Sunday, October 21, 2012

Frost Damage

frost damage in rough on 18
It's the time of year again to begin worrying about frost.  Walking or driving on frosty turf can cause significant damage to the plants.  The basics of frost are that the cold air freezes the dew that is secreted out of the leaf.  When the dew freezes hard enough, and the leaf gets stepped on, the leaf can break causing the area that was walked or driven on to appear brown. 
We get comments all the time in the pro shop that "my car temperature said it was 40 degrees it can't be frosty", or "I will just chip and putt until the frost is gone on the course."  Here at the course if the air temperature is below 39 degrees we will generally have frost.  The air on the golf course and close to the ground is significantly cooler than the air around buildings or along a street.  And frost happens on all turf areas, including the driving range, so it is very important to stay off all turf areas until the frost is gone.

Friday, September 21, 2012

New Weather Station

We now have a new weather station here at the golf course! The best part about this weather station is that it can be viewed by anyone online at anytime.  We will also be able to have a more accurate reading on high and low temperatures as well as rainfall totals.  Our last system was only able to measure rainfall in 1/10th of an inch increments where our new station can read rain fall totals in the 1/1000th on an inch increments.
visit our weather station by clicking here

Friday, August 31, 2012

Bunker Consistency

Earlier this season we reshaped all of our bunkers and were able to get the bunkers to be a little more consistent.  I have heard a couple of complaints over the past month that all of our bunker seem to play a little different.  I have found the following video provided by the USGA to help explain why our bunkers can not all be exactly the same.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hole sign landscape project

moving the hole sign on 10 to its new home

We just completed the landscape work around our hole signs.  For this project we removed all existing flowers and ivy, removed the sod from the cart path to the sign, and then placed the same gray crusher fines material that we used on the cart path around the sign.  This is a very simple and clean look that will attract your eye to the sign and make maintenance around the hole signs much easier.  During this project we also relocated the signs on 2, 3, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, and 17 to locations that made for better viewing of the hole sign from the cart as you drive up to the tee box.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Grass Carp

Algae has always been an issue in our lakes.  We have mostly just relied on chemical treatments to combat our algae but this can be very difficult due to the application needs to be made at a precise time or the algae will spread very rapidly. About 7 years ago we had grass carp added to our lakes on 8 and 17 and there has been very little algae in those lakes since.  This year we added 84 more grass carp to 5 more lakes to try and assist in controlling our algae.  With the help of Matt McGreggor, a fisheries biologist from Aqua Sierra we were able to add fish to the lakes on 3, 4, 5, 6, and 16.
close up of one of my new employees, his only job is to eat algae
The old carp are the most active in the lakes on our 8th hole.  You have probably seen the 24" to 36" fish swimming by the shore line as you search for golf balls.  When we added the carp to 8 there were all the same 10" long fish that we have just added this week.  The carp are more active feeders when they are young, but when these little guys get big they will still hopefully keep our algae issues under control.
adding water slowly to the fish to get them acclimated to the temperature and pH of the water
Before Matt puts the fish in the water he first had to get them acclimated to the water temperature as well as the pH of the water.  This process only takes about 10 minutes,  but  it keeps the fish from going into shock.

releasing the fish after they regulate to the water temperature
Lets hope our newest employees work hard and keep our water clean and algae free.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Bunker Maintenance

 Over the past 4 weeks we have been doing some extensive work to all of our bunkers.  We are about 95% complete with the bunker edging and reshaping process.  This process not only enhances the playability of the course it also enhances the visual look of the course.  Over the course of a year with our irrigation cycles, rain, wind, daily raking, and play, the sand will migrate around the bunker, so we move the sand back to its proper location.  Our ultimate goal is to have a consistent 6" depth in the bottom of the bunker, and a 4" depth on all slopes.
Bunker before any work begins
Above is the right greenside bunker on #4 before we have begun any work.  Notice the large lip around the edge between the sand and the turf, as well as the grass creeping in along the left side of the bunker.
using reciprocator to put clean edge on bunker
This is one of our seasonal employees, JP, using the reciprocator tool to cut a clean line along the edge of the bunker.  The reciprocator is a great tool that is two metal discs that move back and forth opposite of each other creating a scissor action.  This scissor action easily cuts the turf without throwing any debris at the operator.
close up of reciprocator
Here is a closeup of the reciprocator in action. This image also shows the overgrowth of turf into the bunker.  It is our goal to only remove as much turf as necessary.  Over a period of 5 to 6 years if we remove even 2" of extra material per year, that will make the bunkers another 12" larger along the edge changing the overall design of the bunkers.
moving sand after edging
After the bunker has been edged and the excess material has been removed we begin the process of moving sand around.  We have added sand to 16 bunkers to achieve the proper 6" and 4" depths.  But a majority of the bunkers just need the magic work of Eric Porter on the bunker machine.  There is a lot of shoveling and raking involved in the edging process as well, making it a very labor intensive job to complete.
good image of sand before and after it has been moved
 The top of the above image shows the old level of the sand near the top of the bunker, and then on the lower half of the image you can see the new level of sand after it has been reshaped.

