Monday, June 24, 2013

Golf & Sustainability Article in Superintendent Magazine

For years now the world of the golf course superintendent has been changing from a job solely to keep the grass green and free of weeds to one of maintaining the entire property for the betterment of all involved; the golfers, the community and the environment.  We are very fortunate this month to be on the cover of Superintendent magazine and featured in their article, Branding Golf...With the Environment.  It is very rewarding to see all the hard work put in by the staff at The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay featured in this way.  Below is a link to the magazine (article starts on S4 but there is a lot of good information throughout the magazine).

Saturday, June 22, 2013

This weekend, June 22-23, has been designated as Tee It Forward weekend to encourage golfers to play off of forwarded tees to help improve pace of play and the enjoyment of the game. Learn more about this initiative from the USGA and PGA.

Give TEE IT FORWARD a try during TEE IT FORWARD Weekend, June 22-23!
Do you wish your approach shot to the green was just a bit easier? Would you rather hit an iron into the green vs. a fairway wood or hybrid? If you want to play faster and have more fun, go ahead and move up a set of tees!
When you TEE IT FORWARD, you hit more lofted irons into greens, putt for birdies and pars more often and play faster and score better!
Many amateurs are regularly hitting approach shots on a par-4 hole from 185 to 205 yards. The fact is, most bogey golfers only hit approach shots generally with any accuracy from within 170 yards. When you TEE IT FORWARD, you have the potential to hit approach shots from 145 to 165 yards.
If you currently play from the forward-most tee area, consider playing from the 200-yard marker or family course tees (if offered at your facility). The goal is for golfers to hit more lofted irons into greens and have more fun!
Join your friends and enjoy a new, positive experience on the golf course - move up a set of tees and TEE IT FORWARD!

TEE IT FORWARD received great feedback in 2012 from golfers nationwide who reported:
  • 56 percent of those who used TEE IT FORWARD played faster
  • 56 percent indicated they are more likely to play golf more often
  • 83 percent hit more lofted clubs into greens
  • 85 percent had more fun
  • 93 percent continue to TEE IT FORWARD
Share your thoughts on the TEE IT FORWARD Facebook page.
'I like the the TEE IT FORWARD program and it has greatly enhanced my enjoyment of the game... Since moving up to the gold tees I am able to hit most greens in regulation and have recently post two scores of 80 in the past month!' - Peter T.
'We had a blast putting for birdie and making a few on many of the holes. Now that is what I call excitement and enjoyment of the game! I shot 81 for the round when I usually struggle to break 100 from the (further) tees. Go ahead - give a try - it is a BLAST!' - Connie C.
'I am 65 now and hit my drives about 210. I still play a decent game and shoot in the high 70's from th front tees. But I'm lucky to break 85 from the back tees. Believe me it is much more fun.' - Ronald H.
PGA Professionals - Click Here to register your facility. Enter your PGA Links login when prompted.
LPGA Professionals/Non-PGA Professionals/Golf Course Operators - To become a TEE IT FORWARD host facility, please email Le Ann Finger with your name, facility name and location.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Growth Regulators on the golf course

 Two weeks ago when we applied our growth regulator to the golf course I had several people ask what the "little white dots" were all over the golf course in the morning.  The "dots" are actually marking foam we use to see where we have made an application.  Using foam to mark our pass is much more economical than using the green dye we use on our greens.  As the temperature rises the foam disappears.

Mitch Sivley applying Legacy to the driving range

So why do we use "growth regulators" on the golf course anyway. Using growth regulators helps to suppress topical growth of the plant while redirecting the growth of the turfgrass plant to lateral and root growth.  Suppressing the topical growth of the turfgrass plant means faster and more consistent putting green surfaces throughout the day and on fairways and roughs means less clippings which in turn means we don't have to blow clippings as much. We have used Primo Maxx growth regulator on our greens for many, many years and we have used Legacy growth regulator on our fairways and roughs for the past couple of years.  Use of growth regulators on the roughs and fairways also means that we can go from mowing fairways three times per week to only mowing them twice with no reduction in fairway quality for the golfer.  This helps to save manhours, fuel, and wear and tear on our equipment.

Willie Hamby applying Primo Maxx around the putting green
and clubhouse grounds
Some areas on the golf course are too small for us to apply the growth regulators with our large, ride on sprayers so we have improvised and use our walk behind sprayer for these areas.  This is the same sprayer we use to paint the greens in the winter but it does a great job around the putting green and the clubhouse grounds.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Bluebird Nest Monitoring

Back in 2007 we installed 44 bluebird nesting boxes around the golf course as part of our Audubon International certification program.  The nesting boxes were simple to build and we have been blessed with hundreds of fledglings over the years.  The Bear Trace has also been blessed by our relationship with The Friends of Harrison Bay State Park

 Besides being primary sponsors of the Harrison Bay Eagle Cam Project, members of the Friends of Harrison Bay have been volunteering their time for the past several years to monitor and maintain the bluebird houses around the golf course.  It is a small but dedicated group which I am very grateful for and I wanted to take a moment and recognize them and their hard work.  Here are a few members of the bluebird trail volunteers...(left to right) Mr. and Mrs. Bill Bice, Mrs. Diane Johnstone, and Mrs. Angie Medley.

 Another member of the bluebird group is Mr. Mark Mucciarone.  Here is a photo of Mark checking one of the blue bird boxes using a portable electricians camera which allows us to see inside of the nesting box without running the risk of scaring the adult birds or possibly dislodging the eggs or nestlings when opening the box.

 As you can see on the screen to the right, using the electricians camera they can clearly see what is inside of the nest quickly and without any risk of harming the eggs or babies. 

