Friday, February 22, 2019

A Matter of Course: Transmission Line Project

By Golf Superintendent Ben Larsen

This past week, American Transmission Company needed to install a temporary mid-span pole between structures 29 & 30 (shown below). 

This project’s objective was to resolve clearance issues found on the line, located above the big bluestem berm between #14 cart path and #15 tee.  

The temporary mid-span posts will be removed when the line is rebuilt; currently proposed for 2023. The temporary work performed was only within the existing easement area and will not require any ground repair work.   

On the left, is the ATC’s backhoe drilling a 9’ 6” deep hole for the posts. On the right is ATC raising the lines to their proper clearance.  

Friday, February 1, 2019

A Matter of Course: February 2019 State of the Course

By Golf Superintendent Ben Larsen

Are these sustained sub-zero temperatures harming or injuring the golf course?

USGA states, “winter injury is a very complex event because it is controlled by many variables that are not completely understood.” 

During these windy sub-zero temperatures, two turfgrass winter injuries can occur: low temperature kill and desiccation. 

As of now, low temperature kill is not a big concern because of our high population of bentgrass on our playing surfaces.  Bentgrass has a very high tolerance for low temperatures and can withstand this type of weather pattern. 

Desiccation is the drying of the plant due to the exposure of low temperatures, high winds and no added precipitation. This past fall, just prior to the low temperatures and snow, we sprayed an anti-desiccant on all high exposed areas (i.e. #6 green, putting green).  An anti-desiccant is coating that helps protect and lock in moisture on the bentgrass leaf blades and crown.  Along with the anti-desiccant, earlier this month, we experienced an inch of rain to help keep the soil and turf hydrated.

Overall, the most important and natural element to minimizing and/or eliminating low temperature kill and desiccation is snow.  Snow is the best insulator for the golf course; it protects from high winds, locks in warmth for the plant to survive and keeps the plants hydrated.  As of today, with 20”+ inches of snow, we are setup for the course to over winter nicely.  

Friday, December 14, 2018

A Matter of Course: November-December State of the Golf Course

By Golf Superintendent Ben Larsen

Over the past month, 26 out of 30 days have been below average (seen below), resulting in an early November course closing.  Thankfully before the snow, we were able to apply all our necessary chemical applications to protect the golf course from snow mold and desiccation.  However, with the below average temperatures and persistent snow immediately following those applications, we were unable to apply our final topdressing and fertilizers on greens.  Even though, there will be no negative effects to the golf course by forgoing the topdressing or fertilizing; it is a missed opportunity heading into 2019.

However, with big snow storms and frigid temperatures holding off, we have been able to take advantage of these mild winter-like conditions with projects throughout the course.  Below are just some examples of what the Grounds Department have accomplished over the past month.

#5 Tee Descent – 90% Complete including Cleanup

Front of Gold/White Tee

Front of Blue/Black Tee

#8 Green Creek Silt Removal
                                    Before                                                                        After

Thursday, October 18, 2018

#9 Tee Bank & Fescue Area

By Golf Superintendent Ben Larsen

Many of you have noticed the area around #9 gold, white/green, and red tee is under construction. This project will be one of many in the efforts to bring back our fescue areas.  Before seeding the area, we took care of a few structural issues, to promote a longer lifespan. First, we improved the drainage adjacent to the #8 green cart path by installing a new drain line in the newly seeded fescue. 

Also, adjacent to #9 tee’s pond, we uncovered a buried catch basin and built up the pond bank.  By raising the pond bank, the pond will be able to hold more water and prevent an overflow onto the cart path.  

Lastly, we seeded the whole area with fescue.  Although the temperatures have been below average, we have been able to germinate much of the seed.   

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Rain and Bunkers

By Golf Superintendent Ben Larsen

Over the past 2 months, precipitation has been way above average (14.89”); which has resulted in a few flooding events.  When the rain comes down in that amount, in that short of time, you are bound to experience bunker washouts (seen below).

Washouts occur when the rain either comes down at a high rate, or a steady stream of surface water drains into the bunker, causing the sand to fall towards the middle of the bunker and exposing the clay bases.  Every time the washouts happen and expose the clay bottoms, the washed sand will mix with the clay base, causing contamination.  

The darker sand is contaminated, meaning it is mixed with some clay.  The contamination resulted from surface drainage from the fairway flowing into the bunker.

Over time, many storms alike will affect the performance of the sand (i.e hard bottoms, layering, poor drainage (seen below), etc).

The common misconception amongst golfers is when we receive frequent heavy rains, that the contaminated bunkers have no sand.  The playability may seem to indicate there is no sand, but in actuality, the bunkers all have plenty of sand. (See below.)

Left-side pic: The dark spot is a wedge shot bouncing off a contaminated layer
Right-side pic: Sand dug in that same spot with 6” of sand underneath
The long-term corrective mode of action is to remove the contaminated sand and replace with new sand.  In fact, according to the American Society of Golf Course Architects, bunker sand should be replaced every 5-7 years, depending on location, design, weather, and care.  The last time GBCC’s green-side bunker sand was replaced was 2012 and fairway sand 1995.
The Grounds crew have identified a handful of bunkers with the contamination issues and will perform the proper care in Spring of 2019.

Monday, September 24, 2018

The Rising Stars Defeat the Savvy Veterans to Win the 2018 Captain’s Cup

The Rising Stars defeated the Savvy Veterans to win the 2018 Captain’s Cup for the second straight year. Captained by Alex Santos and Matt Keesey, the youthful stars beat the experienced vets in comeback fashion during Saturday’s round. After day one, the Savvy Veterans were in the lead six to four but the rising stars dominated Saturday's round, winning the cup with a winning score of 14 1/2 to 10 1/2. Congrats to the Rising Stars on their victory!

The Captain’s Cup featured four different nine-hole matches played over two days. The first nine holes, the game was Alternate Shot, the second nine was One Best Ball of Two, the third nine was Scramble, and the fourth nine was Individual Match Play.

The Rising Stars, posing with their trophy.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

GBCC Youth Golfer Competes at Whistling Straits

GBCC youth golfer Grant competed in the Regional Qualifier for the Drive, Chip, and Putt Championship at Whistling Straits on Saturday, September 8th. He narrowly missed advancing to the National Championship at Augusta National Golf Club in April finishing 3rd in the Boy’s 7-9 year old division. Grant finished 1st in Chipping and 3rd overall. On behalf of all of us at GBCC, CONGRATS Grant on a great run! We are excited to follow you in the many golf championships ahead in your future! Way to go Grant!