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As the Fairway Grows

A blog from the keeper of the course

MattHopper.jpgWelcome to As the Fairway Grows, the monthly golf course blog by our Golf Course Superintendent Matthew Hopper.  Each month Matt will be giving you a behind the scenes look at the maintenance, daily keep, and the upgrades that are going on around the Carroll Valley Golf Course.

Matt has a degree in Turfgrass Management from Penn State and a bachelor's degree in horticulture from Durban University of Technology in Durban, South Africa.

Enjoy.

 

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July 17, 2014

Much of this years weather pattern has been dominated by one common theme; fast, heavy rain. There has rarely been a rain event this year that has produced a slow, steady soaking rain that infiltrates and permeates through the soil without causing wash-outs, excessive run-off or flooding and all the other issues that we tend to get with the heavy rains.   Heavy rains are always followed by several days of extra hard work for our crew but through their efforts we are able to get the course back to top playing condition very quickly.

The heavy rain in short time periods can cause a myriad of problems for us on the golf course.  With the heavy rains we have to deal with issues like:

  • Washed out bunkers that need immediate repair
  • Adverse soil conditions that are created in a matter of hours
  • Disruption to mowing and other routine maintenance practices
  • Downed trees and course clean-up
  • Cart path only for golfers


It doesn't take much for bunker faces to wash-out and the sand to slide to the bottom of the bunkers, as little as a half inch in a very short time can do it.  Our approach to the problem:  First, any remaining water must be pumped out before any repair can begin, then sand has to be loosened up from the bottom of the bunkers before it can be effectively moved back up the faces and then, once the sand has been moved back up using shovels, rakes or a sand machine with a blade attachment, the edges have to be smoothed out by hand raking and the bunker floor can then be raked again a final time.   It is one of the less pleasant jobs for the crew but we typically can have bunkers in good playing condition within a day or two of the storm.

Soil conditions can go from great to problematic in a matter of hours after a heavy rain event, especially in the summer months when heat and humidity get involved. Heat and humidity combined with saturated soils can lead to anaerobic (lacking oxygen) soil conditions and then the turfgrass roots cannot breathe; they suffocate and can die without proper attention.  Wet wilt can become common. Wet wilt acts like dry wilt but occurs when there is no available oxygen as opposed to no available moisture in dry wilt. Due to impaired root function, the plant cannot take up water fast enough to keep pace with its transpiration cooling needs and the plant shows signs of wilt. Our approach to the problem: Preventive maintenance is the key here.  Managing the thatch/organic layer helps the greens tremendously during stressful periods and this is a major reason why we aerate our greens regularly during the year. Core aeration in the spring and fall are accompanied by solid tine aerations in June, July and August to help keep the greens vented and fresh oxygen circulating to the root zone.  We were able to purchase a new state of the art Toro aerification machine last year which is extremely efficient and allow greens to heal much faster than in the past.

Heavy rain events can also disrupt our most routine practices like mowing. Mowing is a daily practice on a golf course, the roughs are mowed daily, greens mowed 5 to 7 times per week and the tees, green collars and approach areas 3 to 4 times per week, we have a routine for all of these mowings and rain can significantly disrupt these routines and sometimes course conditions can be altered because of it. Our approach to the problem: Sometimes, depending on the amount of rain, not mowing is the better choice than mowing. Mowing closely cut areas like greens, which are mowed at 1/9th of an inch, can do more harm and inflict a greater potential for problems like diseases to occur. Scalping due to soft soil conditions, compaction issues and quality of cut are all issues we need to be aware of in wet conditions.  Our crew monitors the conditions closely and takes alternative measures like rolling the greens instead of mowing to ensure a smooth playable surface.

Wind combined with soft, wet ground after a big rain is another concern and we have had a lot of strong wind storms this summer so far. This combination can bring down the biggest, oldest trees with ease. We have been lucky this year so far, in that we have lost no big specimen trees.  Our approach to the problem:  Clean up to get the areas affected re-opened and the safety of all is a top priority for us.  Fortunately when things have been particularly rough we are able to call on our ski Mountain Operations staff to assist us in getting the course in good playing condition as quickly as possible.

The final issue I will mention concerns our guests and golfers more than it does to us as a maintenance crew, but it is greatly important to the health and well-being of the course, those three terrible words CART PATH ONLY. I know these are dreaded words to all golfers, but the damage caused by carts driving on wet soils and through puddles can be lasting.   Added soil compaction results in anaerobic soil conditions developing more quickly and the physical damage is just as bad, ruts left by tires can be difficult to fix and take a long time to heal. I know cart path only is a hassle, but we do it for the good of the course in the short and long terms and it is always only temporary.  Our approach to the problem:  We are constantly and consistently upgrading our drainage system on the course.  We spend much of our time over the winter months with drainage projects in problem areas with our goal to have carts off the path as quickly as possible following a storm.

