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.