Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Time For A New Season

I think we can all agree that it's time for Spring to arrive. The off and on snow events over the past few weeks has made March feel more like December. The downtime from the course allows the Agronomy team opportunities to service equipment, restore course supplies, and work on a few projects along the way.

One of our focal points each and every winter is the service of our equipment fleet. We have 55+ units of equipment that are the staple to a successful operation throughout the growing season. Each and every machine is serviced, detailed, and prepared for another season. Our equipment technician, Jim Roberts, sharpens the blades on each unit, and makes sure each unit is primed and ready for another successful season. My assistants then put the focus on power washing each unit along with a detailed finish. The finished product mimic's a brand new unit coming from the factory.

Another critical part of the down time is to refurbish golf course supplies. A wide range of items include bag stands, trash cans, hazard stakes, ball washers, bunker rakes, cups, and flagsticks receive attention and repairs are made as needed. The image below illustrates the refurbished bag stand for the clubhouse.

The next item I wanted to touch bases on was the Bermudagrass Practice Tee. The 2013 golf season was my first time ever working with Bermudagrass on a golf course. The tee accomplished exactly what we were hoping for, a consistent practice tee that actually had some grass on it during the summer months. We shut the tee down with what we thought would be enough time to recover before dormancy was reached. Unfortunately, the cool, wet fall didn't allow full recovery heading into the winter months and the tee was lost from the Polar Vortex. This past fall we made a conservative effort to allow full recovery heading into dormancy, which we achieved as the picture below illustrates.

 Once the Bermudagrass was completely dormant, we purchased a cover for the tee to do everything in our power to prevent losing the tee to another "Polar Vortex".

Last spring, I incubated a plug from the Bermuda tee and placed it in a bucket of sand along with a growing light. We had a few green shoots of grass coming up from the plug. Fast forward to this year and we took another plug from the tee and the difference between the 2 plugs is quite drastic. I am optimistic that the tee is going to survive the next few weeks of Winter/Spring or whatever season we are about to emark on. The image below illustrates the difference. The plug on the left was our "Northbridge" variety from 2013, the plug on the right is our current variety, "Riviera".

In closing, I'd like to say the Agronomy Staff is primed and ready for another great season at Sagamore. The home stretch of winter should be over before we know it (hopefully). As the weather changes for the better we will do everything in our power to get the course up and running ASAP.

Best Regards,

Dan Grogan
Golf Course Superintendent
The Sagamore Club

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Year End Projects

As the season came to a close, the agronomy team was able to make one last push to finish a few projects on the course. The first project on the list was to rebuild the left green side bunker on #12. Over the past few years, excess sand had accumulated on the face along with a high volume of traffic. The picture below illustrates the project.

The sand on the faces is pulled down to the middle to prevent dirt from contaminating the existing sand. Once the sand is removed, a sod cutter removed the grass along the edge of the bunker. Dirt was then brought in to replace the sand removed from the face. We then expanded the tongue of the bunker to allow an easier entry/exit point of the bunker. The bunker was then sodded and will be ready for play in the spring.

                                                                       Finished product

The next project involved renovating the entry way to the clubhouse. The first step involved removal of the existing turf. The area around the entry way struggled to grow due to the high periods of shade. Upon removal of the grass, fresh top soil was added before the new sod was installed. The pictures below illustrate the process.

The next project involved the waste bunkers on #15. The bunkers on #15 have been an eyesore to the agronomy team throughout the years. The bunkers receive very little to no play throughout the season. When we receive high amounts of rainfall, they fall at the bottom of the restoration list. When they were constructed, they were built without liners, which in turn, allows weeds and grasses to thrive in the sand without having a barrier between the sand and dirt. Long story short, we came to the conclusion that we would best served to turn these bunkers into native fescue. The process began with the removal of sand in the bunkers. The sand was then used on the waste bunkers on 14 that were in need of sand.
Upon removal of the sand, the faces were the collapsed, along with the islands. The softening of the edges was done to ensure we will be able to mow these areas with the surrounding fescue. A tiller was then used to put a final grade on the bunker. Followed with seed, straw, and erosion on fabric on the slopes around the perimeter. The "dormant seed" should begin germination in the spring as soil temps rise followed with multiple fertilizer applications. Full establishment should commence by the end of 2015.

 Thanks for reading. Have a Merry Christmas, a happy New Year, and we will see you in 2015.

Best Regards,

Dan Grogan
Golf Course Superintendent

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

# 1 Tee Renovation

A question that has been asked many times over the course of the past few weeks has been "What happened to #1 Tee?". The answer is simple, we came to the conclusion that it was time to renovate the first tee. It has been an eye sore for the past few years so we decided it was time to "blow it up" and start a new. The main issue with the tee was its poor drainage and portions of the tee had settled out since its original construction. Our original plan was to remove the existing portion of the tee as well as expand it, thus hoping to complete the project in a short week. Once the grass was removed we then realized the issue with the tee was the underlying subgrade below the sand. The dirt was very poor and needed to be excavated out and fresh top soil was added to avoid having the same issues years down the road that we had before.

Removal of existing tee

                       The picture above illustrates how far the middle of the tee had settled

 Aerifying the tee to remove as much organic matter as possible before new sand was added.

Excavating subgrade

After the fresh top soil was installed, we compacted the dirt and then installed drainage to ensure the tee would drain properly.

Upon completion of the drainage, the next step involved was expanding the tee. We ended up adding  another 500 square feet to the tee. This expansion will allow my staff the flexibility to separate the member and championship tees on a daily basis.

After the removal of the existing rough, we then added some top soil to level out the subgrade and added 6" of 80/20 rootzone mix. 

One of the last steps was to have the tee laser graded. The tee was then fertilized with multiple pre-plant fertilizers and then seeded in 2 directions.

We anticipate having having the tee open by Mid-Summer of 2015. 

Best Regards,

Dan Grogan
Golf Course Superintendent

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