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Monday, December 14, 2015

Course Closing

The golf course will officially be CLOSED starting 12/21/15 for the winter months. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Off-Season Hardscaping Improvements

This fall the main focus of the club has been on the clubhouse renovation currently underway. In years past we have completed major golf course construction with bunker renovations and updates during this same time period.  To fully utilize the extra time and staff availability while not completing golf course construction, our staff has been investing in positive hardscaping improvements.  Currently we are working on the South course bathroom entries.  The patio bricks being used for this project came from the old patio behind the clubhouse that had to be torn out to accommodate the changes being made.  With in-house staff completing the project and reusing the patio pavers, this project is being completed for under $1,000! For the same size project contracted out it could cost over $9,000!. In the spring we will be planting ornamental grasses around the entrances as well as incorporating some annual flowers for a pop of color.  We hope you enjoy the nice updates-



Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fall Agronomic Practices - The Explanations

Fall is a very important time of year for the agronomy staff.  How the golf course looks and performs next season has a lot to do with what we're currently doing right now.  Two of the most important practices taking place on the course right now are aerification and fescue mowing.  Below are a few pictures accompanied by explanations and reasoning behind them to help provide an understanding behind their importance.

Aerification...a dreaded word that nobody wants to hear in the spring and fall. Commonly Superintendents will hear "do you really have to punch right now? The greens are perfect" or "Why do you have to punch holes now, can we wait until later in the year?" or "can we use smaller holes, why so big?" These questions are perfectly understandable and there are agronomic reasons behind them. 

Do you really have to punch right now? - When deciding when to core aerify greens, tees, or fairways the decision is based on reducing the stress window. During the months of June, July, August, and September in Michigan we expect our warmest, most humid weather in addition to the heaviest amount of traffic from both maintenance practices and golfers. Heavy traffic from these things leads to compaction of the soil, limited root growth, and general turf stress.  Compaction also leads less water, oxygen, and nutrient penetration to the root zone. With these things in mind, we generally aim for a spring aerification in the middle of May and our fall aerification in September.

Fairway Core Sample
Can we use smaller holes? Why so big? - Deciding what size holes to punch and the spacing between holes depends on many factors, but the most important factor is thatch removal. "Thatch" is the layer of organic matter that builds over time on top of the soil.  This organic matter build up comes from dead roots, grass clippings, and many other areas. A large amount of thatch on any turf surface can lead to soft, spongy conditions and limits appropriate infiltration of water and nutrients to the healthy root zone. As you can imagine, the more thatch that builds up, the worse the conditions will become.  The removal of this thatch is crucial to maintaining healthy grass on the golf course. Leaving the boring math out of this explanation, we aim to affect 15% of the surface area each year on greens and approximately 7% on fairways and tees.  The size/spacing of tines and frequency of punching are all contributing factors to achieving these percentages.

Fall Fescue Mowing

Fescue mowing is an important part of our fall maintenance program. Mowing fescue areas in the fall reduces weed growth mechanically and helps to thin the dense growth that has built up throughout the year.  Fall is the best time to target weeds in the fescue and reducing the thick top growth allows for a more effective spray application of herbicides.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Weed Control

Fall is the ideal time to spray for broad leaf weeds such as dandelions and clover as the herbicide will be translocated to the roots and ultimately kill the weed. Currently plants are spending energy storing nutrients for winter in their root system vs. producing flowers. Even though you can't see the weed flowering right now, they're still there! Spring applications may suppress the weeds but will not normally kill them. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Productive Monday

Mondays are always very productive on the golf course due to outings not starting until 12 or 1pm and some Mondays having no outing at all. Today was no different. Below are items accomplished today-

1. All normal mowing
2. Bunker maintenance
3. General rough mowing on North and South courses
4. Plant health spray applications made to greens and fairways
5. Continued herbicide applications in rough for broad leaf weed control
6. Completion of West fairway aerification and clean up
7. Continuation of fescue mowing on West course
8. Year long brush and tree limb burn

Monday, August 10, 2015

Irrigation Pump System

This past week our irrigation system took an unfortunate turn for the worst as both of the main pumps failed. The failure was unexpected but not entirely surprising as both pumps were close to 15 years old! With a normal life expectancy of 8-10 years depending on water quality and use, 15 years isn't bad. It was a very tough situation to be in during July/August, but we took the opportunity to investigate the system in depth to prevent future problems. 

Our irrigation system is run by two 75 hp vertical turbine pumps, each capable of supplying 890 gpm at 110 psi, in addition to a 5 hp pressure maintenance pump. The pumps sit in a 13' x 4' concrete tube known as a wet well. The wet well holds water taken from a stream or pond and reduces the likelihood of contamination from weeds, debris, and foreign objects getting sucked through the pumps. 

