Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Catching up

The fall has been busy at the golf courses for the City of Ann Arbor. I want to apologize for not keeping up with blogging more. I will make up for it by offering up a quick summary of some of the projects we have been doing.

New Practice Green for Leslie Park

At the beginning of September, we stripped this area of rough behind #1 tee.

We added 60 tons of sand mixed with top soil.

Shaped it and seeded it with bentgrass. This will be an additional practice putting green. 

Five days later, the grass was starting to germinate.

Two weeks after seeding, it looked like this. We have now mowed it three times at 0.400 inch. In the spring, we will slowly bring it down to our normal green cutting height of 0.125 inch.

Level and expand tees at Leslie Park

Some of the smaller tees are getting noticeably mounded in the center. This comes from golfers taking shots from the same spots and maintenance filling the divots with sand and seed. After 20 years, the center of the tee may have grown by 6 or 12 inches. 

This forward tee on #9 was stripped of sod and leveled.

Sod from a different tee was laid out on the level surface.

It looks like we will only get to the two forward tees on #9, the white tee on #18 and the right side tee on #7 this year.

Rock wall on #7 tee at Leslie Park

As part of the leveling of #7 tee at Leslie, we are also trying to expand the usable teeing area on the back of this tee. In order to accomplish this, we are adding a rock wall, which will allow us to build up the back corner of the tee.

Geo-textile fabric is laid out behind the rocks to keep erosion to a minimum.

Cart paths and rock walls at Huron Hills

New cart paths were added to #13, 14 and 15 at Huron Hills this year. They tie into the path that was put in last year on #12. In order to keep to contours of the holes as close to original as possible and still have a fairly flat path, rock walls were also put in here.

#13 at Huron.

#15 at Huron.

Fertilizing Oak by #5 at Leslie

This oak on the right side of #5 fairway has been declining in recent years. Last year, we pruned all of the dead wood out of the canopy and de-compacted the soil around the tree.

We had a leaf tissue analysis done this year and found out that there were some micro-nutrients the tree was lacking. Micro-nutrients are nutrients aside from the big three of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.  Here the arborists are preparing to inject the nutrients into the tree's bark.

A close-up view of the system of tubes and injection sites.

Greens aerification and top-dressing.

During aerification, I would always break tines on the front, left corner of #2 green at Leslie. After doing so again this year, I decided to dig up the rock that we kept hitting.

This little guy will love it's new home in the rock wall on #7 tee.

October 2017 Weather Summary

October 2017 had an average temperature of 55.8 degrees, down just under 10 degrees from September. The high temperature was 84.7 (October 3rd) and the lowest recorded temperature was 30.6, (Oct 26th  which was also the only day during the month that the temperature dipped below the freezing point.)

We got 5.58 inches of rain at Leslie Park's weather station during October. The rain fell on 15 different days, with the largest amount coming on the 11th (1.64 inches.) Nine  days recorded more than a tenth of an inch. That brings the total so far to 37.33 inches for 2017.

Friday, October 6, 2017

September 2017 Weather Summary

Dr. Kevin Frank from Michigan State University said that it seemed as if August and September switched places this year. I couldn't agree more. September had five days with high temperatures above 90 degrees. The rest of 2017 had only one, as June 12th got to 90.0 degrees exactly. The highest temperature at Leslie Park was 91.9 (September 22nd,) which was in the middle of a stretch of seven days with high temperatures above 85 degrees and had all five of the 90 degree-plus days. The lowest temperature was 41.5 (10th,) while the average was 64.6 degrees.

We got 1.34 inches of rain at Leslie Park's weather station during September while Huron received less than one inch. The hurricanes that hit Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico kept high pressure and clear skies above Michigan for most of the month. The rain fell on six different days, with the largest amount coming on the 4th (0.77 inches.) The next highest rainfall was 0.32 inches, just three days later. That meant just a quarter of an inch of rain fell from September 8th through the end of the month. That week of hot temperatures also fell in the last half of the month, so these factors combined to make the grass think it was mid-summer. Only 2 days recorded more than a tenth of an inch. That brings the total so far to 26.11 inches for 2017.

As I write this on October 6th, we have gotten 0.27 inches of rain today, so we hope we have turned the corner on the dry weather.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Fence near Oak Cliff

When the Oak Cliff apartments went in along #8 at Leslie Park, we knew that the increase in non-golfers in that area would be significant. We decided that a more apparent delineation of the golf course boundary was needed. We opted for a fence similar to the one we put on #12, along Traver Road.

Posts going in.

The fence ended up being nearly 900 feet long.

In this shot taken from the fairway looking back, you can see the Oak Cliff apartment complex.

From the tee, the fence is well hidden.

It does provide a tangible out of bounds, as well as a reminder to stay off the golf course, if you are not playing.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Baby Turtles

Yesterday, one of the Natural Area Preservation crew noticed that the turtle eggs they had moved to our turtle nesting mounds (Read more HERE) were hatching. Here are some pictures of the little guys.

And a couple of videos.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

August 2017 Weather Summary

August 2017 had an average temperature of 68.6 degrees, down about 4 degrees from July. The high temperature was 87.6 (August 2nd) and the lowest recorded temperature was 46.7 (25th.)

We got 2.58 inches of rain at Leslie Park's weather station during August. The rain fell on eight different days, with the largest amount coming on the 17th (0.80 inches.) Five days recorded more than a tenth of an inch. That brings the total so far to 24.77 inches for 2017.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Barn Painting

When I first started at the City of Ann Arbor in 2009, one of the first things I noticed was the beautiful 100-plus-year-old barn. Unfortunately,the exterior had not been painted in the memory of anyone working at the course.

I set about trying to find someone who would be willing and able to undertake this task. I contacted historic barn preservation groups and farmers. I called painting companies and general contractors. I either got no response or an estimate that was well into five figures. I did find one barn restoration expert. He looked at the barn and had many things he wanted to do, in addition to painting the barn.  His cost estimate was not spectacularly high. All looked good for us to finally get the barn painted. When the city contacted him to get his tax information, he started complaining about the government regulations and refused to give any tax information for billing purposes. Another dead end.

Finally, the barn was in such a state that we could not ignore it anymore and the City Park Operations crew had to paint it. They rented a lift and bought 110 gallons of paint. The results were striking.

The barn in 2009

The barn today.

The first coat goes on the east side.

You can see the barn back in 2014.

From near #10 green in 2017.

This is a picture of one of the bat houses we mounted on the barn in 2012.

The south side (toward #17 tee) of the barn was worn the most.

I think this was taken in 2011.

The flag looks crooked due to the perspective of the camera. I hope.