April is always a wild month for the agronomy team. Many critical applications, processes and programs for the season all need to be started and established in a month that sees days barely above freezing, then highs in the mid-80's. The crest has made great strides to being in mid-season form and our team is rolling with the weather trying to get things as dialed in as possible before the heat of the upcoming summer.
The greens continue to get better everyday. For the first time all season I heard, "that the greens were smooth this past weekend." While they are not completely healed over they are starting to roll much better. We will be looking for opportunities to topdress and verticut the greens as it gets warmer and GAP matches are completed.
This past week the team spiked the fairways. This practice will continue much like last year, being done monthly. Spiking the fairways opens up large pore space in our soils to facilitate the exchange of gases to the roots and for water to work deeper in the soil profile.
This past winter we had our irrigation pump sent out for repairs. The video below shows them being lowered back into the pump house. The team has had a busy spring checking and repair any broken irrigation heads. Getting this system with its miles of pipes, wires and hard/soft ware in shape is no small task, but is critical during the upcoming heat and dry spells of summer.
Thank you all for support, and please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
The golf season has officially started, and the grounds crew is working hard to get the course into mid-season form. It's hard to believe we had snow on the ground less then a month ago. With gap matches and tournaments just around the corner, the golf course is marked and ready for competition.
The recovery from our winter aeration has been over a month slower this spring as compared to last spring. The cold winter combined with several cold snaps this spring has not allowed the greens to fully come out of dormancy and grow out of aeration. To aid in their recovery we applied liquid fertilizer to the greens this morning. Our hope remains that they will be fully recovered soon.
The tees are looking really good this spring. Our efforts over the past few seasons seem to be paying off. As we continue to look for ways to improve our tees and our member experience please be aware that this spring we are going to experiment with more none traditional tee marker locations. Some tees will be way back while others will be way up.
The fairways are also looking good this spring. We still have some minor patching to do from rocks that were pulled up during last January's deep tining. Our plan to move tee markers we hope pays dividends on the fairway divot pattern as well, by shifting the landing areas.
All of the bunkers have received their spring maintenance and sand will be added to those that were thin in the next week. The new bunkers on nine will be opened for play this weekend as the sod in the area is starting to knit in.
It is wonderful to see the golf course green again and golfers out there. Please try to avoid any of the new sod as we hope to keep carts on fairways as often as possible this year. Thank you for all your support and please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
Spring Warm up
The Crest is starting to warm up and wake up. The weather has turned the corner in the past several days and we are seeing the turf start to come out of dormancy. The team is busy with finalizing our spring work and getting into our in season practices.
The greens have been rolled out and mowed for the first time this spring. The first spring mowing of our cool season turf helps it wake up and start to grow. With the upcoming warm weather and rain I expect to see the greens grow out of last December's aeration quickly.
The sand channel drain lines on 1, 13, and 16 are all sodded in, and the team is putting the finishing touches on them. Making sure that they blend seamlessly into the fairways. The bunker project on 9 is complete and we will open those bunker as soon as the sod knits in.
Our team goals for the spring are progressing nicely. The clubhouse landscaping is nearly complete with fresh mulch. Some new spring annuals will be going in before the holiday weekend. The bunkers have all been freshly edge and are being cleaned out. The sand depth will be check, and sand will be added as needed.
Finally, with the warmer weather the bathrooms on 12 have been opened and we will no longer be requiring the use of the hitting mats on fairways and par-3 tee boxes. Thank you to all the membership for participating in this program this winter. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
Course Update March
Good Morning Members of the Crest,
Spring is getting closer and closer, the agronomy team is excited to see more golfers back out on the course this week as we get a shot of warm weather. There is still a lot of snow around the 9th tee area, keeping holes 9 and 10 closed until it is safe to walk through. This week we hope to wrap up our winter projects and start getting the course ready for the season.
We anticipate opening the greens by this Friday. As things warm up this week the greens will lose the last of their snow cover and the soil will thaw out completely. If we walk on or roll the greens before they thaw out we can do serious damage to their root structure. Once the greens are thawed out we will deploy most of our staff to blow off, roll, and set the cups in the greens. Our hope is this happens mid-week and we can open them sooner, but I try not to put too much faith in the hand of the local meteorologists.
