Water, Water Everywhere!

September has been an awful month for golf in the mid-Atlantic region, both for maintenance and playing the game we all love.

As the month is about to close, we have tallied 10.2 inches. The picture below displays monthly averages for our area.

By comparison, the table below are the actual amounts:

Some of the storms that we have experienced recently have been swift. As you drive by the course, you see the amount of water draining to the first hole, depicted in the first picture of this blog entry above. For the rest of this entry, we would like to share what we see when our staff arrives each day after a rain event.

Above, a pool of water in front of the 2/ 10 tee complex. Below, accumulated water on the left-hand side of the 6th fairway. The haze towards the green reveals the humid weather pattern for the month.

 Below, the fourth hole, water draining across the approach from number 3.

The water above eventually makes it’s way to number 5, seen below at the beginning of the fairway.

All this water ends across the 15th hole, seen below.

In order to protect the turf on the fairway, we have had to use the right-hand rough to get carts down the golf hole, seen below. Persistent rains of this past week did not allow for this area to be used.

It’s the same case for the 10th hole below. We are hoping for the best this coming weekend, but ultimately, the weather has shown us we are in need of installing drains in certain areas of the course.

Where water has sat for an extended period of time, we have lost turf. The first hole has continually flooded this year. 

Below, areas of this fairway melted out and we made preparations (painted dashes) to eliminate the eye sore.

The picture below is very tell tale sign of the recent weeks…(1) the green and white stakes delineate where the fairway has been sodded and (2) we are using portable fans -that we normally use for our GREENS– to dry out the area due to yet another storm.

It has rained so much in the recent weeks, areas that traditionally would have survived even with slightly above precip amounts, have succumbed to the extra moisture.

In turf renovation, we have two choices: seed or sod. If we choose to do nothing, Poa annua would germinate in the voids seen above in the rough before the 12th fairway. 

For this area, we went with seed as Assistant Golf Course Superintendent Dave Ward began this process earlier this week. In some instances, it has rained so much, drains were seen bubbling out of the ground. Check out the quick seven second video of Hail chomping at the water!

 

Lastly, the USGA has written a great article regarding the recent weather pattern for the area and you can access the article below:

http://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/course-care/regional-updates/northeast-region/2018/the-costs-of-a-wet-summer.html

 

 

2019 Golf Course Management Internship

Each year, our team seeks to fill one, if not two positions on our staff with students from colleges and universities throughout the nation. Our goal, upon completion of the season-long program, is that our student(s) have been prepared in a manner that will enable them to attain the position of Second Assistant Golf Course Superintendent.

Our recruiting process is vigorous and students we have employed since the inception of our nationally recognized program, have been awarded over $18,000 in scholarships. In addition, the internship has been a conduit for our department to promote highly skilled team members to the level Assistant Golf Course Superintendent as evidenced with two of our current assistant managers, A.J. Josefoski and Dave Ward. 

If you know of a student currently enrolled in turfgrass management program or similar field of study, please pass along our information for the opportunity to join a winning team!

USGA Amateur Qualifier Prep & THANKS to our Volunteers!

Our staff began mowing operations yesterday evening, dodging the storm that produced over seven inches of rain in the Coatesville area. Thankfully, we did not receive any more rain and we were able to fully prepare the course this morning with our team and a cadre of dedicated volunteers.

A few team members began their work-day at 2:30 AM by placing portable lights throughout the golf course to ensure and maintain a safe environment for our workforce. After our morning meeting, all personnel was in transit to their respective starting holes by 4:10 AM. Pictured above is the first hole as the left green-side bunker is raked and the green is rolled.

 

With tee times off #1 & 10 at 7 AM, our goal was to mow all fine turf areas on the golf course. With this in mind, we placed a “call” to some friends to help us accomplish our objective. The picture above represents the integrity and support from our vendors and the strong bond amongst our colleagues.

Above, from left to right on fairway mowers:
Jesus Arroyo, Assistant Superintendent – Kennett Square Golf & Country Club
Charlie Koennecker, Territory Manager – Finch Services, Inc.