bunker edging complete
Here is the same bunker completely finished.  The process takes 3 guys an averages of about 3 hours per bunker from start to finish, and with 63 bunkers on the course will take us about 6 weeks to complete, but it is well worth the effort.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Man Is a Dog's Best Friend

I recently came accross an article on the USGA website titled 'Man Is a Dog's Best Friend' and I could not agree more with what the article has to say.  I bring my dog Benni to work everyday, Benni is an Austrailian Shepard mix that is 100% deaf, and probably 50% blind.  many times when I introduce myself to new members or see golfers away from the facility they great me with 'your that guy with that deaf dog.'  Having a deaf dog has its perks as well as its downfalls.  Some of the perks include being able give him sign language signs around golfers so I do not have to talk to him while people are hitting, I can sneak out of the office while he is sleeping, and its funny to watch people whistle at him and he just walks the other direction.
Benni is the most obediant dog that I have ever owned, he will sit in my golf cart all day if I need him to, he will stay in the shop yard chasing maintenance equipment while I am out on the course, but it is difficult when I am in a hurry and he is 50 yards up the fairway marking his teritory, I can't just whistle to get him to follow me.
I still laugh when I tell golfers that Benni is deaf, and the first thing they do is whistle at him, acting like he will be able to hear them.
Even though Benni is deaf he is the best listener that I know, and he makes my bad days good, and my good days even better.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cart Path reconstruction is finaly complete

Eric Porter working his magic in the skid steer
Over the past year we have been converting our road base cart paths to the gray crusher fines pathways.  In the last 12 months we have replaced the paths on 2, 7, 8, 13, 15, 17, and 18.  The path on 13 was the largest undertaking because we needed to re-route the path to new areas that were better for cart traffic and out of the line of sight from the tee complex.  We still have some seeding to do along the edges but it is a great relief to have  the bulk of this project completed.
the new path on 13 after the box blade and before the skid steer

 We also rebuilt the cart exit point by 17 green to better accommodate the large amount of traffic that this pinch point receives. The new paths will be a little bumpy for the next couple of week, but as we continue to smooth them out with the box blade they will get better and better.
17 cart path exit area during construction

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Deer fly control

With so much open space and water on the golf course we have a had a bad deer fly problem over the past couple of years.  These are the fly that have a triangular appearance, and they will follow you for a great distance then bite you multiple times.  We are trying a deer fly traps on 15 to see if we can help reduce the population.  This trap is designed to be chemical free, and will trap horse fly, deer fly, and yellow fly.  Next time you are on the 15th hole look into the native to the left of the green and you will see the trap.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pump house repair, again.

Last week we discovered a leak just outside our pump house, to our surprise it was more than just a leak.  Our pump house has a steel pipe that comes out of the pump, angels down, and attaches to a 12" PVC mainline for the irrigation system (Z pipe).  When we dug up the junction between the steel and the PVC we found a hole lot of corrosion.  So much corrosion that we were able to easily stick a screwdriver into the steel pipe.  We are lucky that Landscapes Unlimited, the company that owns the Broadlands, is one of the best irrigation companies in the business, and that they were working in town at Columbine Country Club.  LUI came up and made our pump house repair look very easy, even though it was a very big job.

screwdriver in 1/4" thick 12" steel pipe

Once we were able to get the steel pipe out of the ground we found a couple of holes, and multiple areas that were very close to becoming holes.

hole in steel Z pipe
pitting in Z pipe

grove in pipe
LUI decided to replace the entire steel pipe with a section of HDPE(high-density polyethylene) pipe.  HDPE pipe is beginning to replace PVC in the irrigation world due to its versatility, strength, and ease of use. 

