Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Final Days of the 2011 Golf Season

Good morning everyone,

The last few days have been absolutely fantastic, and it's been nice to see many of you out getting in one last final round for the season.  The forecast ahead looks a little wet and cooler, but hopefully the weekend will provide is with one final nice day of golf for this season.  It feels like at every year at this time, we all ask the same question; where did summer go?

With yesterday's mild and sunny weather, we were able to finally finish up the aerification of the two practice greens and the Parkette green. It was so nice in fact, that we were able to harvest the aerification cores on these greens.  When it is dry enough for us to be able to do this, it certainly saves us a lot of time and effort on the healing of the putting surface.

There is no question the difference between the back 9 greens, and the front 9 greens is like night and day.  Of course, followers of this blog know that we managed to harvest the aerification cores on most of the greens on the back, where as we had to shovel clean the cores on the front.  This meant more topdressing on the front.  We have currently completed two applications on the front, but still require some more to finish them off.  I am actually hoping for some rain to push some of the sand lying on the surface into the aerification holes, but we will see what happens.  It is amazing how quickly Mother Nature can alter one's plans!

We have had a few conversations over the past week with regards to the frequency of course maintenance over the past two weeks.  The main question has been why the hole locations have not been moved as frequently as is used to.  As the season winds down, so do our staff numbers.  At this point in time, there are no seasonal staff members remaining, as they have been laid off for the season.  This is nothing new.  Every year, by the end of October, all staff have filtered out, and we finish off the season with only a couple of people.  Of course, this leaves very little time to "set-up the golf course".  Tasks such as garbage removal, tee block rotation, hole changing, and mowing of tees, fairways, and rough's, are all completed on an as-needed basis, and no longer on a set schedule.  Of course, throw in the fact that our aerification was delayed until the end of October this fall, and what was left was a lot of work to be done, by very few people.  I understand that for the everyday regular player, it is a new concept for you to play the same hole location for more than a single day.  What needs to be remembered at this point, is that it is November the 8th, and the weather is co-operating for the final days of the 2011 season.  As much as we would love to groom the golf course like we do from May through Thanksgiving, it is simply not feasible, or practical for a club like Sawmill Creek, to retain it's entire staff on through November.  Turf growth has slowed, numbers of rounds are less than half, and it is simply not good business to carry on in the same manner we do throughout the season.

There are still some vital tasks to be performed prior to snowfall that must be done to the golf course.  Our dormant applications of fertilizer must be made, as well as all winter plant protection applications.  We are also going to perform a pre-winter topdressing of the greens, to act as somewhat of a winter cover to protect the crown of the turf plant.  This will be the first time we have practiced this technique, and I am anxious to see its results in the spring.

And speaking of winter, there are still many preparations that need to be made in anticipation of snow.  Snow removal in the Residences of Sawmill Creek certainly keeps a couple of us very busy through the winter months.  In fact, a winter such as the 2010/2011 winter we had, proved to be just as intense if not more than any golf season I have experienced.  Last year we had more than 40 snow events which required removal of some sort.  We have stakes to install, as well as machinery to inspect and prepare for the soon to arrive snow.  And when I say soon, I could live with no snow until January......

As always, if you have any questions at all, please drop me a line at jamie.downton@sawmill-creek.com

Enjoy the final few days!


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