Wednesday, July 20, 2022

G&G Blog: April - July 2022

We hope everyone is enjoying their summer wherever you may be. Monsoon has arrived in the Valley, and it has been very hot and humid these past couple of weeks. We haven’t had any significant storms at PPCC yet but have been seeing many storms in the area.

Overall, the summer transition to our bermudagrass base has gone very well. Once again, we focused very early on promoting transition during the months of March, April, and May. Through lower mowing heights, and bermudagrass targeted fertilizer and herbicide applications we were able to recover the bermuda with minimal challenges. We are very pleased with the transition and recovery of the bermudagrass around the bunkers and in the areas of disruption from the 2021 bunker renovation project.

There are some thinner high-traffic spots around bunkers, exit points by the greens, and to the sides of the approaches that will need a little bit of care, but we are very confident we will get these areas filled in soon with the help of the humidity. One of the most interesting things we see is the slightly more difficult transition of the overseed intermediate cut between the fairway and roughs versus the fairway. Just the slightly higher height of cut has had a big impact on transition as compared to the lower height of cut in the fairways.

We are currently closed for our 12-day planned maintenance period. During this time, we will be doing our aerification, de-thatching, and fairway topdressing of the bermudagrass. These processes are critical this time of year for transition and for the health of the bermudagrass year-round.  Healthy bermuda year-round is the building block of a good overseed and continued successful transitions.

Since late May, tree fertilization has been performed during Monday closures. Bartlett Tree Company has been applying targeted root feedings to the eucalyptus and pine trees. These annual feedings help to strengthen larger trees as they age and enter the monsoon season.

Bartlett Tree Company will also be surveying the entire golf course, updating our GPS inventory, and tagging of all trees. This inventory helps our golf course architect and arborist monitor the tree's health, species, additions/removals, and location. Golf course architect Andy Staples will continue helping us with a master tree plan upon the completion of the surveying.

Contract tree trimming is also underway. During the 2021 BRP we did a significant amount of trimming and do not see a need for as much trimming this year. We will also be removing 17 trees this year. These trees are all in poor health, dangerous, and unattractive. Several of the trees have been on the removal list for several years and have a backup replacement tree already planted. We will also be adding 15 trees back in place of some of the removals and several other locations. Our arborist from Bartlett Tree Company, Eric Belcher, and golf course architect, Andy Staples were consulted in the process of removing these trees.

Now that monsoon has arrived the challenges of higher humidity, higher dew points (60+), high night-time temperatures (85-90+) and higher soil temperatures (80 at night and 95+ daytime) will create very oppressive conditions and challenges to our bentgrass greens. For example. Bentgrass soil temperatures are ideal in 50-65 degree temperatures. From late June to late September, we consistently maintain 50% higher soil temperatures. This is the cause of root shrinkage and turf density loss. The bentgrass is literally baking in the soil for a sustained 3-month period. The root shrinkage and turf density loss will then cause the recovery of ball marks to be a challenge. The greens will also begin to feel softer as the loss of root and turf density progress into August and September.  The fans you see on several greens this time of year are aimed at helping with these challenges. 

This year, four new fans are in the process of being added to the golf course. Fans have been placed on #1, #7, #8, and #18. #1 was installed last year during the BRP but we postponed the use of this fan due to the disruption from the BRP. We are still waiting for our electrician to return to run the remaining wire and anticipate having the fans operational the week of July 25th.

Many of the practices and applications we do from January - June are focused on creating the largest root mass and highest density turf canopy we can before the challenges of summer arrive. In short, we try to outgrow the loss that we know will occur. Additionally, during the stressful period, we will raise the height of cut to reduce the stress of mowing along with alternating between mowing greens one day and rolling the next. We spray fungicides and plant health products beginning in June as part of a preventative disease and stress program. We will also fill the ball marks with green painted sand/bentgrass seed mix during the most challenging months when the existing turf will not fill in. G&G will be performing this task in the mornings when mowing greens and the golf shop and outside service will also be helping during the daytime.

We monitor moisture levels in the greens every day throughout the day. We use a TDR Meter from Spectrum Technologies that tells us the percent of moisture in the soil. This practice is performed year-round but is much more intense during the summer months. These numbers help us to know when to water and how much to water. Most of our watering is performed by hoses daily, every 3-4 days we use the irrigation system to do a deep and infrequent watering when the hose watering is not sufficient. Please bear with us as we navigate the challenging summer conditions and protect the health and sustainability of our greens.