The old pumps were removed using a crane and a scuba diving team inspected the wet well and intake pipe in the pond. The scuba team was used to ensure the wet well was in good shape without cracks or holes in addition to checking the intake pipe and screen prior to installing the new pumps.  The current wet well is intact and looks good but the intake pipe is very close to the sediment in the pond that has built up over many years. In the near future, the pond will have to be dredged to remove this organic matter build up and ensure we maintain a clear intake pipe going forward.

Old turbine pumps located between holes 3 and 7 North

To get by before the new pumps are installed, a temporary pump has been installed next to our existing pump station. The temporary pump is capable of supplying 450 gpm and will pressurize the system to the normal 110 psi. This allows approximately 12 irrigation heads to run simultaneously at full pressure in addition to a few hoses for hand watering. Currently, the new pumps are scheduled to be installed on Friday, August 14th.

A crane was used to remove the old pumps

Wet well inspected by scuba diving team

Debris found on the wet well bottom after pumping out sludge

Heading in for intake pipe inspection 
Organic matter sludge pumped out from around intake pipe screen

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Beautiful Morning

Photo's of the day:

Sunrise on 8/9 South

Sunrise over the lake looking at 8 South green

Saturday, July 11, 2015

2015 Bronze Tree Men's Invitational

A big thank you to my staff who worked so hard to get the golf course looking and playing its best! We hope all members and guests enjoyed their experience and thank everyone for participating.

Day two: 2 South looking sharp with evening shadows

Delicious food prepared by Chef and his team!

Day three: 5 West looking sharp

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Wet Spring Shows the Importance of Good Drainage

The spring and early summer season has been generally wet and having good drainage is crucial both to allow for proper maintenance of the facility and improve playability for members. This past week our in house staff installed over 250 feet of drainage stretching through #9 on the North course and running across the native to connect into #9 on the West course. This process involved excavating a chosen path for a trench, laser grading, installing pipe, installing pea gravel, finish grading and compacting topsoil, sodding, topdressing, and rolling.  All of this was done in two days! Positive long lasting improvements such as this may be forgotten quickly but their positive impacts last many years.

Drainage pipe installed and pea gravel going in

Sod being laid, rolled, topdressed, and cleaned up

Final product

Friday, May 15, 2015

South Course Renovation Update - 5/15/15

Since the last update we've made great progress on our South course renovations. Over the next week we will be finalizing the remaining areas with the intention of being finished by Memorial Day. Matrix bunker liner is currently being installed and will continue all next week until finished. While the liner is being installed, we will be installing sand at the same time. The sand is brand new and is being compacted but it still needs time to settle. Over the next few weeks the sand will settle and firm up allowing better playability. For the current time it will still be on the fluffy side. 

The range tee expansion is moving along well. The tee has been leveled and our staff is currently installing new irrigation. We expect to have the tee top surface seeded early next week with the sides sodded as well. With good weather we hope to have the tee expansion ready for use in mid to late June.

Following the South course renovations being completed we will be concentrating on sodding areas of the course where garden beds used to be but were removed according to our golf course enhancement plan. In addition to this we will be adding drainage in 9 North fairway to improve this poorly draining area.

5 South Fairways being connected with bentgrass sod

Matrix bunker liner installed on 2 South fairway bunker

Matrix bunker liner installed on 1 South fairway bunker

Green expansion on 3 South growing strong!

Sand installation on 3 South

5 South taking shape with new bluegrass sod laid 

"Native" fine fescue sod laid where old 9 South tees used to be

Irrigation Tech John Goss (left) and Josh Decatur (right) doing a great job maintaining our system during renovations

Friday, April 24, 2015

Renovation Update: 4/24/15

The South course renovations have resumed and are happening quickly. Our contractor returned this past Tuesday and already they have completed #3 South. Our in-house staff, who i'm very proud of, have done the majority of the sodding work around the green with only a little bit remaining to be finished up. Yesterday our staff hand laid 24 pallets of bluegrass sod as well as 2 pallets of bentgrass sod. It's impressive how much can get done with a dedicated staff.  Our main efforts have now shifted to #4 South and we will be continuing to #5 South in the coming days. Bunker liner and sand installation are scheduled to begin late next week. 

Great staff working on the renovations. THANK YOU!