With the bulk of the snow gone, the staff is hard at work finishing up the different projects. The fairway drain lines are being sodded in and we are preparing to finish the bunker work on 9 by the end of the week. Please note these areas will be marked as ground under repair until the sod has a chance to knit in.
The remaining details of the course will be worked on in the coming weeks. Our team goal is to have the spring cleanup, mulching, and spring bunker maintenance all done before the grass starts growing. This year with the snow cover, that may be a tall order. Expect to see in season tee markers soon, and bunker work to follow.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
This past month we have received a lot of snow! A month straight of snow cover is pretty unusual in our region. While snow cover is good for turf, I think we are all getting cabin fever these past few weeks. Thankfully, the long term forecast is hinting at spring and today is the first day sunset is after 6:00 pm! As the snow melts and the course dries out we will have golfers out there as soon as possible.
On the course, many of the projects we started in January are close to completion, but were halted by the snow. These will be wrapped up ASAP. The team has been able to get out and do some light tree work, mostly focusing on dead or damaged trees from the wind storm this past June. We will be bring staff back in earnest to prepare the course for the upcoming season in the next few weeks.
During the past month the grounds staff focused on some improvements to the maintenance facilities. We painted all the walls and the shop floor. We reorganized our equipment repair shop, and reconfigured our staff meeting room. Cleaning, organizing and renovating the work spaces of the entire facility to improve the functionality of the facility for the upcoming season.
As we move towards spring feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns about the Crest. We can not wait to see you back out here!
Happy New year to all of the Crest! Since the start of 2021 the agronomy team has been actively improving the golf course for next season. Our plans are dictated by the weather, and believe it or not this includes the winter as well. Although they are calling for a very cold winter, the ground has yet to freeze over and we are taking full advantage of this and focusing on improvements to the fairways.
The first step to improving the fairways is by adding a sand channel drainage system to some of the wettest areas of the course. We have a fantastic drainage system here, and this will only help supplement it by drying the soil faster after a major rain event.
The second step the team is working on to improve the fairways is deeptine aeration. As I discussed in an earlier post this process helps create pore space deep down in the soil profile. It creates channels for the infiltration of water and roots. Also it decompacts parts of soil profile that our regular cultural practices cannot reach.
When the weather shifts to frozen ground we will redirect our attention to other tasks. I hope you all are well. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
End of year Agronomy
Winter is here and the agronomy team is nearly completed all the essential work for next season. The irrigation system has been blown out and winterized, tee boxes have been covered, accessories are being brought in for winter servicing, and the aeration, fertilization, and seeding of all the playing surfaces are nearly complete.
By completing this late season aeration work we are setting the golf course up for great conditions next spring. Once weather starts to warm up we will be focused on playing conditions and not doing any major aeration. There are also two major agronomic benefits of doing our "spring aeration" in the winter. One, our region often has warm spells in the winter, during these days we may get some enhances of the recovery of the playing areas. Two, by having large pore spaces opened we may get more heaving and fracturing of the soils during freezing and thawing cycles, leading to extra aeration of the playing surfaces.
The greens are the last area of the golf course that we have disturbed, this is in an effort to give the membership good fall putting conditions as long as possible. As I write this we have just a few greens left to aerate, fertilize, seed and topdress. It is important to note that we do not plan on doing an early spring aeration. Rather when the greens are opened in the spring we will be focusing on playing conditions right away.
Tees and Approaches
The tee and approaches have all received their fall agronomy work. Several of the tees have been covered to ensure they are ready for the spring. These include some of our high volume par three tees, the range tee, and the tee boxes on 9. Covering any playing surface with winter solar covers generally puts those areas two weeks ahead of the other surfaces for spring green up.
Fairways and Rough
All of the fairways and the in-play rough have also received their fall agronomy. The fairways will be deeptined if weather allows. This process will go a long way in creating even more soil heaving and fracturing over the winter, creating large pore space deeper in our soil profile for deeper rooting in the spring. A few high traffic areas of rough will be sodded in before Christmas and additional winter seeding will be done as weather allows.
