#15 drainage revisited

 It was roughly a year ago when we tackled a drainage project on the 15th fairway.  The fairway was extremely wet in the landing area.  To resolve the problem we install a herringbone drainage system in the landing area that would move the excess water into the nearby lake.

The fairway turned out very well.  In the past we had to shut the fairway down to all traffic from the 150 yard marker to the green each winter.

This year we were able to keep the fairway open and mowed all winter.  Some days were pretty wet, but the difference was the rate at which the fairway drained.

Here is a video of the water flowing from the fairway into the lake.

If you have any questions or concerns about the golf course please feel free to contact me.

Justin Ruiz, CGCS, MG

Winter rebuild

 This winter our mechanic, Geoff Adams does quite a bit of work to get us ready for the season.  Here is a look at our rough unit that he has stripped down to the frame to replace worn bushing, hydraulic lines and bearings.  This work is needed to keep our equipment running during the spring when we need it most.

If you have any questions about the winter preparation we do or any comments or concerns about the golf course please feel free to contact me.

Justin Ruiz, CGCS, MG

Bunker Work

This Spring we did some work to the bunkers.

 The edges have become weak and encroached into the bunkers in many areas.  We removed some of the sod back to the original edge of the bunker.  The removal also gives us a more stable base for our surround mower.

Some of the bunkers needed quite a bit of work to bring them back to the original size.

Although the bunker work might go unnoticed on most bunkers, it will add to the play-ability of the golf course.

If you have any questions or concerns on the golf course please feel free to contact me.

Justin Ruiz, CGCS, MG

January Newsletter

Course Condition

The winter weather has slowed the growth of the grass down.  You will notice the rough turning a bronze color from the cold frozen weather we experienced late last year.  The rough is going partially dormant.

Completed Items

This winter we are focusing on clean up.  As the winds pick up and the debris comes down our priority is getting the course ready for play. 

We have done some clean up at our shop as well.  Geoff, our mechanic has work hard to rebuild equipment, stripe the garage for more efficient use and organize the parts area that he inherited when he started last year.  I believe if we can start out the day organized and clean then we can transfer these practices to our daily tasks.
We have also repaired the waterfall pump for the big waterfall on the second hole.  It will be running once the season starts in June.  Last season the pump failed and needed some fabrication to the motor seal and the windings repaired.  To give you a picture of the enormity of this pump; the average 4 person household uses roughly 110 thousand gallons a year, the waterfall pump can move that amount of water in one hour.

Current Affairs

We are currently in the process of edging bunkers.  We are reclaiming the edge to as close as we can determine.  It will give us a frresh look for 2014.

We are also monitoring the greens for possible signs of pythium and spraying trouble greens as necessary.  This was a problem a few years ago, but superintendents overall are much more informed about the once elusive disease.  We have done our due diligence and sprayed when the conditions became favorable before the last freeze and since other courses are starting to see symptoms we have applied another application to curb any problems before they arise.

Upcoming Events

This coming season we are considering early aerifcation of the greens and then follow up with aerification across tees and fairways.  We have usually gone at the end of April or the start of May, but weather permitted we should be able to complete the projects within a month.  We will follow up the aerfication process with sand and fertilizer.

We are looking to bring the seasonal team on earlier this year to accommodate the large aerification project that we are scheduling.  This will help us move through the aerification project before the mowing practices are in full force.

Please take the time to follow my blog.  You can view it on the course webpage under the course maintenance page www.indiansummergolf.com  or straight to the blog at  www.indiansummergolf.blogspot.com

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

Justin Ruiz, CGCS, MG


Winter Weather Restrictions

We are headed to a record setting December this year.  The driest in over 100yrs.  We have also had our share of freezing temperatures as well. Dry cold conditions, freezing temperatures all add up to less than satisfying turfgrass growing conditions resulting in course restrictions and closure.


In the Northwest, turfgrass continues to grow all year long.  The winter months become cold, but not so cold to initiate dormancy. As the temperatures get low for a week or two at a time it causes us to become cautious with letting people on the course.  This can put the turf team and the golf shop in a tough situation as we communicate course delays and closures to members that would like to go play.

Usually, a cold snap will produce frosty conditions which is straight forward on holding people back from playing until the frost lifts.  I have mentioned it before and most people understand why we cannot allow traffic on frosted turf.  Traffic on frost conditions can destroy leaf tissue and leave turf thin and weak all winter long. The slow growing conditions during the winter can slow healing down to a crawl and it could take months to come back with any other disturbances.

If the cold snap continues for an extended period of time then we have the possibility of the ground freezing. This opens up a completely different set of issues that are much more difficult to explain because they are not as visible as the frost conditions.  In fact the ground could be frozen and the turf not frosty at all.

When the ground is completely frozen and the turf is not frosty we can allow play.  When the ground begins to thaw and the top layer is thawed but frozen underneath we cannot allow play.  It becomes a little confusing because we could be open one day when it is cold and then when it warms up it only makes sense that it is better for golf, but it is not for the course.
As the ground thaws and there is a layer beneath that is frozen we are susceptible to a couple damaging issues.  One is the potential of the top layer shifting form the golfing traffic.  The other is the potential for extreme soil compaction.

If the top layer shifts from the traffic of players we have the potential to have root shearing.  A portion of the roots remain in the frozen layer while the rest of the plant has been thawed and in usually a saturated layer.  The saturated layer is not much for structure and can shift fairly easily.  This is why we do not allow any traffic onto the course even the turf equipment.  The damage is not easily seen like a frost damaged foot print but it can show its ugly head in the spring as the turf begins to need water and nutrients.

As I explained above, the top layer is in a saturated area which also lends to severe compaction.  Not even an inch below might be frozen like concrete which gives a good back board to squeeze that top layer between a foot and the frozen ground.  This also is not damage that is easily seen, but will give us problems as we enter the next season.

Please bear with us as we tread lightly through the winter months.  Although instant damage may not occur it is the future complications that we want to avoid.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

Justin Ruiz, CGCS, MG

Fairway Plan

This fall we were planning on aerifying the fairways but with the weather turning colder and the summer staff going away for the winter months we have decided to take a different approach.  This fall we are going to solid tine to reduce the amount of labor needed for the cleanup and then follow with sand.  We will continue to topdress the fairways to keep our outstanding winter playability.

The spring will be the time we turn to wall to wall aerification.  To help us get this project done in a timely manner we will hire in a contracted company to help with the process.  The weather in the spring is always intermittent so we will try to communicate the dates the best we can as we get closer to time.  This year we aerified greens in early May.  We will try to get the fairways done well before we do the greens in 2014.

If you have any questions about the upcoming processes please feel free to contact me.

Justin Ruiz, CGCS, MG

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