Our Mission: The Golf Course and Grounds Department is committed to providing the best possible playing conditions on a daily basis while being responsible stewards of the financial and environmental resources that we have been entrusted with.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Lightning


Turf damage from lightning strike
On Tuesday, a lightning strike occurred on the 18th fairway. The alarms had sounded and the golf course had been evacuated. The strike that hit the golf course was the first strike of the storm. The alarm system detects the conditions that cause lightning as opposed to lightning itself and is set to allow for time to evacuate the golf course in most cases. It is important that players evacuate the golf course or seek shelter when the alarms sound as the first lightning strike of a storm could hit the ground.

A damaged switch- part of the irrigation control system
The protection system on the irrigation system limited the damage. 2 decoders and a switch were damaged which is an acceptable level of damage for what was essentially a direct hit.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Winter Injury 2014: Implications

 
Some have speculated that the winter of 2014 can be compared to Hurricane Hazel in terms of the long lasting implications that it will have on the golf industry in southern Ontario. Here at Cutten Fields the severe winter weather and historically cool spring have created damage to the golf course and caused delay in the recovery efforts. There will be many long term implications of the winter injury experienced at the club;

  1. Creeping Bentgrass- the injured areas have been re-established predominately with bentgrass, although some poa survived and some has re-generated from the seed that is present in the soil. The percentage of the putting surface that is now comprised of creeping bentgrass is much higher than at this time last year. Creeping Bentgrass is a sturdier turf that will be more reliable during the high stress periods of summer and winter.
    The amount of Creeping Bentgrass (blue/grey colour) in the stand has increased 
  2. Reduced ball roll- the putting surfaces have a large proportion of young, fragile plants that will be easily injured by the usual practices that are employed to obtain maximum ball roll. Low mowing heights, rolling, frequent brushing, vertical mowing and topdressing all contribute a certain amount of stress to the turf in addition to that which comes from daily golfer traffic. To decrease the stress load these high stress agronomic practices will be employed sparingly, if at all, resulting in reduced ball roll.
  3. Hole locations- as a result of less than normal ball roll, some hole locations that are not normally able to be used during the season will be able to be used on a regular basis. Many of the greens were constructed in the 1930’s, an era when the technology to mow, roll and prepare the turf was quite different and the greens rolled much slower. If a slower than normal ball roll is to be experienced this season, some of these unused, interesting hole locations will be able to part of the regular rotation.
    All of the greens will be back in play next week
  4. Change to winter preparations- the way in which the turf is prepared and protected will be re-evaluated by the Golf Course and Grounds committee prior to the arrival of winter. Protection strategies largely depend on a forecast of the winter conditions. Growing environments, mowing heights during the season and in the fall as well as the covering systems that are employed will all be examined in order to reduce the chance of winter injury and provide the expected standard of conditions while not perpetuating the problem turf (poa annua) that is susceptible to winter injury.
Greens Opening Schedule
The height of cut will be reduced to 4mm over the weekend on the greens that are still closed. On Monday all of teh greens will be topdressed and put into play. 

Friday, 27 June 2014

Golf Course Update: June 27


This past week, greens #3,4,6,7, and 12 were put into play and have held up well to daily traffic from play and maintenance. The process continues with regular topdressing and fertility along with sufficient irrigation, however, the greens have been divided into groups depending on the condition of the turf.  Those that require more care are being topdressed and fertilized at higher rates, while the greens that have been put into play are being topdressed/fertilized at a lower rate. While the sand topdressing can be helpful in filling in thin areas and increasing density, there is a limit to how much sand can be present in the rootzone before the sand begins to cause abrasion injury to the plant.

Some of the greens will be topdressed at a heavy ‘grow-in’ rate  for a final time on Friday (27th) in order to improve the density of the surface and fill in the voids that exist. Fertility, plugging and regular irrigation will all continue through the week and the expectation is that all of the greens will be in play on or before July 7.

Aggresive spikes can increase the traffic damage on the fragile turf during the heat of summer
Can the players do anything to help the condition of the fragile turf through the summer? The turf will be tender and fragile through the summer months and be susceptible to injury from traffic and routine maintenance. In an effort to control mechanical injury, the greens will be rolled more and mowed less through the heat of the summer.  This will maintain ball roll but reduce mechanical stress. As a player, you can help to reduce the traffic stress on the turf by using the least aggressive spikes that you can. Not all “soft spikes” are created equal and some can cause significant injury to young turf, particularly in the heat. Flat soled golf shoes or tennis shoes would be ideal, but the less aggressive the spikes, the better it will be for overall turf health and playability.

The less aggresive the spike, the better the putting surfaces will be for all players 

Friday, 20 June 2014

Golf Course Update: June 20


The 18th and 14th greens have held up well since they were opened last week. We are going to take advantage of the higher mowing heights (and therefore reduced ball roll) to utilize some hole locations that we are not normally able to use when the greens are rolling at the typical in-season conditions. Some greens, like 14, only have 3 or 4 areas to locate a hole and the result is that a great deal of traffic stress is placed on these areas by not being able to rotate the hole location away from them. The increased mowing heights will allow the hole to be located in areas where it may not have been in many years. Hopefully these new (old) areas will prove interesting and enjoyable while the remainder of the greens are grown-in.

This week another heavy sand topdressing will be made following an application of fertilizer in order to increase density and encourage the turf to move laterally into the thin areas. To further assist this process, the crew is continuing to plug healthy turf into these thin areas to speed up the recovery process, increase turf density and protect young, fragile turf.

10mm hollow core tynes are used to generate cores from healthy turf
 Also this week, the 13th and 17th greens will be put into play and the expectation is that the remainder of the greens will be ready for play over the next 3 weeks. Again, the principle concern is that the greens are healthy enough to withstand the stress of daily golf and maintenance traffic.

12mm solid tynes are used to insert the core into a void in the turf
USGA Reports The reports from Dave Oatis, the Director of the Northeast Region of the USGA based on his visits to the club this season are available on the club website or by following the links below.