Thank you all for a wonderful 2020. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. I wish you all a Merry Christmas, blessed holidays, and a happy New Year!!!!
September in November
The warm weather over the past few days has been fantastic! It is great to see everyone out in shorts in the middle of November. These extra days of above average temperature are really helping the golf course to finish the season strong and start next season very healthy. The agronomy team is working hard to get everything set up for winter and next spring.
This week we verticut and topdressed the greens. With the warmer weather keeping the greens growing and the upcoming rain this was the perfect chance to continue to manage the organic matter and firmness of our greens. This minor disturbance should be barely noticeable by the weekend.
The team completed fairway aeration in record time this fall because of the nice weather. We were able to core aerate all 25 acres of fairways in one week. Thank you so much for your patience as we completed this work. This week we applied a granular complete organic fertilizer to the fairways which will feed them this fall, winter, and into next spring. With any luck this warm weather will have them completely healed before winter.
Tees and Approaches
We are planning on beginning tee and approach aeration next week.
The rough is very healthy this fall and the extended warm weather is helping more of our scares from this summer heal completely before winter. Some thin traffic areas and path edges will be sodded before winter. Currently, the staff is busy with leaf clean up, a never ending task for the next few weeks. A new leaf vac, we got in a trade, has greatly improved our leaf cleaning ability. We are always working to keep the in play rough clean.
I hope everyone is have a great fall, please feel free to contact me with any question or concerns.
Mid- Fall Update
Despite a few rainy days, we continue to have a very beautiful fall! The leaves are changing colors, and the course continues to be in great shape. The agronomy team is working to prepare the course for the upcoming winter, and a great spring in 2021.
Greens and Tees
With the cooler weather the growth rate on the greens are starting to slow down. This eventual will have them turn almost a purple color before they go into full winter dormancy. We have already reduced the amount of mowing and rolling of the greens to avoid creating an mechanical damage before winter. We still plan to aerate the greens and tees before the ground freezes and winter sets in.
The fairways are having a great fall. The staff has been going around to low areas and adding soil to level them out. Our biggest example was a settled drainage line on the right side of the 7th fairway. Fairway aeration will beginning soon. We will be sharing on the website and informing the proshop staff of which holes are done and being worked on. Carts will not be permitted on the aerated fairways until they are healed in the spring. Thank you as always for your patience.
Rough and Fescue
The fescue is almost all cut down and sprayed for next spring. The team is continuing to mow areas down to rough height as we work to simplify the fescue on the course and make things more playable. The next few weeks are peak leaf season, please bare with us as we work daily to clean up and process all the leaves that are falling.
Thank you all and feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
Cool and Frosty
Last week's member member was a lot of fun for the grounds staff! It is always great when the weather cooperates and we can have the greens nice and slick. I hope that all the participates had a wonderful time, it was great to be a part of something normal in this unique year.
The greens are in fantastic shape. Despite all the challenging weather they came through the summer in great shape, and now we can really push them to create very firm and fast playing conditions this fall. We will continue to monitor greens speeds daily and adjust them to the needs of the players each day.
The tees have enjoyed this early fall immensely. They continue to shine on the course and our agronomy plan of multiple aerations will continue with one more aeration late this fall or early winter.
Fairways and Rough
2020 continues to throw curve-balls at us with multiple frosts before the end of summer. We had frost delays this past Sunday and Monday. With all this cool weather the team is continuing with repairs to rough and fairway worn out areas. Sod and seeding is being done all around the course. Including multiple greens complexes and areas of high traffic volume.
Fall plantings are going in around the clubhouse and banquet areas this week. It is always nice to have the entrances " gourd-ous" for the fall. Mums and other fall annuals are being planted as well as fall displays of pumpkins, gords, straw and corn stalkes.
Thank you all for your continued support. Please feel free as always to contact me with any questions or concerns.
Early Fall Relief
The golf course is enjoying some much needed relief from the heat of this summer. Over the past week the maintenance team has been busy repairing damaged areas, and healing in the course after aeration.
