grass needs a correct balance of air & water for drainage and root growth
    • Water infiltration - How quick water is able to penetrate the green surface
    • Water holding capacity - Too much leads to weak turf
    • Organic matter percentage - "Sponginess" that leads to excessive ball marking & slow green speeds
Greens Aeration Process:
  • Greens will be aerated with an 11mm diameter hollow tine
  • Tines penetrate the surface of the green approximately 4"
  • Approximately 3% of the green surface is affected by the holes
  • Aeration cores are removed by staff using snow shovels
  • Each green is topdressed with approximately 2 tonnes of sand to fill the aeration holes
  • One of the most critical aspects of the process is to ensure all aeration holes are filled to the top with sand
    • This is a very labour intensive process using brooms, drag mats and blowers
    • When this process is completed to the highest standard, the greens will putt smooth even with aeration holes
    • Dry conditions are essential for success
  • Greens are fertilized 2 times the week prior to aeration and once immediately following aeration. These fertilizer applications maximize specific turf growth that will minimize the recovery process and the length of time the greens have holes in them
  • Weather that provides good growing conditions has a significant impact on the turf recovery process, this is why greens are aerated mid-season
Fun Fact:
Putting green aeration is an essential but somewhat disruptive process that golfers are not normally fond of. The only people that dislike the greens aeration process more that golfers are Golf Superintendents and staff. Greens aeration is always a stressful, expensive (overtime), labour intensive process that usually ends up providing less that positive feedback from golfers.

With a well planned and executed process and a little luck from Mother Nature, the greens will be back in great shape within days.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Flower Bed Preparation

The flowers have arrived! The horticulture crew will be out today beginning their annual planting. A sure sign that summer is on its way. Although temperatures have been favorable lately we start with cold and hardy plants over the next 10 days. These plants include Snapdragons, Rudbeckia, Salvia, some varieties of Petunias, Lobelia, Verbena and of course, Pansies. We will be spreading compost simultaneously. The incorporation of compost to our beds is essential. The compost provides long term nutrients to the plants, helps regulate the moisture level, and acts as a blanket to choke out those nasty weeds early in the season. 

Kerry Lockhart 
Priddis Greens Horticulturist

Thursday, 15 May 2014

6 Hawk Green Winter Injury Update

Last winter, 6 Hawk green experienced a significant amount of winter injury. Of the 40 greens maintained at Priddis Greens, 6 Hawk was the only green that experienced winter injury. A number of practices and strategies are being implemented by Turfcare staff to encourage growth and recovery on 6 Hawk.
6 Hawk Green 4/30/14

Before the green can be opened for play, the green must be showing signs of significant recovery. Exposing the green to golfers and the rigors of daily maintenance procedures too early will only hinder the recovery of the green. Opening after the green has recovered will ensure that the green is at the same playable standard as the other greens for the remainder of the golfing season. Because the weather has been cool, we have had limited success with turf recovery thus far. Once improved temperatures are realized, we plan to have golfers playing this green in a few weeks.

Turfcare staff has been using a variety of practices and strategies to facilitate the fastest recovery possible. The green has been aerated, double verti-cut and seeded multiple times. In order to increase soil temperatures to a point where germination can occur, the green is also being tarped every night. The green is being watered numerous times throughout the day to keep the seed wet, which is essential for germination. Once the seed germinates, great care is taken to ensure the seedlings survive. The green will be mowed at a higher height of cut to enhance turf health. As with many projects on the golf course, weather (temperature) will be the most important factor in the timing of the opening of the green.
6 Hawk Green 5/5/14

In previous years, greens have not been tarped in the fall until the ground is frozen. This prevents water from being trapped under the tarp and the green subsequently holding water. This year however, due to warmer temperatures in the fall and early snowfall, greens were not tarped as usual. After the first snowfall, snow had to be removed from the 20 greens that are covered over winter. Of the 20 greens that are tarped, 6 Hawk was the last to be covered and was subject to the most exposure. In addition to unideal tarping conditions, it was discovered this spring that drainage from 6 Hawk green had been crushed, and water was unable to exit the green while it remained tarped in the early spring. The combination of unusual tarping conditions and crushed drainage has led to a state of turf anoxia, which has resulted in injured turf on the front and back left of the putting surface. Even during winter, the plant is metabolizing and producing carbon dioxide. On a green with functioning drainage, the plant is able to take in oxygen. The crushed drainage on 6 Hawk limited the supply of oxygen to the plant, and a buildup of carbon dioxide eventually became toxic to the plant.   

