Scotsdale GCM Update

If you’ve been to Scotsdale this week you may have noticed the greens were recently aerated and verticut. We then followed this up with a heavy topdressing of sand. We aerate greens to help regulate thatch by removing the excessive thatch with small cores and then incorporating sand top dressing into the aeration holes.

Vertical mowing accomplishes similar results through the utilization of small knives which cut linear patterns about a quarter of an inch deep into the surface of the green. These two processes are done to help the turf optimize growth and provide a smooth, firm surface to play from. It also helps create better drainage, gas exchange and alleviates compaction that sets in overtime from play and equipment. Topdressing is performed after aeration to fill these channels with fresh sand, free of thatch; this also improves gas exchange and water movement, while firming and smoothing the surface for better play-ability.

We will do these two more times this summer since these greens were renovated using a no till method. This will help make a more uniform profile and remove more of the layering that comes with no till renovation. Since it is still late spring, and we never know what mother nature may do, we went with a smaller coring tine this time with close spacing. This will help speed up the recovery since it is not such a large hole to fill in. In warmer weather we will use slightly bigger cores to help remove more of the layering when we aerate. The Bermuda grows more vigorously with warmer temperatures, so the healing time is better for larger cores.

We will follow this with a lot of rolling and additional brushing to continue incorporating the sand into the holes and grooves to complete the smoothing of the putting surface.

We also aerated tees this week. This helped to alleviate compaction and will make the tees grow healthier while also improving water utilization of the plant.  Although aeration is disruptive to play, it is an important program for the overall health of turfgrass plants. Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to everyone enjoying the course this summer.

Kyle Soller, Scotsdale Golf Maintenance Superintendent

BVCC #1 Green Update

The project on #1 Green at BVCC has been a long but very beneficial process. Since the damage to the green occurred from a malfunctioning greens spray combined with the underlying problem of damaged drainage, progress has been made to get the green back into healthy and playable conditions.

New drainage was the first step of the process. While the drainage is certainly not as good as a newly constructed green, it has certainly made a very positive difference. After the new drainage was replaced, our team sodded and plugged some of the weaker areas and the green started to recover on its own. We were hopeful at that time that the green would be open sooner rather than later. However, frigid temperatures hit and the green and the sod took a few steps in the wrong direction. It was very apparent at that time that if the green could not withstand the extreme cold, then it had little chance to withstand the extreme heat of the summer. The only choice was to re-sod when temperatures were favorable.

During the last week of March and the first week of April temperatures started getting into the 60s and 70s during the day and only down into the 40s at night and soil temperatures climbed back into the 50s. While these temperatures are not great for bentgrass shoot (grass) growth we knew that new sod would be able to withstand the conditions and eventually grow roots. At this time our team, along with the help of other golf maintenance teams, re-sodded the middle section of the green.

Since re-sodding, the green has flourished. The spring weather has given the sod favorable conditions for root growth and shoot growth. Through heavy topdressings and other cultural practices, our team has worked diligently to get the green healthy so that it could withstand the stress that comes with getting the green ready for play. The final step has been to lower the height of cut, which takes time to keep the green healthy. It was important to our team that we push to lower the height of the green as hard as we could to get it open for our members. With this, a little scalping has occurred, specifically on the edges of the green, but nothing that should not recover with time.

We are ecstatic to announce that #1 green will be open for play on Thursday May 30th! Please note, that while we intend #1 green to roll the same as the others, you may notice a little difference for the time being. Overall the green is rolling relatively smooth but may have some bumps here and there due to the sod. It may also roll a little slower than the rest, but given time, we expect it to be like the rest of the greens and you will not notice that work was even done to this green!

Our team would like to thank everyone for their patience as we went through this process. It may not have gone as quick as we all would have liked, but hopefully the work we put in and the patience you all have shown, will pay off and the green will have great health and play-ability through the rest of the year. I hope you are ready to putt into a regulation size cup again and no more automatic 2 putts!! See you on #1 green May 30th!

Rob Dreesen

Berksdale Bio-Blitz!