My crew has done a consistently great job of not only recovering from the many rains but also taking care of daily course maintenance and upgrades.  The course is currently in great playing condition.  We still have many more months of great golfing weather and if you are up for a round, we'd love to have you. On August 31 we have a "Go low, big cup challenge" where the course will be set up off the front tees and every green will have an 8 inch cup instead of the regulation size 4 ½ inch. Join us for that and see how low you can go!!

See you on the course!!

Matt Hopper

June, 16 2014

The Golf Course Naturalized Areas
If you have been playing golf at the Carroll Valley Golf Course for any longer than the past 3 years, you would have noticed the establishment and implementation of naturalized, or native, grassland areas around the golf course. While there were always some naturalized areas around the course, some have been expanded and others created in an attempt to enhance the general environment of the golf course and create a visually more defined playing area.

It is important to remember that as a Golf Course Superintendent, I am not only responsible for the daily maintenance of the golf course but that I am also environmentally responsible for its surroundings as well. This means careful and conscious thought should be given to every area, from the all important greens to the scarcely noticed or recognized out-of-play areas, all these areas are living inter-connected communities that provide habitat for a large number of wildlife and should be treated with care.

With the creation of some of these naturalized areas, I have tried to enhance these communities as well as strengthen the golf course's overall environment with the benefits that these areas bring. Areas of natural and native grasses can greatly benefit the environment and golf course through:

1.    Irrigation savings
2.    Reduced fuel use and therefore less pollutant outputs
3.    Reduced labor resulting in lower operating costs
4.    Improved aesthetics
5.    Better wildlife habitat resulting in a healthier micro-environment
6.    Acting as natural erosion controls and barriers
7.    Filtering run-off and improving water quality
8.    An increased level of challenge and variety to golfers

Another important consideration with regard to wildlife habitat is the presence of ecotones, which are the transition areas between habitat types. For instance, edges of forests and riparian areas could be considered ecotones. The most desirable approach when considering ecotones is to avoid stark transitions like straight lines. Transition areas should approximate the natural landscape and include irregular borders and a diverse vegetative composition. Ecotones are important components of the ecosystem as they represent areas of community interaction and varied wildlife habitat components.

In creating and expanding these areas around the Carroll Valley Golf Course, I have tried to make it a point to make sure these areas do not overly encroach on the playing surfaces to the point that they ever punish a decent golf shot. I am, however, a firm believer that game should be challenging and that an errant shot has the possibility of being punished accordingly and I feel that our naturalized areas meet this demand. In the future, we will be adding bird houses to these areas to further improve these wildlife habitats with the ultimate goal of meeting the criteria needed to become a certified Audubon sanctuary.

As always, I would appreciate any feedback that you may like to give me and I would welcome any comments or questions regarding this topic. This is a golf course that I want everyone to enjoy as well as an environment that I want to see thrive and be of benefit to the surrounding community.
Please feel free to contact me at: mhopper@skiliberty.com

We look forward to seeing you on the course!!

May 27, 2014

The month of May has thrown a lot of different tricks at us this year, from frost to flood and everything inbetween. It has been a successful month for us on the golf course and we have achieved everything we set out to for the month, my crew has worked tirelessly and efficiently and I am proud of all of their efforts.

blog_052814.jpgAll of our landscaping projects are nearing completion and the flower gardens on the course are looking terrific. We have a great mix of annuals and perennials in the tee gardens that will provide color all season long. We just have one area to finish up behind the 9th green with planting and mulch.

Our cultural programs are now in full swing, after a sluggish start to the spring weather we are on track with all of those. Our greens mowers at their set heights for the season, at 0.115 inches. We are grooming the greens with vertical mowing blades 2 to 3 times per week, this helps stand the turf up especially during this very active growing period, resulting in a better quality of cut and better overall smoothness and speed. We also roll our greens 2 to 3 times per week to maintain firmness, smoothness and speed. Rolling has also been shown to reduce disease pressure in many recent studies. This coming week we will be fertilizing our fairways as part of our nutrient management plan, this will keep them "fed" for the remainder of the season. In the coming weeks, we plan on needle tining our greens to maintain good root zone air exchange and following that process with a light topdressing. All of these processes are vital for the health and long term well being of the playing surfaces. A good healthy active spring will ensure we head into the summer months on a strong foundation which is the key to surviving July and August.

