Sunday, June 12, 2011

"If you want to see the sunshine you have to weather the storm" - Frank Lane

Frank Lane was an executive in the front office of the White Sox, Cardinals, Brewers and Indians of Major League Baseball from 1948 to 1972.  His quote above is truly appropriate as it seemed the storms would never end.  Indian Lakes is enjoying some sunshine today as I write this.  It was worth the wait.

 This is a good 'before' picture of just part of our mini golf course
 The grounds crew removed the damaged, rotting timbers from around the beds
Manuel Munoz planted African Marigolds and Salvia here with a much better effect

We have spent a lot of time upgrading our mini golf course components as best we can.  We still have some repairs to make to the power equipment and some lawn improvements to make but as these pictures illustrate sometimes just removing something (especially rotten timbers) can be 'addition by subtraction'.  Manuel, Adan and Gilberto are our primary associates for the patio, mini golf and the tents and they do a terrific job for us.  Thanks, gentlemen.  More pictures will follow as the flowers in mini golf mature.

Our Massey Ferguson 1547 tractor and Wiedenmann Aerifier at the front entrance
We are always eager to help close business for our great Sales staff here so when Mark and Sue asked us to equip the front entrance with some agricultural hardware at the front door we jumped at the chance.  Hopefully the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association group contact was sufficiently impressed (as he was with the cleanliness of the tractor) to book some business with us.  Cornelio did a fine detail job on this tractor before we parked it up front.  He went as far as to Armor All the whole thing for a nice, shiny look.
 I spend a LOT of time working with this thingy here
 A closer view of the thingy
The 'thingy' in the picture is a soil moisture content meter from Spectrum Technologies.  Barrett Schroeder, one of our rookie grounds associates, and I spent a great deal of the first part of the week monitoring our soil moisture content on the putting surfaces on the golf course.  This machine is fairly 'Chuck-proof' (Read: idiot proof) and it tells the user quickly and accurately how much moisture is present in the soils of the putting surfaces by percent volume at a three inch depth with the push of a button.  We are trying to find our 'number' for where the greens are too dry, too wet, too soft, too firm.  The only real dry down we experienced was Tuesday and Wednesday of last week as temperatures pushed above 95 with accompanying high wind speeds.  That feels like a blast furnace, in case you were wondering.  We found some interesting things.  First, the wetting agent we use on greens did a fantastic job of retaining moisture for plant health.  Second, we found that even though we have 27 putting surfaces with different soil types we saw fairly even moisture in all the data points we checked.  I think that is another success story of our wetting agents we use.  The goal is to identify when we need to schedule irrigation events so we don't waste water, power and (as a result) money.  If I find our number I will let you know.
 Bring the HEAT!
It was only a three day heat wave but it proved to be a good early test for a few of our processes.  First, our mowing and rolling program went uninterrupted.  Our turf remained healthy on the putting greens even with the standard protocols we have in place for green speed management.  Second, our soil moisture meter fed us information that said that we didn't need to water.  Further, it told us that the irrigation programs we employ at Blackhawk Trace are effective.  Finally, it showed us that our golf course can withstand environmental stresses related to the weather so long as we have the right plans in place.  I don't want to be tested like that anymore....

This is a newly seeded area on 9 Island
I thought (wrongly) that a large sized portion of obviously disturbed soil covered in hay and germinating grass would be enough to keep golfers out of these areas.  I was wrong.  The reality is that if I give something the opportunity to go wrong it probably will.  Dale Webb roped off both of our seeded locations like this to make up for my mistake.  Sorry, Dale and lesson learned.
 More SUPER-tunias, Rudbeckia, Cleome, Angelonia and Lobularia
  I think this bed at upper banquets really turned out well.  We will still be planting some flowers in locations like the conference center walk-through, the Shiraz entrance on Schick Road and the hotel front lawns and (weather permitting, finally!) we will be done.  The hotel grounds staff has done a nice job with the floral display this year and I am happy with how they look so far.  The penthouses are knockout, too.  

Thanks for reading (if you made it this far) and I trust everyone had a great weekend!  See you all this coming week!

I will leave you with a good picture of Tina, Tom and Molly riding the car at Home Depot from the other day!

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