Thursday, March 24, 2011

New Blog at Nutters Crossing

As promised, here is the link to my new blog:

It's been a wild couple of weeks settling into my new responsibilities, so blogging is still on the back burner.  I plan on starting it back up soon.



Monday, March 14, 2011

Moving on...

As you may have noticed, it's been quite a while since my last update at Glen Riddle.  With mixed feelings I can formally announce I have taken another position in the Ruark Golf company: I have started as the new Superintendent at Nutters Crossing GC in Salisbury, MD.  Obviously I'm thrilled at the opportunity to "run the show", but I had a great two years at Glen Riddle.

The winter season usually brings some moving and shaking in the industry, and this year was no different.  Mike Salvio, who I had worked with at Glen Riddle my first year, and who was the Superintendent at Nutters, moved to Ocean City Golf Club.  I have had the good fortune of taking his place.

For now the Glen Riddle Maintenance Blog will be retired.  I will be taking over the maintenance blog at Nutters Crossing.  As soon as I have that set up, I will post a link for all those who would be interested in following me.  Thanks to everyone who has read this blog.  See you at Nutters!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Managing Micro-climates

I snapped this picture form the middle of the fairway on hole 6 of War Admiral today.  I thought it was amusing/interesting to see half the hole covered in snow and the other half ready for play. The picture says a lot about the effect trees can have on a golf course and the subsequent micro-climates they create.

One of our goals as superintendents is to create uniform playing conditions around the entire property.  Managing moisture is one if the most important keys to achieving uniformity.  So as you can see on six, the trees on the left block enough of the sunlight to create unbalanced conditions. 

Even in the summer,  when the sun is higher in the sky, heavily wooded courses such as ours will have problem areas caused by lighting imbalance.  The major issues we face are low light conditions, pockets of little to no air circulation, and an imbalance of wet/dry soils.  We spend a lot of effort in fine tuning maintenance practices to the individual needs of the hole.  If you happen to be fortunate enough to have the funding of say an Oakmont, you can remove all the trees and minimize factors that cause non uniform playing conditions.

Because that is not an option for us, we utilize a highly customizable irrigation system to distribute water uniformly based on the needs of the turf.  We also have large fans which are stationed around greens that see minimal air movement.  All in the name of great playing conditions, which is the bottom line for me.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

New Month, New Look, New Droid App!

Finally Google has created a free android app. for mobile posting and picture uploading! Hallelujah!

You might also notice I've also swapped the stock background with one of our own and changed the header pic to hole 5 on Man O War.

February is here and we still find ourselves working on drainage projects, painting equipment, and planning ahead. As soon as the weather starts to get better and daytime temps get above 50, I'll be starting to put down some pre emergent herbicide apps.

Margarito wrapping up painting the Man O War tee markers
The ugly side of fixing bunker drainage
Some of the furniture and trash bins post staining

Thursday, January 27, 2011

In the words of Daniel Plainview: Drainage!!!

During the last couple of weeks we've been spending quite a bit of time adding additional drainage lines to both courses at Glen Riddle.  Though the existing drainage system here is superb, (It has to be to handle the amount of rain we get every year) we still find we have areas that will be very slow to dry out after a rain event.  We've spent the most time on the 4th fairway of Man O War.

This fairway has the most trouble with persistent wet areas, due mainly to the fairway never being re-graded after it had washed out during the grow in.  The erosion wasn't severe, but enough channels and dips were made that any standing water has a tough time getting to the drains.  (No one from that portion of the grow in is still here, so I haven't thrown anyone I know under the bus!) Being the good Superintendents we are, we're addressing these issues in an effort to ever improve the course conditions.
Here is one of our trouble areas.  You can see the wet area and subsequent tire track.

We set down plywood to keep the area as clean as possible.

Once the lines are trenched we line the bottom with pea gravel, install 4'' perf. drain pipe, and fill in the trench with pea gravel.  We cap the trench with sand. 

I had little understanding of the necessity of drainage until moving to Maryland.  In Idaho I lived in the Snake River Valley, which is essentially a sagebrush desert.  Average rainfall for the area is around 10'' per year.  Now I live in an area where average yearly rainfall is around 46''.  In this area the ability of a golf course to shed water and quickly dry down is of the utmost importance.  Excess moisture on the course leads to a multitude of problems, including:  Poor playing conditions, unsightly turf, disease pressure, and the list goes on.  

Even when the turf isn't active, we still do all we can to promote healthy turf!  Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Cold Weather Projects Heating Up

To begin: Happy 2011!

The arrival of the new year is often seen as a "new beginning": A time to make resolutions or goals to set themselves up for success in the year to come.  At Glen Riddle the winter months are our time to gather ourselves after the stressful summer months, refurbish and reset our equipment and course supplies, and plan for the year to come.  I've mentioned a few of the things we work on in previous posts, and wanted to add some other things to the list of winter projects we are doing and want to accomplish in the next couple months.

We are spending quite a bit of time getting re-organized in every way possible.  One thing I was able to finish last week was to update the irrigation book for Man O War.  The old book had been put together by making copies on the copy machine using a large irrigation map.  It served you well if you already knew how the irrigation on MoW was set up, but needed to be organized by hole and cleaned up a bit.  A good example is of 16 and 17.  16 was controlled by 2 boxes, one of which controlled 17.  Unless you were already familiar with everything, it could take a bit to get oriented in the old book.

Before: Hole 16 and 17 on MoW
After: Hole 16 by itself
 With the new book each hole is by itself, and in the case above I've marked off what areas each box controls.  I've also highlighted the isolation valves and erased any other heads or lines that don't pertain to the hole.  This way anybody should be able to pick up the irrigation book and easily navigate the MoW system.

While John our mechanic refurbishes our equipment, we take time to re-paint the flag sticks and tee markers so they go out at the beginning of the year looking as good as new.  It's detail work, which takes time and effort, but is well worth not having to purchase new flag sticks each year.  With two courses the cost would add up quickly!
We'll start with the gold MoW markers

Many many flag sticks to paint...

Ready to re-organize our irrigation tools
Here's to a wonderful 2011!

Cleaning Out the Clutter

One of the projects we spend a fair amount of time doing here is cleaning up some of the high profile forest areas around War Admiral.  These areas are often cluttered with tree stumps, fallen branches and limbs, shrubs, vines, and the like.  If we never touched these areas I'm sure most players would never notice the overgrowth, unless they had to search for their ball in it.  However when these areas are underbrushed and cleaned up the effect is quite noticeable and adds to the appeal of the surrounding area.

Before : View of 10 green from the blue tees

Before : POV from near the black tees

After: From the blue tees

After: From the black tees

We can't quite match the perfectly manicured pine needle beds of Augusta, but this projects goes a long way in adding to the beauty of the golf course by reducing some of the clutter around it.