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

Friday, 24 April 2015

Getting the course ready

Getting Sand Traps Playable
 It has been quite a week with snow actually staying on the greens Thursday. The grounds crew has been busy trying to get the course ready. We did not have any prep time before the course opened to clean up debris and get the bunkers ready for play before the course opened. The East course has over 70 bunkers! It takes time to edge the bunker, clean out any debris, move around any sand and add new sand if needed. It takes about two weeks to complete all the bunkers. As you can see in the picture below, the grass has not really started to grow. We have not mowed any rough yet. There will be some rough mowed next week. The greens are filling in nicely. There are a few spots that have to be plugged. This will start next week. The forecast for next week is sunny and seasonal. See you on the course! Until next time.... David
 Valley Practice Green  Thursday April 23, 2015

Friday, 3 April 2015

Course Update April 3, 2015

Installing Turf cover on Practise Green - April 3,201
 The snow, ice and frost have finally left the greens. This morning Jason and his crew put some turf covers on some weak or stressed out areas. The turf covers act as a green house and will actually warm up the soil which will help the turf to start growing and green up quicker. The good news is the visual damage is mostly aesthetic. There is a lot of live turf where areas appear yellow or brown. I would say the damage is minor and certainly nothing like last year. When we open the golf we will be playing on ALL the greens. We are planning on opening the golf course next weekend weather permitting. We are constantly looking at the long range weather forecast (like yourselves) and hoping for the
Practise green showing some minor winter damage
best. Unfortunately it does not look great. Ideally the grounds crew would like a week to clean up the golf course and get it ready for play. To do this we need somewhat decent weather and the course conditions have to allow the crew to move around without damage. With the long range forecast not that great we will not have much time for clean up. I thank you for your patience and understanding. I look forward to seeing you all of you soon.
Until next time...

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Finally Green Grass!

Vic East Practice Green March 18, 2015
The snow is finally melting. It always seems to take longer for the snow to melt out on the golf course than in town. The big concern on everyone's mind is the condition of the greens. As we all remember too well, last spring was the worst year for winter kill due to ice damage at many golf courses. I have been waiting to post a blog until now because I am never sure how the greens are going to turn out until the snow melts. Even now I am not completely sure how the greens overwintered because I can only see portions of them. What I can tell you is that what I have seen looks pretty good. I am not surprised because although this winter was bitter cold we did not have the accumulation of ice like we had
Assistant Superintendent Chris Shuurmans taking core samples
from 9th green - March 16, 2015

Channels through the snow on 9th green to allow for water to
quickly run off the green during melt - March 16,2015

Unfortunately the weather is cool for the rest of the week and the rest of the snow will take some time melting. There fore it will take another week or two to really asses the condition of the greens.
Until next time..