7.31.18

Good Afternoon,

With some showers in the area, I figured it would be a good time to send an update with what has been going on out on the property. Today we have received an inch of rain already and more on the way this evening, the course is pretty saturated but a slow soaking rain can be a good thing from time to time. Today’s rain will give us the ability to keep the irrigation system at rest and save some water and energy by not running the pump station. Any saved hours with our old pump station is a win in my eyes.

Last week we were hit a stretch of bad luck at the pump station and our Jockey pump failed causing us to shut down the system and pull the pump for inspection. We are waiting to hear back from Mid-Ohio Electric, our service company, to determine exactly what happened. Below are a few pictures we captured during the removal process.

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Crane Setup to pull pump
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A few big pipe wrenches and a lot of elbow grease, soon enough they were able to break the column and shaft free.
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Discharge head being removed
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Last section of pump column and pump being removed.
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Pump being lowered back to the ground to get loaded out for repair.

Our pump station is unique in that it sits so high above the river. This means that our wet well, or pit in which water is pulled from, is extremely deep in comparison to the average system. While most wet wells are 10-12 feet deep, ours is actually 30 feet deep! With overhead power lines and trees acting as obstacles, we are not able to pull the entire pump in one pick but rather take the pump column apart in 5ft sections and continue down the line. The last 12 feet are removed as one section and all loaded onto a truck to take back to the shop.

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Breakdown of a Vertical Turbine Pump

I include this picture of a vertical turbine pump to help explain the actual components as it was a challenging concept for me to understand at first. The pump motor, located at the top, is an electric A.C. motor that spins the shaft at high RPM’s. Impellers are attached at the base of the shaft and move water into and through the diffuser bowl where it gains pressure to move water through the column and out of the discharge head.

We are still able to operate the system but it is not currently running at full capacity. The biggest thing this means to a golfer in the meantime is that you may see irrigation cycles ending in the early morning when it typically would finish overnight.

Enough about pumps, what about the turf? We have made it through a difficult stretch of weather but are not in the clear  yet. Early heat, humidity and high rain totals mean that roots have been compromised and caution should be used through the remainder of the summer stress months. I am happy to report that of the ugly spots around the course, all are self inflicted wounds that will heal quickly and provide better results in the future. We have been trying to re-work our agronomic procedures and applications to target growth regulation of both wanted and unwanted plants. The most invasive weed in the world is Poa annua (weed defined = a wild plant growing where it is not wanted and in competition with cultivated plants), and we have a lot of it on our bentgrass playing surfaces. While this is a long hard battle, we have decided that there is no better time to start than now, and no better time to be aggressive than the present. We have heavily regulated our fairways and you have likely noticed just a few spots that seem “dead.” While they are not dead, they are very hurt and if we back off the pedal they will rebound quickly with more poa.

Our process has been to use a growth regulator that is more aggressive in its regulation of poa annua than it is of bentgrass, in turn this will allow the bent to creep over and help fill the area. In much of our turf this is happening without any obvious visual evidence but some spots have much more poa than others and look worse overall. Some of the areas that come to mind are on 1 approach, 2 fairway, 2 approach, 4 approach, 6 approach, 7 approach, and many of the bentgrass bunker tie-ins. As these areas continue to decline in appearance, we will (or have already) incorporate seed and fertilizer to speed the recovery process.

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1 Approach 2 weeks ago, at its peak regulation.
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Close up of recessed, over regulated turf.

Yesterday we began our seeding process and hope to have some evidence of new grass in the next 5-7 days. We used our Mataway walk behind seeder and will apply a wetting agent and fertilizer to assist with germination. Throughout the remainder of the week we will continue this process and hit any of our heavily poa infested areas across all fairways and approaches.

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Slit seed process @ collar

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Low approach #17, seeded

Another major area of attention for us in the coming weeks is in the fescue areas. We have started our applications to remove all unwanted grass and weed species and encourage only the fine fescue. Soon I will post strictly about this process and our plans moving forward. At this time I am very pleased with our results so far and have already started to see the transformation in areas that have had their application.

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Weeds curling, slowly melting out.
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Fescue beginning to become dominant species
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treated vs. untreated
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Cleanup pass still to be completed around edges.

