March 25, 2014

Hole 5

March started off as a pretty wet month. Sandpines received 4.4 inches of rain during the first 9 days of the month. However, the last 14 days (March 10th through the 24th) have only yielded about an inch, and 60% of that came in one day (March 16th). Last week, the golf course dried out enough that we had to water a few areas (tees and fairway hot spots). Irrigation in March on the Oregon Coast rare. It was especially strange considering we were dealing with frost delays for most of the week. It looks like we won't have to worry about either of those issues this week.

Hole 2

We have groomed the greens a couple more times since my last post. Greens mowing frequency has increased and we are starting to get some grass growth in all areas throughout the course. Fairways were mowed and fertilized (lightly). We have spot mowed the rough and surrounds as needed.

As we have time, we have been aerating areas of the rough in order to provide better playing conditions in the long term. In the short term, the cores will remain in the rough. The cores will be mowed up and will break down in the coming weeks. In the mean time, play winter rules in areas where the rough has been recently aerated.

6 green

The tees have been verticut a couple of times recently in order to remove some of the moss that has accumulated. The tees have also been fertilized with a high rate of ferrous sulfate following the verticutting processes. Moss does not like high rates of ferrous sulfate. Hopefully, after a few more applications, the moss will be gone.

We are in the process of top dressing the tees. We should get most of them done today. If the weather holds, we will finish them tomorrow.

The new tee on hole 8 is starting to green up a bit. We still have a ways to go before the tee will be ready for play, but I thought I would include a picture (below)  to show the progress it is making.

New tee on hole 8

February 26, 2014

12 green basking in the sun

The weather in February has not been as dry as the previous few months, but there have still been good days for playing golf. I have received a number of compliments on how well the greens are rolling lately. It has been awhile since I have played a round of golf, but I am starting to get the itch. Hopefully, I will get out soon.

Jerry mowing 6 green

Yesterday, we walk mowed the greens with the groomers engaged. We don't walk mow greens very often due to the extra labor required, but the triplex reels with groomers are being rebuilt at the moment. The greens are not growing a whole lot right now, but there is some lateral growth that we have been wanting to mow. The groomers are blades mounted between the front roller and reel that cut any lateral growth near the surface of the green. Grooming is similar to verticutting, but much less aggressive. Yesterday, Peterson set the depth of the groomers to about the thickness of a nickel (1/16 of an inch) below the rollers for a light grooming. Groomers can be set lower, but going more than 1/8 of an inch below the rollers is hard on the equipment. With verticutting, the blades are wider and the depth below the rollers is typically at least 3/16 of an inch. Grooming is used to reduce grain by cutting the laterally growing grass blades near the surface of the green. Verticutting is usually employed to remove organic matter (thatch) below the surface of the green.

Surface of a green after light grooming yesterday

Most of our time lately has been spent on routine maintenance tasks such as: mowing, changing hole locations, raking bunkers, moving tee markers, filling tee divots, and cleaning up wind blown debris.  In addition, we have been continuing our brushing clearing efforts between holes 3 and 4, and also between holes 3 and 13. The chances of locating and playing a ball that goes into the trees in these areas has improved dramatically.

Hole 17

February 6, 2014

27 degrees and snow mixed with sleet as I am writing this post

I have been waiting for a good opportunity to do some blogging. I knew today was going to be the day when the snow and sleet began to fall. The weather has been mostly great for golf so far in 2014. In the past few weeks we have even seen some highs in the 60's at Sandpines. There was a 15 day stretch in January with no precipitation. It was the first time I can remember thinking that we may need to irrigate in January. Thankfully, we received some rain at the end of the month and irrigation was not required.

 Jerry filling up the top dresser

Jerry top dressing hole 2

The dry stretch of weather was a great opportunity to top dress the fairways. Anytime we get a chance to top dress fairways it is like killing two birds with one stone. Obviously we get the benefits associated with top dressing, such as firming and smoothing the surfaces of the fairways. However, we also get an opportunity to get rid of some sand that is encroaching onto hole 7 from the adjacent dune. Having an abundance of sand is a nice problem to have, but only if you have the ability to use it before it takes over the golf course. This past summer, we accumulated sand much more rapidly than we could use it. We have tried to use as much as we can, but as you can see below, we are not going to run out anytime soon.

Encroaching sand dune on hole 7

We have also been clearing brush between holes 3 and 4. Many players have found themselves looking for their ball between holes 3 and 4. While the combination of shore pines, wax myrtles, salal, and huckleberry bushes is beautiful to look at, it is nearly impossible to play golf out of. We have not finished the project yet, but we are making good progress.

Area between holes 3 and 4 before brush clearing

Area between holes 3 and 4 after brush clearing

In addition to brush clearing between holes 3 and 4, we have also been removing snags and lower limbs in order to open the area up and make it more playable. A couple of huge tree debris piles that have accumulated over the past few years were also cleaned up. Chris Gibson, owner of Wildtree Enterprises brought in an 18" Vermeer chipper and turned the huge debris piles into wood chips. We are in the process of using the wood chips to stabilize a recently built sand road.

Huge pile of tree debris turned into wood chips

The new tee box on hole 8 has been a work in progress. We have worked on it as time has permitted. Last week, it was leveled, seeded, and peated. I don't have a time table for when the new tee will be open. I will keep you posted. In the meantime, please stay off of the new tee so it can grow in.