The greens are about 75% healed in and we will began ramping up their speed for the upcoming member events this weekend. I did receive a question about the perimeter cut on greens not being mowed. We do not mow the perimeter cut on greens daily. This is a very common industry practice to reduce the mechanical stress of a turning mower blade. The stress happens because the inside part of the reel is turning faster then the outside part, and when cutting a plant at 0.1 inches we do want to do that everyday.
The tees are looking great, the aeration and fertilization applied two weeks ago is really paying off!
Fairways and Rough
The fairways responded nicely to last Friday's liquid fertilizer application. This Tuesday the team laid 6000 square feet of sod in both in-play rough areas and on fairway spots. We will be doing more repair work as the fall progresses, but we wanted to make sure that areas that were down the center line of the golf hole were addressed as soon as possible.
Thank you for your patience with some of the new cart rules. Our hope is to see these lifting in the coming weeks. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This week the grounds staff is busy aerating the golf course. Aeration is a vital part of our agronomy program, through which we cultivate our soils to ensure a health golf course this fall. Our goal for this week is to hit all our playing surfaces.
Currently, greens and approaches are aerated, cleaned up, and are receiving soil amendments and topdressing sand. Fairways have been slices. The two ranges tees have been aerated, and the rest of the tees are being aerated as I type.
We hope to finish up our greens process today, our tees tomorrow, and have the course ready for Thursday. Thank you for your patience as we work hard to complete this necessary agronomic process.
Cicada Killer Wasps and more Rain
I have received multiple questions about the insects on the 7th green, they are Cicada Killer Wasps. We are repairing the damage and applying insecticides to the burrows daily. These insects can be a pest to putting greens, however they are generally non-aggressive and are considered a beneficial wasp, as they help keep cicada population under control. The following link has more detailed information about them if you want, https://entomology.ca.uky.edu/ef004. So far, we seem to be seeing a decline in damage after about a week of making insecticide treatments.
On the course, we are recovering from the tropical storm that hit the Crest on Tuesday. The golf course is starting to dry out, but there is more rain in the forecast. The team is busy clean up all the debris and fixing the bunkers and we anticipate having a wet but good golf course for the upcoming weekend.
Finally, a quick reminder that our August aeration is less then two weeks away. Our plan is to core aerate the greens and approaches, spike the fairways and first cut of rough, and topdress the tees. Thank you so much for all your support as we work to improve the conditions of the playing surfaces. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
It is getting hot out there! Mid - July is one of the most stressful times of year for the health of the golf course. All of the heat and drought stress of the season combined with consistent warm nights takes a toll on the grass. The Crest continues to roll with the punches and our course remains in good health during these trying times. The other week when we received 7 inches of rain in total and had two cool nights back to back. This was a big agronomic relief for the course. It was like giving the grass a big Gatorade and two days off!
On the course our team has been busy hand watering and syringing the grass to keep it in the best condition possible. Syringing is the application of a light film of cool water to reduce heat stress of the grass. The use of the pogo moisture meter and our highly trained team of agronomists has been vital to the health of our fine turf. Thank you so much for your patience during our afternoon syringing.
Even with all this heat we have taken on two different cultural practices to improve the golf course. Last Tuesday, the tees were core aerated, topdressed and fertilized. This aeration is part of our ongoing strategy to improve the overall vigor of the tees. To date this is the third core aeration for this calendar year. This Tuesday, our team verticut, topdressed, and fertilized the greens. These practice are part of our organic layer management program.
Thank you again for all your support. Please stay safe out there in the heat. Remember to hydrate to dominate!
Sweating the Small Stuff
Summer is now in full swing and the grounds team is busy sweating the small things. As we adjust to the new normal we are investing time and effort to making sure all the details on the course are take care of. The team has completed a mid-season bunker depth check to insure the continued consistency of the bunkers. Our assistant superintendents have spot treated any weed that have popped up in our fescue areas. We are in the process of edging out all of the irrigation heads and we are doubling down in or effort to fill every divot on the course.
The past few weeks of hot and dry weather have provided some of the best conditions of the season. It has led to a lot of long days for the staff managing the moisture on the putting greens and other playing areas. I hope that you all have enjoyed the firm and fast golf course and I hope you have a wonderful 4th of July Weekend!