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

15 Hawk Update

15 Hawk Reconstruction Update

Reconstruction of the 15 Hawk green complex began in the fall of last year. The changes made will offer a more playable golf hole with many more pin locations available on the green. Before winter snow cover, the shaping and sodding of the green complex was completed. While this may seem like the bulk of the project, the spring grow-in process is equally important.
15 Hawk being mowed at 0.180''
The most important aspect of the grow-in of the green is rooting. As soil temperatures begin to increase, the rate of root growth will also increase. Currently, roots are beginning to grow into the rootzone from the sod, however the sod is still easily lifted. In order to increase soil temperatures and thus root growth, a tarp is being used each night to cover the green. This will keep soil temperatures warmer despite low night-time temperatures at this time of year. In addition to tarping, 2 applications of root growth promoting fertilizers have been made. Fertilizing combined with a light and frequent watering schedule will further encourage strong root growth. At first glance, the green may look ready for play, however under closer inspection, root growth shows the green still needs time to mature. Right now, the green is being spoonfed nutrients and water because the roots are too shallow to uptake larger amounts. This requires frequent monitoring and watering which will not be possible after opening. A rooting depth of approximately 3" will be required prior to opening the new green.

Root profile of New Putting Green (8")
Root profile of 15 Hawk (1/2")

New roots starting in sod seems (15 Hawk)

Smoothness is one of the most important factors in the playability of the green for the golfer. The green is already much smoother than it was when the snow first melted. This increase in smoothness has been achieved by consistent mowing and rolling. These practices will continue to be implemented and a topdressing schedule will also be introduced in the near future. Topdressing will aid in smoothing the putting surface as well as provide a firmer green. 
The green was mowed for the first time early this spring at a height of 0.180''. Now, the height has been lowered to 0.173''. In comparison, greens on the back 9 Raven and the Old Hawk are being mowed at a height of 0.135'' to start the season. The height of cut will gradually be reduced on 15 Hawk until it is being cut at the same height as the rest of the greens on the golf course. 
The opening date for 15 Hawk is very much weather dependent. In order to protect the investment already made in the improvement of the hole, it is important that it is only opened for play once ready. Based on the progress seen so far this spring, we are targeting the week  of May 20th 2014 for potential opening. Until this time, a variety of practices, including mowing, rolling, fertilizing and topdressing will continue to be implemented to open the hole as soon as possible.

Monday, 5 May 2014

14 Hawk Errant Golf Ball Issue

Subsequent to the presentation of the Club’s 2014 Capital Plan, the Club met with homeowners who live adjacent to the Hawk 14 tee boxes. At this meeting the Club presented to these residents the Club’s plan for dealing with the errant golf ball issue on that hole.

A few days after that meeting one of the residents graciously offered a portion of their land to allow the Club to shift the tee boxes far enough north to make the shift a viable alternative to installing a screen by the tee. After being offered that option, the Club asked the Club’s designer to consider if the shift north would be an answer to the errant golf ball issue on that hole. The designer came back to the Club with a plan that would indeed see the tee boxes moved north, trees planted on the right side of the tee boxes (on 2 of the lots) and the fairway and the addition of 4 new bunkers located in the middle of the fairway.

The shifting of the tees closer to the property line (north) is the same tactic the Club used with good success on Hawk 4 and 10 and it is designed, along with the new trees planted along the right side of the tee and along the hole, to direct golfers to hit their shots more to the left. The strategic addition of the bunkers in the fairway is intended to encourage members to lay up in front of the traps using a hybrid or long iron club, clubs that golfers normally have more control over with less likelihood of having bad errant shots with. In addition to shifting the tee boxes the farthest back tee and the middle tee will be combined to create one long tee thereby giving more teeing area and adding more variety to the member’s tee shots.

(see larger version here)

The Club anticipates the shifting of the tees, the addition of trees and the installation of the fairway bunkers will substantially reduce the number of errant balls leaving the Club’s property.

The cost of the work will be slightly less than the cost of the screen. The Club will start work on the hole during the week of May 5-9, if weather cooperates. The Club’s contractor believes the project will take 2 weeks with good weather. The golf hole will be closed during construction, with the potential of playing the hole as a par 3 after the new bunkers are built. It is the intention to have the hole completed as soon as possible and to allow the members to resume playing from the tees they used to play from in the past.

The Board believes this is the best solution for this hole and will improve the hole’s aesthetics and provide the members with the length of hole they have enjoyed since 2003.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Merv's First Alberta Spring

Hello everyone it's Merv Lovie your friendly neighbourhood Priddis Greens Equipment Manager. I moved to Calgary to join the Priddis Greens team and have now been working here for 2 months. I was asked to contribute to the Turf Care Blog on a subject about equipment fleet management, however I chose to share my first spring experience here at Priddis Greens.

