Saturday, December 19, 2015

Facelift for #16 Green

This week we worked on giving #16 green and little facelift and in the process correcting poor surface drainage on the back of the green that has caused weak turf on the cleanup lap.  As you can see in the photo there was a dip where the 419 surround and the Champion green surface met resulting in water running down the 419 surround and then sitting on the edge of the green.  This caused for poor rooting and surface algae accumulation which caused for poor turfgrass coverage.

We removed the existing turf, both Champion and 419, and also removed any greens mix that was contaminated with excessive organic matter. We brought in new greens mix and spread across the area.

Once the new greens mix was spread out we used a 1 ton roller to pack the new mix and make sure we had the proper grade that we wanted for the area to help ensure the water did not have an area to accumulate in but continued on the green.

After the sod was placed on the ground it was watered and rolled multiple times to smooth it out and help ensure good sod to soil contact.  This was a good way to make sure we had the proper slope that we wanted and had a good transition from the existing sod to the new sod.

Once the sod was down, watered, and rolled into place it was lightly topdressed and watered in several, several times to fill in the canopy and help retain moisture.

Improvements will continue at Harrison Bay all winter, especially if we continue to have this great warm weather.  Any area, on or around any of the greens, that has been renovated will be marked and should be considered Ground Under Repair and should be played as such.

Thanks to Willie, Barry, and Mitch for doing such a great job on this project.  Now onto the next one.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Renovation of #3 Green

As with everything in life, greens, whether it be the turf covering the surface or the sand supporting the surface or the drain lines underneath the surface, have a life span.  Over the past several years #3 green has suffered from its poor growing environment and other factors to be a less than acceptable putting surface.  We have tried many different life support practices and have patched weak areas for years but the green still continued to go down hill and it was time for some exploratory and reconstructive surgery.

The issues that lead to the demise of #3 green compared to the other greens begins with its location.  Being located down in the "hole" as it is and surrounded by trees limits the amount of air movement to the green.  This lack of air movement along with the poor sunlight the green receives throughout the year restricts how quickly and well the green drains.  The excess moisture in the green complex has lead to anaerobic activity, leading to poor root development, increased disease pressure, weak canopy production, and the creation of surface algae.  Through the years we have tried many cultural practices to correct these issues, including aerification, DryJecting, and patching of the green.  None have been successful to bring the green back to where it needs to be.

So last week we began the renovation of the green by removing the top 4-5 inches of the green surface.  It took all day and a couple of changes in the process for the crew to get all the "bad soil" removed and stockpiled at the top of the hill for use in a later project.

The next step was to bring in 125 tons of new 85:15 greens mix from Golf Agronomics.  The new mix was spread and floated out across the green.  We were able to successfully disturb the top 2-3 inches of the existing greens complex by using the tracks of the Bobcat to fluff up the sand which I feel allowed for the new greens mix to blend with the existing green so we will not have a layer barrier and thus did not need to till the two layers together.

Once all the greens mix was added we spent some considerable time floating the sand out and moving it around inch by inch to ensure that once the grass was added to the surface we had created a fun and playable putting surface.  The contours of the green were changed significantly to give us more movement throughout the green, better surface drainage of the green, and increased our pinnable locations.  I think you will really like the subtle, but interesting, changes we made to the surface.

Renovating an ultradwarf bermudagrass green is definitely not something you would consider to be a winter project as warm season grasses need summer temperatures to grow but we are in a situation where closure of this green during the summer months was not an option, but this way we will enter next year with a newly grassed green.  The sod was delivered from Champion Turf Farms on Wednesday morning.  It took Thursday and Friday to install the 6,500 sq ft of sod.  I had forgotten how challenging laying small rolls of sod on a green could be but thanks to our dedicated agronomy staff we got it done, and done well.

Once the sod was down we rolled the green to smooth out the surface and ensure good sod to soil contact.  Willie is using a one ton roller to smooth out the green. You can see in the video how well the roller works.

The last step in finishing up the greens sod installation process was to use a Toro Hydorject 3000.  The Hydroject uses high pressure bursts of water, which you can hear in the video, which help to turn the roots of the grass toward the new soil.  This is probably the best method to smooth out a newly sodded area and help establish new roots.

It has surely been a process and a lot of work by our staff but the final product is one that we are very happy with.  There are still many steps to go, such as fertilizing, topdressing, more rolling and hydrojecting, and so forth.  By the spring we will have the greens surface ready for play and will hopefully not have to field the one question that I hated to hear, "What's up with #3 green?"

We thank you for all your patience and understanding as we continue to work to improve the golf course for your enjoyment.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Harrison Bay Eagle Cam goes High Def and More

The Harrison Bay Eagle Cam Project is beginning it's fifth season with some new additions and improvements.  Each year we have tried to upgrade the experience of watching Elliott and Eloise raise their young.  This year we have upgraded our broadcast to High Def which will allow us to see the details of the eggs, the eaglets, and at times, unfortunately, what is for dinner.  The details of the feathers and other features really pop with this new addition.

The other addition/improvement to the project is the addition of an Approach Cam which our faithful viewers and supporters raised enough money to fund last year.  This camera which is located near the ground looking up at the nest will give us a view of the eagles flying in and out of the nest and moving around in the top of the trees.  We have some more adjustments and fine focusing to do on the approach cam but this has already been fun to watch.

The Harrison Bay Eagle Cam Project, which can be viewed at, is a great project that we have a lot of fun with.  The project was begun to allow us to watch "real time" life in a bald eagles nest but also to show how a properly managed golf course can not only be a place of enjoyment for golfers but also provide a safe and suitable habitat for wildlife to live and raise their young.  Over the years we have had over a million viewers view our project from all over the world.  We hope that everyone who logs on will enjoy the project for what it was designed for and we thank you for your continued support and funding.