Friday, March 20, 2015

#9 Greenside Bunker

This past Thursday, the crew took the left over sand from greens aeration and filled the two greenside bunkers on #9.  The sand depth in these two bunkers had become too shallow and the risk of contamination had become too great to ignore.  Approximately 10 tons of sand was added to the two greenside bunkers.  The fresh sand made an instant impact on the aesthetics and playability of these bunkers.  The grounds staff did a great job getting this project done in such a short period of time.

Depths are checked and sand is added to create consistent depth throughout the entire bunker

Playability and aesthetics are greatly improved by adding the new sand!

Spring Greens Aeration

The weather and fertilizer perked the greens up quickly
Pulling a lot of thatch out of the putting surface!
  Earlier this week, the grounds staff completed our spring greens aeration.  This is always a busy few days for the crew and this year they did an amazing job getting all the work done on schedule.  The weather leading up to aeration improved and allowed the greens to wake up just in time for the process.  One week before we were scheduled to start punching holes on the front nine, Doug, our chemical technician, applied some granular fertilizer to the greens to help wake them up from dormancy and get them growing.  We time the fertilizer to kick in just as we start the project so that a quicker recovery is encouraged and the greens will be back to normal as quickly as possible.  The weather post aeration is also very important to how long the recovery takes.  The weather has been ideal, with several rain showers, sunny days and mild nights.  It seems we are right on schedule for our usual 1-2 week recovery window.

Most golfers deal with the after affects of aeration on putting greens, but few know exactly how it is performed and why we must go through the process.  While there are many ways to perform core aeration, this is the process that works for us.  First, the greens are "verticut" with our greens mower two times at perpendicular directions.  This creates little square grooves for sand to settle into.  More information about verticutting can be found here.  Then we mow the greens to clean up the longer leaves that are left behind the verticutter.  Once the green has been mowed, the aerator pulls the cores out of the green and pulls them to the collar for removal.  As you can see from the picture on the right, the aerator removes a large amount of soil.  This sand based soil contains built up organic matter that can create wet, soft conditions and harbor disease.  Removing this material, and replacing it with straight sand allows us to maintain drier, firmer, healthier putting surfaces.  After the cores are all cleaned off, the greens are then blown completely clean so the holes are all open and ready for sand.  The next step is to topdress the greens with a very specific amount of USGA topdressing sand.  This sand has a very specific particle size that is compatible with the sand found in our greens profile.  This sand is allowed to dry completely and then is drug into the holes using a drag mat towed behind a utility vehicle.
Sand is heavily applied and left to dry before dragging into holes
Once the sand is worked into the holes, the greens are rolled to smooth out any depressions from tire tracks or footprints.  The greens are drug once again to be sure to incorporate as much sand into the holes as possible.  Water is then applied to settle the sand into the holes and keep the grass from stressing out from all the aggressive cultural practices.

The greens are then left to rest for a few days so the grass can begin to fill into the holes we made and allow the sand at the surface to integrate into the canopy.  Today, the staff spent some time rolling, dragging and mowing the greens to get them as good as possible for the weekend.  Over the next week, the greens will seem less sandy and the turf growth integrates the sand into the canopy and normal putting conditions return.  We appreciate everyone's patience during this time.

Monday, March 2, 2015

February Course Update

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The weather started off mild and the grounds staff was in high gear working on our winter project list. We began spraying our course wide pre-emergent, continued sodding bare areas along cart paths, and topdressing divots on the driving range tee box.  The staff was busy preparing our equipment to begin our annual tree maintenance work, when the course received over 4 inches of snow on Sunday the 15th.
Embedded image permalinkThe snow halted all progress on the golf course and forced the staff to stay in the shop.  Since we couldn't get onto the golf course, the staff got to work on some shop projects to keep busy.  The staff built bird houses, wash racks, and tee markers.  They striped the floor in the equipment bay to create safe walkways, and designate where machinery should be stored.  Dan, our equipment manager, began working on all the equipment that will be needed for our March greens aeration.
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During the last week of February, Michael, our assistant superintendent and I, went to the Golf Industry Show.  This conference is hosted by our national golf course superintendent association.  Each year superintendents and other golf industry professionals come together to network, attend educational seminars, and walk the trade show to mingle with colleagues and learn about the latest equipment and supplies we need to improve our golf maintenance operations.  Each year, when I return from this trip, I am invigorated to start the golf season and give the members and guests of Bailey Ranch the best golf experience possible.
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It seems the winter weather will stick around for another week or so, then we should start to experience some milder, spring-like, weather.  Spring is just around the corner and the grounds staff will begin ramping up their agronomy programs once we warm up.  Our spring greens aeration is scheduled for March 16th and 17th.  Once we get that process done, we should be into warmer days and the beginning of the 2015 golf season!  

