One more winter month is down and that means we are getting closer to spring. The first part of March doesn’t look all that great but hopefully we can get back to normal temperatures the second half of March.
In February we were still busy on the course with tree removal. We are hoping to finish up the last bit of tree work in the next two weeks. It has been increasingly difficult to maneuver the course with the high amount of snow.
Bill has been extremely busy in the shop. He has all of our reels sharpened and ready to go. He has a few more pieces of equipment to perform winter maintenance on, then everything will be ready for spring.
The blanket of snow has kept the turf very well insulated and we feel that the greens will come through winter very well. The month of March can be tricky, so we are not out of the woods yet. But at this point in time we couldn’t be happier with what we are seeing under the snow.We are moving!! The blog site that is. In the near future you will be able to access the blog at bucksrun.com. We are excited to have all information for the course in one easy to find place. We will keep you updated. Have a great day.
Winter has taken a foot hold at Bucks Run and spring can’t come soon enough. Most of our time has been spent plowing snow, performing tree removal and equipment maintenance. We have had some extremely cold days in January as the Polar Vortex has been firmly in place. Luckily the grass has at least a foot of snow for insulation in most places.
We purchased a used reel and bed knife grinder this month. We have always sent our reels out in the past to be sharpened, now we have the ability to do it ourselves. The advantage to this is that we will be able to sharpen reels throughout the season to increase the quality conditions you have come to expect at Bucks Run. Our new mechanic Bill has done an outstanding job of going through each piece of equipment and ensuring that we start out the season with everything in top shape.
My dad has always been a great example and inspiration to me. Throughout my time growing up and to this day he has always volunteered his time for many great associations. In 2014 I get to carry that spirit of volunteerism on by serving on the Board of Directors for the Michigan Golf Course Superintendent’s Association and the Board of Trustees for my church. I was elected in December to serve on the church board and I was elected in January to serve on the MiGCSA board. I am humbled and proud to serve both of these great organizations. Coming up in February Bill will continue getting the equipment ready for spring. The second week of February he will be trained on how to use the grinders and then he will start sharpening all of the reels that were not sent in this past fall. Craig is busy inside the shop getting course accessories ready and detailing all equipment. Craig is also busy on the course with tree work.
We can’t wait to see you in the spring. If you have not tried our indoor simulator yet I encourage you to do so. It’s a great way to improve your game and have fun. As always have a great day.
Once the course closes for the season the question “What do you do all winter?” usually comes up. It’s a valid question because if there are no golfers on the course what could the grounds department be doing? Actually many things still need to be done in the off season to prepare for next season. Our first priority is making sure the appropriate plant protectants are applied to the greens, tees and fairways to prevent snow mold. Snow mold as it’s name implies is a winter fungus that can damage grass throughout the winter with or without snow cover. There are two types; Pink and Grey. Pink can occur without snow cover in cool and damp conditions, Grey needs snow cover to get started. We finished our last application yesterday and it should help protect the grass through March.
Our next priority before the snow blankets the ground is course clean up. It is vital to the health of the grass to make sure leaves are mulched or removed. Also fall cleanup helps with spring clean up, the more leaves and debris we can get cleaned up in the fall will in turn save us time in the spring. We usually will be performing fall clean up most days on the course until we are unable due to snow.
Also before the snow comes we will put a final coat of sand on the greens to help protect them from the cold winds that winter brings. We also spend time buttoning up any projects and if the weather cooperates we sometimes are able to start new projects.
Many winters most of our time is spent working on trees. With either removal or pruning. This winter will be no different. We have many Ash trees to remove because of the destructive Emerald Ash Borer insect. This insect has been responsible for the destruction of most Ash trees across the entire state and our golf course. Ash removal will take most of our time, but we also need to address other problem trees as well due to safety concerns, decay and any other problem trees.
Other winter responsibilities include; snow removal, planning for the next golf season, equipment repair/upkeep and continuing education.
As you can see our winter schedule is filled with activities to help ensure we provide the best possible golf course for the next season. Thank you for another successful year at Bucks Run and we can’t wait to see you in the spring. Have a great day.
