Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What is that ?

Every now and then I get asked by members what is that white foam spots on the greens and fairways. This is when we do a foliar spraying either for fertilizer, fungicides, pesticides or herbicides. By using the foam we can mark and make sure we don’t over spray or under spray the area to get perfect coverage. The foam lasts a few minutes and then gets burned away by the sun or washed away by the irrigation depending on the application.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Birds nesting !

Hazard stake is one thing golfers are very aware of and tries to avoid as much possible ... with this in mind we have found some birds nesting in the rough and stuck a hazard stake next to the nest for everyone to be aware. This will help golf carts and course equipment realize where the nest are and avoid driving over them.

Distant Markers

We are currently busy going over all the distant markers with a GPS and making sure that they are all correct. This includes all the stone markers in the fairway and the markers on the sprinkler heads.
During the reconstruction of the greens some greens moved by a few meters and these markers needs changing. With golf carts and equipment driving over the course daily these markers can come loose or gets damaged so then they also needs replacing.
All distant markers in the fairways are marked to the front edge of the green but on par 3's they are marked to the middle of the green. Your daily pin sheets will tell you how many meters on and how many meters from the left or right of the green edge.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Top dressing greens.

We are top dressing greens again this week and i thought ill  explain why we are doing this ... I have two goals in mind when I top dress. The first is to make the greens smoother. We have an incredible amount of foot traffic on our greens and by no coincidence, a lot of ball marks. Both foot traffic and ball marks leave indentations in the surface and the sand helps smooth them out. The second reason is to dilute our thatch layer to keep the greens firm and draining. Thatch is the layer of dead and decaying organic matter below the surface. Too much thatch and the greens get soft. If you get the thatch level right, the greens will be much firmer, water penetration will be beter and your risk of have any pests and disease occuring will be less. A great example of this is any portion of a green that has bunker sand splashed on it all the time.
With the greens only being 6 months old and been planted with sod's, we have top dressed them every two weeks to help with the leveling of the surface. After they have been top dressed they get brushed to move the sand into the canopy and all the lower areas and this will helps smoothing them off.

The same applies to our fringes and seeing they are only 3 months old we top dress and fertilize them more aggressively to tie them in with the green on the one side and the fairway on the otherside .This is also done every two weeks in growing season.

The end result is hardly noticeable to most golfers and provides a great putting surface to play on.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Finally Rain !!!

After 7 weeks of waiting we got some good rain's !!!! Saturday evening we received a Very needed 28mm of rain and the following week looks promising. Its been a very hot February with temperatures reaching 36C and humidity never dropping below 75%. The golf course dried out especially in rough areas where there is no irrigation and on top of all the mounds.

 We are topdressing all the mounds and bad areas in the fairways with a compost mix that will help with the recovery process. We will also be applying wetting agents that will help the turf with water retention and help keep the soil wet for longer.

This video illustrates how a wetting agent helps the water penetrate the hydrophobic soil.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Aerating the new fringes...

Aeration is an extremely important maintenance practice. Although it results in a temporary disruption of the surface, aeration improves water penetration into the soil, reduces soil compaction, stimulates turfgrass root growth for a healthier plant, and improves overall growing conditions. Aeration will also help with the leveling of the turf as we roll and topdress afterwards.

We are currently busy doing this and should take 2 days to complete.

A New Book !

I received an email the other day that may be of interest to all of you golf fanatics! Within this blog post you will find the table of contents and probably a chapter that has caused you much anguish or discussion with your regular foursome or at home with your wife or husband ;) Read on and enjoy!

