Friday, May 27, 2011

Dewar's and Divots

We would like to extend a quick "Thank you" to the numerous families and individuals who participated in the fairway divot filling last night. Due to the excellent weather conditions, we had a great turn-out, with approximately 40 individuals helping fill divots. All fairway divots on the front nine were filled, along with the divots on the old nine approach. This night saves our grounds staff numerous hours of work and allows us to focus our efforts on other parts of the course. We look forward to another Dewar's and Divots later on this season.

Water Quality Management

As part of our continued environmental efforts, we recently conducted water tests to check the quality of our water bodies. Protecting the health and integrity of our water bodies is an essential component of showing our commitment to environmental stewardship. Our main goal for this water test was to determine exactly how much nitrate was leaching into our water bodies.

For this water test, two water samples were taken. The first sample was collected by 10 tee complex, to determine the water quality at the top of the watershed. The second sample was taken at the bottom of the watershed near the Hubbel property line. These sites were chosen to check the quality of water coming onto and leaving the course.

Water testing process

After completing  the chemical analysis, we began to evaluate our results. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has set 10ppm as the maximum value allowed for clean, safe drinking water and groundwater. Both water samples had a nitrate level of 2ppm, which is well below federal regulations. Another positive is that no extra nitrates were deposited into the water than were already present in the top of the watershed. One reason for this is the taller grass surrounding all of our water bodies. This tall grass acts as a buffer and helps us reduce chemical runoff. We will continue to monitor our water quality monthly and pursue a more environmentally friendly golf course.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Employee Spotlight: Jason Conrad

We are excited to announce the arrival of our second intern Jason Conrad.  Jason will be with us until the end of August at which time he will return to Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa.  Jason is a second year student studying Turf and Landscape Management.  Jason will be learning all aspects of golf course maintenance this summer. 

Jason lives in Centerville, IA with his family but will be residing in the Des Moines area throughout his internship.  His prior golf maintenance experience includes Appanoose County Country Club in Centerville.  Jason was a high school football player and still enjoys playing with friends.   

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Poa annua Control & Velocity Herbicide

 This week we have begun a series of applications of Velocity Herbicide to reduce the Poa annua population in our fairways.  This will be the third round of Velocity since seeding the fairways in 2008.  The first application occurred in 2008 with another round in 2009.  In 2010 we used a different product called "Trimmit" to suppress Poa growth.

This year we are using a different strategy to attack the Poa.  In the past we applied Velocity in 6 applications spaced one week apart.  This strategy quickly killed the Poa but left us with voids of dead Poa annua in the fairway.  Our plan for 2011 is to use the same quantity of Velocity but to space the applications over the entire season with each application being spaced approximately one month apart.  The idea is to have a "slow conversion"- for the Poa to have a long slow death during which time the bentgrass has a significant competitive advantage.

You may notice some yellowing of the fairways in the days following Velocity applications.  This condition lets us know the product is working and the bentgrass will recover within 7 to 10 days.  We are also applying fertilizer containing iron to help mask the yellowing effects.

You may be wondering why the Poa keeps coming back?  Poa reproduces from seed and Wakonda has 90 years worth of Poa seed throughout the property- billions of tiny seeds which produce new plants when the opportunity arrives.

We are not solely dependent on chemicals to control Poa.  We do everything we can in our maintenance strategies to promote the bentgrass and antagonize Poa.    On greens and collars we cut the Poa plants out by hand.  The game of golf generally promotes Poa growth: divots, low mowing heights, and cart traffic all promote Poa.

We fit our sprayer with a small piece of plywood so we could spray a full rate of Velocity Herbicide right up to the edge of the fairway.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Dog Days of... May?

We are experiencing historically warm weather for May.  Forecasters touted today as a day which we are likely to experience a new record high temperature for May 10 in Des Moines. The weather has been very conducive for firm, fast golf.  The grounds crew has been making significant progress on several fronts.  We have been replacing sod, adding sand to bunkers, pouring concrete, and tuning- up the irrigation system.   
The arid conditions have us hand- watering constantly.
An area near the putting green marked for sod replacement.
Crew members prep an area near the 8th fairway for sod.

Cart path repairs were made last week.