Maintenance Blog

Maintenance Blog



Mountain Woods Maintenance Blog for September 2017



September Newsletter 2017

It’s raining!!!!  Finally, the temperatures are starting to cool down, and the course just received its first substantial rain in months. The long-range forecasts are also looking good for once. There is a lot of fertilizer on the course, that was applied earlier in the season, so things should start to green-up rather quickly over the next week. It will be nice to be out there mowing grass, instead of dust! Over the next week I will be assessing just how bad the prolonged drought has damaged the course, and decisions will be made on over seeding week areas. This can be very costly, and disruptive to play, so the decision to seed will be done to best suit all of our interests. Also, a lot of the golf course is Poa annua, which has produced a large seed bed in the soil, that may germinate as conditions improve. All of my fingers are crossed for a little help from mother nature. One thing that all of you can help with is cart traffic. If you see an area that appears weak, don’t drive through it, and where cart paths are close to greens, tees, and bunkers, please stay on the path. There has been a lot of cart traffic damage on the course this year, and most of it was completely unnecessary. 

Just recently, Mountain Woods added a really cool piece of equipment to its arsenal. Its not new, but it is a barely used aeration unit called an aeravator. This unit was designed to handle really heavily compacted clay, which is our new fairways, and has the ability to loosen it even in severely hard and dry conditions. We are in the process of dialing it in now. I find the condition of those new fairways to be a thorn in my side, and I promise to do everything I can to improve them over the next few years. If it hadn’t been for severe winter kill, things would have been so much better, but that’s life. I am also looking into the total cost of fairway irrigation for the club, and assessing the total water needs. This is a huge investment that will looked at over the next few months, but there is a market reality that has to be taken into consideration in our area.
Over the past month the crew has done a lot of work on bunkers, and tree and brush clearing . We plan to do a lot more over the next few months, and a few trees that are causing tee-off damage are also going to be removed. If there are any areas on the course that you would like to see cleaned out, please let me know. I always appreciate feedback, whether its good or bad. It is always nice to see the golfers point of view as well.

This year, a family of Red Foxes has made their home at Mountain Woods. Foxes are showing up in urban green spaces largely due to the fact that coyotes have increased in numbers to a point where the Foxes are being pushed out. A couple of the little red guys are becoming quite tame, and will sometimes come up within a few feet. Don’t be scared, because they are harmless, so do not try to harm them. This is something the crew and I take personally.  One of the foxes actually likes to hang out with the guys while grooming bunkers, and also has been known to sneak up on me while changing cups at 5 a.m., and yes it scared the hell out of me as I did him when I screamed! Foxes are the exact predator you want on a golf course. They have been picking off the odd goose, and have been removing the damaging muskrat and ground hog population. Imagine, natural goose control!!!  It is recommended by wildlife officials to not feed them, so please don’t, as tempting as it may be.

Over the past month, I have been testing a lot of different management approaches to getting our greens closer to what I like to produce for you. I have them dialed in now, and hope you are enjoying those surfaces. I will be doing a lot of cultural work to the greens, as we approach the Rodger Burns Memorial, and yes, it is my goal to make them faster. We currently purchased a few sets of super tournament bed-knives, for our greens mowing heads, which will allow me to get the height-of-cut down below .120”.  I have also increased the amount of growth regulator used and have narrowed the application interval. We actually are mowing all 20 greens on the site and are dumping the clippings once. Topdressing is being done once per week, and vertical cutting in two directions every 14 days. With a program like this, we will always have awesome putting surfaces!

Fall is just about here, and core aeration is just around the corner. So far it is planned for the first week of October on the greens sites. We will update you as this date gets closer.  Right now, I am just happy to get to sleep in until 4 am. This has been one of the longest, and toughest seasons I have encountered in years, but having a great crew has made it so much easier!!! Until next time!!!!

1. One of our young foxes checking out a freshly groomed bunker.


2. The aeravator. A game changer for Mountain Woods !!!!!


3. These dark patches are called fairy rings. This is a fungal problem caused by buried stumps. I only will spray a fungicide if they start to cause damage