Chapter 1 - How to Properly Line Up Your Fourth Putt.
Chapter 2 - How to Hit a Nike From the Rough, When you Hit a Titleist From the Tee.
Chapter 3 - How to Avoid the Water When You Lie 8 in a Bunker.
Chapter 4 - How to Get More Distance Off the Shank.
Chapter 5 - When to Give the Marshal the Finger.
Chapter 6 - Using Your Shadow on the Greens to Maximize Earnings.
Chapter 7 - When to Implement Handicap Management.
Chapter 8 - Proper Excuses for Drinking Beer Before 9:00 a.m.
Chapter 9 - How to Rationalize a 6 Hour Round.
Chapter 10 - When Does a Divot Become Classified as Sod.
Chapter 11 - How to Find That Ball That Everyone Else Saw Go into the Water.
Chapter 12 - Why Your Spouse Doesn't Care That You Birdied the 5th.
Chapter 13 - Using Curse Words Creatively to Control Ball Flight.
Chapter 14 - When to Let a Foursome Play Through Your Twosome.
Chapter 15 - How to Relax When You Are Hitting Five Off the Tee.
Chapter 16 - When to Suggest Major Swing Corrections for Your Opponent.
Chapter 17 - God and the Meaning of the Birdie-To-Bogie Three Putt.
Chapter 18 - When to Re-Grip your Ball Retriever (Must Read for Every Golf Course Marshal).
Chapter 19 - Throwing Your Clubs: An Effective Stress-Reducing Technique.
Chapter 20 - Can You Purchase a Better Golf Game?

Chapter 21 - Why Male Golfers Will Pay R30 a Beer from the Cart Girl and Give Her a R20 tip, but Will Balk at R15 at the 19th Hole and Stiff the Bartender.

This book is available in fine golf stores everywhere and can be located right next to the sleeves of golf balls that refuse to listen and are afraid of the dark. Enjoy your next round!!

"The only thing you should force in a golf swing is the club back into the bag."
~ Byron Nelson, former PGA Tour player

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hand Watering the Golf Course...

How to fix a pitch mark the right way !

Fore !!!

When your career is in golf course maintenance, you take on some inherent risks that the job entails. The biggest risk of them all is being hit by a golf ball. I have been working on golf courses for 14 years and have been extremely lucky not having been hit. The two reasons for that are luck and help from golfers yelling, "Fore!". Unfortunately the later is becoming much less frequent. When you see maintenance workers in the middle of the fairway, please don't assume they can see the ball. Take extra precaution by yelling fore even if your ball lands 20 yards short. All the assistance you can provide for our safety is appreciated

Water restrictions in Durban !

Durban could face water restrictions as early as next year. This is the warming from eThekwini municipality water department head Neil Macleod, who said last week that recent good rains are the only reason restrictions have been avoided so far this year.

“The total rainfall for last year, for this region, was the fourth lowest on record. The dams at the beginning of this year were on average 20 percent lower than at the start of 2010. We typically have a series of wetter years followed by a series of dryer years. The wet years have continued for an extended period and have protected us for the statistical possibility of restrictions.

“If we’d had normal rainfall over the past three years, we would almost certainly be in the middle of water restrictions right now,” he said.

And the situation is likely to get worse. “For 2011, I do not see restrictions being introduced. But 2012 could be a different story. We are nearing the end of the summer rains and if we have a dry winter comparable to last year, then water restrictions in 2012 are almost inevitable,” he said.

Macleod’s comments come just two weeks after Professor Mike Muller, former Department of Water Affairs director-general and now commissioner of the government’s National Planning Commission, warned that South Africa will face a water crisis within the next decade.

He singled out the eThekwini, Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth) and Joburg metros as the municipalities likely to first feel the shortages.

Muller told the Sunday Tribune yesterday that it is vital for cities to plan to ensure they avoided water crises.

“We need to plan and do the right things at the right time. Water is difficult because you don’t know exactly how much you have. You’re working on estimates of how much rain will fall, but it might not be the same as what you’ve estimated.

“We need to ensure not only that we have enough water now, but that we have enough if there is a drought. If that happens, we need to know we have plans in place. The national Water Affairs department has plans for all major cities, but often they are not implemented in time.

Every city needs to think about what it needs to do and whether it is doing it,” he said.

