Thursday, July 1, 2021

One day closer to winter

 We have passed the mid-point of the year 2021!  We have cycled from cold to warm to very cold, dry to wet to very wet to very dry and now back to wet.  If you live around here, and don't like the weather, just wait a little while and it will probably change.  

This year seems to be flying by.  It is already July 1st, and thanks to Mother Nature, the course is still green and lush.  While I am sure that we will have more hot and dry weather that will test the maintenance staff and our ability to keep the grass healthy, I am hopeful that we will continue to get periodic rainfall.  Even though the course is irrigated it is never as good as actual rainfall from the sky.  Although we have struggled at times to maintain the course with large amounts of rain over several days, the rain does make the job easier and allow for other work to get done that might not happen otherwise. 

There is nothing that any of us can do to change the weather.  The meteorologists can't even predict it with any accuracy.  Superintendents always have an eye on the sky and multiple weather applications on their phones.  Even so, we still don't know what is going to happen until it does.  The work day for the maintenance staff can change in a moment because of the weather, and it is frequently causing stress.  The summer is undoubtedly the most difficult time of the year to grow grass, particularly cool season grass like we have at Sycamore Ridge.  When I hit the stressful days of the summer
season, I like to remind myself that we are one day closer to winter.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Keeping number two green healthy.

 Number two green has been the biggest challenge on the course for all of the years I have worked here.  We have tried everything that we can think of to keep all of it alive for an entire season.  There have been years that we have not had to lay new sod on that green, but over the last several years it has required new sod in the same areas each year.

We have checked the irrigation coverage,  inspected the drainage lines,  blended the sub surface root zone mix, removed trees to reduce shade and improve air movement.  A new more powerful fan was installed to increase air movement,  and outside consultants have been brought in to identify any problems.  Last fall when new sod was installed, we removed half of the root zone mix, replaced it with new, and blended it in.  We have tried using products to improve the soil microbial populations, along with additional synthetic chemicals to help maintain plant health and vigor.  Mowing height on that green has been raised to allow for more leaf surface to help the plant produce better roots and improve health.

Earlier this month Heartland Golf and Turf Services came to the course and performed the DryJect process on number two green.  This process utilizes high pressure water to inject sand into the root zone.  This accomplishes many of the same things that an aerification would do, but with less disruption to play.  As the sand is injected, it blends with the existing mix, and improves water and air movement while creating channels for the roots to grow down.

We will continue to work to find the best solution or solutions to keep the entire green healthy all season long.  There are new products that we will apply, additional cultivation steps that will be taken, along with additional investigations to identify any existing problems.  So far this year, it is in great shape.  Hopefully it stays that way.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Rounds 4 Research

 As a golf course superintendent, I have learned that the science around my job is constantly changing.  It would be impossible for me to stay up-to-date on all of the information that changes from year-to-year.  All superintendents rely other entities to research new products, and then educate us on the results.  The only way that these researchers such as universities can perform the research is with money provided by outside sources.  

Right now there is a great opportunity for you to help support this research and education.  The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America through their Environmental Institute for Golf is having a Rounds 4 Research auction.  Golf courses from across the United States have donated rounds of golf at their facilities.  The proceeds from this auction will help make a positive difference for the future of the game through research, education and advocacy.  

Sycamore Ridge along with 41 other courses in Kansas and Missouri have donated rounds to this great cause.  More than 1000 facilities from all fifty states have donated rounds.

This might be an excellent opportunity for you to save a few dollars, or perhaps play that one golf course that is on your bucket list that you just can't find a way to play.  

Please take some time and follow the link below to the Bidding For Good website, and look through the options available.

If you are lucky enough to win any of these great rounds of golf, know that your purchase price will help all superintendents improve golfing conditions.  Thank You!

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Great Weather for Golf

 The golf course has really greened up over the last few weeks.  The fairways have been mowed a couple of times.  The first cut on the rough was done this week.  I hear that the greens are rolling quite nicely.  We have our aerification scheduled for April 26&27 this spring.  Doing the aerification that late, should make for a shorter time for healing them back in.  

Work on a golf course in the spring always seems to pile up.  Chemical applications or burning that must be delayed because of high winds, work that can't be done because of excess moisture.  Each year, it seems that we are fighting with Mother Nature to get caught up on the work required on the course.  Don't get me wrong, I love watching the course come out of it's winter dormancy, return to the lush green color and spring back to life.  I am simply complaining about the weather and how it can complicate the work that must get done.  The work will get done, we will just wait until Mother Nature gives us proper conditions.

This time every year, I like to remind my readers that do their own lawn work, that it is time for your application of pre-emergent herbicide.  I was taught that it needs to be applied and watered in before tax day, April 15th.  This application can be combined with a broadleaf weed control to help keep your lawn weed free all season long.  You still have a couple of weeks to get it done, and hopefully you can get a window of weather that works for you.

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.