New HDPE pipe installed

view of flange on new HDPE pipe

HDPE pipe running out of pump house into thrust block
 We were able to pressure up the pump house yesterday morning and begin to water the course again.  I would like to thank everyone involved from Landscapes Unlimited and my crew for working together and making our 'major' problem look like a small problem.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Drainage project

3 fairway has been our most challenging fairway since the golf course opened 13 years ago.  With very high sodium and bicarbonate levels, along with the heavy clay soils is has been very difficult to get a good stand of grass in some areas of the fairway.  While we have been able to make progress on these areas over the past few years, the thin turf in the fairway is still not up to our standards.  So the next step in trying to improve these areas is to add drainage.  This drainage is being installed to try and intercept ground water, allowing the surface to drain better, which will allow us to flush more sodium from the surface and giving us better growing conditions.

While adding drainage seems simple it is a very labor intensive job.  We first come in with a trencher and create a trench about 5" wide and 12" deep.  We then come back in and remove all the loose soil from inside the trench and on the surface.  The next step is to add 4" slotted drain pipe and fill the trench with pea gravel to add in collecting more water.  We will cap the drain lines with sand. 
There will be 800 feet of drainage installed on 3 fairway, 100 feet installed on 7 fairway, and another 150 feet installed on 15 fairway.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mr President

I was recently elected president of the Rocky Mountain Regional Turfgrass Association.  This Association is responsible for putting together an educational conference and trade show each December for people that work in the green industry in the Rocky Mountain region. The RMRTA not only helps provide education for the golf course superintendents, but also helps the Rocky Mountain Sod Growers Association, Colorado Sports Turf managers Association, Colorado Association of Lawn Care Professionals, and Colorado State University.  I am very grateful to be a part of such a great organization.
Please visit the RMRTA website for more information.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Winter Projects

With all the great snow cover this winter we have been keeping ourselves pretty busy in the maintenance shop.  I always get the question from golfers, friends, and family, what do you do in the winter time?  Well this winter we have rebuilt the dumpster doors for the dumpster holding area at the clubhouse.  We have sanded and preserved the driving range benches.  We have also vinyl guarded all of the bunker rakes (video coming soon), flag sticks, 150yd poles, and repainted all of the traffic control blocks.

dumpster door during rebuild

dumpster door finished

driving range bench before sanding

driving range bench after sanding

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Over the past year there has been an increase in coyote activity on the golf course.  This activity can be contributed to the explosion of the rabbit, vole, and goose population on the course.  While I enjoy having the coyotes on the course because of there ability to reduce our rodent and bird population, they can also cause harm to pets and humans.  Once our snow finally melts, please read the brochures posted at the clubhouse and the restroom stations on the course to protect you and your pets.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Goose Control

Now if we could only figure out how to get our greens to bounce geese off of them like this, we wouldn't have a goose problem.    Geese are our biggest problem here at the Broadlands from November until March, eating holes in the greens, defecating in the fairways, and just being in the way of your golf ball.  With 11 lakes and over 100 acres of tasty turf the geese love our course, during the peek goose season we will have approximately 2,000 geese on the golf course at one time.  Every year we try new techniques to try and reduce the goose population but with no success.  The best thing we can hope for is a lot of deep snow cover and coyote activity this winter.
Our new techniques for this season include
  • rope install along a few lakes to make it more difficult for the geese to get in and out of the water
  • Spraying an organic grape seed and mint extract along lake banks
  • goose lights in the lakes on 5 and 15

