Haymaker Spring Update
It’s always exciting to announce the start of a new golf season! Though there is much work to be done preparing the grounds for opening day, Mother Nature and that beautiful spring sunshine is taking care of the snowpack quickly.
At this time the course is clear of snow but the grounds are saturated and holding water high in the profile which is preventing us form operating equipment and beginning our maintenance practices.
This week our grounds crew will begin the process of preparing the course. Our first order of business will be aerification of the greens. Now before you begin to dread the thought of bumpy greens let me explain the process for 2019. This season we’ll be using a different setup. Instead of running the usual 5/8” hollow ejectors which remove plugs, require heavy topdressing and take a fair amount of time to heal, we’ll be running a 3/8” solid tine. The benefit of the 3/8” solid tine will be less topdressing, cleanup will be quicker and the healing time will be sped up. What does this mean for you? The condition of the greens will be wonderful for your early season rounds.
Now that I have you feeling good about the greens I have to add one section that is disappointing to us all. Vole damage on the grounds is fairly extensive this season. Though we employ several tactics attempting to negate the damage caused by this unpleasant pest, no matter what you do, you have to take it in stride and this year is no exception. We are seeing damage around the greens, approaches, collars, low lying areas near drain basins, tee boxes and in the rough. Just like other years when we’ve had considerable damage we simply focus our attention on highly playable areas like the approaches and tees. Once these areas have been addressed we’ll move onto other damaged areas. Although the damage is unsightly and can provide you with an unfair lie, please be assured that we’re doing everything in our power to create favorable playing conditions.
Tomorrow we will charge our irrigation system. This process also involves checking all irrigation heads for proper function and testing communication between our central computer and the irrigation controllers on the golf course. Charging the irrigation system lets us know how the system wintered and if certain areas will need repair. When the pumps are fired we’re looking for the pumps to stabilize and shut down. This tells us that the system is tight. If the pumps stabilize but continue to fire then we are out looking for the problems and finding solutions. This process will be completed by our irrigation tech Rick Marchewka and I can say that he is the best there is!
There are several other tasks that will need to be completed in order for the course to open with favorable conditions. The bunkers will be tilled and turned over. This process involves our staff using landscaping style rakes, shovels and other hand tools to probe the bunkers and redistribute sand allowing the bunkers to be more consistent. Debris left on the grounds from animals and Mother Nature will be cleaned, cleared and removed. On certain areas of the course we’ll be using a small harrow while in other areas of the course we’ll be using large pull behind harrows to turn over and open up some of the rough grass. After the cleaning and prep work is complete we will put a first cut on the grounds and lay the stripes for the 2019 season.
We have plenty of work to do on this end but our trained staff is eager to begin work. I have the utmost confidence to say the checklist will be handled with no problem this season.
Thank you to all golfers who come out and enjoy the Haymaker Golf Course. We appreciate your patience and understanding as always. Hit em’ straight!
Assistant Superintendent, Adam Sando