3 South view from the right side

3 South: Future greens expansion can be seen in the back middle

New bentgrass "roll-off" area to the right of the green

Three new pin locations will be gained from the greens expansion

Pot bunkers now protect the right side

Current dirt area front left of the green will be the new bentgrass approach

Aerial view of 3 South

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


All three nines will be open for play starting Friday, April 10th. While renovations continue on the South course, certain holes that have active construction going on may be closed for the safety of our staff. We thank you in advance for your understanding. Hopefully we will see you Friday!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Cart Path and Parking Lot Edging

As with all problems, there is always a solution. We recently found a great solution to keeping cart paths and parking lots edged frequently and with great quality.  Please enjoy the video below which shows how we are able to accomplish edging all the cart paths and parking lots efficiently and much more frequently.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Range and Short Game Areas: Opening Saturday April 4th

The practice facilities will be opening Saturday, April 4th. The range will be "mats only" until further notice. The golf course will likely be opening next week but the day is still TBD. Please stay tuned for updates.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Covers Removed - Course Update

As of yesterday, all greens covers have been removed from the course and everything is healthy.  We cut #1 North green and will be putting first cuts on everything else over the next week.  The staff here have done an outstanding job already getting the course cleaned up and things are almost ready.  The weather, although wet, is starting to cooperate and the frost is coming out of the ground. Currently I'm targeting to have the courses open by April 10th. Please stay tuned for updates and follow @wcccgrounds on twitter for more course conditions related information.

#1 North green getting its first cut in 2015

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Spring 2014 vs. Spring 2015

Our turf conditions this year are looking to be much healthier than last year coming out of winter. Last year's turf loss at golf courses in the Detroit area was due to solid ice formation that lasted over 75 days, essentially suffocating the turf. This winter we took a different approach for winter maintenance on greens by removing snow frequently to reduce ice formation during freeze/thaw cycles. Removing snow, even with its apparent benefits of reducing ice formation, is not a silver bullet. Turf grass can still be killed by other winter stresses.  

When removing snow in the winter, there can still be turf injury from extreme cold temperatures, desiccation of exposed turf to wind, or mechanical damage from equipment used to remove the snow. Removing snow through the winter is a hard decision and one that needs to be timed correctly for positive results.  With this said, our new program appears to have worked well for us this year. Below is a comparison photo taken 1 week apart from last year and this year.  We are continuing to clean the golf course up and are looking forward to welcoming members and guests back soon.

2 North on 3/25/2015
2 North on 4/3/2014

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Golf Course Conditions - Spring Update

As we start to see the signs of spring  with weather changing and the Masters tournament being only a few weeks away, our staff is back at it and getting the golf course ready to open. Although the temperature is rising, the course is still a few weeks away from being ready to take traffic of golfers, not to mention that frost is still in the ground.  While it seams thawed at the surface, many areas are still frozen just a few inches down and some areas even have snow remaining.  

Our main staff returned yesterday and began the process of raking the course, picking up debris from the fall/winter, and finishing up remaining tree work. With weather being the final determining factor, I anticipate opening the courses in the first few weeks of April.  As you return to playing golf this spring we will still be finishing renovations on the South course. While we are finishing up those projects this spring, the South will be open with the exception of whatever hole we are working on. This is for the safety of our staff as well as efficiency of completing the work and we thank members ahead of time for your understanding.

1 North green after removing the cover on 3/24/15. Looks great!

I'm very happy to say that our turfgrass looks healthy coming out of winter this year and we should have a great season ahead.  Please check back frequently as I will post updates as we determine when the course is ready to open for the 2015 season.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Course Conditions Update

Warm afternoons are coming our way next week and our staff has been preparing the greens for a safe melt.

Heavy snow has been removed from the greens all winter with only an inch or two left on the surface for insulation from cold temperatures. As afternoon temps warm up, melting of this layer will occur.

Current turf conditions on greens look healthy. This picture was taken on 3/2/15 on 2 North green below the permeable cover

Channels are cut around the greens and off the green surface to facilitate water movement away from the green. If re-freezing occurs, it will be off the green surface.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Range Tee Expansion for the new "Jason Guss Golf Academy at Walnut Creek Country Club"

Starting in the 2015 season, Walnut Creek Country Club is excited to announce that members will now be able to take advantage of an outstanding new program to improve their golf game with the "Jason Guss Golf Academy at Walnut Creek Country Club".  With this new program starting, a bigger range tee was needed so lessons can be taught at all times no matter how busy the primary range tee is during the season.  To accomplish this, the range tee was expanded by over 25% with the addition of 10,000 sq. ft.of teeing space!  In total, we added over 1,300 cubic yards of fill soil to expand the tees.  Below are a few pictures including descriptions of the process. The anticipated opening date for this area is May, 2015.

Expansion area was planned in 2014

Snow was removed to create a frozen haul road through the center of the range to allow access for the large trucks hauling soil. Although it looks damaged from above, the brown color in the picture is merely soil that was tracked over the ice road. The turf remained untouched.

Paint lines then detailed the expansion area

Five trucks hauled soil for two days - Each truck weighing approximately 70 tons fully loaded hauled 40 yards of soil at a time until over 1,300 yards of fill soil had been hauled on site!

The fill soil was continually graded using a bulldozer between loads

Aerial photograph showing the new range tee expansion. In the spring, the surround will be sodded, range tee top seeded, and irrigation/drainage installed.