Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Reservoir Tour

MUD finished draining the reservoir last week and today I got to take a tour.  The structure is huge and is built rock solid.  Some numbers on the structure:

-Holds 26 million gallons of water (all drinking water)
-190-200 pillars for support
-Build in the early 1950's
-40' tall
-Drain, clean and inspect every 5 years

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Reservoir Draining

MUD started draining the reservoir on Monday and it will continue to do so until early next week.  They drain the reservoir every five years and go in with high pressure hoses to clean and inspect the structure.  In the mean time, it leaves us with a beautiful pond left of #1 fairway.  This has been discussed as a permanent water hazard and if we throw a fountain in there and landscape the edges...how pretty would that be?! 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

New Trees

Today, we are planting a total of 7 new trees (3-Maple;2-Oak,2-Locust) on the golf course.  They are in locations where trees previously were but have been removed due to storm damage or were near death.  The locations were picked out by myself, Kevin and green & grounds committee and are placed with safety and play-ability in mind.  You will find the new trees on:
#2 (tee and between #2/#11 fairway)
#8 (left of fairway and right of green)
#15 (left of fairway past the pot bunkers)  

We will continue to prune/remove trees over the winter months, but the areas we've got cleaned up look great.  Thanks for your continued support.

#15 Before
#15 After
#15 View from Fairway

Monday, November 30, 2015

Greens Covers

Last Wednesday (25th), we took the day and got all the greens covered prior to that rain/ice that hit us on Thanksgiving.  It turned out to be perfect timing as we are predicted to get 2-4" of snow today which should stick around for a while.  We have 8" cups cut in the approaches (9 holes) and Kevin has created a score card for anyone that wants to walk that 9-hole set up.  Please refrain from walking on the covers as spikes could rip the cover and ruin them. 
The 9 hole layout for winter is:#18,#10,#11,#3,#4,#6,#7,#8,#9

Hope everyone had a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Winter Prep...Irrigation Blow Out

As Winter approaches, we are starting the process to shut down the course and protect it the best we can from mother nature. Over the next few weeks, we will:

1) Blow out the irrigation system (completed on 11-16)
2) Bring in ropes and stakes so we can refurbish them over the winter months (completed on 11-16)
3) Topdress Greens (completed)
4) Spray Greens, Tees, and Fairways with fungicide for 'Snow Mold' (completed)
5) Bring in all course amenities for winter maintenance (completed)
6) Begin the 2016 budgeted tree work plan (in progress......) 
7) Cover greens for the winter (completed)

Besides the projects, we will continue with the leaf clean up, but it's difficult with the wet and windy forecast that's predicted.  Hopefully in the coming week, the leaves will all be down and we can complete the clean up so we can mow everything one last time prior to the fungicide application.   The weather is hit and miss which can make it tricky to get everything completed prior to the ground being covered in that dreaded white stuff....snow!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

#14 Green Update......Again.......

For the past few weeks we've been utilizing our new greens cover down on #14 green.  With the nights getting in the 30's and near freezing, we have been taking the cover on/off depending on the temperatures.  Our rule of thumb has been:

Lows in the 30's and Highs in the 50's=Cover
Lows in the 40's and Highs in the 60's=Uncover

By doing this, we have had amazing success getting the new seed to germinate and fill in.  Since we started covering, they green has taken off and really looks great.  When the cover is down, we have noticed a 10-12 degree increase in soil temperatures under the cover.

As you can see from the picture below, we have a visitor decide to burrow underneath the cover and across the green last weekend.  It was a short lived experience for this mole, but the damage these creatures can do in a short amount of time is amazing.
Below is a picture of the green on Monday when we got it mowed up after peeling the cover back.  It is really making strides and should be in great shape in Spring.  We will continue to utilize our covering practice as long as the weather allows us to do so.


New Memorial Tree- #8

Special Thank You to Betty Williams for her generous donation of a memorial tree in honor of her late husband, Mike Williams.  They have been members at FCO for 40+ years and have been huge supporters of the club since day one.  With approval of the location from the Green and Grounds Committee, Betty picked out a 'Autumn Blaze' Maple which will be highly visible from the clubhouse.

