Friday, October 28, 2016

Another very productive week on the West greens TifEagle conversion with 14 being finished off on Monday and planted on Thursday and then 15 to the stage of being ready for planting next Tuesday.  So half the greens are planted and we now move to 10 on Monday morning.  I have been looking forward to this one following descriptions by staff of car parts appearing in the walls of the bunkers so heavens knows what's under the green.  It has always been the most difficult to maintain which is fairly obvious from the amount of foreign couchgrass that had invaded over the years.

Speaking of what's in the greens there are two piles of material adjacent to 15W tee that come from 14 and 15 and they are poles apart in their texture and specification which perhaps answers the question of just why the maintenance of the greens was so difficult given the varying soil profiles.  The material from 14 will be usable as top dressing material on fairways whilst the pile from 15 will be used to top dress the CIP bunker areas from last year.

The cover was removed from 13 on Tuesday after 13 days and the growth of the surrounds is astounding as shown in the photo below and the establishment on the green is pretty impressive too with an excellent even coverage.  Fertiliser application commenced immediately in the effort to get a full grass cover ASAP to get the green back in to play.  16 is establishing very well but a constant malfunctioning sprinkler (which has been changed over twice) has caused some wash.  Excellent root growth is evident on 16 after just 7 days as shown below.

15 was interesting in what we found underneath with some more very poorly placed amendment that was right up in the root zone.  We also found several old "small" golf balls in it and discovered that the green drains to the RHS dam not the left!!  While we were at 15 drainage in all 3 bunkers was upgraded. 

Great initial establishment on 13W

A golden oldie buried deep in 15W

Contrasting materials from 14 and 15 (LHS)

More poorly placed amendment

After the cover removal - amazing growth on the surround at 13W

Excellent early root growth at 16

Friday, October 21, 2016

Yet another hectic week as the West greens Tifeagle conversion continues.  This week we were able to plant both 16 and 11 and have 14 nearly finished.  The pace we are moving at is involving long hard hours for all involved but will mean the greens will be back in play faster.

Whilst excavating 14 the drainage in the two greenside bunkers was upgraded as well as the front soft approach having new growing medium installed and drainage cleared which should result in a much drier and more playable approach and bunkers.

14 green was the first one where the sand in the green was suitable for re-use as top dressing material for fairways and it has been stockpiled next to 15W tee for future use.  The advantage of this is the speed at which the green can be excavated because the haul distance is short and it will then be of great benefit to the fairways that are done.  Here's hoping there is some more good material in the rest of the greens.

One of my greenkeepers came up in a rush earlier this week with the news that the Tifeagle PPG had some disease starting to show.  Sure enough there was some discoloration but a few hours later it appeared as "Aerogard burn" as the overspray of a player spraying their legs had gone on the green!!

A few more shots from this week;
16W planted
Some more very poorly placed amendments in 14W

A final trim and a roll on 11W
A dose of Aerogard patch disease!!


Friday, October 14, 2016

Another rather hectic week on the West greens Tifeagle conversion with 13 being planted, 16 having the new growing medium installed and 11 being excavated and irrigation installation commenced.  Once again some surprises with 11 having some very distinct layering throughout the growing medium and some rather unsuitable soil about 150mm under the surface with even more unsuitable material below that.  The green had the same gravel layer as 13 but at a much greater depth.  There was minimal drainage in the green and it wasn't functioning although I doubt any water had ever made it down to the pipes that were about a metre deep.  There was also some novel plumbing ideas as per the photo below.  The drainage issue took most of today to solve and is the first real "hiccup" in the program to date.  

13 green was planted on Wednesday which was lucky as the high winds of Thursday would have made it near impossible to get the cover down.  The cover acts as a greenhouse and increases soil temperature whilst still letting moisture through.  The stolons need to be kept moist for the first ten days in particular after which they should have taken root and become reasonably self sufficient.

I was hoping that up to 50% of the material removed from the existing greens may have been able to be used to topdress some fairways but unfortunately this has not been the case.  To help expedite the excavation some of the material has been used to form some mounds at the rear of 11W towards 10W and 3W green.  These areas will be turfed on Monday.

Next weeks plan is for 11 to be filled and prepared for planting the following week most likely and 14 started subject to suitable weather conditions.  16 will be planted on next Tuesday.

A few photos below of this weeks activities.  

First load of sand in to 16W

Planting 13W

Starting to excavate 11W

Another strange soil profile.

A rather novel way of capping a drainage pipe!!

Friday, October 7, 2016

WOW!!  You here that a lot from the US commentators on the PGA Tour and it's a bit irritating  but it's about the only word to describe the combined efforts of staff and contractors this week.  The West greens Tifeagle conversion has started and in a 4 day week 13W green has been completed with only grassing to come and a significant start has been made on 16W.  This included the replacement of a 50 metre long irrigation main to the LHS of 13.
As expected the excavation unveiled some surprises as have the other 3 greens I have previously excavated in my time here.  None of the soil profiles or construction methods have been the same on any of the greens and some of the soil amendments that have been added have not been done very well and has certainly not made the task of growing Bentgrass here any easier.  Although our climate is the biggest factor against the Bentgrass.
13W was completely excavated out to an average depth of 450mm on Tuesday with irrigation going in on Wednesday then 450 tonne of sand was placed and shaped to the desired contours which are the same as the existing green with an extension to the left, right and rear which has enlarged the green considerably.  A "gravel layer" which is an option when building to USGA specifications was encountered and it was much deeper than would normally be found and the drainage was below this which is normal.  On 16W there was no gravel layer but a reasonably extensive and functional drainage system was found but at quite a shallow depth.
So the project continues next week when 16W will be completed and the next green will be selected subject to weather conditions.  11W is going to need very dry conditions as the trucks need to travel up the RHS of 11W fairway from the half way West.

 It was interesting to observe that we received 10mm of rain on Monday night and I also irrigated the West greens as the water was going to be off for up to 48 hours while the mainline at 13W was replaced.  On Thursday afternoon after two quite pleasant days there was significant stress on 11, 12 and 14 West greens.  It was also interesting that the recently renovated front nine West greens had only a small patch of stress at the back of 9W which demonstrates the benefits of greens renovation.  It was also interesting that the rainy Monday this week was enough to trigger an outbreak of disease on the West greens which is something that I certainly won't miss.
Dry patch stress at the front of 12W after 48 hours of no water.

Sod cutter starts on 13W. 

Bobcat ready to strip the turf off.

The "pinky" strip is not well placed amendments in 13W.

A happy face means this spot level is correct!!

First load of new sand in to 13W just after sunrise.
Starting 16W.

Disease outbreak on 13W just before the excavator arrived.