Over the last week and a half we have experienced 5.5 inches of rainfall, which is a lot over the course of a month, but consider that we had 4.75 of those inches in a 9 hour window and you can imagine the effect it had on the golf course. It was considerable, we had massive flooding especially on the lower portion of the course, entire fairways were submerged(14 pictured), bunkers were completely washed out and cart paths heavily eroded in some spots. A week and a half later we are fully recovered and thankfully no greens were harmed, it was a few days of around the clock clean up; stones, mud, leaves and in some cases large tree trunks came floating down Tom's Creek. An unforgettable event for sure.

The weather forecast looks gorgeous and June is always a great month to get outside and golf. Visit our website for golf specials and events, like the Superintendents Revenge on July 6 at noon, where I will test your skill and patience with some crazy golf course set-up and pin locations!!

Please contact me with any questions at my email: mhopper@skiliberty.com
If you have a twitter account you can follow my maintenance department: @CVGolfatLiberty

We look forward to seeing you on the course!!

 

May 6, 2014

The start of spring has been rather consistent in one regard, cool to cold morning temperatures and an annoyingly frequent frost intrusion. This has made for some interesting times on the course and really put an emphasis on the correct timing of a lot of our applications. As they say, "timing is everything" and that's never truer for us on the course then it is in spring.

Timing is crucial when it comes to making preventative applications to the turf that will provide season long control for; grubs and bugs, crabgrass, goosegrass and other grassy weeds, and perhaps most importantly for us, the control and suppression of the Poa annua seedheads on the greens.  More often than not, the timing of these applications depends on a few important factors in conjunction, like soil temperature, air temperature and day length. So now, with the constant cool mornings keeping soil temperatures very low but the increase in day length and air temp warming as they day goes on, it makes the need for accurate timing difficult and critical. So far, everything has worked out well, our seedhead suppression has been spot on and I think so too has our grub and bug control. We won't know much about our grassy weed control until July and August, but I feel confident we had good timing there too.

blog_050614_01.jpgOur golf course beautification program has been successful so far, on Earth Day we completed the planting of 35 new trees and 38 new shrubs throughout the course. The trees range in size from 5 to 10 foot in height and will take some settling in to their new environments, but they are all doing well and already producing the flowers for which they were selected. The same can be said for the shrubs, most of which are planted behind the third green in a renovated area where we created a new flower bed. We still have much planting to do though, we have hundreds of annuals and perennials now on site and it's down to the time consuming process of planting them. We look forward to the results and know that it will make the course a much more colorful place to be.

Please remember to fill divots and repair your ball marks on the greens, it is crucially important to the health and playability of these surfaces that these are repaired.

We look forward to seeing you out on the course and we hope that you enjoy your stay with us.

Feel free to contact me with suggestions, concerns or questions at mhopper@skiliberty.com.

Matt Hopper - Golf Course Superintendent

Projects and Spring Practices Update - April 7, 2014

Spring has officially started, although it does not quite feel that way as yet. We have had only a handful of days in the 60's, while the night time lows are still relatively low compared to normal. As a point of reference, we are about two blog_040714_01.jpgweeks behind where we were at this time last year when comparing turf growth and temperatures, and about five weeks behind the very early spring of 2012. We have started our mowing and core cultivation practices, although we are by no means in a mid season routine yet.

The good news is that our major spring projects and cultural practices are complete and the healing process has begun. Greens aeration, which was originally scheduled for March 31, was pushed back a few days due to weather, but we 'snuck' it in between weather events and it went well. We used a half inch quad tine at a two inch spacing to pull a 3 inch plug, after we had the greens cleaned up we topdressed with kiln dried sand and followed that up with fertilizer to target root growth and overall strength and health. This process was completed on April 2.

We have now also completed the resurfacing of the tee boxes that we were working on this winter. On holes 3, 4, 9 and 11, we stripped and leveled those teeing grounds, added a fresh construction mix of sand and peat moss and blog_040714_02.jpgthen this past Thursday finished laying new sod. Like last year, we continued to replace the old turf with bentgrass sod, this has a much higher stress and recovery tolerance than the ryegrass that was previously on the tees. There is now the waiting period that all new sod must go through before we can open the tees for use. It should take about 2 to 3 weeks for the new sod to knit into the soil below and form a tight, firm and stable surface that is suitable for use. We hope to open these tees by Easter weekend.

