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Golf Course Superintendent Ready to Answer Any Questions You May Have

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  • James the Hogan FanJames the Hogan Fan Members Posts: 684 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Automated bunker raking full stop. At our course every bunker is supposed to have the faces raked and then the base dragged with the machine. You are on and off the machine all day and there is more manual labor than any other routine task on the course. Then somewhere a face has washed out and you're now shoveling and throwing sand up on the face... It's no fun at all.

    And @mallrat we had similar, a leak on the mower that killed a 1" wide stripe of grass for one pass on the green (fortunately at the end of the green) followed by at least 50 yards of fairway before someone else saw it and made him stop. That was in May and the green still hasn't healed.

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  • BNGLBNGL Members Posts: 1,759 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @smashdn said:
    https://www.golfadvisor.com/articles/robotic-greens-mower-presidio-san-francisco

    @BNGL thoughts?

    If you had your druthers, would you take automated green mowing or automated bunker raking?

    I’d take greens, and it’s a natural evolution of mowing tbh. I’m not going to ever let the mower go out by itself, I’d have someone still with it taking bunkers while the mower is going around (or checking moistures, triming heads, etc). But as tech gets better and better, look at some AG technologies (they’re spraying 2-4D in cotton fields, which is a huge no no, because the cameras and automation are so good now) it is only natural that that tech comes to the golf industry.

  • smashdnsmashdn Let's cut them trees down. Members Posts: 1,468 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    I've seen the dead spots from hydraulic leaks. Even on a tri-plex they happen.

  • caniac6caniac6 Members Posts: 2,948 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    We are getting patches of nutsedge in our bentgrass greens. There is also a fair bit around the greens. I know that it's not real easy to get rid of that stuff. What can be done?

  • BNGLBNGL Members Posts: 1,759 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @caniac6 said:
    We are getting patches of nutsedge in our bentgrass greens. There is also a fair bit around the greens. I know that it's not real easy to get rid of that stuff. What can be done?

    Hopefully it’s not to the point of it being so bad that you couldn’t just go pull it. But if a broadcast spray is called for sulfentrazone an active ingredient found in a product called Dismiss can be sprayed on bentgrass. That should suppress your annual sedges, yellow and purple nutsedge and kylinga. As far as a green goes I’m not sure what the label says, but if I had a tee I’d be ok with spraying it. Mix a surfactant in there too at .5 v/v (2 quarts per 100 gallons)

  • vallygolfvallygolf Members Posts: 454 ✭✭✭✭

    Does it cost less to maintain a fairway that is firm and bouncy with the grass possibly a little brown in spots (but still healthy), or does it cost more to keep it lush and green? I ask because often the response I get when a course is designed links like, yet plays soft, is that it is too costly to maintain the grass in a non lush state. This seems counter intuitive to me, but so does producing pennies and nickles, so I may just not be that bright. Just wanted your input on why more links like courses dont play as such (aside from the color green being incorrectly equated with good conditioning).

  • BNGLBNGL Members Posts: 1,759 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @vallygolf said:
    Does it cost less to maintain a fairway that is firm and bouncy with the grass possibly a little brown in spots (but still healthy), or does it cost more to keep it lush and green? I ask because often the response I get when a course is designed links like, yet plays soft, is that it is too costly to maintain the grass in a non lush state. This seems counter intuitive to me, but so does producing pennies and nickles, so I may just not be that bright. Just wanted your input on why more links like courses dont play as such (aside from the color green being incorrectly equated with good conditioning).

    Hmm that’s a really complex equation, to me at least, and if you can solve it the PGA, GCSAA and USGA would love to hear from you. What I mean by that is, yes I can run a course cheaper by keeping it firmer and faster but I’d probably lose customers/have ticked off members.

    Simple answer, yes you can have brown and healthy turf. It does not need to be green to be good.

    I will get to your particular query by the end of this, I hope that I can answer it before that though. Firm and fast is/was the go to fad. Chambers Bay, Pinehurst, Erin Hills all advocated for it, PGA Tour events are setup extremely firm and fast to facilitate longer drives. But when I play my club my line drives stop right next to their pitch marks in the fairways. There are several things to consider though when determining whether or not firm and fast is something that should be implemented at your respective club.

    1. The design and designers intent on how the course should be played.
    2. What the clientele want.
    3. Agronomic practices
    4. Is the plan to be implemented course wide or just on greens or fairways etc
    5. What kind of turf do I have
    6. Vegetation

    Number 1 is fairly obvious, does the course allow for balls to bounce and bound down fairways, and greens the be firm. Or will it unfairly penalize golfers, and make them not want to come back?