BioBlitz is a “…species counting competition designed to showcase the environmental value of the natural habitats found on (the) golf course.” Berksdale’s participation this year will top off our “Education and Outreach” category toward full certification in the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program. A kick-off event will be held on the Berksdale course, May 22nd , during a 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. tee time block, beginning and ending at the Kingsdale cart barn. Field guides from the Lake Ecology Department, the Master Naturalist and Master Gardener groups will be available to lead participants in identifying the great diversity of flora and fauna to be found on Berksdale. The Bella Vista Birders will be sighting and taking photographs along the property the morning of the 24th and/or the 25th. Through May 28th, “Wildlife Scorecards” will be available in the Kingsdale Pro Shop so that golfers may add to our inventory as they play Berksdale. We have received tremendous support for this program from the Golf Maintenance, Golf Operations, Marketing, Recreation and Administration departments of the BVVPOA. Audubon International and the USGA sponsor this annual event, and we are excited to begin participating. For more information, please see auduboninternational.org, bvbirders@gmail.com or contact wendyb@bvvpoa.com.

Scotsdale GCM Update

Spring rains have arrived, and they have brought a mess. The first day of May brought in over 5 inches of rain overnight leading to flooding with more being forecasted. It is something that happens and is out of our control. We do our best to prepare for it, but there are always cleanup and issues that come from big rain events.

With heavy rain comes excessive runoff from creeks flowing out of the banks, lakes spilling over, and drainage from surrounding streets. Debris, such as leaves, limbs and gravel that have been collecting in ditches over winter are finally forced down and out by the rushing water, especially when it comes as fast as it did over a short period of time. All this mess gets caught up in the rush of water until it reaches a low area where it settles. This happened to Scotsdale on several holes such as 3 and 10.

The first thing we do in these events is to pick up small debris we can safely access. At Scotsdale, we had to wait until the water receded below the bridges and check that they were not damaged before we could begin cleanup on the front 9. This is the reason we concentrated on cleaning up the back 9 first, which allowed us to open 9 holes several days earlier.

Debris such as leaves, and small branches are picked up first. This debris is unsightly and is generally the easiest and quickest thing to clean up. At times this debris may be in an area too wet to get to, so it will be necessary to come back to these later. We then start working to pile up the gravel that collected in areas. This is where continual rains make the job difficult because we need to let the ground dry up before we can get heavier equipment on the turf, thus minimizing damage. After the bulk of the gravel is picked up, we come back with a broom that cleans the area even better. This broom is also used for cleaning up collected soils (silt) that has been deposited onto the turf.  If we didn’t use the broom, the gravel would cause damage to the mowers later. With the weather continually bringing in rain and keeping the ground saturated we may need to keep a hole closed until we get to it or change it by making it shorter and keeping play off the effected areas. An example is number 3 at Scotsdale. The middle fairway has so much gravel on it and stays so wet that we have made it a par 3 until we can get it off. Sometimes areas are prone to collecting more silt than anything else. Silt deposits are damaging in the long run because it hinders the soils ability to exchange gases and retain oxygen while decreasing drainage and infiltration rates. Silt is shoveled off first and squeegees used to complete the cleanup. To correct these areas for the future health of the plant will require the areas be aerated to bust up the layer caused by the silt (and improve soil). This will enhance gas exchange capabilities and improve overall drainage.

Another issue is the water begins to channel into areas leading to washouts. These are areas where the water is coming in so hard that it begins to erode the ground. We will come back later and repair these. We add in a heavy soil like clay that can compact and top it with rip rap or sod depending on the location. It is not a difficult fix usually, but like cleanup, its difficult to accomplish with saturated soils around it.

An additional problem brought in with the flooding and washouts is the issue of weed seeds being introduced to areas through runoff. In heavy rains and flooding of turf areas, weed seeds are brought in to maintain those areas with running water (from outside areas) and deposited onto areas such as fairways and tees. Normally, we treat these areas with a pre-emergent herbicide to aid in control of weeds and keep the population as low as possible. With flooding, the pre-emergent herbicide we use to help suppress weeds gets thinned out by the excessive moisture. This leads to a faster breakdown of control and more chances for weeds to establish.  So, this means after cleanup we have another issue with getting these weed populations under control. This is an aftermath effect of flooding and, like cleanup, uses up resources and time that would have been used for elevating conditions instead of getting back to square one.

With the ground very wet and more rain continuing to fall, one of the biggest issues we face is getting back on track with mowing. We are doing what mowing we can when we can with the biggest focus on greens right now and then everything else. As much as it pains me, sometimes this means we try and get mowing done during wetter than normal conditions and leaving tracks. We do our best to stay away from the wetter areas though and come back to these areas as quickly as we can.

