Sunday, December 20, 2009

Driving Range

On Monday, Dec 21st, we will begin the process of raising the height of the Driving Range nets. We are going to do this in stages. We are going to start on the left side of the netting. If you are planning on using the range and we are out there working, please use irons only off the practice mats. It will be really hard for us to do our job if we are dodging golf balls the whole time.
We are extending the netting because our range area is too small to fully accommodate our golfers. We loose a ton of golf balls to the river. Right now the tallest points of the netting are 9 to 12 feet tall. Through this process we should reach heights of 23 to 25 feet. This is a new project for my staff and I, but we have thought long and hard about it and think we have come up with the best possible solution for an in house project.
Hopefully this first part of the netting will only take us 2-3 days to complete. I apologize for any inconvenience.
Unfortunately, the net that we installed on the range did not hold up to the 40 mph winds that we received over the Christmas holiday. The winds snapped all of the posts about 5 feet above ground, just above the rear supports that we put on every vertical member. We are currently looking into other methods of support for the nets. Hopefully we will have something in place soon. Until then we will be irons only on the range.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Frost Delay

We are at that time of year where the temperatures will reach below the freezing mark frequently overnight. When this happens we will typically have a frost on the ground, or a frozen playing surface as a result. On these days we will have to delay play for a few hours to allow the frost to burn off or the playing surface to thaw.
We do this for one reason, to protect the turf. When the plant is in a thawed state traffic will cause the leaf blade to lay over. When the plant is in a frozen state traffic will injure of break the frozen leaf blade causing death to the plant. This is the reason that we have to restrict play from the Greens and Over seeded areas during frost or freeze conditions.
Also to the homeowners on the course, we are close to the Christmas break for schools and I know that a lot of the children like to play on the course during the day, especially in the snow. Please remember that these delays apply to everyone not just the golfers. If you have children that want to play on the course, please remind them to stay away from the greens complexes.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cleaning Up The Stones River

December has arrived with a vengeance. It's hard to believe that the first weekend in December brought us a snowfall with actual accumulation. When the weather reaches our current conditions the grass has pretty much stopped growing for the year. This gives us some time to go out and work on parts of the course that would normally get neglected.

Currently we have begun working on cleaning up the Stones River banks, which have been overgrown with Privot, Osage and other woody plants. The goal is to get all of #8 cleaned to a point that we can maintain it with mowers and string trimmers. Also, we will be limbing up trees with low hanging limbs that shade the turf and make horrible conditions to grow grass. No, we will not be cutting down the limb that overhangs #8 fairway, it is a very important part of the hole. After we finish #8 we will keep working down the river as far as we can get this winter. I hope to get back to #18 Teeing area.

Here's a few pictures to show the progress of the first days work.
The above picture is a section that he cleaned up Monday.
The above picture is the next section that we have to clean up.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ball Mark Repair

One of the biggest questions that I get year round is, "What are we going to do about all of the ballmarks on the greens?". The simple answer is that each golfer is responsible for fixing their own ballmark. Now, realistically that's not going to happen, but I do encourage everyone at the club to fix theirs plus one more. I started having the greens mowers take ballmark repair tools with them each morning so they could walk the entire green fixing marks before they mowed. I have been very happy with the results of this process. The problem is that we only have the staff to do this in the peak months of the season. So, please remember to fix your ballmarks. The video below is an example of how to properly repair a ballmark.

Notice the guy in the video was using a golf tee. You don't have to have a divot repair tool to fix the ballmarks (I use my pocket knife). Also, he just pulls the surface turf back to the center of the mark, he does not lift the center, this is textbook repair practice.

If your out there playing and you see someone in your group not fixing their ballmarks, ask them kindly if they have a tool, know how to, or just to please fix them. Thanks for your help.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Our New Water Source

I'm sure almost all of our membership knows that we are now accepting reclaimed water from the Pillsbury plant across the river. The main comment that I get from our golfers is something along the lines of, you won't have any problems putting out water now. In some respects this is true, but using reclaimed water has its draw backs too.
Reclaimed water sources typically have elements in it at unwanted levels. Typically the problem sources are pH, Bicarbonates, and Sodium. They are present in natural water sources also, but usually at an acceptable level. I have some numbers to show acceptable levels, our previous water source and our new water source below.
Acceptable Levels
pH- 6.5-7.0
Bicarbonate- 0-111 ppm
Sodium- 0-70 ppm
Calcium- greater than Sodium
Old Source
pH- 7.2
Bicarbonate- 144 ppm
Sodium - 13 ppm
Calcium - 42 ppm
New Source
pH- 7.5
Bicarbonate- 451.4 ppm
Sodium- 259.17 ppm
Calcium- 50.91 ppm
As you can see the numbers drastically increased in every category with the exception of Calcium. Unfortunately Calcium is the only part of that list that we want to be really high. What this means is that we will have to make more chemical applications and Calcium applications to combat the higher numbers of pH, Bicarbonate and Sodium.
So, yes we will be able to put out more water, and get water to areas on the course that haven't seen anything but rainfall in a long time. At the same time we have to monitor the levels of water that we put out. Sometimes too much of a good thing can turn bad. Hopefully as we can get more of our irrigation system operational, we will be able to get ample amounts of water to the turf within the scope of the irrigation system.
Also, we were able to get some national exposure for the club with the reclaimed water project. Golf Course Industry Magazine used our project as a case study in water management practices in its September 2009 issue. Here is the link for anyone who is interested in reading it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cart Path Policies

