Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Spring Irrigation start-up

Every spring we start up the irrigation system at Metamora Golf and Country Club. Unlike fall when we remove the water with a large air compressor we fill the entire system with water. It typically takes us an entire day to fill the system with water and get things under operating pressure. In the spring, soils are soft and if you rush the start up, pipe, fitting and heads can move and leaks can be the result. Several days are then spent removing air, testing the irrigation satellites and the sprinkler heads themselves. Another thing I like to do is inspect isolation valves. These valves are used to shut off water to certain areas of the golf course so repairs can be made with out shutting down the entire system. We also use spring time to make sure we are stocked with the proper repair parts, when leaks or other problems with the system arise. Below are several pictures.

Leak from late last fall being dug for repair
Isolation valve top being cleaned

Valve boxes leveled
Sprinkler heads on #13 being tested

Broken valve box removed

New valve box instillation
Irrigation parts inventory

Monday, March 28, 2016


Collars are an area of the green that can sometimes lose their size and shape over time. We are reclaiming the uniformity of the collars and narrowing the width to 22 inches.  This width will be consistent for every collar on the golf course except the nursery green. The nursery green collar will be left a bit wider in case we ever need to harvest from it in the future. To narrow the collar we have to scalp part of the old collar down a little at a time and Spring and Fall is the best time to do this. I prefer Spring because there is usually plenty of moisture for the plants and heat stress is normally a non-issue.  In the pictures below you can see the new width of the collars.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Golf Course Opening this Weekend

The golf course will open this weekend for play with cart paths only. Rain and warmer temperatures tomorrow will melt remaining snow, but it will be wet as you can imagine. Please refrain from hitting shots from newly sodded bunkers. Sod was laid late last fall and barely began to root. This time of year grass isn't growing and will not be able to handle foot traffic within and around the bunkers.  We are fortunate to be able to play golf this early, but please respect the course and the cart path only rule. We will see you out on the course soon!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Golf Course Winter Update

So far we have had a mild winter, and if Punxsutawney Phil's prediction is right we are in for an early spring.

In the fall Golf Course Superintendent's prepare their courses for the winter months. Various activities are performed like aeration, fertilization, topdressing and preventative fungicide applications for snow mold diseases are applied. At Metamora all of the above activities are performed, but we also raise our mowing heights on greens and mow everything less heading into winter. This is done to insure the plants can produce and store as many carbohydrates as possible.

I have had several opportunities throughout the winter to inspect turf conditions and I haven't seen anything to be concerned with. There were a couple of instances where ice had formed on the putting and fairway surfaces, but it wasn't there long enough to cause any harm. When ice forms, a clock so to speak starts, and we keep track of the days turf is under ice. This winter that clock has restarted a couple of times including now. For more information on ice damage view past posts under the winter labels. Below I have included several photos of what I have seen inspecting the course and everything so far has been positive.

Ice sheet formed on green
Snow removed to reveal no ice
Ice sheet melting creating porous ice

As mentioned, ice did form as seen in the left photo, but through melt, ice sheet turned into a porous breathable ice as seen in middle picture. In the third photo more snow came, but after removing snow no new ice formed.

Exposed green and no problems
Renovated bunkers are draining well
No signs of snow molds

These photos should help explain what I have seen so far throughout this winter and why I don't feel any problems have occurred. The extended forecast is promising with a few cold days followed by warmer days. I feel the threat of ice damage is behind us, but a threat to Annual Bluegrass (Poa annua) can still occur in the form of crown hydration. This typically occurs late winter or early spring, but if these weather patterns and temperatures stay consistent that will not be a threat either.

Thanks for reading and please check back in the coming weeks for further updates. We will see everyone on the golf course soon.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Michigan Turfgrass Foundation's Annual Turfgrass Conference

The Michigan Turf Foundation's Annual Conference was held on the campus of Michigan State University January 5th through January 7th. I had the opportunity to join hundreds of turgrass professionals and listen to speakers discuss strategies on renovations, tree management, bentgrass promotion, pest control and many other great topics. These types of conferences are very beneficial to our clubs and their golf course superintendents. It's always nice to converse with fellow superintendents and share ideas on making our golf courses better through our experiences. I would like to thank Metamora for allowing me to go to this conference every year, it is definitely worth it.