Tuesday, May 31, 2011

#8 tee renovation is complete

This project started way back in October as the very first portion of the Tree Program.  We dropped 6 large pine trees behind the seventh green that were crowding the 8th tee. Click here if you missed that one; those trees were huge, but definitely out of place.

From there we utilized over 100 bricks that were back at the shop to replace a railroad tie retaining wall.  This was a great project and forced our hand to finish the rest.

Dante and Manuel handled the removal of the second half of railroad ties and installed the updated retaining wall.

Most of the railroad ties, including the steps, were partially rotten and fell apart as we worked to remove them. 

The bottom row takes a very long time to get perfectly level and evenly compacted.  Once that row is finished, it's as simple as stacking up brick after brick. 

A member of our club, Stan Mathews along with his brother and father, poured our new concrete stairs.  The following day, Stan went out to The Reserve at Spanos Park to tie for the low score and move through round 1 of the US Open qualifier. 

We used our Provonost trailer to move the mud out to the site and let the Mathews family do the heavy lifting.

The stairs were framed, poured, and finished right before the start of our noon shotgun with minimal player disruption.

After a few finishing touches, the tee is ready for play and looking better than ever.

We hope to continue the renovation of our other railroad tie stairs using this same method. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A sad day at SGCC

After a little more than a year at Stockton GCC, Rob Williams is moving on and moving up.  He recently accepted the Assistant Superintendent position with our friends at Del Rio Country Club in Modesto, CA.  Rob's new duties include 9 more holes to manage and double the staff.  It's a good move for him and his family and puts him one step closer to getting a course of his own.

We'll miss Rob for his professional skills in managing staff, fine tuning irrigation, and communicating with the members.  We'll miss his companionship in the shop and his work ethic.  We'll even miss his accent and his funny little sayings. 

I certainly don't regret any of the time I spent working with Rob.  Nope, not a sausage.

From all of us at Stockton Golf and Country Club, ccongratulations and good luck!!
Tuesday, May 10, 2011

55 trees planted and one didn't make it

The tree program continues to roll along with great success and positive feedback.  We have now received donations for 128 trees.  So far, 55 have been planted and all of them are doing well besides the cork oak that Aurelio is holding in this picture.

This tree turned brown within a couple weeks of planting.  A few gophers decided to take up residence beneath our new tree and apparently, they really liked how it tasted.  I had Aurelio and Geronimo go out to #10 to replace this tree and asked them to bring the bad one back and perhaps we could nurse it back to health.  They returned with this stick and asked if I still wanted to keep it.  Ummmm.....  No.

I didn't expect any casualties due to rodents, but now I know better.  We will continue to monitor soil moisture and protect the trees from the greatest source of injury--weed eaters.
Sunday, May 8, 2011

First look at the young foxes

The photo is a little blurry, but it was the best I could get before mamma pulled her pups back to the den.  She is on the far right keeping a watchful eye on the guy with the camera.  This is our third litter of foxes and the second year in a row we will have the little fellas running around.

The den is in the burm to the right of #15.  There are three kits, pups, or cubs depending on what you like to call them.  They come out in the evening, this photo was taken around 7:00 pm.  They are not at all dangerous, but don't get too close.  These are wild animals and we want to keep them that way.

Don't worry if you see Izzo playing with the foxes, she is tougher than she looks and knows when to back off.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Turf Maintenance Plan 2011

Each and every year, we tweak our fertility, cultural, and irrigation programs to continue to build a better golf course.  It would be much easier to sign up for the same schedule each year, but that is not the way to produce the best possible conditions.  Soils change.  Turf improves, hopefully, or becomes weaker.  Our water source can also vary from season to season.  We must adapt or become complacent with the same old strategy.

Here is a summary of the past few years and the variations in our management of the golf course:

  • In 2006 we had black layer throughout most of the greens.  The surface was spongy and drained poorly.  The goal was to maintain turf, and that was it.  Even a simple goal of keeping grass alive was very difficult.  We increased aerification and tried to improve the situation.
  • In 2007 we continued to focus on the greens with frequent aerification and topdressing.  The soil reports were analyzed very closely and management of sodium and bicarbonates became a major priority.  We must have balanced soil to grow healthy turf.
  • In 2008 the soils were improving and thatch was starting to get under control.  This was the first season we used a soil moisture meter to determine the need for hand watering.  The post to this one: Moisture Meter This is the most important tool I have ever purchased and I would never try to manage a golf course without one.  Any staff member that was sent to water greens was given the moisture meter and a percentage for the day based on the projected high temperature.  We continue to use this tool today and it's impact is very obvious.
  • In 2009, we had the greens under control and could maintain good conditions with less fungicides and less water.  We could now turn our attention to the fairways where our irrigation uniformity had been a major problem.  We were watering as little as possible and were still left with wet spots near the heads and dry spots between. A new nozzle configuration from Rain Bird was the trick and our fairways are now completely different surfaces.  Here's the post: http://sgccturf.blogspot.com/2009/08/nozzle-dance.html
  • In 2010, we had the greens and fairways in good order and we focused extra attention on high traffic areas, tees, and approaches.  A new sprayer that debuted this year was a main component to our success.  Wetting agent applications were expanded from the tees, approaches, and greens to many other areas including some troubled fairways.  This practice continues today (Rob is out there as I write this) and it is producing much better results.  Increased aerification continues on all parts of the course and drainage in a wet winter year shows proof of the benefits.
  • 2011-The year of the project.  We are confident in the irrigation system, the soil, and the turf.  While we cannot ignore the maintenance practices that keep the turf healthy and in good playing condition, we can find time to do some of the projects that golfers really notice.  So far, on this year's calendar we have a new wall on the upper 8th tee, new stairs on the same tee and perhaps many others, a pond cleaning program, driving range renovations, multiple drainage projects, clubhouse landscape renovation, work on the native area, mass tree planting and removal, and ........... more ideas every day. 
We'll be busy and the future looks bright.  There is no possibility that we will run out of things to do.  Stay tuned for more updates on these projects, the tree program, and our general turf conditions.  I have a lot of news to share, it's just a matter of sitting down in front of a computer for long enough to write a post or two.