Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Spring 2015 Update

 We are very pleased that the 2015 golf season arrived early this year.  With temperatures in the upper 70s, we opened the course on March 14- that's the earliest opening date in a very long time.  If you've played golf already this year, you may have noticed that the course is a bit littered and the turf isn't green yet. 

We budget for our seasonal staff to return to work on April 1st.  With the course opening a week to two weeks earlier than normal, we simply haven't had the labor force to completely clean the property.  We will continually be clearing the course of debris left by winter and hope to have the cleanup complete by the time the turf breaks dormancy.  Thanks for your patience in this matter.

The turf is still dormant.  Grass is similar to other perennial plants in how it 'knows' when winter is over.  Think of it as an accumulation of warmth over time.  Once soil and ambient air temperatures reach the right point, our turf will begin to produce new tissue and the vibrant shades of green will return.  We really can't push conditioning (or green speeds) until the turf is actively growing.

Here are a few pictures from the course:

We have been out putting a fresh cut on all playing surfaces.
Filling stump holes.
Sprucing up club grounds with fresh mulch.
We have managed to get a jump start on aerifying fairways.
We have a bit of tree pruning which continues.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Profession that Makes Golf Playable

This short video was produced by the Philadelphia Association of Golf Course Superintendents. It does an excellent job of showing some of the elements that go into a normal day of maintenance on the golf course. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Best of the Best

We are very excited to announce that Wakonda Grounds Foreman, Beto Ramirez, was given the award of 'Employee of the Year 2013.'  Beto is a highly valued member of the Wakonda Family.  He is crucial to the daily operations of the Grounds Maintenance Department.  He assists with the direction of seasonal maintenance staff through his ability to translate daily tasks and patiently train new employees.

Beto fully embodies Wakonda's 'Nine Guiding Principals' for all employees.  He treats others with respect and greets everyone with a friendly smile.  Beto is a diligent worker and can often be found assisting employees from other departments.

The Employee of the Year is selected from a pool of twelve other staff who were awarded with 'Employee of the Cycle' from various departments and periods throughout the year.  Beto is truly the best of the best.

The award comes with additional time off work and a monetary stipend which is intended to afford Wakonda's best employee the opportunity to enjoy a bit of the relaxation and hospitality that all employees strive to provide our membership.  Beto is planning to take his family home to Guanajuato, Mexico for Christmas, which he has not been able to do for twelve years.

Congratulations Beto!  We are proud of you!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

First Tee Drain Project

  We recently installed a new catch basin near the first tee.  The old culvert had eroded to the point where it was no longer safe and was causing sink holes to form.

While we had an excavator we decided to replace several sections of old clay drain tile which were failing and also causing sink holes.

In total, we combined three different pipes into the main which flows beneath the first fairway.  

Finally, we built a dam behind the drain to divert water into the catch basin.  This should help the first fairway dry more quickly following rain events.

We left the catch high so we could evaluate our dam and identify the point of low elevation.  Today we pumped out the pond which had formed and cut the drain pipe lower to allow water into the pipe rather than over the dam.  Once we have sodded the area we will set the basin at ground level to prevent future ponding.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Fairway Update

 Why do the fairways look spotty?
  • In previous seasons ryegrass had contaminated some of our fairways.
  • Rye is undesirable as a fairway grass both aesthetically (dark green color) and agronomically (is less tolerant of environmental extremes).
  • We have continually tried to minimize the ryegrass contamination, however elimination of the ryegrass through chemical control has been ineffective.
  • The ryegrass was unable to withstand the extreme low temperatures this past winter which has resulted in some turf loss. The bent grass withstood the winter weather and remains healthy.
What is the next step?
  • While turf loss is always undesirable this actually presents an opportunity to improve the appearance of our fairways.
  • We will be seeding bent grass the week of April 14 and will consider sod in select areas.
  • When soil temperatures rise to promote germination, the spots will begin to fill in.
  • Our goal is to have the fairways fully recovered by early May.
With patience and warmer weather, we are excited to take this opportunity to improve the playing conditions at Wakonda.
John Temme and Green Committee

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Volunteer for the 2014 Principal Charity Classic

   Wakonda Club will again be hosting the Principal Charity Classic, May 26 – June 1, and we need your help! We need volunteers to make this event a success for the players, spectators, and (most importantly) the children that benefit from this great event.

   Volunteers are welcome any day of the week for morning and evening shifts, but we would greatly benefit from skilled individuals who could commit to multiple shifts. We will provide meals, shirts, and hats for our volunteers.

   This event has had a successful track record in central Iowa for over ten years. Proceeds in years past have totaled more than $5 million. Last year’s Principal Charity Classic donated a record $1,032,500, earning the Champions Tour’s “Charity of the Year” award for 2013. This event supports numerous charities benefiting children and families of Iowa. We are excited to be able to keep this event in Iowa and see this as an opportunity to showcase the generosity of Iowa Golf Course Superintendents and central Iowans on a national stage.

   Volunteers will play a vital role in the success of the 2014 Principal Charity Classic. The Wakonda Grounds Team is committed to making this year’s event a success and we hope that you will consider offering your time and expertise to ensure we achieve that goal.

   Please contact us via email at wakondagrounds@gmail.com if you can offer your support.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Safety First!

   As we stated in our previous post, we have been spending sufficient time this off-season on our administrative duties.  A very important aspect of our administrative duties includes employee training and safety. This winter, we are dedicating ample time to ensure our staff is properly trained and ready for emergency events.

   Our first step to improving employee safety was to update our Safety Data Sheets (SDSs), formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs).  Each chemical manufacturer or distributor provides SDSs to communicate important safety information regarding their specific hazardous product.  

   We began updating our SDSs by creating a list of every single chemical or fertilizer that is applied on our golf course, or currently being housed in our Haz-Stor storage unit. We also compiled a list of every potentially hazardous product or material located inside our maintenance facility; products ranging from household cleaners to gasoline and oils used in our equipment.  Once we were satisfied with this list, we scowered the Internet searching each chemical manufacturer’s website for our specific product or material and their accompanying SDSs. Each product’s SDS was printed, stapled, and placed in a new three-ring binder in an easy-to-locate location inside our facility for any of our employees to view.

   A great addition we’ve made to our safety training this fall has been the purchase of an AppleTV. This easy-to-use product allows us to wirelessly stream any video content of our choosing to our TV, as well as numerous other functions. How, specifically, is this beneficial to us here in the ground’s department? Well, we utilize various websites that contain safety videos and content and then broadcast these videos to our TV using AppleTV to show to our entire staff. For example, we subscribe to McCord Golf Services and Safety (www.mccordgolf.com), which produces numerous safety videos specifically aimed for golf course maintenance employees. Stihl (www.stihlusa.com) also contains many videos that help us properly train our employees on string trimmer, blower, and chainsaw use.

   Finally, every winter we inventory all of our first aid and safety supplies. It is very important that we have sufficient first aid supplies to support any issues that can arise during a long, work season. At this time, we also order gloves, safety glasses, ear protection, and many other supplies, which are necessary for our staff to work in a safe manner at all times. 

   It is our goal to create a safe workplace every year. Hopefully our commitment to preparedness and training will result in yet another safe and successful season!