Other happenings around the course include the start up of our new irrigation system that is now fully functioning. We have also applied the first of two applications to our greens that will prevent the Poa annua (Annual bluegrass) from producing seedheads, it's these seedheads that can make for very bumpy spring greens and also cause problems as we head into summer when this notorious winter annual grass dies. Applying growth regulators can prevent this seedhead production and 'trick' the Poa into continuing its life cycle. Soon we will be starting to plant our trees, shrubs, annuals and perennials around the golf course, we have 35 new trees, 30 shrubs and 69 flats of annuals and perennials that will be planted.

Spring is a terrific time on a golf course but it is also generally a wet time, please be careful where you drive and try to stay on the cart paths as much as possible. Remember to fill your divots and repair your ballmarks on the greens. A ballmark repaired within 10 minutes can heal within a day or two, but if left can take up to 3 weeks to recover, leaving behind a bumpy and speckled looking green.

We look forward to seeing you out on the course soon!!

Spring Time

It seems like we have been under constant snow cover for the best part of the year to date, but the last week and half (not including yesterday, of course) has given us renewed hope that spring hasn't forgotten about us just yet.


blog_032014_01.jpgTransitioning from winter to spring is exciting for golfers and course employees alike, and with daylight saving time in effect, players have more time after work or school and cannot wait to get on the course at the first sign of spring. Before you assume that warmer weather means manicured turf, keep in mind the golf course has been frozen and/or covered in snow for months.

Once playing surfaces are clear of snow, ice and frost, some maintenance to prepare the course is will be done, but before initial cutting of any fine-turf areas, especially greens, it is preferable to roll them a few times to smooth out any irregularities that result following soil expansion or heaving from freeze/thaw cycles. We will also be raising the height of cut on the greens to reduce the risk of mechanical damage, the heights will then be lowered back in mid-April. Following the initial mowing, we will supplement regular mowing with rolling as needed until turf resumes active growth. Mowing once or twice a week may be all that is needed in the short term.

Cart restrictions are to be expected at this time of year. Golf courses are exposed to melting snow and slowly thawing soil profiles. Saturated soils in conjunction with slow turf growth mean fine-turf areas stay wetter longer in the early spring. Remember, saturated soils plus cart traffic equals ruts and compacted soils. So please, keep carts on the paths as much as you can.

blog_032014_02.jpgWe are in the process of trying to complete our winter projects before the turf starts growing, we have some tee boxes that we are leveling and resurfacing and hope to have them completed by early April. This is entirely weather dependant.  We are also in the process of finishing up our tree projects and have started basic maintenance procedures like bunker raking.

We are all excited to finally be outside, but remember it is early in the season and there are plenty of good days to come. We all need to be cautious and remember that any damage done to the turf trying to force playing surfaces into mid-season shape could severely impact the quality for the rest of the year . Enjoy the outdoors and know that we are working to ensure the golf course is in the best condition possible as the season progresses.

We look forward to seeing you out on the course soon!!


Matt Hopper - Golf Course Superintendent
If you have any questions feel free to contact me: email: mhopper@skiliberty.com
Twitter: CVGolfatLiberty

Meet Our Winter Golf Course Staff - February 28, 2014 


As we head into spring, I'd like to take a brief moment to recognize and thank my hard working winter staff. The staff will grow in number to around 10 to 12 in the coming weeks so this makes it a good time for you to meet the guys that got a many of our winter projects completed:  

 

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Cody Puller
Assistant Superintendent 

Cody Puller has been my Assistant Superintendent since August of 2013 and has been part of the maintenance crew here for the past two seasons. Cody is currently enrolled at Penn State University and is taking classes in Agronomy and Turf Management. A Littlestown High School graduate and member of their Football team, Cody is passionate about golf and the opportunities the sport has to offer. I look forward to continuing to help Cody in his early day's in the turf industry and teaching him some of the vital lessons I have learned. Cody is a quick learner and I am grateful to have him on our staff. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chris Dahlen

Chris Dahlen joined our maintenance department on May 2013 having just completed four years of service in the United States Army. Chris served in a tour of duty in Afganistan with the 10th Mountain Division and was awarded a Purple Heart during this deployment, we are grateful for his service and sacrifice. Chris is a Gettysburg High School graduate and is currently engaged to be married in October. It has been a pleasure having Chris on the crew and his dedication and hard work is a valuable asset.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Adam Poulson 

Adam Poulson is the newest addition to our crew having joined us early December, although he does have a long history of employment with the company during golf and ski seasons. Adam is a graduate of Fairfield High School and is a current Penn State Mont Alto student. Adam is a very accomplished golfer and most importantly a hard worker. We look forward to having him on our crew as the new golf season gets under way and know that he will be an asset to us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter 2013/2014

Work Completed

Golf Course Accessories

cvgolf_winterprojects2014_teemarkers.jpg1.    Tee Markers (144).
Sorted and discarded older/damaged ones and replaced with new. Sanded all tee markers and cleaned up, then taped with painters tape in preparation for painting. Primed and painted, with two coats. After the paint had dried, removed painters tape and cleaned off in prep for polycoating. Applied two coats of poly. Stacked and stored for spring.

