Please see the before and after photos below from the lake bank work that was recently completed along the 11th and 12th holes of the Bear golf course. We used the geotube method to create a gradual slope down to the water's edge. This is a long term repair that will create a safer, more aesthetically pleasing and more playable area.
We finally closed the Bobcat course last week to begin aerifying/verticutting/topdressing the new greens. As we started we quickly noticed and indicator of our green's health...extensive white, fiberous roots. When turf plants are afflicted with pests such as root-born disease or microscopic nematode worms the roots will appear brown/black and decrease in size. The photo below shows that your greens are VERY healthy going in to our busy cultural season.
While investigating some poorly draining areas of #2 Bear we discovered some clogged drain lines that provided some amazing photos. The drain line ran right underneath some cypress trees just left of the cart path. The roots grew into the pipe and began to spread out. In order to get into the pipe to clean it we had to cut our way in with an electric saw (see photo below).
Once the pipe was open, we could extract the 9'+ of fibrous roots that were crammed into the pipe. Problem solved! This area left of #2 green should drain much better now.
As we prepare for our summer closures we want to communicate our expectations of how conditions will improve upon completion of our summer cultural practices on your new Bobcat golf course. On May 16, 2016 we will close the Bobcat for 3 weeks to begin our summer cultural work. This will include aerifying, verticutting and topdressing our greens, tees, fairways and rough. Since the Bobcat is a new course and many of the areas have never seen the practices mentioned above, there will be huge benefits next season once the course has begun to mature and experienced these turf-health enhancing processes.
-Aerification: "Poking holes" helps alleviate compaction (which is a prevalent problem on new courses) and will allow water to soak into the root zone as opposed to running off the surface to a drain. This will reduce the drought stress we are currently witnessing and also improve the playability by making the greens more receptive. Aerification in conjunction with rolling will also help to smooth some of the bumpiness in fairways. In the photograph below it is easy to see where our sub-surface drain lines are located. The compacted soil around the drain lines is causing water to flow to the drains, which is why those spots are green and not impacted as much by drought.
-Verticutting: Verticutting or vertical mowing is the process we use to thin out the grass and allow it to rejuvenate. It removes the detrimental thatch layer and helps to smooth and firm the playing surfaces. In the video below you will notice the massive amount of thatch, stem and runner mass that is removed.
-Topdressing: Once holes are open we will topdress greens and tees. This will help to perfect the smoothness of the Bobcat greens and aid in providing sand drainage channels and smoothing tees.
This winter we are making numerous improvements to the drainage systems on both courses. The plastic catch basins below may work fine in your yard, but in a commercial setting such as a golf course, more heavy duty basins are necessary.
Heavy duty PVC basins such as the ones below cost around $200 each. We are manufacturing our own using extra pipe we have around the shop for $50 each. These more durable replacements will be able to withstand the weight of a 4-ton tractor much better that the residential plastic drains above.
You may also notice the new rock around some basins in native areas. This is done in an effort to keep debris from blocking the drains during heavy rains. Now is a great time to take care of these housekeeping issues ahead of the summer rains.
The link below will take you to a slide show update from the United States Golf Association regarding the unusually wet conditions we have been experiencing this El Nino winter season. Many of the photos look as though they could have been taken here at The Forest:
This smartphone screen shot has been common recently. As you can see in the slide show, course care issues such as obeying cart signage/restrictions, repairing ball marks and properly filling divots are critical for the overall enjoyment.
As you are probably aware, the past few weeks have been very challenging for the course maintenance staff. The record-breaking rainfall, substantial winds, lack of sufficient sunlight and greatly fluctuating temperatures have tested the nerves of your staff and tested the plant's ability to cope with these conditions. The information below helps put January rainfall in perspective.
At the time this BLOG posting, we have received 14.7" of rain this month.
The average rainfall for January in Fort Myers is 1.8"
The previous RECORD for January was 7.46" set in 1958, we have nearly doubled that this month.
Nearly 90 million gallons of water have fallen on TFCC property this month. That's equivalent to:
2 minutes of flow over Niagara Falls, both Horseshoe and Bridal Veil falls.
136 Olympic size swimming pools
80% of the TOTAL amount of irrigation used on both courses in 2015.