This is one of the small projects we completed this week. The approach to the 10th green has long been a golfers nightmare. Any putt rolling toward the front of the green would likely end up back in the fairway 30 yards away from the green requiring a chip shot back onto the green.
We removed about twenty feet of sod from in front of the green and added soil to raise the approach about twelve inches. The sod was put back into place and roped off to protect it until a new root system can be established. The ten feet of approach closest to the green is now almost level with the putting surface and will be cut at collar/approach height. This will prevent any balls from taking off down the hill and ending in the fairway.
This week we aerated the greens with a machine that uses vertically mounted blades that cut through the putting green surface creating 3 1/2″ deep slits. The objective is to allow for efficient gas exchange and water infiltration as well as stimulate root growth and reduce compaction. The putting surface disruption is minimal and no longer detectable after the next mowing. Cultural practices like this are very helpful in maintaining healthy greens particularly during stressful weather conditions like we have experienced lately.
This is not your ordinary aerator. This unit is called a Hydroject, it uses water under extremely high pressure to make a hole in the soil a 1/16″ in diameter and about 8″ deep. It creates fissures in the soil that improve percolation, gas exchange and compaction relief. We use this method of aerating in mid-season because it creates minimal disruption to the playing surface yet provides some stress relief for the turf.
Yesterday morning on the 8th hole another large branch from a weeping willow broke and fell to the ground. You can see in the photo, I have outlined in red, the very small area of live wood that was supporting the weight of the entire branch. Hazards like this are difficult to detect because the wood has rotted from the inside and there are no visual signs of decay. This particular willow is dangerous and will be removed. We will also assess the health of other willows on property and take appropriate action to ensure the safety of our members and guests.
I am often asked if I hate getting up at 4:00 am every day to go to work. Honestly, I have to admit the first 5 minutes or so after the alarm goes off I wouldn’t mind going back to sleep. But it’s beautiful scenes like this that I wouldn’t experience if I did roll over for a few more minutes of shuteye. I have been blessed to be on the golf course my entire working career. It has its challenges but as long as I remember to take time to appreciate the little things I cannot imagine any place I would rather be.
This year we recognize the retirement of David Smith after 34 years of dedicated service to Abbey Springs. David earned his degree from Cal-Poly in Pomona California and gained experience through his work at Pebble Beach Resorts and other courses along the Monterey Peninsula in California.
When he was hired as Abbey Springs Golf Course Superintendent in 1981, David immediately saw the incredible potential of our property and applied his knowledge and experience to improve playing conditions from year to year over the course of three decades. But David’s responsibilities did not end with the golf course. As our community continued to grow, he was the obvious choice to fill the position of Director of Grounds created in 1990, taking on the care and maintenance of the entire grounds, not just the golf course. And as amenities were added for the benefit of our residents, David was there to see that they were done correctly and maintained to last a lifetime. Our membership will be forever grateful for his dedication and hard work in making our community the beautiful summer retreat it is today. We wish David great health and happiness while enjoying his retirement.
It is spring in Wisconsin and time for two warnings, ticks were plentiful in 2015 and are expected to be so again this year. Remember to cover your legs and arms when hiking in the woods and most importantly check your body for ticks after enjoying the nature surrounding Abbey Springs. Secondly, educate yourselves and family members to identify poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. Poison ivy is present in the woody, native areas surrounding Abbey Springs and can be uncomfortable for someone allergic to the plant.
The golf season has arrived, sort of, and the current spring weather pattern has got us changing back and forth from our short-sleeved shirts into coveralls. We have had a few days when the temperature climbed into the 50’s, which helps stimulate some growth of the turf. Although, the evening temperature often drops below freezing which nullifies any increased soil temperature we gained during the day. Turfgrass needs to be actively growing to adequately recover from the winter and early golf play. If play begins before the turf is ready the negative effects will haunt us throughout the rest of the golf season.
Ice crystals on the grass blades make them brittle enough to break off at the base when stepped or driven on. This can cause unsightly damage to the turf and if severe enough the turf may not recover.The picture on the right is damage caused by a golf cart driving on an early morning frost.
Installation of the new water main for the Village of Fontana water tower is on schedule to be completed before the Memorial Day Weekend. New water lines are currently being installed on Abbey Springs Drive and will continue west along the south property line to connect with Indian Hills road. Crews are using directional boring to install water lines crossing under the 14th and 15th holes as well as the 1st and 9th holes. Directional boring is a process that creates an underground tunnel so pipe can be pulled back through without causing any surface disruption. The pipe depth is 12′ to 20′ depending on the topography. The pipe sections are fused together so there are no joints to leak or break, and is manufactured to last 100 + years. The old main line that runs under the entire golf course from east to west will be abandoned once the installation of the new pipe is complete. In the past crews have had to tear up large sections of the course to repair leaks in the old main line. We should never have to experience that problem again.