Saturday, 8 October 2011

Finally Successful Seeding at the Valley

The fall is the perfect time to seed turfgrass. We have finally had great success with seeding difficult washouts and other areas that didn't take. The fall seed window is traditionally from August 15 to October 1. In my experience we seem to have more success after Labour day. The last four to five weeks has been just perfect with timely rains and moderate temperatures. The picture on the left is the driving range at Victoria Park Valley seeded three weeks ago. The picture below is the driving range today. Unbelievable catch! Limited germination will occur after October 20 depending on the temperature. See can stay dormant in the soil and germinate in spring. Good luck.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Aeration Time!

It is that time of year when many golf courses are aerating.
What is aeration?
Aeration is a cultural practice which opens up the surface of the turf. Aerators come in various sizes and can either pull a core or plug (core areation) or punch a hole in the turf with a solid tine. The main purpose of aeration is to relieve compacted soils and allow for better air exchange. Other major benefits are to change an undesirable rootzone (soil) by removing the cores and filling the holes with a desirable sand or sand mixture. Removing and controlling thatch (excessive organic matter) is another huge benefit to turfgrass. Aeration with small tines is often used to overseed areas. Aeration techniques frequency will differ depending on the turf grass area, existing soil types, existing problems, etc. For example a sports field will require more aeration than a home lawn.  Golf course putting greens will require different aeration techniques than fairways or tees.

At Victoria Park East we core aerate greens in late August and use solid tines in early July. We core aerate tees and fairways throughout the fall.

Most golf courses do not aerate enough according to research done by industry professionals. Aeration will always be a contentious issue on golf courses, especially on greens. I find communication is key.Most golfers understand it is a necessary evil and are quite understanding as long as sufficient notification is given and aeration coincides with the clubs calendar of events.
Thanks for your patience.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

The Valley is Getting Sand Traps

This week is another big milestone at the Valley. We started building the sand traps. The sand traps were shaped last year and a drainline was brought into the bunker but that was it. The procedure this year is to excavate all the debris in the bunker,edge the bunker, line the bunker with silt which is free of stones (99%), install drain tile in the low spots in the bunker and fill with USGA spec. sand. The sand we are using is a cream coloured sand from Ohio, commonly referred to as "Ohio Sand". Our decision to use this sand was improve on the existing local brown sand currently at Victoria Park West.  I am sure our customers will appreciate the improved look and playability.
Until next time.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Topdressing Greens

Topdressing Greens is one of the most important cultural practices golf course superintendents can do to ensure smooth firm putting greens.  The procedure consists of spreading a light layer of sand or sand/peat combination on the putting green followed by brushing, matting or irrigation to incorporate the sand. The picture on the left shows a light layer of sand disappears after it is matted in.
Topdressing should be done every two to three weeks during the growing season. Some of the benefits of incorporating sand into the greens include diluting or preventing thatch from accumulating, smoothing out the surface by filling in bumps and depressions, and firming up the surface. Golfers may perceive this practice as an inconvenience but believe me the benefits are worth it. The best golf courses in the world all have a very regimented topdressing program.
Until next time.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

I'm Back and It's Dry!

First of all I want to apologize for not posting a blog for one month! Combine a week's holidays, getting busy and some procrastination and here we are. What a difference three weeks make. We have not had significant rainfall in since the end of June and the turf is showing the stress. The picture on the left is Hole #2 at the East Course. The rough before the fairway receives no water from the irrigation system and has gone dormant. Under most circumstances the turf will go dormant for some time and bounce back when the rains return. The irrigation system has been working overtime to keep up with the demand. We have also been doing a lot of hand watering. If it doesn't rain soon most of the rough will go dormant and there will be visible dry spots on areas of the course that do get irrigated. Nothing replaces natural rainfall. The good thing is the water table is still quite high and there has been no talk about water restrictions. Yet.
Until next time,

Thursday, 16 June 2011

 The Valley's only par 5 hole is the 8th hole on the A nine. It measures 519 yards from the back tee. There are two ponds one in front of the back deck shown in the picture and one past the first landing area. The construction company will need 3 to 4 days to prepare and seed the fwy. One of the reasons this fwy will take so long is because of all the stones.

The following pictures show the process of removing stones from the fairway.

Above shows how many stones before the rock rake.

Above shows the rock rake in process.

Above shows a closer look at the faiway before the rock rake and after. Hopefully the hole will be seeded by the end of the week.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

More Rain, More Washouts

The Guelph area experienced another violent thunderstorm. We recieved about 25mm of hard fast rain in less than an hour. We were not quite caught up from the thunderstorm we recieved last Sunday night. Picture on the left shows 18 fairway at the East course 24 hours after the storm.We still have not been able to mow the entire fairway this year. As far as the rest of the golf course, the sand traps were just repaired after last week's storm and we have to fix them again. The cart paths are littered with potholes that give the golfer a true off road experience. And then there is the rough! The rough is still growing out of control and we cannot get to some areas.  Some areas we try to mow are being damaged by the mowing equipment. So far the golfers have been extremely patient and I want to thank them for that.