Thanks again for all your support the generous donation!  

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

#14 Green Cover

With the first frost a day away, we covered #14 green and it will remain covered the rest of the week.  By covering the green, we will help keep soil temperatures up which will allow the green to continue to fill in.  At this point, any extra day we can get to aide in recovery is an important one.  We will pull the cover off in the next week to mow and access the progress.  This will be a day to day/week to week decision on when the green gets covered.  The greens cover is permeable meaning air and water can penetrate the cover so this will not cause any damage to the green.    

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Hay Rack Ride & Bonfire

Thank you to all that showed up for the festivities at the club last Friday night.  It's nice to see so much support from the membership and hear all the positive comments about the activities we had.  

Thursday, October 1, 2015

October: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

For the month of October, we will be using this pink stick/flag set up to support breast cancer awareness month.  This has affected nearly everyone in some form or another and is the least we can do as a club to show our support!  The new flags turned out great and are highly visible from anywhere on the property. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Rain....and more Rain......

Over the last 24 hours, FCO has been hit with over 4" of rain and more predicted over the next 12-24 hours.  No carts will be out today (Thursday) and best case scenario, we get them out sometime on Friday.  The entire property is completely saturated and will be very soft for the next several days.  When carts are allowed,  PLEASE do your best to avoid the low areas and keep your carts in fairways as they dry faster than the heavily treed rough.  We will do our best to get caught up with the mowing as weather permits hopefully over the next few days.       

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Greens and Tee Aerification

Day 1
Day 7
Last week (September 8th) we completed our Fall greens aerification.  I had some extensive profile samples taken in summer to ensure that we make the biggest impact on the greens.  We used 1/2" core @ 1.5" spacing and went 3" deep.  All the holes were filled with sand and as you can see from the pictures above, they are well on their way to a quick recovery.  This is the tightest spacing I've gone since I've been at FCO.  The last 3 years, we went at 2" spacing, but tightened them this year to help with our percolation rates.  After aerification, I fertilized the greens to speed up the recovery  process thus making the greens a bit slower due to the flush growth we're promoting.  Once the recovery process is complete, an application of growth regulator will be made which will essentially shut down the growth and allow us to keep consistent green speeds (especially for the evening golfers).  We have continued to roll the greens (4x/week) which allows the ball to roll true and eliminate any bumps from the aerification holes.  

Tee aerification was also completed last week while the course was closed.  We used 5/8" core @ 2.5" spacing and went 3" deep.  Rather than picking up the cores, we used a mower to pulverize the cores and blew off any remaining debris.  After cleaned, we overseed the tees with Perennial Rye and drug in the seed while the aerification holes are open giving them a nice seed bed for germination.  With the spike in wind and heat, we've been forced to keep the tees softer than we want preventing them from drying out and occurring any turf loss.

Next, we will turn to fairway overseeding.  This will be a 3 day task, but is not an invasive process. Continuing to overseed every year will help keep the fairways dense and lush.  This is commitment we made 3 years ago and have had great support to keep the process intact and the results show.         

Friday, August 28, 2015

#14 and Nursery Sod

With the colder weather on the horizon, we opted to strip out the thin areas on #14 green and re-sod them.  The reason: if the seeded areas did not fill by the time winter hits, there would be a delay in the Spring for opening the green.  With frost delays in the near future, the odds were not in our favor, thus the decision was made to strip it out, fix some grading issues and re-sod.  From my perspective, we will NOT be aggressive in getting the surface mowed down and prepared for opening.  This will be a slow process stepping down the height and continuous topdressing.  This is the best the green has looked all season and I am extremely optimistic on the quality of the putting surface moving forward.  

The nursery area was also re-graded and over 3,000 sq. ft. of sod was put down to replenish that area. We also upgraded the irrigation heads around the nursery area which will give us better coverage in the area giving us more consistent moisture levels.  

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Wet Start to the Week....

Last night, we got hit with 4" of rain....with more on the way.  For the most part, the course took it well and left us with only a few areas to pump. As expected, the course is soft and will take longer to dry down due to unseasonably temperature and cloudy conditions over the next few days.    

