Friday, June 29, 2018

A Matter of Course: Cultural Practices to Beat the Heat

By Golf Superintendent Ben Larsen 

The weather this past weekend was hot and humid; and is forecasted to continue all this week.  What will this long stretch of heat do to the turf………?  In general, turf goes through two different processes, photosynthesis and photorespiration.  Photosynthesis (energy production) is beneficial to the turf and its optimal production ranges from 68 °F to 77 °F.  Photorespiration occurs during hot weather (especially temperatures > 87 °F) and has a negative impact on the turf because it has trouble capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) to produce energy.  Furthermore, when photorespiration occurs instead of photosynthesis, the plant will use stored energy instead of making new energy.  Once that stored energy is depleted, the turf will not grow (roots or shoots); which can lead to a decline in turf quality.  On a positive note, this past week the Grounds Crew performed some preventative cultural practices for turf decline.  The healthier the turf is going into the heat, the better it will survive and recover.

Verticutting and topdressing have their playability benefits providing true and firm putting surfaces; but they have turf health benefits as well.  Verticutting (seen below) not only removes thatch but it also cuts any laying down or “grainy” turf, resulting in the leaf blades standing up.  We want the leaf blades to stand up because it creates denser and healthier turf.

Light topdressing (seen below) provides protection from summer stresses by covering the turf’s crown (mainly from the sun and traffic), and promoting topical drainage (prevents the turf from burning in surface water).

Verticutting and topdressing are ongoing practices that are performed throughout the golf season, but the most important practice we completed is venting/aerifying.  Venting and aerifying are basically the same thing but the difference is in the size of the tine.  We vented the greens with a small ¼” tine (seen below) that is visibly gone after a couple days.

Venting is performed every 4-6 weeks, dependent on the weather.  This practice was necessary for four main reasons:
  • Rooting
  • Oxygen Exchange
  • Soil Temperature Cooling
  • Water Percolation

We aerified our fairways with a 5/8” tine (seen below) which may take a little longer to heal but leaves the fairways playable after one mowing.  We chose to aerify fairways for the same reasons listed above; plus we have not aerified the fairways, yet, this year.

Other practices the Grounds Crew will be doing during this hot temperature stretch:
  • Light irrigation waterings on wilted turf – overwatering will cook the turf and/or promote disease inoculation
  • Monitor frequency of mowing and rolling – not wanting to injure the turf past the point of recovery
  • Spray phosphites – fertilizer that strengthens turf and prevents diseases

Thursday, June 21, 2018

A Matter of Course: When It Rains, It Pours

By Golf Superintendent Ben Larsen

Prior to last week’s rain storms, GBCC had only received 1.2” of rain over the past month. After the rain ceased on Tuesday, June 19th, GBCC had received 4.6” of rain over 5 days; not to mention, 2.75” came Monday morning, causing the course to flood and become unplayable.

Notice how the bridge on the left-side washed away and was hung up on the bridge on the right-side.

This past week, the Grounds Crew spent most of the week cleaning up debris, restoring the course and catching up on mowing. Below is a before and after of #3 and #17 showing the terrific job the Grounds Crew did on bringing course conditions back to where they were prior to the storm.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A Message of Introduction from Director of Golf, Scott Pansch

GBCC Members:

As I begin to settle into my new role as Director of Golf, I would like to thank you all for your warm welcome to GBCC. The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind, but I am beginning to settle in. Thank you to all who have stopped by the Golf Shop to say hello and I look forward to meeting the rest of you soon. For those of you who winter down south, I wish you safe travels back home to Wisconsin.

Scott Family.jpgMy wife Christina is still in Minnesota working diligently to get our house on the market. Mother Nature is certainly not helping this process! We are hoping for a quick sale and her arrival to Green Bay sometime in May or June. We will then start our search for our new home here. I certainly miss her and our dog Cooper and I am looking forward to starting the next chapter in our lives here in Green Bay.

With the approaching golf season, I would like to take this opportunity to not only introduce myself and my family, but also to outline my core beliefs and what to expect regarding the Golf Operation.

We respect one another while empowering each team member to become successful personally and professionally. We will challenge each other to make the most of each day by continually striving to raise the bar. We will be a personable, accessible and friendly staff that operates with a service-filled heart.

As a member of our staff, I am committed to administering a first-class tournament program that meets the goals and initiatives of the Golf Committee. My attention to detail and focus on executing the perfect event will provide the club with an unparalleled golf experience that grows relationships in a fun and competitive environment for players of all ability levels.

My involvements in operating merchandising programs have taught me to treat them as an amenity to its membership while being fiscally responsible. Service is the foundation of every shopping experience. I will supply our membership and their guests with personalized and knowledgeable service on all products stocked within the Golf Shop.

My experiences as an instructor have afforded me a wealth of teaching knowledge. I will promote an environment that engages players of all abilities to improve their skills and passion for the game in private and clinic settings.

WOMEN’S GOLFIn the past, I have had success creating a welcoming environment that promotes participation for players of all ability levels. I will work with our Women’s Golf Committee to uphold a schedule of events that promotes lifelong friendships that grow the game while offering competitive opportunities.

As one of the most visible aspects of any golf operation, it is arguably the most important. My passion to work with others will help ensure members and guests will be greeted and welcomed by enthusiastic and proactive staff that anticipates and recognizes member preferences through the use of clear and consistent communication.

I am looking forward to seeing you all soon and starting a wonderful golf season.

Fairways & Greens!