Muller said he was impressed with the efforts of Macleod’s department to reduce water losses and ensure available water was being used effectively. “Every city, when it plans, needs to look beyond building dams. They need to conserve and better use the water they’ve got,” he said.

Macleod said: “We are at a point where our dams are unable to sustain the current demand over an extended period and the risk of failure is one in 15 years – that means water rationing every 15 years, statistically.”

Adding to the problem in Durban is the amount of water lost or stolen, with the recent draft budget report for the 2011/12 financial year stating that 35 percent of the city’s water is lost or stolen through illegal connections.

Macleod said measures were in place to reduce this figure, including replacing ageing pipes and managing water pipe pressure.

But Macleod said other measures need to be considered, including building the Spring Grove Dam in the KZN Midlands and building a dam in the Umkomazi River.

Spring Grove should have been storing water five years ago, he said, “but construction work has not even started” depite an ever-growing demand for water. Macleod said even if Spring Grove was built there would still be a need for more capacity.

The other option would be to dam the Umkomazi River.

“The most recent estimate I saw put the final cost at close to R20 billion. Environmentally, the proposed site is also in a rather sensitive area.

“Continuing with traditional dam building is becoming unaffordable from both economic and environmental perspectives,” he said.

Given this, other more innovative measures are needed, including desalination of seawater and recycling water. Recycling is cheaper but has other implications.

“People don’t like the idea or want to drink recycled sewage. It has a ‘yuck’ factor. This is despite the fact that most of our water comes from heavily polluted waters, but it is the thought of recycled sewage that disturbs people. Durban’s water, for example, has Pietermaritzburg’s sewage in it. Recycling is more an emotional thing, and that’s the really big negative we’re facing,” Macleod said.

A desalination plant would cost about the same to build as a recycling plant – about R1.6bn to R2bn.

“Recycling is cheaper because the amount of impurities, and this might be surprising, are higher in seawater than sewage, making it easier to treat than seawater. Sewage plants would be inland, while the desalination plant is at sea level, so the amount you spend on pumping the treated water is less. While the capital costs are about the same, the operation costs do differ,” he said, adding they would be run by a private company, probably foreign, because of the specialist nature of the work.

Both options are being researched, but Macleod said a decision was needed urgently.

“Whatever we build, it has to be built by 2013 or 2014. We need it really soon,” he said.

Macleod encouraged ratepayers to report water theft or leaks so they can be dealt with quickly. The toll-free number is 080 131 3013.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tee Project

We have started reshaping the tee's to a box shape to get more tee space out of the limited tee's we have. We are dethatching them and topdressing to help with the levels this week.


Ladies please bare with the smell as it will go away soon....

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Behind the Changes to Golf Digest's Top 100 Ranking System

Ron Whitten, Golf Digest magazine's architecture editor, explains recent changes to the Top 100 ranking system and how they may level the field for golf courses in many locations

Friday, March 4, 2011

Inside the Ropes: Prepping for the Honda Classic

This is a video by the Golf Course Superintendent Association of America talking about what goes on at the Honda classic in Florida. The have very similar weather condition as we have got and use the same grasses we do (Bermuda grass otherwise known Cynodon) Click on the link below...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bunker Cleaning

In the beginning of the year we had abnormal rain and this caused the bunkers to flood and wash away (erode) the bunker side's.

Due to this stones and gravel ended up on the surface of the bunkers and we are constantly busy sifting through the bunker sand to remove all of it. Please bare with us as we are doing this during play and note that the bunker they are working in has a GUR sign in them so you can drop your ball outside the bunker.

Pump house (The heart of the golf course)

As most of you are aware we have had a brake in at the pump house in February. The door and trellis gate where forced open and all the cables and electronics in and around the pump house were cut and stolen.

Due to this we can't run the automated irrigation system over night but it should be up and running by next week. We have installed an alarm system that an armed response company is responding to. We also installed an electric fence around the pump house to ensure the goods inside is protected as the pump house is the heart of the golf course!