Maintenance Blog

Maintenance Blog



A Message From your Superintendent Dave Davey

October/November News Letter


Well it’s hard to believe that the season is over, but all good things must come to an end when you live in Atlantic Canada. This is always a bittersweet time of the year for me, because you just hate to lose great weather to work on the course, but it is nice to relax a bit I must say! We have a short season here, and you have to go all out to try to get the golf course up and running, surviving the summer, and getting it ready for winter. This past season was probably one of the longest I have seen in a long time, and there are a lot of Superintendents in Atlantic Canada this year that are worn out, and happy to see the snow, but also had some of the best weather to get things done on their courses.


We had great weather, this fall, to get things done. The last two months of the season was all about agronomy. This course was long over due for extensive aeration, so the crew and I went all out to get’er done as they say. The greens were core aerated on a 2"x2" spacing with a .590" od coring tine, and the cores were collected and removed, then the greens were vertical cut, and top-dressed heavily. This was the first of two aerations that were done to the greens before snowfall. The second aeration took place a couple of weeks later with 3/4 "x 7" deep solid aeration tines on a 2.5" and 2" spacing which was determined differently for each green. The greens were top-dressed heavily prior to this and the aerator was used to drag sand into the holes. This was the first time I used this method of aeration and it worked exceptionally well. The Toro Procore is just an amazing piece of equipment that allows me to do a number different aeration techniques that will help improve our green sites incredibly. The large tine aeration drastically lifted the surfaces of the greens and relieved most of the hardpan and compaction. It lifted them so much, that we had to roll them just to walk on them!!! Just before the end of the season, I went out and top-dressed heavily once more, and I was finally happy to see the right quantity of sand on the greens surfaces. I'm still trying to dial in the propass top-dressing equipment to achieve what I'm looking for, and I can say I have just about nailed it. Its going to be interesting to see how the greens respond in the Spring, so lets hope Mother Nature is kind! In total this year, we have applied slightly over 110 tones of usga topdressing sand, which is something I'm hoping to increase in 2017 by refining budgets a bit. It is my goal to always try to make these greens the best that they can be, so that you will always have an enjoyable experience at the Mountain Woods Golf Course.

The tee decks were also core aerated with the same tines and spacing used on the greens, and it also went quite successfully, with the exception of a few big rocks and having to put an extra set of tines on that are $20 each, and the unit holds 30. If you ever wonder why golf is so expensive, just give me a call. The cores were blown off and cleaned up. I then decided to do the tees a few weeks later with the same 3/4" solid tines I used on the greens. It was amazing what took place. It completely lifted the tees over 2 inches and removed a lot of compaction. I couldn't believe how soft the tees were after being aerated. This is a big game changer for the tee decks. They were compacted so badly that it was hard to get quality turf on some of them. It looks really good for the future. I then used some waste usga sand that has been on site for a few years, and top-dressed the tees to help improve the soil structure. There should be a big improvement on the tees for the 2017 season.


The fairways were also extensively aerated with the Ryan renovaire that the course already owned. In the Spring I had the aerator double tined with a new set of coring tines, and added weight to the unit. This allows twice the usual number of coring holes per square foot, and allows the unit to go deeper into the surface. I gave Don the complete responsibility to get this done, and he was able to go over each fairway twice, and the new fairways 1,3,4,5,and 6 had one more pass. This allowed for a tremendous number of aeration holes in the fairways, and relieved a lot of compaction. The cores were dragged and broken up the best that we could. The winter months, with freezing and thawing, will further help break up the cores, so that they can be dragged again and blown off of the fairways. I'm hoping that with aeration, proper fertility, over seeding and mowing, that the fairways are going to improve to provide a better playing surface. Without fairway irrigation, it is difficult, but we plan on doing everything that we can. While doing the fairways, Don was also able to aerate the roughs and around the greens. What he couldn't do with the large unit, he did with the small Ga3 that we had outfitted with coring tines. Great job Don!!!