Here is a video we did a few years back with our friends from TurfNet

Inspecting Bluebird Houses Using an Electricians Camera

 One of the biggest improvements that they have made to the blue bird trail this year is the addition of the predator guards which are designed to reduce the possibility of raccoons and snakes from reaching into the nesting box and harming the nest. 

Here is a past blog post on the predator guard and how to make them

Predator Guards

Again, a special and heartfelt Thank You to this dedicated and fun loving group for all you do for us and the birds!!!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

"Oh, they've topdressed the greens"

#16 green being topdressed with new white sand
Applying sand topdressing to ultradwarf bermudagrass greens is one of the most important and vital practices that occur for this grass during the summer months.  Without applying topdressing ultradwarf greens run the risk of becoming "spongy" or soft, become very prone to scalping, and have a reduced water infiltration rate and can reduce the amount of oxygen being exchanged with the atmosphere.  All of these issues can lead to the catastrophic failure of ultradwarf greens.

From an agronomic standpoint the topdressing helps to firm up the surface of the green to allow the mowers to "float" across the surface better which helps to eliminate scalping of the green.  It also aids in the dilution of organic matter which can seal off the surface and helps to reduce the occurrence of localized dry spots.  From a golfers standpoint (believe it or not there are benefits to the golfer) the topdressing helps to firm up the surface which will give the ball a truer roll and it helps to fill in any imperfections or damaged areas on the green.

#11 green being topdressed with our former green dyed sand
For years we have been using a kiln dried topdressing sand which is painted green to mask the topdressing applications that we make.  We chose to use the dyed sand because it works into the putting surface easier since it is dried and most golfers can not tell when we have topdressed.  The price of the green dyed sand we have been using has gotten quite out of hand and I have been needing to find a better and different sand source.  So that is why the topdressing sand which was applied to the greens today was not your typical, customary green sand.  I did not want to pay the price for the dried green sand from the new supplier until I had used the sand and made sure it is what we need.

That being said.  I am very pleased with the new topdressing sand as it has a finer particle size and consistency and will work into the canopy much easier than our old sand.  We have had a problem with our old sand of sitting on top of the canopy and not getting worked in.  This would lead to being picked up in the mower buckets and discarded in the woods with the grass clippings.  That was wasteful and unacceptable.  Have faith we will be back to our green sand shortly and you will once again not know when we have topdressed.

You may also have notice a "band" of sand around the perimeter of the greens.  We placed this extra pass of sand around the perimeter of the green to help firm up the cleanup lap.  When we aerified last week we made a pass around the edge of the green which removed extra putting green surface from this area.  The clean up lap has been prone to scalping for some time and we are hopeful that this extra sand will help firm up this area and eliminate the scalping.  If it works as we think it will, we will make this pass on a more regular schedule.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Why is #11 Lake So Low??

Lately we have had several people ask why the irrigation lake on #11 is so low.  Is there a leak in the pond?  Are we really using that much water on the course at night?  or Are the fish that thirsty?

The answer is that our pump which transfers water from the river to the irrigation lake was not functioning properly.  This afternoon Ken Whitlock of Propump and Control, Inc. came out to the golf course to investigate the problem.  The pump is located in the concrete silo behind #11 gold tee and is about 20 feet in the ground.  The bad thing is that it has to be disassembled and removed from the silo to find out what is wrong.
Kenny, and his many water spider "friends"(I couldn't get a good picture of them but they were huge) removed the motor from the pump and then with some help from Mitch and Willie removed it from the silo.
What we found was the nut had come loose from the end of the impeller and had destroyed the mechanical seal and damaged the shaft of the motor.  What we thought was going to be an quick fix, just to replace the seal, is going to be a bit more time consuming.  Once the parts arrive Kenny will put it all back together and get us back pumping to get the lake filled back up.  Hopefully we will continue to get these small rain showers so we don't have to irrigate fairways and roughs until it can get fixed.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Congrats to Audubon International on their 1,000 certified golf course

We wanted to pass along our congratulations to Audubon International on certifying their 1,000 golf course.  The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay, as well as all the golf courses on the Tennessee Golf Trail are proud of our Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary status.  Below is an article from Golfdom magazine on this great accomplishment.  Keep up the great work AI!!!

Audubon International said it has certified 1,000 golf courses for its Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program (ACSP), an environmental education and certification initiative that provides technical assistance and guidance to help courses protect the environment, preserve golf’s natural heritage and gain recognition for their efforts.

The recipient of the organization’s most recent Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary designation is Eagles Pride Golf Course, a 27-hole championship course located in Washington at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), the Defense Department’s largest military installation on the West Coast. It was ranked one of the top ten military golf courses by Travel + Leisure magazine and is open to the public.

“We are very proud to have earned this in recognition of our commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship, especially since we are the 2nd Army and 5th Department of Defense golf course to be so honored worldwide,” Joint Base Commander Colonel H. Charles Hodges Jr. said. “This certification is a significant honor as a tangible recognition of our commitment at JBLM to sustainability and responsible stewardship. We look forward to working closely with Audubon International in our efforts toward ensuring all future generations have an environmentally friendly place to work and play.”

Since being established in 1991, ACSP membership (including facilities working towards certification) has grown to more than 2,300 golf courses in the United States and 36 countries worldwide. The program is endorsed by the United States Golf Association.

“Audubon International is excited to partner with the Department of Defense and its many installations to advance sustainability nationally and internationally,” said Audubon International CEO Ryan Aylesworth. “The achievements of Joint Base Lewis-McChord…serve as evidence that the U.S. military is committed to helping safeguard our environment and natural resources, and it is Audubon International’s goal to help our armed forces build on past accomplishments and ultimately achieve ACSP certification for all golf courses managed by the military.”