Scott Pansch
Director of Golf
Green Bay Country Club

Friday, April 13, 2018

A Matter of Course: Course & Weather Update

Have we skipped spring this year...???  The calendar tells us it’s spring, but the weather says otherwise.
Picture was taken April 4th

This April, the record weather events seem to be surrounding us:
  • Most snow in April in the last 108 years: With the forecasted rain/snow this weekend, we may reach a record of most snow in April. 
  • Second coldest temperature recorded in April at 9 degrees 
  • Latest spring recorded date reaching 9 degrees on April 8th 
  • Accumulated more snow than previous months this past winter: 
    • April (so far) – 12.5”  
    • March – 7” 
    • February – 6.7” 
    • January – 5.1”
    • December – 12”
Photo from WISN Meteorologist, Mark Baden.

With all factors mentioned above, current conditions, and future forecast; there is no set opening date. Once the snow clears, the frost lifts and temperatures stay above freezing; the Grounds Crew will be out working vigorously to open the golf course. Thank you all for your patience and watch your emails for any updates.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Tennis Tip: 'Defensive Lobs' Great for Doubles Play

By GBCC Director of Tennis, Rob LeBuhn

The defensive lob in tennis is one of the most important shots at the club level, especially in doubles. Most players do not have the skill or movement to execute overhead winners with ease and consistency.  World class professionals and strong college players may even struggle to put a good lob away. Master your lob skills and your opponents will be forced to compete at a high level just to stay in the match with you.

Here is a checklist for the defensive lob:

  • Continental grip
  • Prepare to the heights of contact point
  • Head still
  • Short or no backswing
  • Long smooth follow through
  • 45 degree contact point
  • The closer you are to the net the great the angle of contact point
  • Full pivot to execute backhands
  • Smaller pivot to execute forehands. 
  • Balance is a plus

Once you master the defensive lob, your partners will have an easier time competing with you.  You will give them time to recover and help them feel safer as well.  You will also frustrate very good opponents who will have to restart the point. The wind can also be a helper.

Best on the Courts!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Green Bay Country Club Named a Top 100 Club Fitter

Green Bay Country Club was named to Ping's Top 100 Club Fitter List, the only golf facility named to the list in the state of Wisconsin. PING’s Top 100 list recognizes those who demonstrate the highest commitment to custom fitting and promoting its benefits to golfers of all abilities. 

Top 100 honorees were saluted for their expertise in fitting those who’ve been through the process before, and for helping grow the game by fitting players who’ve never been fit, demonstrating what’s possible.

“We have a mountain of empirical evidence from tens of thousands of fittings over the years proving that properly fit PING equipment makes a measurable difference in a golfer’s ability to hit the ball consistently better and post lower scores,” said John K. Solheim, PING President. “Our Fitters of the Year see it every day in the smiles they bring to people’s faces as golfers watch shot after shot sail into the distance with the correct clubs in their hands. A PING fitting, with its unmatched level of detail, unlocks a player’s true potential. The fitter’s objective is simple: to make the game easier so the player has more success and enjoys the game more.”

“We’re delighted that so many PING-authorized custom-fitting facilities, large and small, across the nation, are providing a superior service so golfers can get the most from their game,” Solheim said. “These fitters emphasize to their customers that it’s about hitting quality shot after quality shot during the fitting. A single shot should not be the basis for making a buying decision. The goal of the fitting is to consistently hit shots that are long and straight that have the proper ball flight while achieving the tightest dispersion patterns. Once a player does that, their confidence goes up and their scores come down.”

Friday, March 9, 2018

A Matter of Course: March 2018 Update

 Photo taken 3/7/2018 on the Quarry Course
By Golf Superintendent Ben Larsen

Does late-winter snowfall harm or kill the turf?  Much depends upon whether the turf has broken dormancy.  If the turf has broken dormancy, then snow can act as an insulator/microclimate for snow mold development.  If the turf has not broken dormancy, then there is a decreased chance for snow mold but the snow acts as an insulator, which will slow the defrosting process in the soil.  At GBCC, because we have not broken dormancy, we are most likely not in any harm on our playable surfaces for a snow mold outbreak; but could delay the soil defrosting process.

Contrary to the photo above, we have been below the yearly average for snowfall.  Seen below from Green Bay’s NOAA, is a comparison from this year’s winter to the average: temperature, precipitation and snowfall.

The red circles signify our normal weather trends for temperature and rain this winter.  The yellow circle signifies the below normal amount of snow accumulated this winter, 12”.

Prior to last week’s snowfall, when the course was exposed, I am pleased to report that there was no winter turf kill; however, we are not out of the woods, yet. Although the threat of desiccation and low-temperature kill is low, there is still a threat of water crown hydration.

Water crown hydration can happen when temperatures increase, the plant starts to uptake water and breaks dormancy.  From there, the damage occurs when temperatures go below freezing, while the plant is growing, causing cell rupture in the crown, resulting in turf kill.  With the forecast reaching low 40s during the day and mid 20s at night; those are perfect conditions for water crown hydration.  However, because of the predominate population of bentgrass, it takes a longer warming tend to break dormancy.  Plus, bentgrass has a high tolerance of water crown hydration.  In fact, water crown hydration may be a positive; because of poa annua’s high susceptibility to water crown hydration, it could aid in the elimination of our course’s small poa annua population.

Overall, this winter has been ideal for the Grounds Department to complete outside projects when warm and inside projects when cold/snowy.  Below are just some of the winter projects completed:

Refurbishing all golf course supplies, including: rakes,
ball washers, benches and tee markers.

Refurbished Ballwashers

Repaired/Renovated/Replaced areas around the Clubhouse
and Sport Center, such as this wine cooler.

  • Attended regional and national seminars and trade shows 
  • Pruned trees and shrubs on the golf course and club grounds
  • Re-organized numerous documents and data records from the 2017 season; in order to make 2018 better
  • Removed dead/dying trees
  • Removed brush
  • Removed Snow – Hopefully Completed
  • Reconditioned all golf course maintenance equipment for the 2018 season – 90% Completed