Thursday, 30 June 2016

Drought Conditions at Victoria Park

Drought conditions persist at Victoria Park. We have not had significant rainfall in over a month and the golf course and water reservoirs (ponds) are showing it. Both Victoria Park East and Valley get their irrigation water from a deep well that fills our irrigation pond. During dry conditions we draw more water to irrigate the golf course then our permit allows to refill the reservoir. Under normal conditions the timely rainfall will allow us to stop watering the golf course and to fill up the ponds. This has not happened and we are still in June.
Water restrictions will most likely be happening very soon for people and businesses with a Permit to Take Water
Water restrictions will mean we will have to cut back on the amount of water we can use and we will have to start prioritizing parts of the golf course we irrigate. Since we do not water the rough anyway we would have to cut back on fairways and tees. This would leave enought water for greens.
Even without water restrictions our irrigation system will never be as good as natural rainfall. Certain areas have gone dormant. The turf is not dead and it will come back when ever significant rainfall occurs. The golf course is stlll very playable and we should be happy with the extra roll our ball is getting. We must keep up with the times and realize that having the golf courses in lush green conditions during a drought is not sustainable. Thank you for understanding.
Until next time...

Monday, 4 April 2016

What happened to the Early Spring!

Yesterday's snowfall has certainly slowed down the early spring we were all talking about a couple of weeks ago. We did manage to get 18 holes open at both courses. We mowed the greens at least once and had power carts out for a couple of days. With the golf course closed for a few more days we are keeping busy with spring jobs such as painting and spring cleaning. Annette looks like a professional rolling paint at the Valley.  The weather does not look good for the next week or so. Some of you may be wondering if this will have any effect on the greens. I am not worried this is just Mother Nature letting us know who is boss. The greens will be fine.
Until next time...  David

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Early Spring has Arrived

 The weather is sunny and mild and the golf course overwintered well. The greens did not suffer any winter kill this year. That is great news for Victoria Park East since the course experienced some issues the past two seasons. The driving range and temporary layout opened today - March 12. This may be the earliest we have opened the range. We will have the entire golf course open by Easter Weekend maybe before depending on the weather.
 Chris Schuurmans (Assistant Superintendent) and crew were replacing sod this morning on some of the greens that have experienced winter kill/ ice damage in the past. A small strip of sod was cut out in any low areas to allow for water to drain quickly of the greens during thaw and snow melt.
There is some minor snow mould disease on some fairways. This is minor and will grow out soon. I will try to keep my posts more frequent this year, See everyone soon.
Until next time...

Friday, 7 August 2015

Irrigation Woes

Sorting out  irrigation wire issues at the East course
Although the year has had a decent amount of rain we have experience two dry spells. We have also experienced some irrigation problems. Its funny how we never notice the breakdowns during rainy wet weather, they always seemed to happen when we need the water! Irrigation problems can either be a pipe burst where water gushes all over the place or electrical problems. When a pipe leaks or bursts you know about it right away. There can be a big mess to clean up and water has to be turned off at least for that part of the golf course. These problems have to fixed right away especially during dry weather. Electrical problems can be more subtle or intermittent. These problems can be hard to find and therefore hard to fix. They can be caused by lightning strikes and or broken, nicked, or corroded wires. When we do have an irrigation problem whether it be an electrical or pipe break the grounds crew has no choice but to fix the problem. Often it involves some patch work or splicing just to get some water to the turf until all the problems are found. We realize at times the repairs may be in the way of the golfers. Believe me when I tell you the grounds staff would rather be somewhere else then interrupting your golf game. We appreciate your patience.
Until next time.....

Friday, 3 July 2015

What's new at Victoria Park?

