Friday, July 29, 2011

Good soggy morning,

Over the past 30 hours, we have seen over 2 inches of rain fall from the sky.  This follows the previous 2” of rain that had fallen over the previous 12 days.  Needless to say, the course is wet. Here's a quick shot of the state of the course this morning:

Of course, followers of this blog will note, that this all came in the wake of talking about water conservation, and having to cut back rough irrigation, as well as fairways.  This rain has certainly re-filled our reserves, and heading into the final 8 week intense growing season, this suits us just fine.

I made the decision this morning to hold cart traffic off, and I understand that this can be a hot-button topic. However, I make this decision based on the health of and well-being of the golf course at that very moment  I realize that for some people, this is a decision which determines whether they can play or not.  However, at the end of the day, it is imperative to protect the turf from the abuse of cart traffic, and we must learn to roll with the punches; we simply cannot control the weather.  With saturated soil profiles, and hot sunny weather approaching, some cart traffic at all, would be very detrimental to conditions.  It is simply not worth financially, or agronomically to allow cart traffic.  In the wake of these decisions, I ask that you please leave your frustrations with Mother Nature, or with myself, and to please not beg, plead or be angry with the Pro Shop staff.  This morning this was my call and my call alone. 

This is the first update in a week, solely due to the fact that I have had no computer in my office.  We took a lightning strike (AGAIN) during Saturday night’s storm, which played havoc with our Turf Care Centre all week.  Yesterday we received the replacement transformer and we are getting back to normal in the shop. 

I had many comments about the golf course through the week, and I thank all of you for your feedback.  One of the comments I received was about the condition of the greens with issues such as the cutworm situation, as well as green speed.  As I mentioned in last weeks update, the cutworms were planned to be treated, and they were on Monday morning.  The starlings have stopped pecking away at our greens, and the damage has slowed considerably.  The second comment I received was in regards to green speeds, and what it is we changed.  The answer to this is quick and simple: RAIN.  Contrary to popular belief, we do not change the height of cut, or stop mowing the greens at Sawmill.  Yes, it is true that some clubs will raise the height of cut in the dead heat of summer to combat heat-stress, but this is something we do not have to deal with in the open-air, bentgrass world we live in at The Saw.  However, when you receive the rainfall that we have seen, it is inevitable that the greens will slow down.  When it is hot and dry, firm and fast conditions are created.  We all know this from the amount of roll we see on our drives.  Of course the same is true on the putting green.  I suggest you continue to follow this blog through the off-season, as I will attempt to explain to you the physics of green speed.  Amazingly enough, height of cut does little to alter green speeds.  However, with saying that, most people don’t realize that when we are talking about height of cut on greens, we are talking about cutting at 0.110”.  Raising the height of cut on the green would mean us moving to 0.120”, which is really not a big difference whatsoever.  But let me be clear here, our height of cut was dropped to 0.110” at the start of June, and will not be changed until late September barring any issues.  We are simply dealing with Mother Nature at her finest!

Finally today, a quick update on the status of some of the projects we have on the go.  The bunker on 11 has been filled as mentioned here, and we will be laying sod in the next week or two.  We are waiting for some work to be done in the Residences of Sawmill Creek, so we can bring all of the sod in at the same time.  And as for the mess on #7, it is still a work in progress.  Every day, once the crew has completed their morning rounds, we continue to work on the puzzle.  At every turn in this process, we seem to uncover other issues, which seem to stall the process.  At this point, we have determined that there is a 4” tile running through this old creek bed, and that this line is being used as a collector line to drain the majority of 4 and 7 fairways, as well as the greens at 2 and 4.  Clearly this is a lot to ask from a small 4” line.  On top of this, the final stretch of this line is actually elevated 3” above the line, which is only allowing this stretch to drain very slowly.  We have a very good idea as to where we need to proceed from here, however, with the limited staff, time and resources that we have, it will take some time.  We are operating on a “maintenance budget” only, and extra projects like these come only at times when we can spare a few hours.  Your patience is appreciated.

As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at


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