Each of the courses are different but we still share a lot of the same issues. The biggest shared problem we have is lost time. We work hard to continually make the courses better but when these events happen, we must work hard just to get back to where we were. We lose time in cleanup that could be used to fertilize, mow, spray, and make other overall improvements. This time adds up and course conditions suffer. We will work diligently to not only repair but make the courses better. It takes time, but we will get the job done. We appreciate the support and understanding from everyone and look forward to seeing everybody enjoy the courses and have a great time playing.

 

Thank you!

Kyle Soller, Scotsdale Golf Maintenance Superintendent

#8 White Tee Box Kingswood

On April 29 we had an irrigation mainline blow out under the white tee box. The line was buried 6 feet deep and in order to safely repair the line we had to dig a trench that removed half of the tee surface.

Instead of rebuilding the tee in it’s present location and risking another irrigation leak, we will move the tee to the right. This will allow us to build a larger tee and shape the slope to allow easier access. All work will be completed by the golf maintenance staff.

The tee should be ready for play by July 1. Until then, the white tee markers will be moved forward to the back of the red tee box.

Thank you,

Reed Holly, Kingswood Golf Course Suptintendent

More Recognition For Berksdale From Audubon International

We received notice April 24th that our Water Quality Management and Water Conservation submissions were accepted. Many thanks to Chris Fuller and his team with the Lake Ecology and Water Quality department for sampling and providing detailed water quality assessments over the last couple of years.  We are proud to say Little Sugar Creek leaves Berksdale healthier than it comes in. Our water quality is further demonstrated by its ability to support the aquaculture program guided by Rick Echols. We are in our third year of helping raise stock for the Bella Vista lakes.

Water conservation on golf courses is a key topic nationally. While we sometimes suffer from over- abundance on Berksdale, we remain mindful of using our resources wisely. Our irrigation system is constantly monitored and adjusted to minimize water usage while providing satisfactory playing conditions. The restructuring from 18 holes to 9, coupled with our increase in naturalized acreage, has further allowed us to reduce water consumption. All irrigation water is pumped directly from Little Sugar Creek; we can take pride in knowing that this resource is protected for all forms of use.

Wendy Barnes, Berksdale Assistant Superintendent

Scotsdale GCM Update

The Bermuda grass has greened up and is looking great and with grass coming out of dormancy comes one of the challenges of spring. While the plant is producing chlorophyll and has a green color, growth is still slow. The temperatures are still improving for the ultra-dwarf Bermuda grass greens, which really don’t hit their full growing stage until daytime temperatures start reaching the 80’s on a regular basis. The challenge with ultra-dwarf Bermuda now is getting the speeds where we would like them to be. The process requires gradually lowering the height of cut. Due to the slow growth and turf recovery during this time of year, we accomplish this process in small increments. After several mows at new height and when we see that scalping is no longer occurring, along with more normal clipping yields, we then will lower the cutting height again. By doing these small drops in height we prevent scalping damage that would look unsightly and would result in an area slow to heal. You will notice the speeds will slowly improve over the next several weeks. Our goal is to have them at consistent speed daily and we expect to have them at the height and speed we want to maintain in two more weeks.

Another application we continually perform to help insure that ball roll remains true and smooth is topdressing and vertical mowing, a method to remove thatch or dead plant material. Topdressing and vertical mowing not only help with thatch management but staying on a consistent routine of both programs provides a much better putting surface. It’s still too early and cool to vertical cut on a regular regime, but we have started topdressing. After topdressing, we broom and roll to help incorporate the sand into the canopy of the plant. This time of year, we are doing it once every two weeks but when we get into the summer months we hope to accomplish this once a week. In the warmer months, we will start incorporating more vertical mowing since the recovery is quicker. The applications of sand will be light and after the broom roll the surface is great. This method of light and frequent topdressing will be more beneficial to everyone and provide the least impact to play and equipment wear. Below are some pictures of our process of incorporating the sand into the canopy.

 

You will also be happy to know that unlike our morning maintenance days on the bent grass courses, these maintenance procedures will be accomplished in the afternoons. The ultra-dwarf Bermuda can withstand this work in afternoons and is a much cleaner operation allowing the course to be open in mornings for tee times or group shotguns.

We at Scotsdale GCM thank you for the support and hope everyone is enjoying the course.

Kyle Soller, Scotsdale Golf Maintenance Superintendent

#1 Green Update

The project on #1 Green at BVCC is coming along nicely. The improved drainage continues to function well which has contributed to the overall health of the green. The sod, which has been transplanted for three weeks, has tacked down into the soil. The sod seams are growing in and the turf is beginning to put down some very healthy roots. This is a great sign of a successful establishment phase.