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Course Update through July

July is almost in the books (thankfully) and in the coming few weeks days will begin  to noticeably shorten and humidity will begin to trickle down (hopefully).  I will use this post to summarize the past few weeks as it's been a while since I've put out a post.  

This month has been filled with extreme heat, humidity and gross dew points.  Those three factors make for very high disease pressure (dollar spot, brown patch, pythium, and grey leaf spot).  At FCO, we are very susceptible to fungal disease due to the lack of air movement and having Perennail Ryegrass as the primary species of turf in the Tees and Fairways.  To help combat the pressures, we closely monitor the moisture levels with our moisture meters and avoid over watering.  Luckily, we've missed the majority of the 'pop up' thunderstorms that have hit hard south of the metro.  Chemical controls are used as well to keep the turf plant healthy and disease free.  To date, we have a few 'dings' in the fairways, but I would consider it a successful month with the conditions we were delt.  

Greens Update:  
#2:  We removed the pieces of sod that got hot and re-sodded them and roped them off.  That green is on the mend now and will no longer be an issue in the coming weeks.  

#13:  This green has filled in nicely and has made positive improvements weekly.  Once the heat breaks, we'll continue to needle tine and topdress (all greens) which will aide in recovery and filling in.

#14:  Since closing, this green has been overseeded with bentgrass seed three times.  If you look at it, you'll notice all the newly germinated seedlings and see that it's filling in nicely.  I foliar apply fertilizer and fungicide to this green weekly to help it along.  I am on the green daily to scout for disease (melting out and damping off)  which is a major concern given the amount of seed we've drilled into it.  We are planning to re-open the green on August 11th, but will continue to monitor and open as soon as it's ready.  

Monday, July 6, 2015

Greens Overseeding

Today we overseeded greens with 'Pure Select' Creeping Bentgrass.  We are/will be doing this yearly in the summer (possibly 2x/year) with a goal to incorporate more bentgrass in the putting surface and push out as much Poa as possible.  Why seed in the heart of summer?  This is when the Poa plant is at its weakest, so this will give the bentgrass a chance to get established.  This is being done to get ahead of the game and in hopes to help reduce our winter kill issues.  

We took this approach to the  tees and fairways over the past three years.  We committed and more importantly, STAYED committed to our overseeding program on these surfaces.  We overseed them at a rate of 6lb/M (Perennial Ryegrass) yearly and have had great results in doing so.  Hopefully we have the same success on the greens as we did the tees and fairways.        

Monday, June 29, 2015

Fun Fest Week

Tip of the cap goes to the maintenance team at FCO for their hard work and going above and beyond the normal duties to help get the course 'dialed in'.  As a whole, this is the best the course has looked and played and it came at a perfect time.  Without those guys busting it day in and day out, we wouldn't have the consistent product that we get.  Please let them know that their efforts are appreciated as you come across them on the course.  That goes a long ways!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Greens Update:

Today (17th) all GUR signs were pulled on #2 and #11 green.  Both are playable in the sodded sections and will be from this point forward.  Also, #14 green was opened up this afternoon for the ladies member/guest and will remain open for the season.  We are currently mowing the green at .150, whereas we are mowing the other greens at .125.  Surprisingly the ball is rolling smooth and not much different than the others due to the amount of topdressing we've worked into the canopy.  Everyday the green makes positive strides and will only continue to do so.  We will continue to topdress and needle tine the greens as well.  The discoloration from 14 is is kind of deceiving from a distance due to the quantity of sand that's been applied to the surface.  More green tissue is taking over everyday.

Thank you for your patience.  

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Update and Turf Lesson:

Here is a turf lesson in simple terms.

