Friday, August 26, 2016

Construction Update

The rain continues to fall in large amounts including another 0.7 inches last night.  We have now recorded 7.7 inches of rain in the last two weeks.  Based on Environment Canada averages, this is 2-3 months worth of rain.  The wet weather has created a number of problems for us and it really highlights the fact that the course plays much better when I can control the water.  It is much easier to add water than to take it away.

The biggest issue with regards to the course is green speed.  While the rain makes for really vibrant green grass, it also makes for soft conditions and slow green speed.  There are also more un-repaired ball marks then I've seen in a long time.  Please take the time to repair your ball mark and one will really help!  As I've mentioned before, I really can't push for green speed when the conditions are soft without risking mechanical damage to the putting surfaces.  The rain will eventually stop and the green speed will get back to normal.  It's been a year of extremes in weather and we have been conservative with our practices.  Slow greens are better than damaged greens in the long run.  The following link is to an article from the USGA Green Section that sums up my thinking nicely:

The other issue we are dealing with is of course cart path construction.  We have had paving scheduled several times only to have to cancel because it is too wet.  The latest update is that we are scheduled to pave on Monday August 29th. The contractor will be in on Sunday to touch up the paths so they are ready for paving.  Yes, I have seen the forecast for 70% chance of thunderstorms on Sunday afternoon but I am trying to ignore it! Curbing will happen about a week after paving and then we can finally be done with this project.  Thank you for your continued patience.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Construction Update

We have had 4.5 inches of rain in the last 7 days which has delayed our cart path construction.  Our original plan was to pave the new paths last Monday which was then delayed until today.  Unfortunately, it is still too wet so the current plan is to pave on Monday the 22nd.  Hopefully it stops raining and we can complete the work and get everything cleaned up and sodded soon.

The recent rains have made things very soft
All the rain and humidity has also created some other problems.  Green speed has definitely been slower.  We have 85 year old greens that don't have internal drainage.  This means that when they get wet, they stay wet for longer than I would like which results in bigger ball marks and slower greens.  I can not push for green speed when they are soft because it will create other problems like scalping and mechanical injury.  We just have to wait until the greens dry out a little before we can get the greens back up to speed.  Late this fall, we will be trying a process known as, "drill and fill" on our greens. In a nutshell this puts deep channels of sand in our greens to help with internal drainage.  The expected result is that the greens will be more consistent in wet weather and not lose as much speed.  I will explain this process in more detail in the fall.  For now, we just have to hope for dryer weather going forward.

Please knock the sand off your shoes after exiting the bunker
   This morning I noticed that someone had played out of the bunker behind #3 green.  The raking in the bunker was not very well done and then sand was tracked on the green.  Please remember to knock the sand off your shoes before walking on the green and creating a mess for the golfers behind you to putt through.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Cart Path Improvement Update

The new path on #5 is roughed in and filled with gravel so it can now be driven on.  It's a great improvement on the visual side as you can see from the picture below:

The new path on #5 
The new alignment will also greatly reduce the number of balls hitting the path.  At the moment, we are scheduled for paving on Monday followed by curbing shortly after.  We will then landscape up to the curb and install new sod to complete the work.


The forecast for the next few days is calling for some very hot and humid weather - possibly the hottest stretch of the summer so far. With that in mind we are going to be a little conservative with green speeds until the weather breaks.  We've already had a fair amount of stress on our turf this season and we want to ensure we set ourselves up for a strong finish to the summer and smooth transition into fall. For us, the golf season, is a marathon, not a sprint.  We don't want to push too hard during stressful weather and struggle to make it to the finish line!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Cart Path Improvement Update

The paths near #2 green and #9 green have been realigned and filled with gravel so they are once again usable.  We shifted them slightly further from the greens on both 2 and 9 to reduce the risk of mishit shots hitting the paths. We also fixed the low spot on #9 so that there will no longer be water trapped there after it rains.