In addition, you may see a white or discolored ring on the outside of the collars of the greens. This is intentional. We apply a specific herbicide that will target the bermudagrass and slow its growth almost completely so that it will not invade the collars and putting green surfaces. Inevitably, the bermuda will invade the collars over time. Our goal is to keep it minimized to the outer half of the collar and re-sod the collars every 3-4 years as needed to keep the invasion out of the putting surfaces. The outside half of the collars were re-sodded last year to take advantage of the closure during the BRP.

As many of you have seen on the news, the supply chain has been a challenge across all industries. Fertilizers, pesticides, and seed specifically have been hit hard. Fertilizers and pesticides are a double impact due to the process of needing oil to produce them and diesel to ship them. The seed market for ryegrass has been hit very hard in the last 2 years due to increased demand from the residential market. We’ve seen price increases from 50% up to 200% on a few products and availability continues to be a challenge. We have secured our seed for this year's overseed and are on track to overseed as we did this past season. We continue to communicate with the board, Green and Grounds committee, and GM Doc Belitz, to ensure that we are meeting these challenges. The committees and BOD are committed to continuing to provide the same level of conditions despite these challenges.

Recently well #1 showed a significant reduction in productivity. Well #1 normally operates around 1200 gal. per minute. It was discovered the well was only pumping about 700 GPM. Upon further inspection by our well maintenance company, it was determined that the bowl assembly at the end of the well shaft was no longer functioning properly.  Well #1 has been in the ground and operating year-round for 14 years, far past its life expectancy. Since it was required to remove subsurface components of the well to repair the bowl assembly it was determined that the best course of action was to completely rebuild all underground components of the well while they were out of the ground. The work has begun on the rehabilitation. All equipment has been removed and inspected and found it necessary to replace all columns, drive shaft, and bowl assembly. In addition, the well has been inspected by video to the bottom of the well casing for structural damage. All video has shown the well casing is in good structural condition and will now need to be scrubbed and cleaned. The cleaning will remove build-up on the outer perforations of the casing that allow the water to be drawn into the column and pumped upward. Our vendor is currently performing the cleaning process. Upon completion, the well will be inspected by video once more time before installation of the new pumping equipment. We anticipate that the well will be operational by the 1st or 2nd week of August. Currently, the water level is a depth of 650 feet. The good equipment is set at a depth of 960 ft deep. The total depth of PPCC well #1 is 1200 feet deep. For perspective that is 2 ½ George Washington Monuments.

We would like to welcome Jason Gray, who has recently joined our G&G team as our new assistant superintendent. He began June 13 and comes to us from Blackstone CC where he was an assistant for the past 2 years. Jason and his wife have 3 children and are expecting another addition to their family this September. Please welcome Jason to the PPCC family when you see him on the course.

Enjoy the remainder of your summer and we look forward to seeing you at the Club soon!

Verticutting & Dethatching
Aerifying New Approach Area Behind #9 Green

Topdress & Amending Soil #1 Fairway Bunker

Topdressing New Area Around Bunkers #1
Topdressing New Area Around Bunkers #1

Greens Heads Being Raised & Leveled
Gomez Searching for Broken Irrigation Power Line on Driving Range
Broken Splice Box Found 5 Feet Below Surface 
Gomez Repairing Broken Greens Drain Line & Prepping Footer For Fan #7
Large Eucalyptus Removed Before Its Falls & Damages The Surrounding Trees

Well #1
Well #1
Removing 400 HP Motor Well #1
Removing Well Head

Well Head
20 Ft Section of Inner Column 
Inner Well Column Sections
Close Up of Inner Well Column and 14 Years of Build UP
20 Ft Section of Well
Well Completely Removed Ready for Video Inspection
Flagstone Wall Cap Being Replaced With Travertine #1 Tee
Jason Gray - New Assistant Superintendent

New Gate @ G&G Yard 

New Support Pillars For New Gate at G&G Yard

Bartlett Tree Co. feeding the trees

May - Greens Aerification 
May - Greens Aerification
May - Topdressing greens post aerification