The picture on the left and below is beside B9 green and B9 fairway at the Valley. The construction crew stayed until 9:00pm on Friday night to finish seeding the entire hole. Much of the fine work and seed has been washed away. Lets keep our fingers crossed for a good week. David DeCorso

Friday, 27 May 2011

Poa Annua

The Annual Bluegrass or "Poa Annua" is seeding now. Most golfers have heard of it but are not really sure what it is. It is an invasive turf grass that thrives on closely mown turf (greens) in all cool regions of the world. It also grows well in shade, wet soils, compacted soils, and stressed areas. It will invade a creeping bentgrass green where ever and when ever the bent grass is stressed from ball marks, foot traffic, damage from disease etc. Most golf courses have a combination of creeping bentgrass and poa annua thus the term poa/bent greens. Some older courses have greens with virtually 100% poa annua where as brand new golf course will have 100% creeping bentgrass greens for the first few years. The problem with poa annua greens is the seed heads it produces this time of year giving the green a whitish appearance. These seed heads affect ball roll making greens bumpy and slower than other times of the year. It is also a weaker grass during the heat of the summer and is very susceptible to winter injury as Victoria Park East experienced last year. Other than that it is actually a really good grass to putt on. In fact some of the best golf courses in North America have all poa  greens. An example of these would be Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania and closer to home would be Westmount Golf and Country Club in Kitchener and Hamilton Golf and Country Club in Ancaster. The seed heads will last another couple of weeks here at Victoria Park East. The seed heads along with the grass growing like crazy and the wet conditions are causing issues for optimum ball roll. I am are aware of this issue and am thankful for your patience.
Until next time.
David DeCorso

Sunday, 22 May 2011

The Grass is Growing!

The grass is growing like crazy at the Valley, at the East course, at my house, and everywhere else. I am sure I don't have to tell you that. You are all probably mowing your lawn more than you like and having a hard time doing it between the rains. At the East course we literally cannot keep up to the rough. I hear comments like "Nice US Open rough!" Believe me, this is not intentional. This is the time of year the grass grows the most. Add that with all the rain, warm temperatures, fertilizer kicking in, and watch out. The  picture above is hole B7 at the Valley course. As you can see the fairway is filling in nicely.

Seed Germination at the Valley. This picture shows green C7 at the Valley. The Creeping Bentgrass has just germinated. The green was seeded about one week ago. We seeded four greens before the rains came last week. We still have to  seed six greens and two pratice greens as well as eleven fwys and rough. The crew needs about three days of drying time after a significant rainfall to work. They have only worked one week this spring because of the rain. After the seeding is done light rains would be welcome. At night of course! Am I asking too much? Until next time.
David DeCorso 

Thursday, 12 May 2011

They're Back at the Valley

The contractors  (Hamilton Construction) we have hired to build Victoria Park Valley started work this week. Their goal is to finish seeding the first 18 holes so the golf course will be well established by next spring. They will then concentrate on the third nine holes. The picture on the left shows the permiter of green C3 being prepared for seed. The blue/green stuff is hydro mulch which the use around greens and on severe slopes.

The first holes that were seeded are establishing quite well. We have been mowing some greens regularly and have started mowing the roughs and fairways. I will have some good pictures soon.
Thanks for reading.
David DeCorso

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Rain! Rain! Rain!

April showers better bring nice May flowers because it has not brought out many golfers. This April has been the worst in recent memory. Spring rain is good for turf grass and all other plants but enough already. The maintenance staff have been trying their best to catch up on spring projects and train new employees before the grass really starts to take off. And it will. Some areas are too wet to mow and the grass keeps growing. I was hoping to verti cut the greens and topdress them with sand. We need dry weather for this. We started the irrigation system last week and have a fairly long list of repairs which is also hard to do when it is cold and rainy.

Victoria Park Valley Update - I have had to cancel three appointments with the golf course construction company to do a site walk and deteremine when they are going to start work on seeding the last eleven holes. My staff has also been unable to do much because it has been so wet. Damage will occur on new seedlings much more than established turf. We will try agin next week.
Take Care
David DeCorso

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Vic East Weekly Objectives

 This week the grounds crew have been working hard to get the golf course playable. One of the biggest tasks of the spring is getting the sand traps playable. The procedure involves edging the bunkers, cleaning out any debris, checking the depth of sand, moving around the sand and or adding more sand. To check all bunkers could take two weeks. The picture shows the grounds crew adding new sand to the fairway bunker on # 9.

Other objectives for this week are to train new staff on all aspects of golf course maintenance and continue to mow the golf course. Greens have been mowed quite a few times. Fairways and Tees have been mowed twice. The rough has not been mowed yet.
We are also going to start the irrigation system for the first time. This is usually interesting.  I will keep you posted.
David DeCorso

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Victoria Park Valley Update

Hello Friends. Some of you may not know it but we are building a new golf course at the corner of Victoria Rd and Maltby Rd. The new golf course named Victoria Park Valley Golf Club is replacing the Victoria Park West Golf Club which will close AFTER the 2011 season.
I have been out to  the Valley and things are looking good. We have mowed some of the established greens today and we actually had to water the newest greens. The picture is Chris our grow-in foreman mowing the green on hole A3.

We have seeded 17 holes and have 10 more holes to seed. I am meeting with the head contractor tomorrow to discuss when they are going to get started this spring. I will keep you posted. Thanks for reading.
David DeCorso

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Golf Course Conditions

This is my first blog post - so be patient. My name is David DeCorso. Part owner, Golf Course Superintendent and General Manger at Victoria Park East Golf Club. I will be posting blogs weekly on golf course maintenance updates and projects. I will also be posting updates on the status of our new golf course Victoria Park Valley which is under construction. Please feel free to provide comment.
This picture is of our 18th green on April 6, 2011. The golf course overwintered very well. There is no winter injury to speak of (unlike last year).  Our plan is to have the golf course open this weekend. Hopefully all 18 greens. Our goal for the next week is the get the course cleaned up. We are behind about one week due to the weather so the golf course will not be cleaned up by this weekend. Thanks for reading.