The construction crew is now working on the path near #5 green. This involves a big change in alignment which can be seen in the picture below:

The new path on #5 shifts out of view 
This will shift the path out of play and out of view.  The current path is quite obtrusive and is very much in play so this will be a substantial improvement.  Again, thank you for your patience during this time of improvements.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Cart Path Construction Update

Fertilizer from the Sky

We finally received some much needed precipitation early Monday morning.  Our weather station recorded 1.1 inches of rain which really helped green everything up.  There was also quite a light show with lots of spectacular lightning which helps all plants by providing fertilizer.  Here's how: Our atmosphere is 78% nitrogen but in a form that is unavailable to plants. In a thunderstorm there is enough electrical energy in lightning to separate the nitrogen atoms in the air. Once the atoms are separated they can fall to earth with rain water, and combine with minerals in the soil to form nitrates, a type of fertilizer.  The video below describes the process in more detail if you're a science geek like me:  

So that inch or so of rain combined with plenty of lightning has created a bit of a growth surge.  We couldn't mow much on Monday because of the saturated soils so we are now in full blown catch up mode to get things under control before the long weekend.

Monday's thunderstorm has really greened everything up!
#8 looking great!
Cart Path Construction

We are currently working on the paths near #2 green and #9 green.  The first step is to remove the old asphalt which gets taken back to the asphalt plant by the paving company for recycling. We then re-align the paths as needed and dig the new cavity.  The cavity is filled with gravel and then paving and curbing takes place.  Final grading and sodding around the new paths/curbing finishes the job. We should have the paths at #2 and #9 ready for asphalt this week and then we will move on to the path at #5 Green.  Paving will be done when everything is ready for asphalt.  Thank you for your understanding during this time of improvements.

Removing old asphalt on #2

Friday, July 22, 2016

Summer Update

It's July 22nd and it's been a great summer so far.  It has certainly been hot and dry but we have a very good irrigation system as well as a reliable water source so we are managing pretty well.  It's actually a good test of the irrigation system and how well it is holding up.  Irrigation systems installed in Southern Ontario are designed with the expectation that we will get rain.  Environment Canada data tells us that on average we should get about 3 inches of rain in each of June, July, and August. We are well below average year to date. An irrigation system installed in Arizona would have many more sprinklers covering every area of turf because they do not expect to get rain. All things considered, our 15 year old system is still performing very well.

#1 green with sprinklers running

Course Improvements

As part of our ongoing course improvement plan, we will be rebuilding the cart paths and curbing at #2 green, #9 green, and #5 green beginning on Monday July 25th.  I will update this blog regularly through the construction period to keep everyone informed as to what area of the course we are working in.  This work will have minimal impact on play and will not involve closing any golf holes.  Thank you for your understanding during this time of improvements.

Next update: early next week

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The 100 Days

As we approach the Victoria Day long weekend, we are entering into the best part of the golf season.  The 100 or so days from Victoria Day to Labour Day are prime time for golf in Southern Ontario.  This is also when the course will receive the most play. On that note, I would like to remind everyone about the proper etiquette that we all need to demonstrate when we play.  Below is a post I put up last year.  It was well received so I am re-posting it as a friendly reminder:

One thing I notice in my travels around the course is that we seem to have three different types of members with regard to care for the course:   

Type 1 is the member who takes great pride in the care of the course.  This member will fix his or her ball mark and three others.  You won’t know that they have even been in the bunker after they have finished raking it.  Divots are always replaced with great care and you will see this member instructing others how to properly complete these tasks. 

Type 2 is the member who makes an effort but falls a little short.  His or her ball mark repairs will leave a little scar; there will be an effort to rake the bunkers but the results aren’t perfect.  Divots are replaced but with no regard to fit them in the way they came out.    

Type 3 is the member who does nothing.  He or she either doesn’t know the proper etiquette or chooses to ignore it. 

It’s hard to say exactly but I would like to think that we don’t have many type 3’s.  We have a pretty big group of Type 2’s and a smaller group of type 1’s.  With a little extra effort, the type 2 can become a type 1 rather easily.  It doesn’t take much more time to complete these tasks perfectly and the golfers behind you will thank you!  We are a private club and should all pitch in to ensure the conditions are as great as possible for our fellow members.

One etiquette rule that is misunderstood by just about everyone is where to take pull carts near the greens.  Pull carts should NEVER be taken between a green and bunker.  These areas are very narrow and repeated traffic affects turf quality significantly.    

The following are links to videos produced by the USGA to educate golfers – please take a few minutes to watch them:

Golf Cart and Pull Cart Etiquette:

Bunker Etiquette:

How to Repair Ball Marks: