Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Time For A New Season

I think we can all agree that it's time for Spring to arrive. The off and on snow events over the past few weeks has made March feel more like December. The downtime from the course allows the Agronomy team opportunities to service equipment, restore course supplies, and work on a few projects along the way.

One of our focal points each and every winter is the service of our equipment fleet. We have 55+ units of equipment that are the staple to a successful operation throughout the growing season. Each and every machine is serviced, detailed, and prepared for another season. Our equipment technician, Jim Roberts, sharpens the blades on each unit, and makes sure each unit is primed and ready for another successful season. My assistants then put the focus on power washing each unit along with a detailed finish. The finished product mimic's a brand new unit coming from the factory.

Another critical part of the down time is to refurbish golf course supplies. A wide range of items include bag stands, trash cans, hazard stakes, ball washers, bunker rakes, cups, and flagsticks receive attention and repairs are made as needed. The image below illustrates the refurbished bag stand for the clubhouse.

The next item I wanted to touch bases on was the Bermudagrass Practice Tee. The 2013 golf season was my first time ever working with Bermudagrass on a golf course. The tee accomplished exactly what we were hoping for, a consistent practice tee that actually had some grass on it during the summer months. We shut the tee down with what we thought would be enough time to recover before dormancy was reached. Unfortunately, the cool, wet fall didn't allow full recovery heading into the winter months and the tee was lost from the Polar Vortex. This past fall we made a conservative effort to allow full recovery heading into dormancy, which we achieved as the picture below illustrates.

 Once the Bermudagrass was completely dormant, we purchased a cover for the tee to do everything in our power to prevent losing the tee to another "Polar Vortex".

Last spring, I incubated a plug from the Bermuda tee and placed it in a bucket of sand along with a growing light. We had a few green shoots of grass coming up from the plug. Fast forward to this year and we took another plug from the tee and the difference between the 2 plugs is quite drastic. I am optimistic that the tee is going to survive the next few weeks of Winter/Spring or whatever season we are about to emark on. The image below illustrates the difference. The plug on the left was our "Northbridge" variety from 2013, the plug on the right is our current variety, "Riviera".

In closing, I'd like to say the Agronomy Staff is primed and ready for another great season at Sagamore. The home stretch of winter should be over before we know it (hopefully). As the weather changes for the better we will do everything in our power to get the course up and running ASAP.

Best Regards,

Dan Grogan
Golf Course Superintendent
The Sagamore Club

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