  Above, from left to right on fairway mowers:
Greg Eisner, Golf Course Superintendent – Fieldstone Golf Club
Justin Lewis, Assistant Superintendent – Wilmington Country Club

Pictured above:
Mike Janzer, Regional Territory Manager – Plant Food Company
(raked bunkers, blew fairways)

Pictured above:
Tim Urbanski, Equipment Manager – Fieldstone Golf Club
(portable light transport)

Pictured above:
Pat Michener, Golf Course Superintendent – Country Club of York
Bidermann Assistant Superintendent, 2006 – 2010
(rolled greens)

Above, left to right:
Derrick Wozniak, Golf Course Superintendent – Radley Run Country Club
Bidermann Assistant Superintendent, 2005 – 2008
Tom Defino, Territory Manager – Genesis Turfgrass, Inc.
(both gentlemen rolled greens)

The entire course was set and our corps were back to the maintenance facility by 8 AM. It was a total team effort this morning, with a lot of fun along the way. Someone even snapped a photo of person to remain anonymous blowing divots from the fourth tee!

2018 Golf Course Grounds Team

Just as the golf season transitioned from a wet May, so did our staff this year as we acquired a lot of new faces and were finally at full strength when the local highs schools completed their academic calendar in June just after the completion of the H.F. du Pont Memorial Competition. 

Last week, we assembled the team on the 5th hole. The following pictures will give you some background information to the make-up of our team.

Above, seated left to right:
Matt Medina – 2nd season; Penn State University – 2021 Business, Ridley HS – 2017
Erik Iverson – 3rd Season; University of Arizona – 2022 Aerospace Engineering, Salesianum – 2018
Evan DiDonato – 4th season; Delaware Tech Community College – Computer Aided Design, Salesianum – 2013
Stephen Sagan – 7th season; Dickinson HS – 2008
Above, standing left to right:
Hector Munoz-Torres – 10th season; Puerto Rico
Dario Valerio – 1st season; Dominican Republic
Ray Lewandowski – 2nd season

Above, seated left to right:
Nathan Hawke – 1st season; Newman University – 2019 English, member of the Cross Country Team, Wilmington Christian – 2015
Victor Pelillo – 1st season; University of Delaware – 2020 English, Delaware Military Academy – 2016
Above, standing left to right:
Andrew Narvaez – 1st season, Newark Charter – 2020
Mat Zimmerman – 1st season; Delaware Tech – Nursing, Salesianum – 2013

Above, left to right:
“The Charter School of Wilmington 3”
Andrew Furhman – 1st season; CSW 2019
Jacob Williams – 1st season; CSW 2019
Cooper Fink – 1st season; CSW 2020

Above, left to right:
Christian Kobosko – 1st week; Delaware Valley College – 2022 Media Communications, member of the men’s lacrosse team, Long Stick Middie, Delaware Military Academy – 2018
Tucker Lange – 1st week; Ferris State University – 2018 Sports Marketing

Above, seated left to right:
Peter Burke – Horticulturalist, 2nd season; Temple University – Recreation & Leisure Studies, minor Horticulture
Matt Gillespie – Intern, 1st season; Penn State University – 2019, Garnet Valley HS 2014
Larkin Cowart – 1st season; Garnet Valley HS 2020
Above, standing left to right:
John Lermond – Equipment Manager,  4 years on staff
Charlie Lonergan – Lead Assistant Golf Course Superintendent, 4 years on staff, Rutgers University 2014
Dave Ward – Assistant Golf Course Superintendent, 2 years on staff, Rutgers University 2018
A.J. Josefoski – Assistant Golf Course Superintendent, 2 years on staff, Penn State University 2018

Master Plan: #1

After the completion of the fairway bunker renovation on the tenth hole, our staff turned their focus to the fairway bunker complex on the first hole.

It was a total team effort and Assistant Golf Course Superintendent, Charlie Lonergan, was charged with the role of project lead and shaper.

During the demolition process, we found there was no define edge or “lip” to the bunker, as seen here to the rear of Dave Ward, Assistant Golf Course Superintendent. Behind Dave is about a four-foot cut in the ground, filled with sand to make an edge. 

Drainage for both bunkers were trenched across the first fairway. During the process, we cut through drains that were installed previously and not working in a positive direction of flow. The new drains have been a great addition as subsequent rain events have allowed for carts to traverse the fairway in less than a day, as opposed to keeping the area roped off for a series of days. 

In the picture above, we have completed the drainage across the fairway. To the back left, rear and right of the bunker complex, we have dug the main line for the irrigation as the new bunkers were brought out into the fairway, necessitating us to abandon the old irrigation main line.