Now that the sod has established itself, we have begun the next phase of the project which is to begin getting it playable. The main concern with playability when you sod a green is getting it level so the ball does not bounce all over when you strike a putt. To help with smoothness, we have been mowing and rolling the green every 2 to 3 days.

Another practice we have been doing to help smooth and level the sod has been top-dressing. When we top-dress, we apply sand at a heavy rate. We then use a brush to “broom” the sand into the canopy of the turf. The low spots within the sod get a little extra sand as the brush goes across the sod. The turf then grows through the sand, which then helps to level out the green. An easier way to picture this is by thinking about when you fill a divot. When you fill a divot with sand, the turf around it grows into the sand which keeps the playing surface, whether it is a tee box or fairway, level. The same is happening on #1 Green except the green is also getting help from the turf underneath the sand. We will continue this topdressing program at least once per week until we get all the low spots level with the rest of the green.

An additional practice we will begin next week will be aerifying. When we aerify, we will be removing part of the sod layer than inhibits water, fertilizer and air from getting to the roots. Not only does this help with plant health, but it also helps with play-ability. After aerifying, we will roll the sod and use that same topdressing method to continue smoothing out the surface.

While the project on #1 Green has been very tedious and time consuming, we have been very pleased with the process so far and we continue to be thankful for your patience during this project.

Thank You!

Rob Dreesen
Golf Course Superintendent
Bella Vista Country Club

Scotsdale GCM Update

Spring is here and with it has come hot weather the past couple of weeks. The greens at Scotsdale have come out of the winter and are looking and doing great. Ground temperatures have started to come up and we are starting to see all the Bermuda beginning to change. As we go into the season we will be working on greens to help improve the ball roll and smoothness. This will increase sand topdressing utilized with vertical mowing to help keep thatch levels down. If we didn’t do this the turf would get spongy and would be more prone to problems such as diseases and insects.

With our greens being Bermuda, our aerfication dates are in the summer. This is because when this grass is growing more aggressively and healing time will be shorter. Due to being a no till grow in, we will be doing 3 core aerfications this season to help make the profile more uniform and to relieve layering that has occurred. This will help improve soil air and water capacities to a more beneficial level improving root growth and overall plant health. These will be done late May, July and August.

Below is a picture of a green and how they have made the transition out of dormancy.

Thank you for the support and understanding with our work. Looking forward to a terrific 2019 golf season here at Scotsdale.

Kyle Soller, Scotsdale Golf Maintenance Superintendent

Spring Aeration

The POA’s Golf Maintenance Department will aerate greens beginning April 16 on Berksdale. Kingswood and Dogwood courses will also be completed during the week of April 15 – April 20. Details regarding the aeration were provided by Keith Ihms, Director of Golf Maintenance.

By core aerating greens, water and air movement are allowed throughout the greens profile. Aerating the greens will promote the overall health of the courses’ turf, aeration also works toward removing thatch and building stronger root systems.

The main purpose of pulling cores is to manage the thatch layer on the greens. The thatch layer is mostly made up of dying and un-decomposed leaf and grass material. By pulling cores we are removing some of that material and preventing it from building up to an unacceptable level.

Thatch causes the greens to become soft and spongy, which can make for poor putting conditions. When thatch gets to this point it also can become a problem dealing with the other issues it causes, such as fungus growth, mower scalping and “localized dry spots,” which will not absorb and retain moisture.

Aerating creates openings in the surface for water and nutrients to be absorbed. As well as the sand that will be used to smooth the putting surface, fill in voids and amend the green profile.

A second sand topdressing will be necessary a week or so after aeration to complete filling of the aeration holes and smooth the surface.

Weather permitting, aeration and maintenance dates and locations will be:

  • April 15 – Berksdale Golf Course will be closed for aeration.
  • April 16 – Berksdale Golf Course will be closed until 11 a.m. for maintenance.
  • April 16 – Dogwood Golf Course will be closed for aeration.
  • April 17 – Dogwood Golf Course will be closed until 11 a.m. for maintenance.
  • April 17 – Kingswood Golf Course will be closed for aeration.
  • April 18 – Kingswood Golf Course will be closed until 11 a.m. for maintenance.

The Bermuda greens at Scotsdale are scheduled to be aerated May 28 & 29, July 8 & 9 and August 5 & 6. Brittany is scheduled for July 15 & 16.