    The clientele is fairly important, as they usually are responsible for your checks, but for guys in Florida or other heavily trafficked tourist courses, their customers do not want to see anything but a green and well manicured course when they are paying top dollar to escape their snowbound homes and play a little golf in the warmer weather. Can the club sustain the losses occurred from going lean? Probably not, especially when the course right down the road is green and seeded for winter.

    Now this gets a bit technical, but if you don't have sand in your profile it will take some time to incorporate enough sand into the profile. That could take years, and you might lose your job before you begin to see the benefits. I need sand rather than soil to foster a drier surface. Furthermore I might have to incorporate extra drainage, which is further eyesores for customers.

    I think all of us on here prefer a fast green, or at least think that we prefer it. Because those same people wrongly believe that a fast green means a smooth green, which is a simple fallacy. I can give you a green that is firm and smooth as anything that runs 9.5 which is still quick, but no where near the 12.5 I typically maintain, or the 13.5 I saw this weekend. Firm and fast fairways are great for the better but not so for everybody.

    What kind of turf do I have? Each different cultivar has different needs and inputs that allow it to play differently.

    If you want firm and fast it will help to have a proper amount of airflow to help dry the property, that will take some money to remove trees that are creating stagnant areas . In my experience members are not the most optimistic when it comes to removing trees.

    So having said all that, yes is it possible to reduce cost of water, fertilizer, and chemical by running a golf course that is leaner and firmer? Absolutely it is, I have zero numbers to back that up, but I know it would be cheaper how much cheaper I don't know. But I do think that just those 6 options that I came up with are definitely worth considering before making a drastic change to agronomic/business plans.

    The New Course at Grand Cypress is a tremendous layout the replica holes I think are extremely well executed. That being said, the conditioning absolutely sucks. I got to play it when I worked in Orlando and said it then (I have not played in several years so maybe it has changed). But I remember trying to flight long irons to back pins or run ups on par 5s and having my ball end up next to its pitch mark. BUT the reason that it is/was kept like that, harkens back to reason 2. Tourists visiting from New Hampshire in January, do not want to see a trace of brown. So if it is present at Grand Cypress, they'll go to Disney, or Celebration, or Falcons Fire, or ChampionsGate, or wherever that is in "great shape."

    That is such a long worded winded answer, I hope that I have provided some insight, please feel free to write if you have additional questions.

  • smashdnsmashdn Let's cut them trees down. Members Posts: 1,468 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Everybody wants six pack abs, few are willing to do the work and make the sacrifices to have them.

    Brown is beautiful btw. You want a course to come alive? Dry it out and let it all run. Even the rough. A shot played from dry, flyer-lie rough has now become a real hazard to contend with. How is that ball going to behave when it comes out of there?

  • mallratmallrat Members Posts: 3,035 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @BNGL said:

    @vallygolf said:
    Does it cost less to maintain a fairway that is firm and bouncy with the grass possibly a little brown in spots (but still healthy), or does it cost more to keep it lush and green? I ask because often the response I get when a course is designed links like, yet plays soft, is that it is too costly to maintain the grass in a non lush state. This seems counter intuitive to me, but so does producing pennies and nickles, so I may just not be that bright. Just wanted your input on why more links like courses dont play as such (aside from the color green being incorrectly equated with good conditioning).

    Hmm that’s a really complex equation, to me at least, and if you can solve it the PGA, GCSAA and USGA would love to hear from you. What I mean by that is, yes I can run a course cheaper by keeping it firmer and faster but I’d probably lose customers/have ticked off members.

    Simple answer, yes you can have brown and healthy turf. It does not need to be green to be good.

    I will get to your particular query by the end of this, I hope that I can answer it before that though. Firm and fast is/was the go to fad. Chambers Bay, Pinehurst, Erin Hills all advocated for it, PGA Tour events are setup extremely firm and fast to facilitate longer drives. But when I play my club my line drives stop right next to their pitch marks in the fairways. There are several things to consider though when determining whether or not firm and fast is something that should be implemented at your respective club.

    1. The design and designers intent on how the course should be played.
    2. What the clientele want.
    3. Agronomic practices
    4. Is the plan to be implemented course wide or just on greens or fairways etc
    5. What kind of turf do I have
    6. Vegetation

    Number 1 is fairly obvious, does the course allow for balls to bounce and bound down fairways, and greens the be firm. Or will it unfairly penalize golfers, and make them not want to come back?

    The clientele is fairly important, as they usually are responsible for your checks, but for guys in Florida or other heavily trafficked tourist courses, their customers do not want to see anything but a green and well manicured course when they are paying top dollar to escape their snowbound homes and play a little golf in the warmer weather. Can the club sustain the losses occurred from going lean? Probably not, especially when the course right down the road is green and seeded for winter.

