Monday, November 23, 2015

Tree Work

There is a very large oak tree to the left of the fairway on #5 at Leslie Park that has seen better days. Unfortunately, this tree is very important to how the hole plays. It is also very hard to replace a tree of this size. With that in mind, we have implemented a program to try and save the tree. Earlier this year, we hired a forestry consultant to look at the tree and provide recommendations. They came out in September and loosened the soil at the base of the tree. They also recommended trimming out all of the dead wood.

This is the tree in June of 2014.

Another shot of the same tree. The yellow leaves are a sign that the tree is not healthy.

This was taken looking east before the dead wood was trimmed out.

After trimming. It should be noted that these shots are taken from the side of the hole. When viewed from the tee or the green, the tree looks less lopsided.

Looking west before trimming.

After trimming.

Hopefully, these steps will keep this tree healthy and alive for many more years.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

October 2015 Weather Summary

The highest temperature recorded at the weather station at Leslie Park Golf course in October was 76.0 degrees(Oct 20). The lowest temperature, recorded just three days earlier on Oct 17, was 28.1 degrees. There were two days that fell below freezing (the other was the next day, Oct 18.) The average temperature was 52.9 degrees.

There were seven days of rain during the month, with the highest total coming on the 28th (1.01 inches.) Three days had at least a tenth of an inch.

The highest recorded sustained windspeed was 29 mph. (Oct 24) The average windspeed was 2.7 mph.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

September 2015 Weather Summary

The high temperature for the month was 89.5 degrees (September 7th) while the low was 44.1. (September 13th) The average temperature for the month was 66.7 degrees.

September had 9 days of rain that totaled 1.99 inches, with the highest daily total falling on the 3rd.(1.00) Four days saw precipitation of over a tenth of an inch.

The average windspeed for the month was 1.5 mph. The highest sustained windspeed was 21 mph, on the 8th.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Autumn: The Season of Driving Around in Circles

The calendar says the new year begins in January. The city's finance department says the new fiscal year starts on July 1st but in the northern golf course industry, Labor Day marks the end of one year and the beginning of the next. Everything that we do from that point until the snow flies is aimed at getting the course ready for next year.

For some reason, a large portion of the golfers put away their bags after Labor Day. This may be due to football, the kids going back to school or some other reason, but play really drops in the fall. It shouldn't be the weather, because in my opinion, the fall is the best time to play golf. On many days in September and October, the high temperature will be in the upper sixties or seventies with very few clouds. If we are lucky enough to have this type of weather in April or May, golfers will be lining up to get out on the course. Of course, after a long winter, cooped up inside, I don't blame them for wanting to get outside. During the fall, this same weather will be met with open tee times and discounted rates.

Aerification cores from a tee.

This drop in play gives us an opportunity to perform some maintenance that is disruptive to golfers. Aerification is the first and most labor intensive of those practices and is why I call Autumn the "Season of Driving Around in Circles." We aerify in order to decrease compaction in the soil and to slow the accumulation of organic matter in the soil. We can do this by either removing the plug created when we "punch holes" or by dragging the plug until all that remains on the surface is the thatch layer. This dragging is done by pulling a plastic mat around on the tee that breaks up and separates the soil from the organic matter and a lot of driving around in circles. Do not eat a big lunch before doing this, motion sickness can be a real problem.

A drag mat. This is one we use on fairways.

Dragging the cores on a fairway.

A tee can make you dizzy.

After dragging, all of the soil is gone and just the thatch and other plant material is left.

The greens at Huron Hills were aerified September 14 through 16th. Leslie Parks greens will be done on the 28-29th. The back 9 tee at Leslie Park have also been aerified. After the greens at leslie are done, we will finish the front 9 tees and the begin work on the tees at Huron. Remember, you cannot trust the calendar. The New Year starts in September.

August 2015 Weather Summary

The highest temperature recorded by the weather station at Leslie Park was 90.0 degrees.

The high temperature for the month was 90.0 degrees (August 2nd) while the low was 49.8. (August 27th) The average temperature for the month was 69.1 degrees, just below the average temperature for July (70.1 degrees.)

August had 8 days of rain that totaled 3.23 inches, with the highest daily total falling on the 10th (0.89 inches) although the highest storm total came over the 2nd-3rd, with 1.15 inches. Six days saw precipitation of over a tenth of an inch.

The average windspeed for the month was just 1.6 mph. The highest sustained windspeed was 28 mph, on the 19th.

Thursday, August 27, 2015


The fall of the year is a great time to grow grass. This is a good thing, because we need to do some restoration of some areas, that for one reason or another, do not have grass on them.

During the senior tournament, we had a hydraulic oil leak on #1 green at Leslie Park. This resulted in three and a half lines of dead grass spanning the width of the green.

Dead grass.

We took some sod from the practice green to repair the area.

One line has been replaced.

Right before the City Championship in July, we also had a hydraulic leak on #5 fairway.

After a month, you can hardly see the area we replaced the damaged grass.

The area near the front of #4 fairway where we took the sod to replace #5. The bentgrass is growing in nicely, for the most part.

You might wonder why we took sod out of one place to put it in another. In this case, the extreme slope on #5 would have been very difficult to get grass to germinate on, without the bare soil eroding away. Taking it from #4, which is not a landing area but is pretty flat, allows me to control the soil moisture more easily.

This hydraulic leak on #3 is in a flatter area. This will probably be cut out with a sod cutter and seeded.

The end of the cart path on #9 got beaten down from cart traffic. It got some top soil and seed. It also was roped off to let the seed germinate.

The end of #4 cart path got a similar treatment.

The end of #8 path was very sandy and rocky. The top soil was added and then roto-tilled to make a better root zone.

The end of #3 was roto-tilled to loosen the soil before adding top soil and seed.

This area near #16 green has never recovered from the Traver Creek project. Hopefully, this time the grass will take.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

July 2015 Weather Summary

July turned out to be much more seasonable than the weather we have had the rest of the year. July should be summer-like and that is what we got. The high temperature for the month was 89.0 degrees (July 28th) while the low was 49.4. (July 3rd) The average temperature for the month was 70.4 degrees,  This is right between the average temperatures for 2014 and 2013. If you look back further, the average temperatures for July 2011 and 2012 were closer to 76 degrees, but each of those had 10 days that had high temperatures above 90, while the first day above that for 2015 came in August.

The record rainfall we had in June also came back toward normal levels, with only 2.17 inches of rain during the month. It was spread over 8 days with the most falling on the 9th (0.60 inches.) This also meant that we ran the irrigation for the first time this year. The All-City Championship ended on July 19th and the first full irrigation cycle happened on the 20th. That is definitely the latest that a full cycle has been used since I started with the city. Five days had at least a tenth of an inch of precipitation.

The average windspeed for the month was just 1.3 mph. The highest sustained windspeed was 23 mph, on the 31st.