Above, from top to bottom, are team members Dario Valerio, Evan DiDonato and Jesus Ortiz-Aponte installing the re-routed irrigation line.

Above, the before and below, the after, with golden-brown fine fescue surrounding the bunkers and championship tee for #17.Below is the conceptual vision, drawn by Andrew Green, Golf Course Architect.

 

 

Audubon Program

Before the start of the nesting season, our staff replaced half of the blue bird boxes on the course. All of our new boxes are numbered, allowing our staff to track which boxes are being used by blue birds or swallows.

Assistant Golf Course Superintendent, Dave Ward, has monitorted the boxes and provided these pictures of our new friends. 

Looking inside the box on the fifth hole, blue birds have used the nearby pine straw from the white pines to make their nest.

Within a few weeks, we had a few eggs (above) and a few hatchlings (below)!

Prior to next season, we will replace the remaining older boxes on the course and hope to continue to provide habitat for our blue birds!

Salt Burn & Rust in the Lines

On Tuesday of this week, our staff solid tined the greens to allow for oxygen exchange in the subsurface soil. In addition, we applied some potash to encourage root growth and enhance our bentgrass greens to ward off stress they will experience with higher temperatures in the coming weeks.

Unfortunately, we had some tip burn to several of the greens on the course, the worst being #14. The other greens affected are 1, 3, 4, 5, 12 and 15. The burn is a result of the salt on the fertilizer prills not sufficiently receiving irrigation after the application of potash. The picture below is the main culprit and evidence of a looming issue for the irrigation system. 

Above is an internal component to a sprinkler called a foot valve. The black objects in the center of the foot valve is rust. Small amount of rust will not allow the sprinkler to operate efficiently. In other instances, rust build-up can lead to a sprinkler not functioning at all. 

Aesthetically, the greens affected by the salt burn are blighted, but they will grow out of the tip burn, on some of the greens in a matter of days, while it may take a week for the most severe case on #14.  

Master Plan: #14

Throughout the latter half of the winter and beginning of spring, our staff was preparing the fourteenth hole to restore the golf hole back to the original Dick Wilson design. 

Our team re-incorporated sod was from the right-hand side of the hole to the tenth fairway, as well as, expanding the left-hand side of the fairway on fourteen, seen below.

Tee construction began in April utilizing soil on-site, minimizing expense, wear and tear of hauling this material to the site.

Assistant Golf Course Superintendent, A.J. Josefoski (seen in blue shirt below), oversaw this project, and will complete this improvement once we return to this area and install a flat-deck teeing ground in the fairway this fall.

The tee was compacted and laser leveled.

The tee opened on June 13th for the Ladies Member Guest. We hope you enjoy the new teeing area.

Below is the architect’s rendering of the fourteenth hole from the Master Plan.

 

 

 

13 Green Damage

On Tuesday evening, there was an incident of negligence involving an employee and the range picker cart. The pictures here display the damage on the putting surface.

The scarring will heal in time, mostly likely as the weather warms and the greens begin to grow.

All appropriate measures have taken place regarding this incident and we do not expect any further damage.

Number 10 Bunker Update

The picture below is from our previous blog post of March 9th displaying the drainage system for the fairway bunker.

Our staff installed an erosion blanket allowing the sand to adhere to the slopes of the bunker floor, preventing washouts during rain events and contamination of the sand with the soil below.

The blanket is tacked to the bunker floor using the construction adhesive Liquid Nails, seen below on either side of the pen.

Next, we began the arduous process of covering the four inch drain pipes with pea gravel.

Bucket after bucket, pea gravel is poured into the trenches.

Our staff hauled the equivalent of 20 tons of stone into this bunker! Below, the finished drainage system and the bunker is ready for sand.

As part of the Master Plan for the tenth hole, the fairway was enlarged to “lock-in” the bunker to the dog-leg of the golf hole. Below Ray Lewandowski is preparing the ground for fairway sod.

Our staff cut rough grass sod here on #10 before the bunker and re-laid this grass on #14 as part of the another spring project. This sod transfer, including using fairway sod from #14, was a tremendous cost savings to the overall project. 

Above, (left to right) Assistant Superintendents AJ Josefoski and Dave Ward, along with Evan Didonato, are laying fairway sod brought down to number 10, seen below in the cut-out on #14.