    Now this gets a bit technical, but if you don't have sand in your profile it will take some time to incorporate enough sand into the profile. That could take years, and you might lose your job before you begin to see the benefits. I need sand rather than soil to foster a drier surface. Furthermore I might have to incorporate extra drainage, which is further eyesores for customers.

    I think all of us on here prefer a fast green, or at least think that we prefer it. Because those same people wrongly believe that a fast green means a smooth green, which is a simple fallacy. I can give you a green that is firm and smooth as anything that runs 9.5 which is still quick, but no where near the 12.5 I typically maintain, or the 13.5 I saw this weekend. Firm and fast fairways are great for the better but not so for everybody.

    What kind of turf do I have? Each different cultivar has different needs and inputs that allow it to play differently.

    If you want firm and fast it will help to have a proper amount of airflow to help dry the property, that will take some money to remove trees that are creating stagnant areas . In my experience members are not the most optimistic when it comes to removing trees.

    So having said all that, yes is it possible to reduce cost of water, fertilizer, and chemical by running a golf course that is leaner and firmer? Absolutely it is, I have zero numbers to back that up, but I know it would be cheaper how much cheaper I don't know. But I do think that just those 6 options that I came up with are definitely worth considering before making a drastic change to agronomic/business plans.

    The New Course at Grand Cypress is a tremendous layout the replica holes I think are extremely well executed. That being said, the conditioning absolutely sucks. I got to play it when I worked in Orlando and said it then (I have not played in several years so maybe it has changed). But I remember trying to flight long irons to back pins or run ups on par 5s and having my ball end up next to its pitch mark. BUT the reason that it is/was kept like that, harkens back to reason 2. Tourists visiting from New Hampshire in January, do not want to see a trace of brown. So if it is present at Grand Cypress, they'll go to Disney, or Celebration, or Falcons Fire, or ChampionsGate, or wherever that is in "great shape."

    That is such a long worded winded answer, I hope that I have provided some insight, please feel free to write if you have additional questions.

    Random question to tag into this but how much does the species have to do with maintenance practices? We are basically a wall to wall Poa course (Poa is underrated, IMO, for its ability to thrive in different conditions.). But Poa has such shallow roots that the course will come across wetter than it actually is. Water that flushed too deep into the profile is worthless to us.

  • dhc1dhc1 NYCMembers Posts: 895 ✭✭✭✭✭

    When a course “redoes” a green, what exactly is entailed? I’m not talking about changing contours or adding sub-zero.

    It obviously includes replacing the grass but how far down do they scrape? Do they remove a lot of thatch? Sorry for the basic question

  • BNGLBNGL Members Posts: 1,759 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @dhc1 said:
    When a course “redoes” a green, what exactly is entailed? I’m not talking about changing contours or adding sub-zero.

    It obviously includes replacing the grass but how far down do they scrape? Do they remove a lot of thatch? Sorry for the basic question

    No worries my friend there is no such as a dumb question, only dumb answers.

    There are different methods of redoing a green, it can be completely blown up and redone or you could just do a green resurfacing, which is I think what you’re asking about.

    A resurfacing entails just changing the surface, it can be as simple as spraying out the old turf scraping it off and then sodding or sprigging the surface with a new type of grass. Or you can get a little more involved and scrape the top 3-6 inches off add some more mix and maybe recontour some areas to increase the playability of the course.

  • dhc1dhc1 NYCMembers Posts: 895 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Sep 13, 2019 2:21pm #583

    @BNGL said:

    @dhc1 said:
    When a course “redoes” a green, what exactly is entailed? I’m not talking about changing contours or adding sub-zero.

    It obviously includes replacing the grass but how far down do they scrape? Do they remove a lot of thatch? Sorry for the basic question

    No worries my friend there is no such as a dumb question, only dumb answers.

    There are different methods of redoing a green, it can be completely blown up and redone or you could just do a green resurfacing, which is I think what you’re asking about.

    A resurfacing entails just changing the surface, it can be as simple as spraying out the old turf scraping it off and then sodding or sprigging the surface with a new type of grass. Or you can get a little more involved and scrape the top 3-6 inches off add some more mix and maybe recontour some areas to increase the playability of the course.

    I particularly like the quote: there are no dumb questions just dumb people asking questions!

    In that vein, what are the trade-offs associated with

    1. spraying out (?) the old turf vs.
    2. scraping off the top 3-6 inches vs.
    3. complete redo

    in terms of cost, recovery time, longevity and how the green will play (and anything else I missed)? I think one of my NYC courses has a lot of thatch and 30 year old A4 bent-grass greens that apparently will need to be redone at some point. What I notice is that most ball marks show a lot of dirt, rather than the tight weave (no dirt just indentation in the grass) I see at other courses but we have a rock/clay based soil so maybe we don't have much choice in the matter.

