Saturday, September 24, 2016

Bird Box Clean Out

This past week, Lee Pauser and I cleaned out all of the large bird boxes on the course.  When I say we, I really mean Lee cleaned them out. It was something like 8 barn owl boxes and 4 American kestrel boxes.  This year in particular seemed especially dirty.  When I say dirty, I mean full of small rodents discarded in the form of pellets by the barn owls.  If you’ve been to Cinnabar this year, you know the small rodent population is abundant.   

While out cleaning the boxes, we were discussing the addition of 2 or 3 barn owl boxes.  Cinnabar is a great location for barn owls and the more the merrier in my eyes.  





Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Closed Nine Maintenance Day

Venting and rolling
Having 27 holes can be difficult for a maintenance department, but most of the time the flexibility 27 holes provides is fantastic.  The greatest flexibility it provides is the ability to core and sand 9 holes without having to worry about being ready for play at 8am.  Another advantage we have is that we have the opportunity to close 9 holes once per week for important maintenance practices.  
One of those important maintenance practices took place this week with the maintenance department venting the greens with an 1/8" solid tine, followed by sand and gypsum.  Just prior to that we also brushed the greens and cut perpendicular to remove excessive leaf growth.  You may wonder why we need to put a hole in the ground just 6 weeks after coring the greens?  Primarily to keep water moving through the profile.  Right now the surfaces are so tight from new growth and some compaction that water infiltration has decreased some.  We put the calcium down because every time we water we are putting salt down and it accumulates in the soil.  The calcium helps flush out the unwanted salts.  

If you look back at your calendar going back to February, you'll have noticed that we put holes in the ground approximately every 6 weeks; year round.  And you guessed it...we will deep tine aerate the greens Halloween week in preparation for the winter rains and relieve the compaction from tournament season.  

Friday, August 26, 2016

T.W.I.T... And the Previous 3

My absence throughout the month of August can only mean one thing; It’s coring time at Cinnabar Hills.  It has been a hectic month and it’s time to catch up on what we’ve been doing. 

Coring of the greens took place on the first of August.  We cored the greens with ½ tines and used a deep tine aerator to punch a solid hole that is 5/16” in diameter and 8 inches deep.  We used approximately 95 tons of sand to fill all holes which makes my heart flutter with joy.  The week following coring, we applied another 10 tons of sand to top the holes off and further dilute the top layer of thatch.  

The later topdressing is a variation from years past where we historically only applied 3-5 tons of sand on 4 acres of greens.  We started going heavier with the second topdressing last spring and with just one coring we saw greater water infiltration rates and what I believe to be a firmer playing surface.  

Looking at the physical soil analysis pictures below from 2012, what I’m trying to do is further dilute the top ½” of the soil profile which is currently over 4% organic matter.  More organic matter means softer surfaces and lower water infiltration rates.  The darker soil profile is the top 3” and the lighter profile are inches 3-6.  Inches 3-6 are more or less the original greens mix and the richer brown profile in the top 3 inches is accumulated organic matter.  The water has been moving through the surface so much better this year that next year I may have to switch up the type of wetting agents I use.  We currently use a wetting agent that promotes water movement and I’ll play around with lowering that rate or use a product that promotes water balance/ retention. 


In addition to coring the greens, we used  a solid tine to punch holes in fairways, tees, and approaches.  It was a very successful two weeks of cultivation events.  This was all followed by an application of gypsum to help with soil structure and salts.

During coring, Valerie Baldwin of the Silicon Valley Wildlife Center released another rescued owlet.  I don’t remember its story, but it was in pretty bad shape.  Whether it makes it or not is to be determined, but it's nice knowing that we are one of the best chances it has towards surving.  Lee Pauser is nursing it along with gophers that are trapped on site.  I'd also mention that all gophers trapped on site go to our owls or other raptors that are at the wildlife center and are in need of additional food.  Lab mice get pricey and seem to be hard to come by these days.   


  

Friday, July 15, 2016

T.W.I.T.

This was going to be titled Smurf Tees and Albino Praying Mantis, but T.W.I.T, or this week in turf, just came off the tongue better.  

It's hard for me to believe that kids growing up today don't have the smurfs in their lives.  I guess they do have those horrible movies that came out, but those were just strange, but I digress.  We've had a struggle with a handful of tees this year and instead or re-sodding them, we are seeding them.  To help keep the seed bed cool and moist we are using a type of hydro mulch that you can spray out or just apply over the top.  In this case we are just applying over the top.   With temperatures increasing, it's hard to keep the seed bed moist and I really hope this is the ticket.  I had a customer ask me today if it'll work and I'd like to think that since it's been done, it will, but...


In other news, I found this praying mantis on the course Thursday and it sent me to google looking up a white praying mantis.  From what I can best determine, it is a normal praying mantis, but praying mantis's molt several times and after molting they appear white for a period of time.  Aside from being one of the cooler looking insects, they are known to eat June bugs (other flying insects too) which morph into white grubs.  As some remember we've had a problem with skunks, raccoons and crows digging for white grubs.  I'll take all the help I can get.  


Lastly we have begun coring preparation by doing two practice greens on Wednesday.  It's three weeks out, but I don't like surprises.  We'll tweak what we did this week next week and hopefully we'll be dialed in for the 2nd of August.

  

Friday, July 8, 2016

Just Another Day

I was once in a restaurant and listened to two older gentlemen go on about how firefighters are the most overpaid of all city service workers.  "All you ever see them do is clean their trucks and buy ingredients for chili at the grocery store", they said.  I didn't agree with these gentlemen then and after helping put out a recent fire on course, I've got even more respect for what firefighters do on a daily basis.  


A call came in Wednesday afternoon from the Pro Shop about a fire that started on the 6th hole of the canyon. As I approached, smoke was looming over the trees.  Upon arriving the fire was rather small, but the wind was blowing strong through the canyon.  Fortunately, another staff member and myself were able to get hoses hooked in and the fire was quickly extinguished.  The little bit of smoke was brutal to be in and I can't imagine how so many men and women are doing it on a daily basis throughout California right now.  


This was started by hitting a ball out of a native area and the club sparked on a rock. Whether you're playing for money or not, I don't see the reason why you can't give your playing partners a little bump.  Put them next to a rattlesnake hole if it doesn't seem fair.