When I moved from Winnipeg in February there was a lot of snow but everywhere that I could get to there were great views. As the snow started to melt I could see the excitement starting to build in the eye's of the turf care team. The day that the old practice green outside the front of the clubhouse was uncovered and the team was assembled to shovel off the remaining ice / snow and water, I witnessed a passion that I have not seen in a very long time. And then, it snowed, and snowed, and snowed, it seemed like it snowed every day, I thought "oh no, all the hard work, gone to waste", but no, the team responded with " it's Mother Nature, she lets us know when things are right to open, don't worry", what a positive response!

Now that the snow has almost gone and seeing the absolute precise management of man and machine, the team has advised me that "we will open shortly and then we will get another 6" of snow, then we will be good to go". This Turf Care team of professionals is absolutely amazing, and it has all been assembled by James. I am so lucky to be a part of it.

Merv Lovie
Equipment Manager

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

New Additions to 2014 Turf Care Team

The Priddis Greens turf care department is excited to welcome the following four individuals to the 2014 Turf Care team. Merv is new to Alberta and our Management team as he has assumed the position of Head Equipment Manager. Adam, Ben and Adam have had previous work experience at the club but their roles have been expanded for 2014.

Merv Lovie is a native of Manitoba who was raised on a farm in Holland, MB and he most recently resided in St. Andrews, MB. He originally worked with all types of machinery, including turf when he realized his passion for turf equipment. He then spent time with Toro doing outside sales, being a road technician and a heavy-duty mechanic. What brought him out west was a desire to “look after his own fleet of equipment instead of someone else’s”. Merv would like to thank everyone for the opportunity and stated if there is anything he can help you out with to drop by the shop or contact him anytime.

Adam Wutzke has worked here at Priddis Greens for 4 years and is now a key member of our team. Adam began working at Priddis Greens in 2010 following his second year studies at Olds College in the Turfgrass Management diploma program. Adam was born and raised in Cold Lake, Alberta where he began working at Grand Centre Golf Club at the age of 14. He is very passionate about the game of golf and enjoys playing as much as possible. His other passions include curling, snowboarding and hockey. Keep an eye out for him on the Raven golf course this year.

Ben Spencer is a native of Calgary and has been working in the Turf Care department at Priddis Greens since 2010. After two seasons at Priddis Greens, Ben decided to pursue a career in turfgrass management by enrolling in the turfgrass management program at the Pennsylvania State University. During his time at Penn State, Ben completed a six-month internship program at La Rinconada Country Club in Los Gatos, California. After graduating, Ben returned to Priddis Greens as an intern on the Raven golf course. In 2014, Ben is excited to be working as a foreman on the Hawk golf course.

Adam Boismier is returning for his second year at Priddis Greens after completing his Turfgrass Management diploma from Olds College. Adam was born and raised in Windsor Ontario, and became very passionate about the game of golf from a young age. After 3 years at the Fairmont Algonquin Adam knew that this was the career for him. As a former coach and goalie his other passion is hockey. This season Adam is very excited to be a foreman on the Raven golf course. Adam would like to thank everyone for this great opportunity, and to wish all members and staff the best for the upcoming season.

To read more about the Turf Care department and the Turf Care team, visit

Thursday, 27 February 2014

The Post-Aeration Process

Aeration is a process that isn’t always appreciated by the golfer however it is an essential cultural practice for the long-term health of the putting greens.

Grass constantly produces organic matter through its normal growth processes and a build up of this organic matter is referred to as thatch. This thatch acts like a sponge, holding onto more water than the existing soil. As thatch builds up it creates a putting green that is soft, inconsistent to play on and is a key predisposing factor for disease. Aeration removes this thatch and the holes are filled with sand. This allows water and oxygen to penetrate the soil profile to improve root growth that as a result leads to improved plant health and better greens.

The following video shows the process and extensive labour required to fill the holes with sand after the greens have been aerated and the cores removed on 13 Hawk green:

Monday, 27 January 2014

15 Hawk Green Reconstruction

15 Hawk green was reconstructed in the fall of 2013. The entire project from start to finish took 16 days. Click here to view the construction process from start to finish.

The purpose for rebuilding the green complex was to:
  • increase the size of the green from 3800sqft to 6300sqft
  • soften the severe slopes and contours on the green
  • improve surface drainage
  • improve playability of recovery shots
  • expand the playing corridor with selective tree removal  
The new green will be open late spring of 2014. The determining factor will be weather; if there is a warmer spring that facilitates root growth the green will be open for play sooner, however, if it is a cool spring the green will open later.