Dave Keys, from Multigro fertilizers came into the course and did extensive soil testing on the greens, tees, and fairways. It is incredible how many different soil types there are on this golf course. Basically all of the older greens and tees are different. The new greens and tees are quite consistent in the sand content, but it was found that there is a lot of rounded particles. I will be correcting this over the years by using a coarse angular sand topdressing, and I'm also looking into some different amendments to help with soil stability. It will be interesting to see the final lab results concerning nutrient content, and ph.


If you have been around the course lately, you will notice a lot of blue marking flags and some 4 foot black pipe sticking out of the ground. The Blue flags were used to mark every irrigation head, control valve, wire splice, and drain that is part of the irrigation and drainage system on the golf course. As the system was being blown out, Don and I marked and edged hopefully everything.  This golf course has never had these systems mapped, so I decided to put one together. Far too often on golf courses, systems go in the ground without any mapping, and over time, parts of the system start to go missing. Also drains can get lost in rapidly growing turf areas. Drains are incredibly important to get water off of the golf course quickly, so that turf isn't damaged by sitting water. All of the drains were edged out and cleaned and a stake with a length of 4" black drainage pipe was placed on the drain edge in a vertical position. This not only marks the drain so it can be found and cleared during Winter and Spring, but the black pipe attracts UV from the sun and heats up just enough to keep snow and ice melting so that the drain stays clear of ice and snow, and water can still move underground. We also added a major drain to fairway number 11, and a ditch along the left woods on 11 to capture water coming down the hill that floods the fairway and rough, and creates a constant wet area that is unplayable. This is one of the last areas on the course that floods badly, and I'm really happy to get the infrastructure in the ground.


At one time, we had planned to do a lot more tree work on the course, but just the agronomic practices took a lot of time and effort. Don was able to remove some dead trees on number 1, and did a clearing project behind number 16 tee to allow for better airflow. Sorry Randy, I know you were geared up and ready to do some tree killing with Don, but there is always next spring. Truthfully, there were a lot of plans for the end of the season such as 15 green, but the timing just wasn't there. Hopefully next year everything will go as planned. Greg and I want to do this right, so that the investment will benefit the course in every way and you will have a hole to play that enhances the course.

Greens covering with a breathable tarp and straw went exceptionally well, and this year we covered numbers 1,2,3,4,6,11,12,13,17, and 15. And just in time for a winter surprise. I would like to thank the volunteers for all of their hard work helping with this process. The truth is, we couldn't do it without you!!!! You guys are awesome. Covering is an important process for this course to help it get through the winter, and it is an investment for the future not only for the crew, and myself but also for your experience as a member. It is definitely a mutually beneficial relationship. Thanks to all of you that could make it out. I still can't believe we did it all in just under 6 hours. I can't wait to see everything in the spring. Trust me, there are many parts of my body crossed for good luck!!!!!!!!!


In closing, I would just like to thank my staff for all of the hard work this season. Trust me when I say that there was an incredible effort on their part this year. I would also like to thank the Professional Shop staff as well. I have never seen a Professional Shop run this well, with this level of service. I would also like to thank you, the members, for all of your positive comments and suggestions. It was a pleasure getting to know all of you for sure. I was just recently asked to do a one-hour presentation at the Atlantic Turf grass Conference and Tradeshow in Halifax in February. If any of you have any old photos, or just simply photos of the course, or anything interesting about the course, could you please forward this to me. Until next time!!!!!!


Greens core aeration under way on the double green!




Aeration before and after.



Tee off aeration on # 3 white tee.



Fairway aeraton... Go get them Don!!!!!



A lot of cores on fairway # 17.



Agressive aeration on number 3.




Marking drains, and sod removal to help 17 drain.




Number 5 green looking good going into winter!!



Large tine aeration of number and sand dragging on number 8 green.



Drainage project under way on number 11 fairway.



Its straw time!!!  Thanks Guys!!!!



All covered up for winter!!