Friday, February 26, 2021

What comes next?

 I heard someone comment today that the groundhog decided to pack his six more weeks of winter into one week.  That was some brutally cold weather we had in the middle of February.  We didn't get as much snow as we could have, but we were snow covered for a week and a half.  I don't think that winter is over yet, but the forecast for the next couple of weeks looks pretty mild. 

Golfers are returning to the course, taking advantage of the nicer weather.  The maintenance team will be doing the same.  We will be getting started on burning our native areas, resuming some maintenance practices on the greens, finishing up more projects, and getting the course ready for the season.  After the season of 2020 we don't know what to expect in 2021, but we hope that we will be better prepared to handle whatever comes our way.

The burnt native areas will be quite a contrast to the snow cover we have recently had.  Burning allows us to more effectively control the weed populations in the native areas, helps it to green up more quickly, and keeps the overall health of these areas better.  (It also makes it easier for golfers to find their golf balls for a few weeks.)

Enjoy the weather as it looks mild for a couple of weeks.  Winter will probably be back before summer gets here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Follow us on Twitter

The maintenance team is going to do a better job of communicating with our golfers via Twitter.  In an attempt to improve our day to day communications with golfers about course conditions, we will be utilizing Twitter more often.  Course closures, cart path only, as well as other important course maintenance information will be posted on Twitter.  You can follow us at @sycamoreridgekc.  

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Happy New Year?

Things were challenging for everyone in 2020.  I thought about blogging on the difficulties that the year has thrust upon us.  After thinking about it, I realized that looking back would not do any good.  I want to keep it simple following this year that has been everything but simple.

I sincerely hope that each and everyone of you has a wonderful 2021.

Monday, November 30, 2020

Cart Path Only


    As the image above demonstrates, the cart path at Sycamore Ridge is wide enough for two carts to pass while keeping all eight tires on the path.  This knowledge is going to become very important over the next few months.  As most of you know, the majority of courses in the Kansas City golf market have zoysia grass tees and fairways.  The zoysia goes dormant and brown in the winter months.  When this happens, most courses restrict cart traffic to the path to help protect the grass.  Creeping bentgrass, the primary grass in the fairways at Sycamore Ridge, as well as fescue, and bluegrass, are only different in the fact that they do not turn as brown as zoysia when they go dormant.  All grasses, in this region, stop growing during the winter months and go dormant.  Because of this, management at Sycamore Ridge has decided to restrict carts to the path only for the next few months.  The desired goal for this move is to prevent additional damage to the traffic stressed areas throughout  the course.  This sacrifice will create better playing conditions around the course in the spring.

    This time of year, we also begin removing some tees from the course.  The black and yellow tee markers will be removed soon.  If you normally play from either of these tee boxes, feel free to continue doing so.  We are removing the tee markers to reduce the time spent on maintenance moving tees through the winter months, and keep the markers from killing any grass underneath them.

    A significant amount of sod was installed on the course last month.  It is rooting down nicely, and should look great in the spring.  I really appreciate the care that you have taken to keep traffic off of these sodded areas, this will pay dividends in the long run.

    The maintenance staff is looking forward to a very productive winter with more irrigation installation, several tees will be enlarged, tree removal, and brush clearing, all of this is being done to provide you with the best playing conditions.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

October Snow

It's the end of October and we have already had our first measurable snowfall of the season!  Despite the early brush of winter weather, the more seasonable fall temperatures will return soon and that means we can get back to work on some needed rejuvenation projects around the golf course.  We experienced a huge surge in rounds this season and while it is great to see so many people out enjoying the golf course, all of that extra traffic really took its toll on some of the more sensitive areas of the golf course.  Cart and foot traffic combined with late summer heat and drought really stressed some of the higher traffic areas of the course.  The seeding of tees and fairways is already underway and will continue in the weeks ahead.  With the cooler temperatures and wetter weather, we should really start seeing some germination where seed has already been planted.  Sod will be needed to fix some of the worst areas where seeding would not address the issues in a timely manner.  We have already begun work in some of these areas.  The exit area of the fairway on hole number one was sodded last week.  We also laid sod around the the greenside bunker.        

The new sod around this bunker will fix a bare area that resulted in contamination of the sand with soil.  We can now remove the contaminated sand and replace it with fresh white sand returning it to its original condition and greatly improving the appearance of the bunker complex around the green.  We did similar sod work along the first bunker on hole number 2 as well as along the cart path separating the first and second fairways.

The mainline leak on hole number 3 has been fixed and sod has been laid.  We backfilled along the top of the hillside on hole 3 and replaced sod in this area as well.

The walk up areas leading to the white and blue tee boxes were also stripped of weak turf and sodded with fresh fescue fixing the washed out areas along the cart path and really improving the look of these areas.

We also replaced sod around the greenside bunker on hole five and along the cart path next to the black and blue tee boxes on hole 6.  The walk on to the green on hole 16 was also completely stripped,  leveled and sodded.

Overall, 7 pallets of sod were laid last week and that is just the beginning of our plans this fall.  We have sub-contracted with an outside company who will come in and address some larger areas that will need soil and sod work.  This work will be underway very soon and is going to make huge improvements to areas that have needed attention for the past few years.  Having this work subcontracted will allow our maintenance staff to focus on other areas of the golf course.  Fall is a busy time here at Sycamore Ridge but it will be an exciting time for us all.  We can't wait for you to see all the improvements we will be making so STAY TUNED!

Friday, October 2, 2020

Frost Delay Already????

Today is October 2nd, and the course had its firs frost delay this morning.  This has to be as early a frost as I can remember in my years as a golf course superintendent.  This creates a perfect opportunity to once again discuss why we delay play when we have frost on the grass.  It really is quite simple, when there is frost on a blade of grass, and you apply traffic to that grass, the edges of the frost will puncture the cell wall of the grass and kill all of the cells.  If the crown of the grass is punctured, the entire plant will die.

As we get to November, we will shift our stating tee to number ten everyday.  The back nine always becomes ready to play much faster than the front nine. The sun exposure is much quicker on the back nine, plus the lower elevation on the front nine are the reasons for this.  The colder morning will require that we move our first tee time later to minimize delays caused by the frost.  We do all of this to prevent damage to the grass that can happen as easily as someone walking on it.

We do everything we can to minimize your inconvenience as golfers, and realize that your time is valuable.  So please know that we will always get you on the course as soon as it is safe for the grass.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Steps Toward Healing

As we approach cooler temperatures and shorter days, the maintenance staff begins to take steps to heal the course, and prepare it for future golf rounds.  Over the next few weeks you will see sodding on greens, seeding of tees, fairways, and rough, and even aerification.  These projects can be disruptive to golfers, but are necessary to keep the course playable year round.

 The greens that were sodded last year, have stayed relatively healthy all season long, except for the large areas of sod.  Our first project will be to get these areas replaced with new sod again.  This year we will pull out some of the existing root zone mix and replace it with new.  Many tests have been run to identify the problem with these areas but no answer has been found.  Hopefully if we replace this sod earlier than normal, we can get it to establish better roots that will keep it alive longer.

We have tentative aerification dates for August 12 & 13.  Weather will be the deciding factor on those dates.  Our fallback dates are September 8 & 9.  Seeding will get started as soon as time allows.  Fall is the best time for over-seeding because of warm soil temperatures which help the seed to germinate more quickly.

Please forgive any disruption to your golf game as we work to keep the course playable for future rounds of golf.