And remember, though we love to talk about it our job is not always all about the grass. A few staff members had the fun experience of being the demo team for the old hitting wall at tennis. We will soon determine what will be in its place but the deteriorating wall was becoming a safety concern and we were asked to remove it. wall.jpg

Thanks for following along and keep an eye out for the next post!

See you on the course soon!

– J.R. Lynn, GCS

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Great article

Good Afternoon,

One of my recent emails from the golf course superintendents association had this article attached and I felt it was a good one to pass along. While the mid-Atlantic region has been walloped lately with storms the weather pattern was very similar in the Midwest just a few short weeks before. We have been faced with some of the same difficult decisions and scenarios and have made it through relatively well. It will still pose a challenge for the remainder of the season but we feel that we are in a pretty healthy spot at the moment.

Thanks for following!

www.gcsaa.org/docs/default-source/chapters/midatlantic-gc-notification.pdf

7.20.18 – Bounce

Good Morning!

Lovely weather over the past week and a half has helped the course dry out and firm up. Turf is holding in well under traffic and heat but beginning to show a little stress.

While trying to maintain the course at its driest potential we rely on the irrigation system to help us catch back up with a base moisture and touch up any hot spots as needed. This is why you may see us in the morning or even afternoon running around with a hose or select head here and there. We try not to “syringe” turf, an application of light amounts of water used to help cool the surface, but rather add the water necessary for the plant to survive. Syringing greens and fairways is a large topic of debate among my colleagues and each side has a valid point. From my past experience, I have found that letting the grass adapt to the environmental conditions will help us in the long run.

A little bit of stress is a good thing. But, when can it go to far?

Simply answered, when we can’t apply the water necessary to keep the plants alive. Pump house and irrigation troubles plague our property.

Tuesday night we had a great green committee meeting where I reluctantly reported to the members that we have had very few irrigation issues year to date. I made that comment in fear of potential bad luck (I’m really not a superstitious person either!) and Wednesday night bad luck struck. Weather has been perfect for drying turf and throughout the day Wednesday we realized we would have to run the system again overnight to help us get to the potential rain chances Saturday. This irrigation cycle would have given us the ability to regain a base moisture overnight, stay firm through the day and touch up hot spots as needed.

Unfortunately for us, the system failed. One of our 3 pumps failed and the others were not able to keep up with the demand of the system causing everything to turn off to prevent any damage. Yesterday, myself, Joey and Zach spent time troubleshooting and cleaning the wet well pits to minimize chances of sucking up any river debris that could do more harm to the pump station. We suspect that silt or shale clogged the pump that went down. Next week we will have a company out to the course with a crane to pull our Jockey pump from the station and inspect/repair any damage. We hope to be back to full capacity very soon but in the meantime will be able to water with a bit less capacity.

The course will be bouncy! It will show some stress but it will recovery quickly. Drought stress is much easier to recover from than disease or excess water stress, some of the bigger issues we have faced in the past. The biggest concern across the course is the amount of Poa annua (annual bluegrass) we have. Poa is a very shallow rooted plant and not able to withstand the environmental stresses of central Ohio summers very well. We manage to encourage bentgrass growth, not Poa, because the bentgrass can withstand the stresses much better.

So what am I saying…? If some of the Poa does not bounce back immediately, that’s ok too! We want the bentgrass to encroach and take over these areas. This spring we started different growth regulator programs to encourage this exact movement. The summer heat will help the bent to out compete the poa and our water management techniques are also encouraging the same. In any thin areas, we plan to add seed so that we can have a more consistent stand of Bent.

In the meantime, enjoy the bounce and roll of our dry golf course! We have got this under control and will continue to battle through the dog days of summer.

I have decided to add a few pictures of what some of this stress may look like. Over the next few days you will likely notice some brown or purple tire tracks in fairways. This damage is similar to frost damage as the leaf blades were so dry when the carts travel across they actually break the plant cells and cause a browning of the turf. The active growing point of the plant is still alive and healthy, so it will push new leaf growth and we will ultimately mow the brown portions off in the next 1 or 2 mowings.

Thanks for following along. See you on the course soon!