Rolling Fairways at Victoria Park East
Some of you may of noticed a different type of mower on the fairways at East course. It is actually an old rough mower converted into a roller. Yes we are actually rolling fairways! I'm sure you are wondering why we would w be rolling fairways. Research in the golf industry has shown that rolling turf has decreased stress and decreased the incidents of certain diseases. One disease in particular is called dollar spot which is very common all summer long and very expensive to control. Reducing the amount of fungicides is very important to us for both environmental and economic reasons. Hopefully we see a difference. The added benefits are tighter lies and extra ball roll.

Big cups at Victoria Park Valley

We have installed big cups on the Valley nine at Victoria Park Valley. Larger cups were introduced in the golf industry a few years ago to make the game a little easier for high handicappers and beginner golfers. We hope that "traditional" golfers don't scoff at the idea. They should not interfere with your game. Who knows if you try it, you may like it.

Until next time...David

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Wildlife Update from Victoria Park Staff

Green Heron
 Chris Schuurmans, the Assistant Superintendent at Victoria Park East has provided us with a wildlife update. Enjoy....

Course Wildlife
      Golf courses are very dynamic ecosystems with a wide variety of resident wildlife.  Over the course of the season we will be featuring some of the wildlife that can be seen on the golf course, how to identify them and a bit about their behaviour.  If there are any animals that you see on the course and would like to know, let me know and I'll do my best to help.  I'm new to this sort of thing, so bare with me, it's a learning experience.
      To start things off, we'll look at Butorides virescens, or more commonly, the Green Heron.  Green Herons are beautiful birds with a deep-green back, rich chestnut-brown neck, dark grey wings and yellow legs (juveniles are browner with pale streaking on the neck and spots on the wings).  They are shorter and stockier than most herons, with short legs and thick necks that are often drawn in against their body.  Green Herons hunt by standing motionless at the waters edge or in the shallows, and ambush fish or amphibians with their heavy dagger-like bill.  Interestingly, they are one of the world's few tool-using bird species.  They actually create lures from insects, worms feathers, twigs and other objects to entice fish to them.  During the breeding season, Green Herons perform courtship displays that include stretching their necks, snapping their bills, flying with exaggerated flaps, and calling loudly.  The male will find a secluded are in his territory and begin building a nest before pairing up to breed, but afterwards passes most of the construction off to his mate.  The pair will have a clutch of 3-5 eggs that they will incubate for 19-21 days.  Chicks will leave the nest 16-17 days after hatching, but may stay with the parents for over a month after leaving the nest as they learn to hunt. 
       Green Herons are rather common, but can be very difficult to spot, so keep your eyes pealed when you're around the ponds and creeks, and you may catch a glimpse of this gorgeous bird.  


Sunday, 17 May 2015

Changes to the Rough at Victoria Park East

Rough is thick and long!
 The grass is finally growing and growing with a vengeance. The maintenance staff is having a hard time keeping up. The soil temperatures have warmed up to the point the turf has "exploded", including most of our home lawns.  Every year around the long weekend in May I hear the comments about the “US Open” rough. Believe me; this is not by design, just the time of year. Victoria Park East is purchasing a new rough mower.  We are purchasing a rotary type mower as opposed to the traditional gang- style reel mowers we have had since the course was open. Rotary mowers do a much better job when the grass gets long. Our goal is to improve the quality of cut in the rough (although this has not happened yet). We are going to experiment with different heights to find a happy medium where golfers can find their ball and have an easy shot out. With these planned changes to the rough we have decided to follow many other golf courses and make the fairways larger and stop mowing the first cut of rough or intermediate rough. Many of you have asked about the first cut of rough this weekend. I think it is important to point out that the fairways are actually wider, some fairways by the entire first cut and more! As I mentioned in the spring newsletter, we have to make decisions to ensure we remain economically sustainable. I am sure once the new rough mower arrives, and the turf slows down the first cut will not be missed and the entire rough will be much more playable. I hope everyone enjoys the lovely spring weather of this May long weekend. Until next time… David
Hole # 18 Fairway is now  where first cut  was

new Lastec rough mower