Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Aerification Time????

Most golf courses wouldn't even be thinking about Fall aerification yet.  Here at Sycamore Ridge, we really aren't thinking about it any more.  As I write this blog, we are putting the finishing touches on our fall aerification.  This unbelievably cool weather allowed us to aerify all of the greens on the course over the last two days.

Many people would ask why so early?  Well, we saw an opportunity and we took it.  Aerification was actually scheduled to happen in two weeks, but the long range forecast showed the heat returning to our area.  With a busy fall event schedule, we new that if we didn't get it done before mid August, our next window of opportunity would be in October.  The recent break in the heat, was the perfect time to get it done. 

Getting this done was a surprise to all of us, including myself.  I know that I inconvenienced some golfers in the process, and for that I apologize.  This aerification was not even thought about until yesterday morning.  Fortunately the Tee-sheet was light enough and the Pro-shop staff was supportive, making it possible.

I know that the heat will return later this week and the greens may require a little more attention over the month of August, but they will heal in very quickly and be in excellent condition when the other courses in the area are doing the aerification on their greens.  Again, I apologize to anyone that I upset with this last minute decision, and I appreciate your understanding and support.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Home Irrigation Tips

I was going to use this month to tell you about another group of our staff members, but I have come up with a more timely topic.  How should I be watering my home lawn?  I choose to discuss this topic for two reasons, 1) I had a friend call me to ask how he could best utilize his home irrigation system, 2) I wish my neighbor would ask me how he should use his home irrigation system. My suggestions are a way to reduce the cost of lawn irrigation, as well as helping to maintain a healthier yard all summer long.
Image result for wet yard

A "set it and forget it" approach to lawn irrigation is not the way to do it.  You must constantly monitor each zone for excessive wetness, as well as dryness.  Over watering is expensive, leads to a shallow root system,  and creates a good environment for disease.  If you do not take an active role in the watering of your lawn, you are likely to be watering too much. 

Watch the weather forecast, and turn off the system if precipitation is in the forecast.  Watering grass is best when done deep and infrequently.  This means that you should water heavy and then wait until the turf shows the first signs of stress from being dry.  If a heavy rainfall occurs, this is the perfect time for a reset on the system.  Shut it off for a few days and see what areas stress first.  When turf begins to stress from drought, it will take on a bluish/purple hue.  When a zone starts to stress, turn that zone back on but you shouldn't need to turn them all on.  Watch to see the progression of your yard, areas that stress faster, should be watered more frequently.  Some zones may need many more minutes of water per event than other zones.  If all of your zones are getting the same water cycle on a set schedule, you are most likely watering too much.

Image result for turf drought stress

Image result for healthy turf

Finding a balance between too much and too little water will take a little effort, it can lead to savings on water cost, and a healthier lawn that is better suited to handle the summer stress of Kansas.  Taking the time to learn how your own yard receives and releases water is the first step.  Just because your grass looks lush and green from a distance, does not mean that it is healthy.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Meet Our Team

We have a dedicated group of individuals that work on the maintenance team, coming from various backgrounds. Each employee brings different knowledge and expertise to our facility.  I am going to use the blog over the next few months to introduce you to the maintenance staff.

I have always found that the backbone of a golf course maintenance team is best constructed of retired individuals.  Here at Sycamore Ridge, we have six employees that have retired from previous careers and have dedicated their time and energy to helping maintain the golf course.  These guys cut the rough, fairways, and tees, along with other daily tasks such as cup cutting, and greens mowing.  Without these individuals and the work they provide, the golf course would not look as nice as it does.

Edwin Hodge and Dallas Uhrich cut greens and fairways at Sycamore Ridge.  Ed is a retired School superintendent with family in Spring Hill and his granddaughter works in the Food and Beverage Department at the course.  Dallas was  Director of a residential addiction facility before retiring to spend his days on the golf course.  Dallas works on the course during the summer and then heads South to Texas to avoid the winter in Kansas.

Robert Green and Mark Voigt mow all of the rough on the course.  Robert was an ASE Certified Auto Mechanic, he hopes to play more golf this year, and spend less time weeding flowers at home.  Mark was a long time member at Sycamore Ridge before he retired as a Sr. Director of Organization Development to work on the course and his farm along with an occasional round of golf.

Roger Goodrich and Mike Johnson regularly mow tees, and whatever else is asked of them.  Roger owned a John Deere dealership in Illinois before retiring and moving with his wife to KC to be closer their children and grandchildren. Before retiring to the golf course, Mike sold aftermarket truck equipment and accessories.

All of these guys are excellent to work with.  In one way or another, they are all role models for me as well as the rest of the staff.  They have over 360 years of combined life experiences, the expertise that can be learned from them is mind blowing.   I look up to these guys, and often ask for advise, or knowledge and information that they have to share.  The rest of my staff is built around this core group, and it is a true honor and pleasure to have them all on my team.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Now is the time to control weeds for the season!!!