I would like to take a minute and refresh every one's memory on cart path rules. There are only two possibilities, 90 degree rule and cart path only. When the course is 90 degree please drive on the cart path until you reach the area where your ball came to rest. At that point you may drive off the path directly to your ball and then back to the cart path. When the course is marked cart path only you may not drive off of the path. There is an area about 30 yards short of the greens that we try to protect on every hole to make sure that you have the best playing surface possible. You will see signs notifying you to return your cart to the path at these points.
We do offer handicapped flags to golfers with disabilities who are driving carts. This is not a drive anywhere you want flag. The flag allows you to drive in areas that other golfers are not allowed to when conditions allow it. Golfers with a flag on their cart may drive closer to the greens complex than other golfers. Golfers with a flag on their cart must obey the 90 degree and cart path only policies.
We do have two holes, #3 and #4, that are cart path only at all times. I hope that you have noticed the improvement on these two holes since we made them cart path only. The fairways have a much better playing surface, and the roughs were actually rough this summer. As opposed to last summer when you couldn't tell where the fairway stopped and the rough began.
Please keep all four wheels on the path when you park at a teeing area or a green. We have a few areas that we are trying to repair that are prone to this. Some good examples are the #6 Green and #7 Tee areas. It seems that most people like to pull just off the path in these areas. It makes it really hard to grow grass in that much traffic.
We do not post cart path only to punish golfers. We do it to protect the golf course from unnecessary stresses. So, please help us create the best playing surface possible for you and follow the cart path policies.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Changing Hazards

Most everyone has seen the conversion of the bunkers on #1 from Sand Traps to fescue Grass Bunkers. The reason for the change is because of the amount of work that some of our bunkers take to to become "playable". Even when our bunkers are in a "playable" state many of them have sand that has been contaminated by the subsoil and the rocks in it that have migrated upwards from years of mechanical raking and out of date construction techniques.
The reason that grassing them over was chosen was due to several factors. First off, we do not want to remove the hazards from play. By converting to fescue we can retain the shape and placement of the hazard while maintaining a stand of grass that can vary from a height of 4-8 inches. This still encourages golfers to hit the fairway, or they will face a very difficult shot. Secondly, the ability to do this in a minimally invasive fashion came into play. The three bunkers that we just converted on #10 fairway took us one afternoon to complete with no evidence that we were ever there. Renovating these sand traps would take a considerable amount of earth moving, drainage, sodding, and irrigation system rerouting. The process I just mentioned would have taken 2-3 weeks with heavy equipment traffic to add to the mess.
We have completed 5 bunkers so far. I hope to have 2 more done by the end of the week. The list of bunkers to change over is; #1 fairway, #8 fairway, #10 fairway, #12 fairway, #17 fairway.
Here are some pictures the day after #10 was completed.
The above picture is a view from #10 Tee. The above picture is the 3rd fairway bunker on #10.

The above picture are the two fairway bunkers on the first half of #10.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Respect The Course

As I was walking the greens the other morning I came across some points of damage on #14 green. I thought this would be a good time and place to address this. There was a divot taken out of the green where someone swung at it with a wedge, and a drag mark where it appears that someone gouged a putter into the playing surface. These actions are inexcusable. Yes, it is legal to pitch the ball off of the putting surface if it is necessary, but we have very few greens where that play is called for and definitely not on #14.

When this type of damage occurs we have to spend time repairing these areas. This is lost time for us, time we could be spending working on other areas of the course as planned.

This is not the first time this has happened, and I seriously doubt that it will be the last. My hope is that with effort and good etiquette we can great a good playing surface for all of our golfers. Just rember to leave an area as you found it, if not better than you found it.


We are 15 days out of aerification of the greens, and they are healing well despite back to back frosts last weekend. The greens are still being cut higher than normal. We do this to allow the plant to be a little more tolerant of the stress, and as to not pick up any of the layer of sand that we put down on the surface of the green. We will start dropping the height of cut to the seasonal standard next week as long as the heal in stays on this path.

Here is a picture of the middle of the putting green surface I took this morning to let you know what to expect.

I know that aerifing is a headache that comes at some of the best points of the year in golfing standards. It is something that needs to be done though. Every growing season we accumulate thatch in the soil from decomposing organic material. We have to go in and physically remove a certain amount of this material and replace it with clean sand. If the thatch layer is allowed to continually increase it will result in a poor surface throughout the season.

Over seeding

I'm sure everyone has noticed the rye grass coming up in the fairways and tees. The tees were seeded on the 28th of September. Unfortunately the fairways had to wait until the 7th of October to be seeded. The traditional seeding dates for this area is usually the second week of September, but we got backed up due to a shipping mix up and a scheduling conflict. I am hoping that we can get enough warm weather for the remainder of the fall to get the rye properly established.

Over seeded tees and fairways, while nice to play off and have a good visual reference off of the tee, also have drawbacks. We will have to be a little more strict with the cart path policies during frost periods. There will be times when the greens are ready for play but the frost has not yet burned off of the fairways yet, and this will require us to remain cart path only. What happens is the leaf blade actually freezes and any heavy traffic will damage or kill the plant. So, there will be some days that we will be cart path only until 10:00 or 11:00 due to frost. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it is a necessary evil.


Welcome to the new Indian Hills Golf Club Maintenance information area.

I have created this forum to increase the communication between the golf club and the membership and golfers around the area. I will be able to inform our golfing community about projects that we are taking on, cultural practices being performed, and any other information that could be helpful to you.

I would just like to say thanks in advance to anyone who views this forum.