    Thanks

  • BNGLBNGL Members Posts: 1,759 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @dhc1 said:

    @BNGL said:

    @dhc1 said:
    When a course “redoes” a green, what exactly is entailed? I’m not talking about changing contours or adding sub-zero.

    It obviously includes replacing the grass but how far down do they scrape? Do they remove a lot of thatch? Sorry for the basic question

    No worries my friend there is no such as a dumb question, only dumb answers.

    There are different methods of redoing a green, it can be completely blown up and redone or you could just do a green resurfacing, which is I think what you’re asking about.

    A resurfacing entails just changing the surface, it can be as simple as spraying out the old turf scraping it off and then sodding or sprigging the surface with a new type of grass. Or you can get a little more involved and scrape the top 3-6 inches off add some more mix and maybe recontour some areas to increase the playability of the course.

    I particularly like the quote: there are no dumb questions just dumb people asking questions!

    In that vein, what are the trade-offs associated with

    1. spraying out (?) the old turf vs.
    2. scraping off the top 3-6 inches vs.
    3. complete redo

    in terms of cost, recovery time, longevity and how the green will play (and anything else I missed)? I think one of my NYC courses has a lot of thatch and 30 year old A4 bent-grass greens that apparently will need to be redone at some point. What I notice is that most ball marks show a lot of dirt, rather than the tight weave (no dirt just indentation in the grass) I see at other courses but we have a rock/clay based soil so maybe we don't have much choice in the matter.

    Thanks

    Well the first two options are way cheaper up front than a total redo, but there are several costs associated with no till methods and resurfacing, that must be accounted for down the road. A green resurfacing (including spraying out) is a tremendous option for a club that wants to maintain the contours of their green complexes, but maybe plant a new turf variety or help to reclaim edges lost from encroachment. BUT no till methods, while effective, do have problems of the invasive grasses occasionally coming back. So you must keep that in mind going down the road that the previous species will/may come back and you will have to spend time and resources to keep it out.

    A total renovation is needed if you need to redo the drainage, green contours, or incorporate new technology into the greens surface.

    As far as concrete numbers go, I do not have them off the top of my head, it depends on so many factors; size of the crew, size of the green, time when the work is done, time of year the new turf is planted. If I remember correctly I think the average cost of a new green is about $15 per square foot. Which sounds about right, I have about 2 acres of greens so 2*43560=87120 feet squared multiplied by 15 is a little over 1.3 million estimated. So a resurfacing should/could be cheaper than that.

  • smashdnsmashdn Let's cut them trees down. Members Posts: 1,468 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Sep 16, 2019 9:16pm #585

    How would you go about improving drainage on existing greens? Seems there is a lot of organic looking material in the greens mix, even deep into it, that is holding water up high in the soil profile and not letting it get down and through and out of the green pad.

    Is the answer more deep aeration and top dressing? If your mix initially had too much organic in it can you change it with aeration and sand over time?

  • BNGLBNGL Members Posts: 1,759 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @smashdn said:
    How would you go about improving drainage on existing greens? Seems there is a lot of organic looking material in the greens mix, even deep into it, that is holding water up high in the soil profile and not letting it get down and through and out of the green pad.

    Is the answer more deep aeration and top dressing? If your mix initially had too much organic in it can you change it with aeration and sand over time?

    Deep core aerations and more frequent top dressings. I’d also try to manipulate particle size on my sand. If it’s really organic mixture in the greens you gotta break that up and remove it to create space for oxygen and water to move.

    It could be black layer too, if you take a core and look and see a black/dark line at a consistent depth you need to break that up. It will smell metallic/sulferish.

  • mallratmallrat Members Posts: 3,035 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    You will smell black layer if you pull cores, smells exactly like rotten eggs/sulfur.

  • smashdnsmashdn Let's cut them trees down. Members Posts: 1,468 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Next question, this one regarding bunkers.

    If you had contamination in your bunker sand from red clay, your fabric underlayer has been compromised and torn in places by overzealous players raking and sand pros, would you care to go through the options out there for renovation and sort of rank them by preference if money was no object and rank them from lowest cost to highest cost?

    To go along with that, I would assume that there is a method that makes more sense depending upon how many acres of bunkers you have and their construction. Just assume 1.5 acres of bunkers and a mix of flat bottom fairway bunkers and all greenside are flash-faced no more than 2.5' deep at the steep side of the face.

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