FCO greens are primarily  Annual Bluegrass AKA-Poa annua.  Poa is a winter annual and is considered a ‘weed’ in the turf industry.  This turf is very susceptible to winter damage due to its low tolerance to cold temperatures and its extremely high susceptibility to ice damage.  Over the course of winter, there are 5 main causes of winterkill that we watch for. 
1)  Low Temperature. 
2)  Desiccation (death from the drying during winter)
3)  Ice Accumulation
4)  Crown Hydration
5)  Disease
How does this relate to FCO and primarily #2,#11 and #14 Greens you ask?  Last winter, we had several freeze thaw cycles through the months and this actually causes the potential for damage to increase on the putting surface.  Add opening the course and playing on frozen greens (like we did the first week of February) on the top and we’re increasing the risk to damage the greens.  On top of playing on frozen greens, the three greens mentioned are located at the low points of the property meaning all moisture will drain and accumulate to these areas.  During the day the snow would melt and surface drain down the fairway and collect on the low points of the greens.  At night, the water would freeze and turn to ice.  Over a 2 week period, those areas accumulated a 5-7” layer of ice which prevents gas exchange which limits the oxygen and increases carbon dioxide to toxic levels creating turf loss. 

What can do we do to prepare the greens for winter?  Before we shut down, we apply a heavy layer of sand (topdress) to the greens.  In doing this, we are attempting to protect the crown of the plant (the growing point) which decreases our chance for winter kill.  We also protect the plant with a fungicide so we avoid Pink and Grey Snow Mold. 

What was done this Spring when the issue was identified? We seeded these areas 2x, topdressed, needle tined and fertilized.  Those are all the correct steps to bring the green back, BUT we continued to allow foot traffic on these areas causing any seedlings that germinated to get destroyed by foot traffic.  With the extremely wet and cool spring, this was not a successful route.  Those greens needed to be roped off and ALL traffic should have been eliminated.  We eventually got to a point where sod was the only way to repair the greens so they are playable for summer.  We used our nursery green to repair #2 & #11 and they are healing nicely.  We decided to strip ALL of #14 and bring in sod from a sod farm and re-grass the entire area. 

How long will they be GUR or Closed?  #2 & #11 were completed 11 days ago.  The roots are just beginning to take and I envision this to be open in the next 10 days.  I am NOT going to rush opening the area and lose all progress we made.  #14 will be closed for a minimum of 2-3 weeks (open for Fun Fest for sure). The sod needs to ‘take’ (root) and then I will need time to mow down and prepare like all the other greens. 

I am going to reach out to ISTRIC which is a soil testing company and get some tests run on my greens.  There may be an underlying issue with what’s going on.  They will run some in depth tests and give strong recommendations on aerification, topdressing materials, fertilizer, etc.  This will not be cheap, but will only improve the condition of the greens.  It has to be done.  Also, I have set up a meeting with a seed salesman and he is going to give a recommendation on what type of seed we should be using and we will create and aggressive overseeding program in attempt to incorporate more bentgrass in the greens. 

In closing, over my 3+ years at FCO we have made HUGE strides to improve this facility.  The issue that we are dealing with now in VERY stressful and know I am doing everything in my power to repair these greens.  I need/will change my management philosophies and do more to protect this course.  I have been too ‘player friendly’ and it’s not helping.  I have heard hundreds of times “this is how we always do it” and “we’ve always opened first” and honestly, that’s not getting us anywhere.  We need to do things for the right reason and not because its what’s been done in the past.  There will be push back from a group of members, but I will take that rather than what we’re dealing with now.         

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Flower Time

Now that the last frost has come and gone, the annual flower beds have been planted and ready for mulch.  The beds add a nice splash of color for the season.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Tree Planting

A big thank you to the 41 Club for funding the planting of 15 new trees! #2 Tee, #7,#8,#9 Tee and #15 (protecting #14 Tee) is where you will see the new trees.  These fill voids where trees have been lost over the years and also give some color to the #9 Tee complex area with the addition of three flowering Crabs.  Thank you 41 Club members for all of your support!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Spring Core Aerification

Today we will be wrapping up the Greens aerification process.  As you can see from the images below, we used a smaller tine (1/4") on tight spacing (2").  By using the smaller tine, it will speed up the healing process and still give us the results we're looking for from an agronomic prospective.  Playability wise, the greens will be rolling quick and smooth come Wednesday. 