A good thing about the fall season is you can mark items off of your “to-do” list and you know that you won’t have to perform that task until next season. In the last two weeks we were able to mark off two items; greens aeration and irrigation winterization.
Last Monday and Tuesday we cored greens. We were a little more aggressive this year so we could help increase drainage in the summer months. We used a little larger coring tine and we were able to affect 4.5% surface area, punch 464,000 holes, remove about 1845 cubic feet of soil and replace with around 55 tons of straight sand. That is large amount of material that we removed and it will help the greens next year filter water through the profile faster. It is very labor intensive, all of the cores are shoveled into utility vehicles by hand and hauled away. One great thing about Bucks Run is we are a team and we not only say that we practice it. The Pro Shop staff helped with shoveling all of the cores, without their help it would have been a monumental task for the limited staff that we have on grounds at this time. Thank you to Jon and his staff for the help.
Yesterday we blew out the irrigation lines to prepare them for winter and prevent any breaks from freezing. This is another long day and usually a cold day. The weather yesterday was not too bad and we were able to finish right at dark. To save money on compressor rental we work with The Pohl Cat and Mt. Pleasant CC and rent the large compressor for the week. We split the cost of rental and it works out great for all involved.
Leaves are our main focus right now. It takes a full day to get through the course and we start over each morning, it seems like Ground Hog day over and over, but it’s a critical task for playability and general course upkeep. The leaves are taking their time falling this year but this week I expect a majority to fall with the cold temperatures that we will have.
There are still many good golf days ahead and I hope to see you out on the course. Have a great day.
It’s been a great couple of weeks for golf at Bucks Run. I hope you have been able to stop out and enjoy the great weather with a round of golf.
I have played in the Wednesday night men’s league since it’s inception in 2008. Also I have played in the Wednesday fall league the past few years when time allows. I play in the leagues for a few reasons; build relationships, see the course from the golfer’s perspective, work on my game (it’s a work in progress) and have fun. I can say that I am able to accomplish every goal each week. By playing the course I can see and get feedback on areas of the course that we can improve. I usually take mental notes and work on improving any areas that need it in the coming days. I was fortunate enough to play with two members this past Wednesday. We had a lot of fun and it was one of my more enjoyable rounds of the year. We were able to relax, play some good golf and just had fun. We were also able to take time to talk about course maintenance and I believe I was able to give them a better understanding of how we do things and how it impacts play.
With fall comes a reduced work force on the grounds. We employ many students full time in the summer and when school starts back up they have to scale back their work schedules. We have many part time employees this time of year that may only work one or two days a week or just mornings. We have to adjust our maintenance based on available labor for a given day. We are able to get the basic maintenance done everyday like mowing but are not always able to do the extras. We are not able to double mow or roll as much as in the summer and bunkers are not raked seven days per week in the fall. When we see green speeds drop below our threshold we will forego another maintenance activity and either double mow or roll to get the greens up into our target area. Also golfers can do their part by always raking out the traps behind them, like I stated earlier the hazards will not be raked everyday so golfers need to leave the course good for the next golfer.
A couple of quick fall lawn tips. If you have received rain like we have over the past week or so and you have good soils it’s probably a good time to stop watering your lawn. No need to have your system winterized yet but shutting it down until the grass shows signs of drought stress will help provide a healthier lawn going into winter. It will also save on your water bill as well. Also moles are really active right now and I have spoken to a few home owners about the little varmints. A common theme I hear is “we have moles so we applied Grub-Ex to the lawn”. I usually follow up and ask if they still have moles and the answer is “yes”. Moles do eat grubs but if you have moles you don’t always have grubs. Moles eat earth worms, roots and just about anything else they find underground. If you have grubs you will know it and moles will be the least of your worries. We use traps at the course, it takes some practice but you can have pretty good success with them. We use the Nash Products “Choker Loop” they can be found on line for around $15.
Have a great weekend and as always fix your ball marks and replace your divots. Go Green! and Fire Up Chips!