Monday, May 27, 2013

Aerification and Wildlife

 Our first aerification of the year will begin on Tuesday morning.  We will be verticutting the greens, topdressing them, and then pulling a small 3/8" core.  We will do the back nine on Tuesday and the front nine on Wednesday.  With the topdressing and the rolling the greens should still putt just fine.  Hoping for some good weather so they will heal in quickly.

 Our bald eagles have had a tremendously successful year this year.  It has been great to watch the little eaglets grow up to be as big as their parents in just these short eight weeks.  The video stream has been viewed by close to 200,000 different viewers in 70 different countries.  Plans are already in the works to improve our project for next year.

The eaglets are almost ready for their maiden flight into the great blue yonder.  Here is a picture of one of the little ones "branching" out on a limb.  As with most siblings, one is more adventurous than the other but they are both doing fine.  A special thanks to USGA and the Friends Group of Harrison Bay, as well as our other sponsors for making the project possible again this year.
In addition to the eaglets we have some more new additions to the wildlife population at The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay.  These two little foxes were seen playing on a fallen tree between #1 and #8 green.  They were fun to watch as they played around and tried to figure out their new world.  Welcome to the family, little ones.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Programmable Frequency of Clip

As many of you know we recently got some new mowers for the greens.  The mowers have allowed us to provide a quality of cut that we have not been able to produce before.  We have been experimenting with the heights of cut to see how low we can go without damaging the putting surface and this past week we have been working with the programmable frequency of clip (FOC) which is exclusive to the Jacobsen Eclipse 322.

One of the great features that we are enjoying about the new mowers is the programmable frequency of clip.  Frequency of Clip is better explained in this YouTube video Frequency of Clip Animation than I could do. 

Over the past several weeks we have been double cutting the greens (mowing the green twice either in different directions or up and back the same pass) to provide the quality putting surface that we need to provide.  This week we started adjusting the FOC on the mowers to determine which would be the best operation for us to do, double cut the greens at a particular FOC or single cut at a lower FOC while still getting the same quality of cut and removing the proper desired amount of clippings.

FOC 0.07 (left) vs. FOC 0.10 (right)
In a very non-scientific experiment we found by using the programmable FOC that we were able to remove the same amount of clippings and provide the same high quality of cut while reducing our actual time spent mowing the greens, the battery powered used, and the wear and tear on the greens surround.

The photo above shows clippings removed from two greens which are very similar in size, #7 and #18.  They were mowed with the same mower and by the same operator the only difference was #7 was double cut, or mowed in two different directions, with the FOC set at 0.10 and #18 was single cut with the FOC set at 0.07. 

FOC 0.07 (front) vs. FOC 0.10 (back)
As you can tell the amount of clippings removed from the different greens is not substantially different and I can tell you that the quality of cut is no different.  What did change was the amount of time spent mowing the green.  Lowering the FOC from 0.10 to 0.07 slowed the overall forward travel speed of the mower down but did not change the speed at which the reel was turning.  As a result the same amount of grass was removed from the green but took 5 minutes less to single cut the green than it did to double cut the green. 

The programmable FOC gives us the flexibility to change the amount of grass removed from the greens quickly without having to change gears or sprockets or fittings as we would have to on other models.  Saving the additional time and wear and tear on the greens surrounds is another added benefit that is very important to our operation.

We are excited about what other great features we will be able to enjoy with the new mowers and how they will help our guests enjoy the golf course better.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Electric Equipment Initiative Goes Public

 The Electric Equipment Initiative of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation was officially unveiled yesterday at The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay.  We had a great turn out including representatives from local and state government agencies, local electric boards, equipment manufacutures and distributors, and media representatives among many others.  The event was a great way to present the electric equipment we have purchased and to communicate how we are using this technology to help protect the environment while also reducing our use of fossil fuels and eliminate the creation of point source CO2 emissions.

The event allowed our guests to get up close and personal with the equipment, to look at the battery powered technology, and to ask questions about the project.  We had many great questions asked and hopefully other operations will begin looking at electric equipment as a possible choice.

David Uchiyama of Chattanooga Times Free Press was on hand (he is in the forefront as I try to explain the advantages of the 15 blade cutting unit on the new Jacobsen Eclipse 322  greensmower).  David filed this report on the event this morning.

As David states in his article above, we have already seen a significant benefit from converting from gasoline powered equipment to electric equipment and I have to say the performance of the equipment has far exceeded our expectations.  If you haven't looked at electric equipment as a possibility you really need to, especially with the future of lithium battery technology on the horizon.

State Senator Bo Watson (front) and TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau were present to participate in the unveiling. 
Ms. Lori Munkeboe, Director of the Office of Sustainable Practices, enjoyed the event by hopping on and trying out one of the mowers.
Even John Reitman of TurfNet fame got in on the action and took one of the mowers for a spin across the putting green.  Read John's comments about the initiative and event here:
Mitch Sivley, Bear Trace Assistant Superintendent, demoed the quietness of the mowers for the group which was a huge hit with all in attendance. 
Past posts on the Electric Equipment Initiative