Sunday, July 24, 2011

"If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?" - Steven Wright (Stand up comedian)

Steven Wright is a stand up comedian from Boston, Massachusetts and has long been a favorite of mine.  His lethargic droll is very distinct and he has a terrific ability to take a seemingly mundane idea, like a heat wave, and turn it on its ear.  "Heat wave" is what we've been experiencing as of late, for sure.

Jacobsen demonstrating some of their new mowers 
The mercury tipped out at 99 degrees on Wednesday and Thursday and with it came a great deal of stress on people and plants alike.  The above photo was taken on Tuesday morning while sales reps from Jacobsen/Textron were here demonstrating some of their new mowing technology. The group must have mowed this practice green 8 to 10 times on Tuesday with no ill effects.  I wish I could say the same for some of our other putting surfaces.

The #2 Green on the Island course experiencing heat and drought stress
The good news for Blackhawk Trace Golf Club is that between Monday and Friday of this week we saw 800 rounds of golf come through the golf courses.  The bad news is that in the heat of the afternoons where the winds were blowing and the temperatures were at extreme highs the grass on putting surfaces couldn't take the traffic.  The practice green by the Pro Shop was hit particularly hard by golfer traffic on Thursday afternoon but it was watered by hand immediately after the shotgun went out and there are just a few spots that will take a few days to recover.  Watering greens and fairways around 200 golfers is more difficult than you might imagine so the hole locations during the week were dried out fairly well.  More good news: We had 5" of rain in the last few days to help recharge dry soils.  

Sprinklers running on 9 Highland Monday morning
Conventional wisdom might have someone think: "It's hot, just water more" while reality can be a great deal different.  Yes, it's hot.  Do turf managers need to just water more?  Not really.  It is common to experience heat and with it, very frequently, comes humidity.  The humidity present in the air doesn't allow for water to evaporate or transpire (evapotranspiration: ET) therefore irrigating more only saturates soils.  Wet soils kill grass.  Wet soils hold more heat than dry soils and when overnight temperatures stay in the upper 70's to low 80's the soil does not have the ability to devolve heat back into the atmosphere. Wet, hot soils will kill grass quicker than you can whistle Dixie.  Dale Webb and I spent much of last week hand watering greens and tees in an effort to minimize the amount of water being applied to the soils and to address specific heat and drought stressed areas.  Almost all of the watering on greens in the past week done from the sprinklers was between 5 and 7 in the morning in an effort to hydrate the plants and have the soil moisture dry off with the sunrise.  Does any of this make sense?

A good example of heat and drought stress on #9 Island.
This area received a great deal of attention during the week to address the heat and drought stress that was prevalent during much of the week.  Again, this is only a temporary condition and will be back to a brilliant green as soon as (if ever) sunshine returns.
So, yeah, ummmm, it rained again: 
 Practice bunker on the south end of the driving range field
 Driving range field south end
Driving range North end
As I write this it is raining outside, again, and we are experiencing the first rainfall for July.  It seems that Ms. Nature (not sure if she's married?) likes to give us our rainfall all in big heaps these days.  I'm not a fan but complaining about it doesn't do anyone any good, in my experience.  The grounds crew will be busy for the next week or so repairing the bunker damage on all three courses and getting the driving range field dried out.....again.
  This is the South end of the driving range field in April.  
The Driving range field stays flooded pretty much most of the year.  A solution to this issue is being efforted.  I will keep you posted.
It's not all bad news:
 #5 Highland fairway bunker before detailing
  #5 Highland after detailing.  Jr. shows off his handiwork
The bunkers on Highland and Woodland were designed to have a wavy, naturalized look to them.  Over the course of the last ten years or so there has been significant weed infestation and finding a golf ball on the bunker surrounds had become nearly impossible.  Jr., Anthony, Angel, Barrett, and Chily spent a couple of weeks detailing these bunkers to become more playable and aesthetically pleasing.  We will continue bunker detail through the rest of the growing season and treat the grass surrounds frequently with herbicides to obtain the original design intent.

Ernesto, Santiago and Chily get ready for the Employee Golf Outing
The Three Amigos: Reynaldo, Jose Rivera and Jose Escobar
The Employee Golf Outing was July 12th and is always an associate favorite.  Our Human Resources Co-ordinator, Kaelen Brown and our Director of Golf, Tom Denklau (See Below)......
....did a great job of putting together a terrific day for our associates.  Everyone had a great time and we look forward to this event each year.  Thanks, Kaelen and Tom, for all your work in making the day a success.  Paul Davies gets a special nod for taking pics and mounting them all over the place for everyone to see how great it was.  Thanks, Paul!

I wish I could tell you what we'll be doing next week.  There is more heat and rain in the forecast and the weather is the single deciding factor in what we can achieve hour by hour, day by day.  Sorry for the lag time between posts.  I wonder if it's a coincidence that the posts seem to coincide with rainfall (6/22 and 7/24)?  Ahhh, who cares.  I hope you made it this far and enjoyed reading!  Have a great week.