Monday, April 6, 2015

#15 Rough

This winter we removed 8 Pine trees that sat between the cart path and Maples along #15 fairway.  Now that they are removed, we graded the area, seeded, fertilized and covered with a mat.  This cleans up the area and in the coming months, we'll have playable turf.  Please avoid this area until the ropes have been removed.  It will speed up the establishment as well.
Update- April 27,2015
After 2.5 weeks, here is what the area looks like now.  We have great germination going on under the matting and we're a few weeks away from it's first mowing.  HUGE difference!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

American Elm (#2 Tee)

Yesterday (during the morning rainstorm), we lost the tree that sits on the southeast corner of #2 Tee (left of #10 fairway).  Not only did this tree help protect #2 Tee from tee shots from #10, but it was the most visible target when teeing off from the reservoir.  This picture really does not do the tree justice as it was easily one of the tallest trees on the property.  Where the tree is snapped off, it easily sits 20 feet in the air.  Next month when we're planting new trees on #7/#8/#9, we will add 2 or 3 trees to replace this one.  Thank you to Dref's Tree Service for getting here first thing to help get it cleaned up!       

Cart Path Work (Turf Pavers)

This week, we have started repairing the washed out entrance/exit points on cart paths.  We have identified the worst paths and that's where we will begin our repairs.  The images above are of #5 path by the green.  This area has been sodded several times, but eventually turns to mud and then washes down the slope.  By installing the turf pavers, we are providing stability to the surface and this will help prevent more washouts.  In the square portion of the pavers, we are filling with a sand/seed blend which will help mask the paver appearance.  Even with no grass, we still have a firm surface that won't wash out or turn in to a muddy area.  Other areas that we will complete are: #2 Green (completed), #14/#15 on both ends and #17. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

First Mowing...

Yesterday, we mowed greens and fairways for the first time this season.  The course came out of winter with no issues and will be open for carts today (Friday the 13th) @ noon.  Thank you for always filling divots and repairing your ball marks.  Enjoy this beautiful stretch of weather this weekend!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

New Sign: #7 Tee

Jose put more of his dremeling skills to the test this week.  As you can see from the picture above, we are getting rid of the old sign (on the right) and have made a new sign that will hang underneath of the tee sign.  Not only is the one spelled correctly, it is off the ground and is easily visible to for the golfer. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Yardage Stakes-Complete

Below are how the completed yardage post turned out.  Jose did a great job and we can't wait for the weather to break and get them out (along with all the other upgrades) on the course!


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Yardage Post Conversion (In Progress)

Each number is carefully engraved using a router.  Takes time and precision.
On the left, is the old recycled plastic look.  On the right is the new post in the making. 
Here is an example of the new look.  They will be stained and color coded the same as the tee markers (Black, White and Green). 

With Spring on the horizon, we are completing the last amenity project (conversion to natural wood).  Here, we are eliminating the recycled plastic yardage markers and making our own out of 4x4 posts.  Once we get the post cut down to desired height we sand, router, stain, paint and protect with a spar urethane.  The post that were previously red, white and blue will now be green, white, and black.  The reasoning is to use the existing colors of the tee markers concept and carry them into the entire property and keep the color scheme consistent.  The tops of the post will be painted with the corresponding color along with the numbers. 
The color scheme will be: 
These will add a nice touch to the property and will tie in perfectly with all the other projects we've completed.  Stay tuned for the final pictures.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Action Shot!

Here is a neat video Adam filmed while I removed an Elm tree on the right side of #2 Green (along the path).  We will have the stump ground out and add it to the list of stumps that need to be filled & sodded this Spring! Enjoy!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Last of the Major Tree Removal and Cleanup

With the ground frozen, we have finished the last of the 'major' tree work that was planned for this winter.  All the clean up in the areas is complete and stumps have been ground.  Come Spring, we'll fill the old stump holes (20) and sod.  With the nice weather in the forecast, we'll head out and trim up all the 'suckers'  and low branches with our pole saw.  The course appearance/tree health is greatly improved and will make a huge impact moving forward  If you decide to walk this week, please be aware of the stump holes (marked with green stakes) and stay away from the area.