Tuesday, March 28, 2017

They Need Time To Get It Done

Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 29th, is opening day for the golf course.  The following article by the USGA is very timely.    

The daily tasks need to be completed prior to the first group teeing off on #1.  Members should be cognizant of the impact of skipping holes or teeing off on the back nine before maintenance has been completed.  Each job requires a certain number of man-hours; it’s important that there are no disruptions.  If this work is disrupted, some of these tasks may not be completed that day.  Thank you for your continued support!

Please click on the Hyperlink below to read the article:

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Course Improvements and More

Course Improvements

We’ve began the process of sodding out some areas around the traps that have accumulated sand and have thinned from the summer’s heat.  I’ve changed the grass species to a turf type tall fescue since the majority of these areas are south facing “fingers” (see pictures).  These areas get hot during the long summer days and Kentucky bluegrass can’t handle the stress.  The tall fescue can handle drought and stress much better.  The green bank along the #7 green was sodded with tall fescue during the bunker renovation and has performed amazingly well!


Why Is It So Wet Out There???

Recent weather conditions have been very challenging for the grounds crew.  In the past week we have received a little over an inch of rain (1.06”).  Typically this amount during the summer months doesn’t cause problems.  However, our evapotranspiration (ET) has been extremely low for the last week.  We had ET’s of 0.02-0.04” per day, compared to typical summer readings of 0.15-0.25” per day.  ET measures how much water plants lose during the day.  For the period October 1st - October 6th, our ET total was just 0.22”.  This means we have a surplus of water in the soil that results in soggy golf course conditions.  During the summer months, we try to replace a certain percentage of ET (50-60% of ET).  This creates dry, firm conditions. 

We probably shouldn’t have allowed carts to be scattered this past Sunday.  If you see “muddy and wet” spots, please try your best to avoid them.  These areas will mend once dry weather returns.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Disease, Humidity, and Aeration

We have begun the process of aerification.  Aeration is one of those “ahh” moments as it signifies we’ve made it through another year.  The temperatures for the next couple days are supposed be unseasonably high.  The upper 80s and 90s don’t bother us much since the duration of the heat is short.  The turf will heal quickly and provide EXCELLENT playing conditions this fall.
This has definitely been one of the tougher summers on record.  Some superintendents compare it to the summer of ’95 when a lot of turf was lost. 

Here are several statistics about August’s weather:

Avg daily High- 87
Avg daily Low- 66
Avg. Daily Humidity- 97%

This summer was not extremely hot relative to high temperatures, but the lows and humidity have been very high, this combination causes significant disease problems.  Fungi love long leaf wetness, moisture, and weak turfgrass.  The abiotic factors (i.e. weather) have made it a very difficult season.  Overall, we did not lose much turf, however, we did have one disease surface on our greens. 

I sent a couple of samples to the Wisconsin Turfgrass Diagnostic Lab.  The results showed that we had basal rot anthracnose.  This was caused by the stifling nighttime lows that were close to 80 degrees.  Some experts view this disease as beneficial to the turf since it wipes out the poa annua and allows bentgrass to fill in the voids.  As stated by the lab, “High nighttime lows lead to an increased rate of plant respiration at night, which decreases energy reserves at a time when the plant cannot provide any extra energy through photosynthesis.  This often results in poor overall health.”  Going forward, we now know how to treat for this disease if it does show up again.  These areas should fill in within the next couple of weeks.  

Basal rot anthracnose present on  18 green.

I’m sure many of your lawns have had mushrooms popping up.  This is due to the high humidity and nighttime temperatures.  

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Morning Push

Our day starts at 5:30am, and during the peak summer months we start at 5:00 am and sometimes even 4:30 am!  If anyone wishes to see the morning push you must be there at 5:30 AM.  We live by the slogan, early is on time, and on time is late!! Assignments vary from mowing greens, collars, fairways, rough, raking bunkers, changing cups or working on upcoming projects. During this meeting we discuss job specifics or events (i.e. shotgun starts). This is the most dedicated and hard-working crew I’ve had the opportunity to work with!  Every person cares about the playability and aesthetics of Kemper Lakes!