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015


#16 looking back toward the tee
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#18 fairway is a popular place right now
On Sunday night, the golf course got it's first measurable snow event of the season.  February is usually the month we get some snow and once again it didn't disappoint.  Staff came in on Monday and started clearing sidewalks and doorways around the clubhouse.  Otherwise, we're staying inside working on several projects to keep us busy.  Currently, the only activity happening on the golf course right now is sledding on #18 fairway!

The sun came out yesterday afternoon and I took a short walk to capture a few pictures of #16 and #17 in the snow.  We don't get a lot of chances to see the course covered in snow so I had to take advantage.

#17 looking toward green

#11 fairway looking toward #17 tee

Monday, February 9, 2015

#15 sod work

Late last week, the grounds staff used some left over sod to fix a washed out area along the cart path on #15.  This spot is on the north facing slope just after #15 forward tee as you go downhill toward the fairway.  The turf in this area came out of winter last year thin, which allowed the soil to erode during the rainy season.  The erosion left a sizable rut down the edge of the cart path.  The picture to the right shows the area in question after six loads of soil had been added and leveled.  Sod was then added and stapled down to keep it in place until the sod has a chance to root into the ground.  The area will be roped off until spring green-up.  Please keep off the sod until the ropes come down so we can ensure a successful grow-in.  

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

January Course Update

Embedded image permalinkThe weather during January can be unpredictable to say the least.  Cold weather is expected but there can be plenty of great weather as well.  This year was no different. We started out January with seasonably cold weather which kept golfers away.  Thankfully, during the second half of the month, the weather warmed up to record levels which allowed many of the members and guests to enjoy some great golf.  The warm, dry weather exacerbated the already strengthening drought conditions which forced the grounds staff to apply a wetting agent to greens to keep soil moisture at acceptable levels.  We don't typically need to do this, but felt it was necessary to intervene.

Embedded image permalinkThe nice weather was not only great for golfers, the grounds staff took advantage of the mild weather and got several key projects completed.  During the middle of January, Doug, our chemical technician, applied a generic Roundup product to our greens surrounds to clean up the few weeds we have.  We are now seeing the effects from that spray and am excited to see the surrounds cleaned up.  Those of you who played during mid-January, likely noticed the large hole near #1 tee.  Joe, our irrigation technician, had been dealing with an bad electrical splice that powered our irrigation system on holes 1,2,10, and 18.  It was a big relief to have that problem solved and the hole backfilled.  The big project we worked on, was the drainage addition to #7.  I spoke in detail about the project in our last post, so I won't expand on that here.  However, that was a big project that took our entire crew several weeks. 
As we phase into February, wrapping up winter projects and preparing for spring will be our main focus.  Continued drainage work, tree pruning, and preemergent applications will be at the top of our list.  The golf course seems to have made it through January in great condition.  Barring any serious weather in February, I feel very confident about where the golf course is positioned as we near late winter.  

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Friday, January 30, 2015

#7 Drainage

Over the past week or so, the grounds staff had been working on a drainage project along the cart path of #7.  This project has been on our wish list for some time and are glad to have it completed.  The drainage system for the #7 green, bunker and basins around the green, all connect together and go north to an exit point about 150 yards away from the green.  When the course was constructed, and no houses existed, this likely seemed to be the best option.  Years later, with the area fully developed, this drainage outlet has been a nuisance for the homeowners in the area.  To solve the problem, it was decided that the best thing to do would be to take the drain outlet down to the ditch right of the tee complex near Mingo, by adding additional drainage pipe.  In total, staff added almost 800' of drain pipe and had to cross the cart path twice.  This presented the only real challenge to the project, in that we had to cut and remove portions of the cart path so we could trench in new pipe.  Once the new pipe was installed, new concrete was installed back to repair the cart path.  Earlier this week, the last few details were completed and the project is now officially done.