Friday, September 30, 2011

Greens Aerification

You can feel the chill in the air, and see the leaves turning from green to a nice golden yellow. You wake up with the sun at 6:30, you grab your golf bag and head to the golf course hoping to get in a quick 18 holes before breakfast.  But when you get to the course you hear that the greens have been aerified and the pro behind the counter might as well told you that your dog had been hit by a run away golf cart.  I know most golfers cringe at the sound of aerification, but it is a necessary evil if you want firm, smooth, and healthy putting greens next season.  The aerification process allows us to reduce thatch (part of what makes a green feel spongy), increase water infiltration, get much needed oxygen to the root system, and get nutrients to the roots.  The greens should take about 10 to 14 days to fully heal from this aerification, and once they have completely healed there is still 4 to 6 weeks of good golf left in the season. There are a few pictures attached as well as a quick video showing the aerifier in action.

view of aerifier pulling cores from 4 green

core harvester picking up cores

Brandon cleaning up cores from green

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bridge Repair

If you have been on the course over the past few weeks you should have noticed that the ride across our bridges is much smoother and quieter.  We resurfaced the bridges with new wood planks to make travel across our bridges much safer.  The old planks are the original wood planks from when the course was built 12 years ago and have seen better days.These bridges have had a lot of traffic over those 12 years, we average 44,000 rounds of golf per year with about 80% of those rounds riding carts, this equates to just over 211,000 cart trips over the bridges, not including employee trips in the marshal carts, beverage carts, and maintenance vehicles.  Luckely the support system of the bridge is still in good condition so we only needed to repair the surface. We are still working on the side support improvements, but most of the damage to the side rail is superficial and will be repaired as we have time.

old bridge board next to a new bridge board

Nick using the hammer drill to drive new 10" lag bolts into the bridge from 9 green

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Nation Wide Heat, Flooding, and Drought

I came across this article today on the Golf Course Superintendents website that addresses the heat, drought, and flooding and unusual weather that has struck the nation over the past couple of years.  While we had great turf growing conditions last year, the course was not as lucky this year.

Monday, July 25, 2011

To much of a good thing

disease issues on 7 fairway
My last few posts have focused around all the rain that Mother Nature has been supplying the golf course, but we have had to much of a good thing.  Our fairways are suffering from the effects of to much water and extreme heat and humidity.  Our issues began when there a was standing water on the golf course from the 5" of rain we received two weeks ago, and then the air temperatures soared to around 100 degrees. The high temperature in effect caused the standing water to get hot enough to overheat and kill the turf.  Then once the humidity began to rise from our normal 15 percent to the upper 60's the disease issues began to emerge.
disease pressure in 10 approach
We are doing everything possible to get these dead areas in the fairways back, from spiking to increase air and water movement, to overseeding with ryegrass to help fill in the areas as quickly as possible.  As long as Mother nature cooperates for the next couple of weeks we should see a full recovery just in time for some great late summer golf.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The dreaded afternoon thumderstorm

Storm that dropped 1.25" of rain on the course
Over the past week we have had heavy rains hit the golf course every afternoon. 0.6" of rain fell Wednesday night, followed by 0.64" Thursday, 1.25" Friday, 0.26" Saturday, 0.36"Sunday, and 0.28" Monday night. 
18 greenside bunkers washed out after 1.25" rain
18 greenside bunkers after repair
The crew has had to repair bunker washouts every day for the last 6 days. This is a long and very physically demanding process that consists of pushing the washed out sand from the bottom of the bunker back onto the face of the bunker. Then the crew works on proper sand depth and compaction. The final step is to hand rakes all the edges and spin the bunker to smooth out the plow marks. The average bunker will take about 30 minutes to fix with two workers, with 68 bunkers, the process can take about 70 man hours to complete. Having to do this 6 times in the last 6 days has been tough on the maintenance crew (420 hours). If you happen to see anyone from the maintenance staff on the course please make sure to thank them for all of there hard work to keep the bunkers in playable condition this last week.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

3 fairway

3 fairway in late April 2011

3 fairway in mid June
While 3 fairways turf conditions are not at an acceptable level we have seen improvement over the past 30 days.  Over the winter we experienced a large area of turf loss about 250 yards from the green due to a multitude of reasons, dry winter, extreme cold temperatures, hard clay soils, high salt levels, southern facing slope.  This areas was large enough that the only way we could get turf in this area again was to aggressively treat the soil with gypsum to help aid in the flushing of salts from the soil, overseed with ryegrass, fertilize, water, and play the waiting game.  We will continue to aggressively nurse this area back to health and we should see even more improvement over the next couple of weeks.