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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks for following along and keep an eye out for the next post!
See you on the course soon!
– J.R. Lynn, GCS