Thursday, April 3, 2014

Course Opening!

The view from 12 tee

I have been waiting for 7 weeks to say this.....the golf course will be open this Friday, April 4th!  All 100+ inches of snow and ice has melted, and the ground has become frost free.  But what can you expect to see when you next visit the course?  For starters, we have began mowing playing surfaces, continued clearing leaf litter and other debris from the course, and will start raking bunkers next week.  While we do our best to achieve great course conditions from the start of the season, we will be doing these on an "as needed" basis.  Patience is required for the full quality of Elcona's golf course to truly shine.  A recent USGA article further explains why, which you can read here

18 green after repairs
With our necessary removal of snow and ice (info posted here and here), we have had some repairs to perform on the greens.  It is quite nice to have a large nursery to do these repairs in house, as the picture on the right shows on 18 green.  The other thing you will notice are the shovel marks in that picture.  To completely remove ice on some greens (5, 10, 12,18, large practice green were the heaviest in terms of ice) we had to chip and crack the ice with shovels.  These marks will heal in on their own, with the help of aerification and warmer temperatures from Mother Nature.

5 green 3/25/14
5 green 4/1/2014
5 green suffered bruising injury from topdressing sand that was mixed in with the slush and ice that was removed.  As the pictures show, this green has slowly recovered with some new green tissue starting to peek out of the crown, and should be just fine with some warmer temperatures.  Other greens that have similar injury is 2, 4, 8, 9, 12, 14, and 17. 

The small practice green next to the clubhouse took a decent hit from the winter weather, mainly from the freeze/thaw cycles and cold temperature exposure.  This part of the green does not get any sunlight in the dead of winter until mid afternoon, so winter was harsher on that portion than the rest of the golf course.  I am cautiously optimistic on its recovery, as there is some signs of growth, but we may have to re-sod the turf if it does not recover soon.  I will keep you posted on any repairs that would be necessary.  Until further notice, that practice green will be closed from putting and traffic

The new view from 7 tee
As for other parts of the golf course, you will notice some trees that were removed as part of our annual tree maintenance program.  The picture on the right is the new view from 7 tee.  We removed several ash trees that were in poor condition due to Emerald Ash Borer, and will be replaced with 3 or 4 Amelanchier trees behind the green in their place, farther to the north than the old trees.  These new trees will give some backdrop to the green while allowing a better growing environment for 6 green and 7 tee.  Trees were also removed along the north side of 13 cart path, again for the betterment of the turf and cart path in the surrounding area.  The staff and I will be leveling stump holes, and seeding or sodding them, depending on their location. 

Pink snow mold on Range Tee
Finally, we did have some pink snow mold pop up, mainly on the range tee.  While we are still diagnosing why this tee was more severely affected than the rest of the golf course, we have treated it with a curative fungicide, and with warmer weather and mowing beginning on the tee soon, the turf should grow through the infection and recover.  We have also spot sprayed other smaller outbreaks on tees and continue to monitor greens and fairways. 

Overall, I am still pleased with how the course came through winter.  We as a staff cannot wait to get the season started, and to welcome all of you back to Elcona.  I look forward to seeing all of you out on the golf course!


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