Saturday, 12 October 2013

Fall Maintenance

The crew is working hard preparing for winter. A core aeration has been completed on the greens. Although unpopular with most golfers, this process performed regularly provides for water and air penetration into the root zone. Also, by removing a portion of the thatch layer (dead shoots and stems) and replacing that material with sand, helps to maintain a firm and true rolling surface. This year we pulled a 1/2 inch hole at about 2 1/2 inches deep. We remove all of the cores which amounts to about 1.5 cubic yards per green, and replace it with the same amount dry sand. The sand is sifted into the holes by moving the sand across the green with a blower. Now that we have completed the process, the greens are putting quite well for the long weekend.

After the course is closed next week, a final application of fungicide to control fusarium and snow molds will be applied to the greens, as well as heavy topdressing to protect the crowns. 
We are down to cutting everything once a week, and will be finished cutting next week. Irrigation blowout is scheduled for late next week, stay tuned...

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Solid Tine Aeration

This week our crew was busy with a solid-tine aeration of the greens.
It is important to aerate beyond the normal 4" depth to overcome an "aeration pan". Aerating several times to a depth of 3.5 inches can cause the soil at the bottom of the aeration zone to become compacted, and form a firm layer or "pan".  We use a 54 inch wide spiking machine which penetrates to a depth of 6 inches. The tines have a slight angle which creates a larger void under the surface, while the putting surface remains relatively undisturbed.

 This will not replace our core-aeration, but it is a great practice to keep our roots healthy with little aggravation for golfers. After some lightweight rolling, topdressing, and brushing, the  greens will be back to normal in a day or two.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Tournament Preparations

Last week we hosted our annual 2-man tournament. Golfers have noticed increased green speeds over the week as we have double rolled greens daily, and lowered cutting heights to .105 inch. Our preparations resulted in green speeds around 12 on Friday, and after 6mm of rain Friday night slowed to 11 on the day of the event. Thanks to Don and Gloria Priest, for the nice double cut on the greens, and the rest of the crew for the extra efforts to prepare the course.
Four days before the event I sprayed the greens with an application of Civitas, which is a mineral oil and fungicide made by Petro Canada. I added a little bit of iron to the tank and the results were greens that "perked up" and rolled very well, and looked great. This also helps the greens withstand the stresses of extra rolling and cutting traffic.
Conditions will remain firm and fast into September as we look forward to hosting the Saskatchewan High School Provincial Finals, I hope you come out and enjoy the course.

Friday, 16 August 2013


The Stimpmeter is a device used to measure the speed of a golf course putting green by applying a known force to a golf ball and measuring the distance traveled in feet.

In preparation for upcoming tournaments, i've gone out today and taken some readings. Greens are "stimping" between  9.5 and 10.5. My ultimate goal is always consistent green-speed. I would rather have  18 greens at 9-feet, than only 12 greens at 12-feet.

The USGA stimpmetered putting greens across the country to produce the following recommendations:
 Speed Length
Slow 4.5 feet (1.4 m) 
Medium 6.5 feet (2.0 m) 
Fast 8.5 feet (2.6 m) 
For the U.S. Open, they recommend:
 Speed Length
Slow 6.5 feet (2.0 m) 
Medium 8.5 feet (2.6 m) 
Fast 10.5 feet (3.2 m)  
The greens at Oakmont Country Club (where the device was conceived) are some of the fastest in the world, with readings of 13–15 feet (4.0–4.6 m).
I have set a target of 11-feet for each green. With 7 days until the tournament I can roll greens and water greens more or less in order to achieve desired results. This green speed is probably too quick for the average resort golfer, but every year in late August out crew works hard to get the course in tournament shape.

For all those turf guys out there looking for an additional or spare stimpmeter, you can make one out of 2" PVC pipe.
I built one in ten minutes with the following specs.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Rainfall Continues

Our hopes for a dryer season are fading, as we have had about 4 inches of rain since we have opened. Despite the wet conditions, we have still managed to keep the course playable for tournaments and events.
The rainfall creates a lot of extra work for our crew, we are hand mowing areas that we can no longer drive through, and pumping water where the drainage simply cannot keep up.
By the time we were able to cross 4,6,7, and 8 fairway with a mower, the grass was approaching 4 inches long in places. When it becomes this long, often we have to run a rotary mower over the fairway first, and cut it to a length that the reel mower is able to handle. This creates quite a mess of clippings which have to be blown from the fairway.
We have only one application of fairway fertilizer down. I've applied a source of water insoluble slow release form nitrogen aiming to avoid an extra surge of growth under these kind of wet conditions, while providing enough nutrient for the fairways to recover from winter. With the long days in June, the grass is growing faster than any time of the year. The patches of fairway over-seeded with blue grasses are filling in nicely, and of course the poa annua is coming along. Thanks to members and guests for your patience with the wet conditions and power cart limitations. Overall we are ready for a busy tourist season! Hopefully the weather cooperates.

It's hard to get too down about our golfing weather, considering the floods in southern Alberta. Sorry to hear that Kananaskis have closed the course for the 2013 season, and that many other courses are still assessing damage, and may have to close as well. Best wishes to all those in our industry who are affected.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013


We have almost finished our de-thatching operation for the spring. After a long period of snow cover, much of the grass was laying down. Obviously by the picture you can see the large amount of thatch being removed from the rough and fairway areas. Removing this material will improve water and air movement into the root zone, and firm up the surface. Severing rhizomes just under the surface will also produce new shoots and promote active growth. 
Hopefully the good fairway lies will lead to birdies and pars for everyone!

Sunday, 28 April 2013


The weather is finally improving. We saw 15 degrees on Saturday. We lost a lot of snow, however most of the fairways remain snow covered.

Water running across 6 Fairway