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Weather Update & Look Back at 2014

I've shared the most recent forecast for the upcoming winter weather courtesy of the Gary McManus, Oklahoma's Climatologist for the Oklahoma Climatological Survey.  It's a funny take on recent weather events as well as a thorough look back at the weather we experienced this past year.  Enjoy!

December 29, 2014  December 29, 2014  December 29, 2014  December 29, 2014 

The excitingly boring weather of 2014

It's hard to look past the coming arctic blast to end 2014 to look BACK at the
past weather of 2014, so let's get the future excitement out of the way first.
Okay, to start off with, since freezing rain has mentioned, we are officially
moving the BRAUM'S BREAD-AND-MILK DEFCON LEVEL to THREE!!! I repeat, we are
officially moving the BRAUM'S BREAD-AND-MILK DEFCON LEVEL to TWO!! (see how
quickly we react here with up-to-the-minute hysteria??)

Yes, we've gone to "KNOCK PEOPLE OVER IF YOU HAVE TO" level. Mostly bombastic
and reactionary, of course, but just our effort to try and keep folks from
driving on ice (DISCLAIMER: should ice occur).

Here is the setup as provided in pictures from the local NWS offices.

Remember, this is winter weather we're talking, so the forecast is going to
change between now and ICE-MAGEDDON. So keep track of the changing conditions
as we get closer because the precipitation type is vitally important. However,
the arctic blast is a certainty.

The beast is poised to our north as we speak.

So prepare for this, because it's coming.

I'm afraid there won't be any melting on the roads with this coming system.

Okay, enough hysteria. Let's turn back the clock and take a look back at 2014.


The weather of 2014 would probably be considered boring by most, and rightfully
so. After all, there were no EF-5 twisters ravaging the countryside, nor was
there a never ending onslaught of days with triple-digit heat. The blizzards
of the last few years never materialized, nor did that other unwelcome winter
visitor, the ice storm. What we did have, however, was drought, the most boring
– if not most damaging – of Oklahoma's weather hazards. That particular guest
has been plaguing Oklahoma's ecosystem, agriculture and economy since its
beginning in late fall 2010 to the tune of several billion dollars in damage.
The spring rainy season was mostly a bust, although a return of moisture in
late May paved the way for more rain during June and July. That
uncharacteristically timed relief delayed the re-intensification of drought
that started earlier in the year, but more dry stretches from August forward
left over 60 percent of the state in drought at year's end. The year ended with
a dark, dank and dreary December in which the sun was mostly a no-show at only
35.4 percent of possible sunshine according to the Oklahoma Mesonet's solar
radiation sensors.

In the end, 2014 left us with memories of a (mostly) cold and (mostly) dry
year, with a few bursts of excitement to satisfy most weather enthusiasts. Here
are a few or the more notable weather highlights (or lowlights) from 2014, as
well as the top extremes as measured by the Oklahoma Mesonet.

2104 Oklahoma Weather Highlights
• According to preliminary data from the National Weather Service (NWS), 2014
  ended up with a total of 16 tornadoes, the lowest count since accurate
  records began in 1950. That bests the previous minimum annual twister count
  of 17 back in 1988. That stands in stark contrast to recent years that ranked
  near the top for annual tornado totals. The record of 145 is still held by
  1999, but 2011 and 2010 rank with the second- and fourth-highest totals at
  119 and 103, respectively. And 2013 tied for ninth highest at 82. The annual
  average tornado total for Oklahoma is approximately 56.
   o The strongest 2014 tornado listed was an EF-2 that struck the small
     town of Quapaw in Ottawa County, killing one and heavily damaging as
     many as 50 structures.
   o A tornado touched down near Lake Arcadia in central Oklahoma on the
     December 14, only the 25th tornado since 1950 for that month.
   o Of the 16 confirmed tornadoes, 11 were of the weakest rating of EF-0.
   o Although not associated with a tornado, a thunderstorm near Burneyville
     on July 30th produced a wind gust of 106 mph, tied for the fourth highest
     in Mesonet history.