Grounds crew going over daily assignments

 All mowers are ready to go!

Our bunkers have steep faces to make shots more difficult. Juan is mowing what we call a “finger” in the bunker.  We use a special piece of equipment called a “hover mower”.  This mower, “hovers” along the grass to mow these tougher areas.

Juan using the “Hover Mower” on a bunker finger.

One of the best tools we use on a daily basis is our TDR Soil Moisture Meter. We use this to monitor soil moisture in the greens.  During peak summer months, this is used to help prevent wilting from occurring on the greens.  In July and August, we check greens twice daily.  This allows us to keep greens as firm as possible without the possibility of losing any turf.

And of course, we try to reward hard work with as much praise as possible!  The guys are excellent cooks, they make an outstanding carne asada!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Green Speed Consistency, Bunkers, and Rake Placement

Green Speed Consistency

I am often asked by members “why don’t green speeds remain constant?” The USGA has published an excellent article on this issue.  Please read the attached article from the USGA.     

Consistency from day to day is very difficult to achieve.  Consistency should be viewed from green to green, tee to tee, and trap to trap for EACH day.  This is why golf is such a great sport.  Each player has to adapt to changes every day on the golf course. 

Please follow the hyperlink:


We are always evaluating and reevaluating the way the bunkers play, look, and are maintained.  This past Monday we began the very tedious process of packing in the entire bunkers (faces and bottoms) using a bunker rake. 

Once this process is completed, we will “experiment” with a new way of raking the bunkers.  We will smooth the faces and outer edges of the traps (see photo below).  We will then rake the bottoms of the traps with a leaf rake. This technique may be the optimal way to increase firmness for the golfer, while still preventing any possibility of algae forming due to moisture retention in the bunker. 

Bunker Rake Placement

For those that are uncertain as to where to place the bunker rakes, they are to be placed IN the trap perpendicular to the edge as shown in the picture below.  This is for two reasons.

1.  Maintenance around the trap is much more efficient
2.  The impact of the rake for the golfer is minimal.  This is due to the ball already being in the bunker and once the rake is removed, the ball would still most likely still be in the bunker.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Cart Restrictions and Fescue Areas

CART RESTRICTIONS- Cart usage around greens has become very problematic the past several weeks.  The turf quality around greens, especially sodded areas, has deteriorated.  In an effort to improve the playability of these areas, we have installed stakes and cart signs to direct cart traffic.  We have installed these stakes to be as unobtrusive as possible (see below). 
Additionally, holes #6 and #13 will go to CART PATH ONLY. 

Cart traffic around greens has increased and carts have gotten closer and closer to the greens

New look to improve cart traffic
FESCUE AREAS- Please respect the new fescue areas on holes #4, 8, 13, 14, and 15.  These areas are designated ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE AREAS.  Cart traffic is strictly prohibited in these areas.  When carts drive through these areas, the effects are evident for the ENTIRE golf season.  The fescue will not bounce back up as it continues to grow; it will remain matted down in every cart tire track.  We have worked hard to develop these areas to enhance Kemper Lakes.  I am requesting that members educate each other about the importance of staying out of these areas. 

Once the fescue is matted down it will not grow upright at this point in the season.

Friday, April 8, 2016


I’m glad this doesn’t happen very often, or ever!  Yesterday, we received a load of bunker sand to top off some areas that are thin and well, it came in the wrong type of dump truck.  My mechanic and I, working with the truck driver to unload it out of the grain trailer that we received.  We somehow always find a way to get it done!

It looks like this Monday's weather will be cooperatinging with us and as such we will be aerating greens and tees this coming Monday and finishing Tuesday!

Inside one of the two bins of the grain trailer!

All 25 tons of sand spread out on the ground, luckily the pavement was cleaned prior to dumping.