Due to the the upcoming forecast, this morning the agronomy team called a last minute audible to cross tine vent the greens. The 10 day forecast has shifted to wet, humid, and hot. This weather pattern can be very detrimental to our root system, by venting the greens and allowing for air and gas exchange we are insuring the health of the greens continues all summer long.
We also need to share with you some sadder personal news...we lost our Penny suddenly Friday after a very brief illness. She loved chasing geese on all of her golf courses, snuggling with the boys, and tolerated the beach and posing for photos. We miss our adventures together already but are very grateful for the joy she brought to our lives.
Thank you all for your support, and please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
This afternoon a severe thunderstorm hit RiverCrest. The storm caused several large trees to fall, countless limbs and branches to break, and scattered sticks and leaves over all our playing surfaces. The course is closed for the evening, and tomorrow the Maintenance team will be working to clean up, pick up, and repair the golf course.
Please be safe!
Today the greens are being vericut, fertilized and topdressed ahead of the upcoming heat, humidity and wet weather. Vericutting and topdressing are the most effective way to manage the organic matter layering that our A1/A4 bentgrass greens build up during the growing season. If not properly managed the organic layer can lead to soft, scalped, diseased greens that will need significant renovation work to get back in shape. While the seemingly constant disruption to the playing conditions may be frustrating, it pales in comparison to the impact of these layers if they are left unchecked.
The fertilizer being applied to the greens is a potassium product that will help the greens during the upcoming heat stress. Potassium used in the plant to regulate their stomatal pores which allow the plants to exchange gases.
Finally, I would like to address some questions I have received about the fescue areas on the course. Fescue is an integral part of RiverCrest. It is our intention to condition the golf course so that it is the most enjoyable for all the members and guests. Currently, the majority of the fescue has been allowed to grow up and go to seed. Today, we have 35 acres of weed free fine fescue. Our plan is to evaluate the impact and validity of the fescue with the intent of reducing it to 20 acres of the best fescue for RiverCrest. Please feel free to contact me with any other questions or concerns.
This upcoming Memorial Day weekend marks the traditional unofficial start to summer. However, this year mother nature is not full on board. We have had unusually cool weather over the past few weeks, including 4 rare frosts after mother's day! The golf course conditions continue to improve with every passing day, and we are confident that by early June the weather will have normalized.
The fescue areas on the course are a major focal point of the agronomy team this season. Significant programs and application have been made to improve the ascetics and playablity of the fescue in the past 9 months. We are starting to see the fruits of that labor this spring as the fescue seedheads are beginning to pop out. Right now you will notice a more purple color to these areas, but as the seedhead matures in the coming days it will hopefully turn brown and give us our signature look. Please do not drive in these areas, because the weight of the golf carts will damage the plants.
Thank you all for your continued support. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. I hope you all are well and are enjoying our wonderful golf course!
It is so great to have all of you golfers back on the course. Thank you so much for all your kind words and encouragement! This first week was so much fun for our team, watching the membership enjoy the course brings us all great joy.
Now that golf is back, the grounds staff is working hard to find a new rhythm. We have many new members to our team this year including our assistant superintendents. In a normal year the team would start to come together in the spring. We would figure out everyone's strengths and weakness and create patterns and systems to maintain the golf course in the upcoming season. This year we had no time for spring training. The team is trying to figure everything out as the golf course is packed full of golfers and expectation are for mid-season conditioning. I am so proud of all of them, they have banded together and truly became a team in 1 week to deliver exceptional experience for the membership.
Thank you again for all your support. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. Enjoy the Crest!
Last night's announcement from the governor was welcomed news for all of us golf enthusiasts! The grounds team at RiverCrest is so excited to have you all out here on the course with us in the very near future. These last few weeks of beautiful spring weather and no golfers was incredibly eerie for all of us.
The announcement did however catch us slightly off guard. We have been following the announcements and updates from Harrisburg on an hourly basis and it seemed like May 8th would have been the earliest possible date for golf until last night. Our plan for ramping up maintenance and to bring in a full staff was enacted last night. Our team this morning swelled from a basic function agronomy team of 7 to a nearly full in-season grounds staff of 12. With the help of an outside safety consultant the grounds team has a pandemic protocol to help ensure that we are all safe.