• According to preliminary data from the Oklahoma Mesonet through December 28,
  the statewide average precipitation total for the year thus far was 28.56
  inches, 7.74 inches below normal. Depending on what possible precipitation
  falls in year's final three days, it is estimated that 2014 will rank
  somewhere from 25th to 30th driest since 1895 (note: the rankings in the
  statistics table below are since 1921).

   o The Mesonet site at Kenton recorded 13.2 inches of precipitation during
     2014, the lowest such total in the state. Broken Bow and Clayton led the
     state with 50.8 inches each.

   o The spring (March-May) rainy season was the 11th driest on record with a
     statewide average of 6.57 inches, more than 5 inches below normal.

   o The January-May statewide average was 7.39 inches, the 3rd driest first
     five months of the year on record.
   o June and July combined were the 15th wettest on record across Oklahoma
     with an average of 10.28 inches, nearly 3.5 inches above normal.

• A no-show summer and a frigid first few months of the year guaranteed a cool
  2014, and the statistics back that up. Preliminary data from the Oklahoma
  Mesonet place the statewide average temperature for 2014 at 58.9 degrees,
  about a degree below normal. Depending on what occurs the last few days of
  the year, that would rank 2014's temperature somewhere in the 20-30th coolest
  on record range. Interestingly, 2013's final statewide temperature also
  finished at 58.9 degrees.
   o Summer itself was the 24th coolest on record with a statewide average of
     78.6 degrees, 1.1 degrees below normal.
   o July was the fifth coolest on record and 4.3 degrees below normal.
   o A brush with frigid weather in the middle of November proved to be one of
     the most significant early-season winter outbreaks on record for Oklahoma.
     The cold snap began with a cold front on the 11th that dropped
     temperatures from the 70s and 80s into the 30s and 40s. The Oklahoma
     Mesonet station at Boise City struggled to a high of 15 degrees on the
     12th just two days after reaching a high of 81 degrees. Most of the state
     had spent from 100 to more than 150 hours below freezing. The event also
     came with a statewide blanket of snow. Amounts of 3-4 inches were common
     across parts of western, northern and central Oklahoma.
   o December finished the year off with one last warm month, but not in the
     way one would normally think. There were very few pleasantly warm
     afternoons, as daytime highs were actually a bit below normal. The morning
     lows, however, were another story. Through the 29th, the statewide average
     low temperature was 35.2 degrees, 7.7 degrees above normal. Overall, the
     statewide average through the 29th was 3.4 degrees above normal. The last
     two days of December promised to be quite chilly, however, which could
     bring that average down just a bit.

The 2014 Oklahoma Mesonet extremes

Maximum Air Temperature
FREEDOM  106.9 F  07/26/2014

Minimum Air Temperature
NOWATA   -12.1 F   01/06/2014

Maximum Heat Index
LANE     112.6 F   08/08/2014

Minimum Wind Chill
ALVA     -25.0 F   01/06/2014

Greatest 1-hour Temperature Change
KENTON   32.9 F   (80.6 F 11/10/2014 21:55 to 47.7 F 11/10/2014 22:50)

Greatest 24-hour Temperature Change
SLAPOUT  66.2 F   (84.6 F 11/10/2014 20:40 to 18.3 F 11/11/2014 13:15)

Highest Dew Point Temperature
BROKEN BOW   81.3 F   07/27/2014

Lowest Dew Point Temperature
MIAMI   -18.8 F   01/06/2014

Greatest 1-hour Rainfall
HINTON  3.07"   06/19/2014

Greatest 24-hour Rainfall
CLAYTON   6.60" (07/30/2014 - 07/31/2014)

Wind Speed
Maximum Wind Speed (5-minute average)
BEAVER   59.7 mph   07/01/2014

Maximum Wind Gust
BURNEYVILLE    105.8 mph   07/31/2014

Highest Mean Sea Level Pressure
CHEROKEE   1044.55 mb   01/23/2014

Lowest Mean Sea Level Pressure
MAY RANCH   989.17 mb   04/27/2014

Gary McManus
State Climatologist
Oklahoma Mesonet
Oklahoma Climatological Survey
(405) 325-2253