Friday, September 9, 2011

"I'm thankful to be breathing, on this side of the grass. Whatever comes, comes" Ron Perlman (1950- )

Ron Perlman is a fine American actor who was born in Washington Heights, NYC.  He also happens to be one of the stars of "Sons of Anarchy" on FX which I enjoy watching (while the kids are asleep, for sure).  The above quote is good for all of us to remember in life and, specifically for us in golf course maintenance, at work.
 4 Island green soil
 SOOOOOO, you might've guessed that some of our soils on putting surfaces can be challenging to say the least.

1 green on Island where we often enjoy standing water
This is about as hard a soil as I've seen in my career on 4 Island green
Practice green 2 after 3 minutes of irrigation 
Harder soils like we have on our putting surfaces make it VERY difficult to have water flow into the ground.  Three minutes of irrigation is not a great deal of water and the plant's demand during dry weather is high.  How, you might ask, do we try and improve these conditions?
  This is a Wiedenmann deep tine aerifier
There are many methods to aerating soils.  Aerating means to somehow open a hole to allow air into something.  In this case we're talking about soil.  This machine made  roughly 2.75 million holes in our greens 1/2" wide and 7" to 11" deep on all the putting surfaces.  This helps relieve compaction and aid in gas exchange (carbon dioxide out, oxygen in).  Over time (several years) this will help soften the soil structure so long as we incorporate something into the soil to improve structure.
Dale topdressing after aerification on 1 Woodland green
It might not look like much in the way of sand but it was a bunch.  The goal is to repeatedly incorporate improved root-zone media (i.e. sand) to help improve soil structure so our greens perform better during the golf season.  By better performance I mean improved rooting, receptivity and drainage.  Maybe, just maybe, we'll be able to get water into the profile someday!
 This is a marking flag on its own
This is a marking flag in the aeration hole roughly 7" deep
Note the angle the flag is as well.  The machine we use heaves the soil, or kicks in the opposite direction of travel as it moves into the soil.  The hole is small at the top, in essence, but 'explodes' beneath the surface.  A nice perk to make a larger impact without too much surface disruption.
This is what the green looks like when we're done
Our Director of Golf, Tom Denklau, rolling Practice Green 2 following aeration
Remember, he's the cart lot attendant, range attendant, cashier, teaching pro, outing facilitator, f and b assistant and now, as it turns out, a good grounds crew guy!  Rolling the greens following aeration helps to smooth the surface and achieve better ball roll.
Steve Stewart of Reinders, Inc. Franklin Park, IL
Our local Toro distributor was kind enough to allow us the use of one of their large material handlers.  Normally we fill up our topdresser from the sand pile by the driving range tee just a few scoops of the skidloader at a time.  When we topdressed greens on Island, for example, we made 14 trips to and from the sand.
Using the BIG machine to fill the little machine
This method saved us 10 trips to and from the sand pile and, as a result, a BUNCH of time.  "Time is money": We were able to verticut:


Mow Collars:
Change cups, spray wetting agent, fertilizer, move tee markers and have the golf course back into service by 1:30!  Everyone did a great job, the equipment didn't break down and it was as smooth a process as I've enjoyed in my career.
Dave in engineering fixing a broken light post outside
I wanted to add this picture because this guy really does work his butt off to make sure the operation inside (and out, presumably) runs smoothly.

Carlos and John put together a badly busted drain on 6 Woodland

Aerifying is not all we do during the week.  We have other stuff to do and boy is it nice to have guys like Carlos and John who can help out wherever we need it.

A good picture of my son, Tom, showing off his newest safety glasses. 

I think he's a good looking kid.  I'm just saying.

This is a neat lily pond at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago

I highly recommend a visit to the Garfield Park Conservatory.  It's free, it's beautiful and I've always taken away some lesson I can use here at work.  This lily pond is amazing, this picture does not do it justice.

Molly looks a little 'food drunk' here, no?

Molly is 9 months old now.  Almost 10 months, actually, and she's going to be walking really soon.  She needs to because MAN is she fat!  It's all cute baby fat, I know, but still.  Push the cheese away, will ya?!?
Thanks for reading (if you made it this far) and Have a great weekend.