Sincerely,

-J.R. Lynn, GCS

7.6.18

Good Afternoon,

Thought this would be a good time to explain a little bit about what’s been happening over the past few days. Obviously rain, and a lot of it. Over the past 3 evenings we have received a total of 3.95″. Luckily the July average is 4.2″ so there must not be much left 😉…

Tuesday night started us off with a bang, 1.7″ of rain in 30 minutes. As Tim Boyer put it, the waves on the putting green were big enough to surf. We had some repairs to make in the morning but for the most part, we wondered where the water went. It came down so fast that it all ran off, filled the lows, and made it to the drains.

Then Wednesday afternoon we watched the storms roll past the course, thinking we finally caught the break. Eventually one built, and when it hit it came in with some force. This storm only brought an additional .6″ of rain but it didn’t run off as quickly. It finally capped the course and forced us to shut down carts.

Thursday morning we were hopeful that the conditions would allow for carts by early afternoon but the humidity and overall saturation did not allow. By mid afternoon I began to think, we may have a shot to get carts out Friday morning… no more rain. Thursday afternoon as I wrapped up some office work and got ready to head back out on the course, my phone went off. Who was it, only my weather app alerting me that yet another storm was on the way. This one hurt. The first cell that landed on property dropped another .75″ only to be followed by a more powerful .9″ storm. The additional 1.65″ of rain last night set us back again. This time even further than the last two.

The heavy rains and severe storms are so localized that you may not even see the rain at your house… even in bexley. Below are a few interesting screenshots I have taken of the radar over the past few days.Not many places seeing the rain other than CCC in this photo from a few nights ago. Even my house in the gps target sat dry and made me wonder…

The two pictures above are from last night. They show that at 5:40, nothing on the radar indicating an issue at the course. Yet, by 5:56 we are in the heart of a red cell and probably a half inch of rain already dropped.

This morning it showed. Bunkers took a hit on the chin. The faces we have been working to flash and pack in, all needed touch up work. Some bunkers still sat full of water due to full drains surrounding the course. Pumps have been running to clear water from 6&17 since 6 am and we are finally getting back to normal. The bunker on the front left of #1 green has been completely re-worked 3 times this week. Below are a few pictures.

The biggest let down of the day was the inability to mow greens first thing this morning. It is a very difficult decision, and one that I hate making. But days like today patience is our best friend. By waiting a few hours to mow greens and let them dry down, we save ourself the potential to scalp and/or mechanically stress the turf. In turn this gives us the ability to provide a more consistent and perfect playing surface throughout a larger portion of the season. We are out now getting greens mowed to help save speed and keep a better surface through the weekend. Sorry for the inconvenience!I hope you are able to enjoy the nice weather this weekend with a round of golf at CCC.

See you soon!

– J.R. Lynn, GCS

7.4.18

Happy Independence Day. Hopefully you have been able to avoid the rains and stay dry for all of your 4th parties!

Last night we received 1.7″ of rain. A substantial amount that would typically shut down carts for at least the day. Fortunately we did not have to cancel carts today, why? Mainly because the weather over the past 48 hours has been pretty good drying weather for the course. The mid 90’s temps along with some wind and dropping humidity gave us the ability to begin to dry down the property. Last night it started to show, FINALLY! Right when we thought we dodged all the storms, it let loose.

Another sheeting rain storm has prevented us from finishing the tasks we would like to complete and put all efforts on course repair and storm cleanup. Heavy rains set us back, EVERY TIME. Today we had plans to flymow bunker banks, mow rough, mow greens, mow tees, and complete a few odd jobs before kicking out early for the holiday. Now the plans have changed, we will be able to mow greens and cut cups but all other efforts will be placed on storm repair and cleanup.

Due to the quick rainfall we had one major washout on the front left bunker at #1 green. The team quickly repaired that this morning and continued on through the front nine. We will rake bunkers fully for play today, then flymow and rake again tomorrow. We also have to place a large effort on cartpath cleanup following major storms. With the chip seal application on our surfaces and the small amount of extra chip on top, the sheeting water moves some of the gravel and our team is out making paths passable and smooth for the day. As the paths age, this excess will not be an issue but for the first year we will continue the battle. We also lost a large portion of a cottonwood on #1 Tee at the Par 3 course, a cleanup that will add a few hours to the day.

Ill touch back on here soon with an update, see you on the course!

Thanks,

– J.R. Lynn, GCS

Below is a picture of #1 left greenside bunker at first sight this morning.and also a picture of the fallen cottonwood limb at the par 3, almost an entire tree!