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Friday, March 29, 2013

Anticipated Opening Date: April 5th or 6th

The forecast is showing a gradual warming towards the end of next week with overnight temperatures above freezing.  This is good news for thawing the frost layer that is still present in the ground.  With this weather, the targeted opening date for the courses is April 5th or 6th.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

When is the course opening?

The weather is starting to warm up slowly but the turf isn't ready for golf just yet.  Today, we took a core sample from the nursery green to evaluate the frozen layer beneath the surface.  Although temperatures are feeling better outside, the sub-surface profile has yet to thaw out.  When the ground is frozen beneath the surface and the top is thawed, water on top has nowhere to go.  In this situation, avoiding traffic across playing surfaces is best.  We're watching the course closely and will be opening for golf as soon as we can do so safely.  Right now, I anticipate opening day for the courses to be around the 2nd week of April.

Frozen chunks of profile
Hole from ore sample

Spring plant starting to show up!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Spring 2013 - Course Enhancements

This spring, with the help from our golf course architect Brian Huntley, we will be embarking on the board approved project of squaring off all the tees on the South course and seeding new areas of native fescue.  I assisted Brian for 2 days in January with lining up the tees to the landing zones in the fairways and measuring out all the new teeing surfaces.  When they were lined up and measured out the way he wanted, we squared them off with PVC pipe and were able to get a visual look at the final shape before we begin the project.

#2 South Ladies Tee
In April our staff will begin to remove approximately 7 to 10 feet of sod from around the new teeing surfaces and we will be seeding them to Kentucky bluegrass.  These areas are being stripped and seeded to remove existing bentgrass and Poa annua contamination around the tees as well as reestablishing areas to rough that used to be part of the tee top. A few select tees will be completely stripped and laser graded to level the teeing surface and then the original sod will be placed back on the tee.  Following this process the tees will be heavily topdressed with sand to fill in all the seams and promote a fast recovery.

#1 South Men's Tee

The fescue areas that will be seeded are going to begin in May.  These areas that are currently bluegrass rough will be killed with glyphosate (Round-up), mowed down very short, treated with a pre-emergent herbicide to hold off germination of summer annual weeds, and seeded with our chosen fescue varieties.  Native fescue areas generally take 2 to 4 years to mature completely, so patients is needed.  They will grow to about 3 inches the first year but will not produce seed heads until at least the second year.  After it matures, native fescue will produce a beautiful golden seed head for the summer months and offer a beautiful landscape.  These pictures are of a mature native fescue stand and are a good representation of what members can expect to see here in years to come.

Example of Mature "Native" Fescue

Example of Mature "Native" Fescue

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Winter Projects - Irrigation?

Bryan and Kevin worked hard through tough conditions this past week to finalize the standardization of the hand valves around all greens. Below are some pictures of them installing the new hand valve by #4 South green. The standardization of these valves will allow easier and more efficient hand watering during the summer months.

Bryan and Kevin heating the pipe in the ground to remove old pieces of existing steel pipe for the quick coupler installation.

Putting together the quick coupler assembly and fitting the new pieces into the existing pipe.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Course Update

The golf course is still covered in snow and the frost layer is still present deep into the ground.  The temperatures overnight and during the day haven't been favorable for thawing yet but spring isn't too far away.  The ten day forecast shows a steady rise in daytime highs that push into the mid 40's but continues to show below freezing nighttime temperatures.  As soon as the frost layer thaws in the ground we will be opening the courses for the season!  Our staff is ready to get going at a moments notice so with a little cooperation from mother nature we'll get the 2013 season off to a great start.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Wild Turkeys at WCCC

Wild Turkey by #3 North Tees
Meleagris gallopavo, or wild turkey, have been spotted recently at Walnut Creek.  As stewards for the environment, golf courses are often the hosts of many different plant and animal species.  The wild turkey in Michigan became a thing of the past in the early 1900's due to lack of habitat and over hunting, but made a comeback recently because of strong reintroduction efforts.  Although they look nice, they're quite fast and will chase you if you get too close.  Even as a large bird, the wild turkey can actually fly up to 55 mph over short distances.  When you see them on the course this year and want to take a picture, just remember to respect them and to keep a safe distance away. 
Inflating His Chest!

Information for this post was gathered from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website (click here to visit the site). Both photos were taken at Walnut Creek Country Club.