A lazer level was used to establish proper slope for surface drainage

Our Sandpro lightly fluffed the surface prior to seeding
After seeding, the Sandpro was used to wheel walk the sand and seed

Peat moss was applied with our Ty-crop Quickpass top dresser

January 15, 2014

Jerry mowing the collar on hole 13

According to the weather forecast, Sandpines is going to see plenty of sunshine over the next couple of weeks. I have received a number of compliments regarding the condition of the greens. They are really rolling nicely right now. I would encourage anyone who has been waiting for a good time to play Sandpines to make a tee time and enjoy a round right away.

Today's putting stroke view

The final precipitation total for 2013 was only 42.56 inches. In some places that may sound like several years worth of rain, but in Florence, Oregon that is not much. That is less than half of the precipitation that Sandpines received in 2012 (89.51 inches). Someone from southern California told me they received less than 4 inches for all of 2013. Suddenly, I don't feel so bad about our current "drought".

Tee marker restoration

You may have the noticed the tee markers are looking much better lately. We were able to get them restored during some of the frosty weather in December. The old paint was removed from the tee markers as needed. Then, they were touched up with new paint. Next, the paint was baked on in Peterson's shop oven. Finally, the tee markers were put back out on the course.

14 green under brilliant blue sky

Some of our recent accomplishment include: initiated brush clearing in the landing area between holes 3 and 4, tee divots filled, tee yardage markers edged, greens mowed, greens rolled, hole locations changed, greens fertilized, approaches fertilized, parts room re-organized, 9 fairway top dressed, sand was added to 6 fairway bunker, bunkers were raked, scotch broom was removed, needles blown off greens, irrigation repairs were performed, and material safety data sheets were audited and updated.

December 18, 2013

6 green on a gorgeous day

We have had some beautiful weather since my last post. In November and so far in December, the weather has been drier than normal on the Oregon Coast. This has made for some fantastic golfing days. As usual, when the sun is out this time of year, there have been some frost and frozen conditions that have led to some frost delays. We even had some closures during coldest days, which are quite rare at Sandpines. I was lucky enough to get out and play a round at Sandpines in late November and the weather was perfect. I was able to comfortably play in a short sleeved polo shirt. I had a great time despite my rusty golf game.

Hole 9 during a frost delay

After one of our frost delays, I stumbled onto the scene in the picture below. At first, I thought someone dug the cup out of the green with their bare hands.

Cup and sod lying in a pile on 3 green

Upon closer inspection, I found some strange markings in a nearby bunker (pictured below).

Solid line and foot prints in a bunker next to 3 green

Just past the bunker, the flagstick was lying on the cart path as pictured below.

Flagstick lying on the cart path near 3 green

If you haven't guessed by now, the culprit was a bear. The "foot prints" in the bunker were bear tracks. My guess is that the bear was walking across the green and ran into the flagstick and decided to "play" with it. In the process, the cup was ripped out of the ground. After the bear marched through the bunker with the stick and the fun was over, the flagstick was dropped on the cart path.

I made quick work of the jig-saw puzzle that the bear left for me. The turf repair is healing up nicely, but can still be seen in the middle of the blue pin zone on 3 green. Check it out if you are in the area. I sent a picture via text to few friends and colleagues to see if they could guess what had caused the damage. Sean Watts from Crop Production Services guessed correctly. I also received a few other entertaining guesses as well.

I ran across a few other things on the greens that were man made that I did not care for since my last post. Below is a new series that I call The Wall of Shame.

Divot taken on 11/24/13 on 2 green next to the cup

The lowly putter divot. We see a few of these every year. I can assure you that this will not help you putt better. Please do not take divots on the green.

Pull cart tracks on the green, picture taken on 11/24/13

You will have to look closely at the picture above, but there are pull cart tracks going right across the green. The day I took this picture, there were pull cart tracks on nearly every green on the golf course. Please do not take your pull carts across the greens.

November 19, 2013

Hole 9 soaking up the sun

The weather forecast for the next several days is looking good for golf. The greens have healed up pretty well and are rolling decently. It would be a great time to get out and enjoy a round at Sandpines. We have a fantastic $39 special (includes cart) going on right now for Oregon and Washington residents. Use the coupons on the image below to receive the special pricing.

I have been receiving a number of questions about the project going on near the 8 tee complex. We are working on a new tee to the left of the cart path. The teeing areas that are the most heavily utilized are small and get chewed up rather quickly. Currently, the tees are either kept on the chewed up areas or are pushed back to a longer yardage in order give the divots a chance to fill in. The plan is to add more tee space with a similar yardage, which will also provide a different perspective. This project also gives us a chance to use some of the abundance of sand that has accumulated behind the tee complex. The picture below gives a sneak peek of what a future tee shot might look like. We still have a ways to go before the project is complete. At this point we do not have a time frame for the completion of the project, but I will keep you posted.

If you have played lately, you may have noticed the white dots near the edges of the collars. The dots indicate where the green/collar edge should be. As we mow the greens over the course of the year, the edges have a tendency to creep in or out a little. The dots are just a guide we use when mowing to get our collar width more consistent.

October 31, 2013

Jerry aerating the tees on hole 10

The month of October was a blur. We started the month by finishing up the aeration of the fairways. Then, the tees were aerated. Next, the greens were aerated and top dressed. After that, the approaches were aerated and top dressed.

Greens aeration process on hole 2

The driving range tee was also aerated, seeded, and top dressed. We have also been top dressing fairways over the last couple of weeks, hopefully we will finish them up next week.

Jerry top dressing the fairway on hole 9