Now that the team has clear directions from the state we are beginning in earnest to get all the details right on the golf course. Ballwashers and rakes are being brought in off the course, trimming work around the hazards and bunkers are being completed, the cups and flags will be put back in the greens in a hands free position, and the course is being marked for normal play.
The grounds team is so excited to have the golf course open again! Please bear with us as the greens heal up from the aeration completed just 10 days ago, and as we work long days to get all the details right so that RiverCrest is in pristine condition all season long. I cannot wait to see you all soon, and I hope you and your families are well. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
Spring Aeration Done
Over the last two weeks the agronomy team has successfully aerated, topdressed, and fertilized all the bentgrass playing surfaces of the golf course. By doing an extra aeration this spring the health of the golf course will be excellent this season, and we should not have to do as many cultural practices, that can compromise conditions.
At the end of this week and going into next week the team is making our next rounds of season long weed control. A product that combines weed barriers, season long insect control, and fertilizer was applied to all the clubhouse lawns and to the steep bunker banks. A spray-able form of these chemicals will be applied to the fairways and approaches. Next week the fescue areas on the course will receive a final herbicide treatment. The hope is to have consistent stands of beautiful fine fescue all season long.
Finally, as the days are slowly getting longer and warmer the grass is really starting to grow. The agronomy team is very busy simply trying to keep everything mowed and maintained to the high standard of RiverCrest Golf Club. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. I hope all of you and your families are safe and well.
Yesterday was the perfect weather day to aerate! The warm dry air and sun made it great to work in and make getting our work done easy. With just a five man crew we double verticut all the greens and aerated 9 greens. The process went great, and with a clear day today we are hoping to have the aeration done.
Tomorrow, soil amendments and fertilizers will be applied, before the rain on Thursday. Then at the end of the week the greens will topdressed with some fresh sand to smooth the surfaces and fill any holes that need it.
After the greens process is done the agronomy team will be moving on to all the other playing surfaces. We hope to have everything freshly aerated by the end of next week.
Another Strange week has pasted. The golf course is continuing to green up as spring slowly warms up our region and the course received over two inches of rain in the last week, making it a very wet golf course.
The agronomy team focused on the irrigation system this week as our irrigation system is a vital multi-million dollar asset of the golf course. The team fired up the pumps, filled all the lines on the course, and began evaluating the performance of every irrigation sprinkler head. This is a lengthy process, that in a normal year would be done in our spare time over the course of several weeks at the begin of the season.
Minor repairs to some worn areas on tees, approaches and fairways are being worked on. It is our goal to address as many of the details that would be typically worked on during the weeks leading up to our Member/Member now to be as ready as possible for the return of golf.
Next week, our plan is to begin aeration to all the bentgrass playing surfaces. This was not a part of our original plan. We are trying to adjust the agronomy plan around the ever-changing reality of the global pandemic. This new plan is being put in place to minimize the disturbance to golf for agronomic practices, in what will likely be a condensed golfing season. The greens should be fully healed and in mid-season form by May 1st. It is our sincerest hope that our golfers can return to the course around (or dare I say before) that date.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. I hope you all are well. You are all in my prayers.
The golf course agronomy team is still on course! We have reduced staffing levels to minimize our exposure to the virus, but we are continuing to maintain all programs and systems for the golf course. Thankfully, the warm weather of late winter allowed us to be several weeks ahead of normal scheduling, and the cool weather of the last few weeks has kept the growth of the grass minimal.
The team is keeping up with all the mowing. In the weeks before the global pandemic: tees were aerated; all of the spring maintenance was completed in the bunkers and the clubhouse landscaping was completed. Last week we were able to spray nearly 70 acres of the rough and fescue with the first round of our new weed control program. This week we applied our first fungicide to the greens and mowed all of the playing surfaces.
The agronomy team will be here as long as it is safe and legal, making sure RiverCrest Golf Club is prepared to have a great golf season this year! Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.