I am often asked by golfers about how they should take care of their home lawns.  The answer to that question is longer than I wish to write in this blog.  However, the most important step to a healthy full lawn that is free of most weeds is an easy answer.  Now is the time to be applying a pre-emergent herbicide to you lawn.  My normal rule of thumb is to have this application down by tax day.  With the cold conditions we have had recently, that deadline could be extended by a week or two.

Image result for lawn weeds

The intention of a spring application of pre-emergent herbicide is to keep summer annual weeds from germinating and causing season long problems.  The two primary targets of this application are crabgrass and goosegrass.  By making a proper application of a chemical called prodiamine, you can keep these grassy weeds out of your yard for the entire season.  If an application of a broad-leaf weed killer is made around the same time, your yard can be virtually weed free all summer long.

Image result for lawn

If you are needing to plant more seed in your yard, a pre-emergent herbicide is not what you need to be doing now.  A pre-emergent application will also keep grass seed from growing.  If the grass has germinated, but is still immature, the herbicide can kill it.  Please remember to follow the directions on all chemical and fertilizer applications that you make to your yard.  You may think that "if a little is good, more is better" but sometimes more means dead.

If you ever have questions about how to improve or maintain your lawn, please find me at the course and ask.  I am happy to share any knowledge that I have.  I won't come do it for you, but I will tell you how to do it.

If you want to know all of the answers, here is a link to a guide put out by K-State Research and Extension.


Thursday, March 1, 2018

2018 Golf Industry Show

I had the pleasure of attending the 2018 Golf Industry Show in San Antonio, Texas last month.  There were 11,700 attendees participating in over 100 educational seminars and sessions.  The education covered topics from Soil Microbiology to Professional Development.  This is an opportunity to meet with peers and gather information to help provide a better golf course for our customers.

In addition to the education, the GIS includes the worlds largest golf course management trade show.  The trade show had 531 exhibitors with over 184,000 square feet of exhibit space.  I spent two full days on the trade show floor meeting with my local product representatives, and building new relationships.  There were new tools, ideas, services, chemicals, and equipment to learn about.


It is important for the facility that we stay up to date on the latest and greatest tools and knowledge in the golf industry so that the efforts invested in the course, continue to provide the best results.  This was a very productive Golf Industry Show for me.  I came home with many new theories to investigate and possibly implement at Sycamore Ridge.  Most things that will be tried on the course you may never see, but hopefully, over time you will notice a difference.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Feedback requested!!!!

As the maintenance staff works through the winter we will be doing additional brush clearing around the course.  We are looking for feedback from the golfers about how we could improve the playability of Sycamore Ridge.  If you have a thought about how we could make a change to the course that would make your round more enjoyable, I would love to hear it.  Primarily, I am looking for ideas about areas that become excessively penal with just a SLIGHTLY errant shot.  In other words, if a golf hole has an area where a shot misses a fairway or green by just a little bit, and the ball bounces into an unplayable area and you think this issue could be easily remedied, please tell me about it.

I do not promise to deliver on all suggestions, and some may be taken to committee, but your thoughts and ideas are important to us.

Methods to communicate your ideas are as follows;
1) pdavids@orion-mgmt.com
2) 913-592-2085 Office phone number
3) Find me at the course.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Winter maintenance

Winter is quickly approaching and around this time of year I am always asked what we do in maintenance during the winter months.  This months blog will hopefully shed some light on what we do during the "off season" and how those things prepare us for a successful transition to spring.

This is the time of year when we in maintenance can take a deep breath and reflect on the previous season, celebrate our successes, and address any issues we may have had.  A great deal of time is spent planning for the next year and looking at ways we can improve upon the last season.  We attend various educational conferences to learn about new products and/or techniques being used on the golf course that can help us tackle issues that we may face here at Sycamore Ridge.  It is also the time of year when we can address other areas on the course that are sometimes difficult to address during the season.  Some of these areas could include tree and brush clearing, drainage work, and general upkeep of on course accessories.  A large part of the winter is also used for equipment maintenance.  Each piece of equipment is serviced, mowers are washed and waxed, and blades and reels are sharpened.  All of the the work and preparation that takes place over the winter months allows us to be as prepared as we can be for the challenges of the season ahead.

The winter months also bring with them a need for extra diligence on the part of the golfer to be aware of stressed areas on the golf course.  The turf will eventually go dormant and any recuperation from traffic patterns, ball marks, divots, and general wear and tear is greatly diminished.  Please help us out by fixing ball marks on the greens, filling or replacing divots and paying attention to traffic patterns as you play the course this winter and remember to take the path less traveled!