2.    Yardage posts (72).
Sorted and repaired older/damaged ones with wood filling compound. Sanded all posts and cleaned up, then taped with painters tape in preparation for painting. Primed and painted, with two coats. After the paint had dried, removed painters tape and cleaned off in prep for polycoating. Applied two coats of poly. Stacked and stored for spring.

3.    Ball Washers (18).
Brought ball washers in from course and let dry out. Sort and discard the two oldest, most damaged ones to be replaced with new ones. Once they had dried out, sanded by hand all the ball washers to remove paint. Cleaned up, and prepped for priming and paint. Primed all ball washers and applied two coats of black paint. Stacked and stored for spring.cvgolf_winterprojects2014_ballwashers.jpg

4.    Trash Cans (18)
Sort and discarded the two oldest and most damaged ones to be replaced by new ones this spring. Sanded all trash cans and cleaned to prep for primer and paint. Primed and painted all trash cans and stacked and stored for spring.

5.    Tee Signs (18)
Brought in tee signs in early December. Sorted and made repairs where necessary. Sanded all tee signs by hand so as not to damage or disfigure any. Cleaned up all tee signs and prepped for poly coating. Touched up paint where needed and applied two coats of poly. Stacked and stored for spring.

6.    Water Cooler Towers (6)
Un-bolted and removed water cooler towers from their bases and brought into the shop. After letting them dry out we cleaned the towers before sanding. We then sanded all the towers and cleaned off and remaining dust and debris. Applied two coats of poly coating and stored away for spring.

On- Course Work Completed and Plans for 2014

cvgolf_winterprojects2014_landscapinghole3.jpg1.    Landscaping at Hole 3 Green
We started this work in late Fall and continued through winter. Cleared all scrub and "junk" trees on the bank behind 3 green in preparation for landscaping in the spring. Cut sod behind green at the base of the up slope to create a flower bed. We transplanted some of the ornamental grasses that were around the Carroll Valley building to behind the green on the top of the slope to act as a barrier for the sand piles, this has worked well even though this year we plan on storing sand elsewhere. We also transplanted some other plant material (azaleas and Liriodendron) from the C.V clubhouse to this bed. The plans are to plant Azaleas, Rhododendrons and Hydrangeas as the flowering shrubs into this area, while the annuals will be made up of Coleus, Celosia's and Petunia's. The shrubs in this area will take some time to get established but the end result will be a massive "wall" of color behind the green.

2.    Tree Pruning at Hole 3 Green-side
We have limbed up the Sycamore and removed two of the Pine trees that sit to the left hand side of number three's green. As you know, this green struggles with turf quality in the latter half of summer and I feel this is primarily due to the trees that border the green  and the shade issues that they present. The removal and pruning of these trees will allow more morning sunlight to reach the green in the late July/ August months and coupled with the work behind the green, should allow a more positive air flow pattern in the area over the green as well.

cvgolf_winterprojects2014_drainage.jpg3.    Drainage
We have completed about 3500 feet of drain installation with catch basins this winter in some critical areas. New drainage has been installed behind number 3 green, on the lower half of number 4 fairway and across and down the left side of number 13 fairway. These areas were identified as in desperate need of new drainage and this should significantly increase playability and turf health in these areas.

4.    Tree Improvement Project (Operation Sun and Air)
Much like last winter we have undertaken a rather extensive tree improvement project with the goal of enhancing the appearance of the property, eliminating unwanted/ undesirable species and improving turf health by creating greater avenues for sunlight and airflow. To date approximately 250 to 300 trees have been removed and/or enhanced. The largest undertaking is to the left side of hole number 6's green, where we decided to remove the entire grove on Ailanthus trees. These trees are an invasive species native to Asia and Northern Australasia. These trees are nutrient sappers and offer no desirable qualities. We have not removed any of the Pine trees or the Oak trees that we have uncovered in our tree clearing in this area. The removal of this grove will aide greatly in sunlight and air flow patterns in this area.

Also on number 6, but down at the tee box, we have cleared a lot of the dead and over-hanging growth around the right side of the tee complex. This area was densely overgrown and as a result many trees had become deformed and/or died from over crowding. This had become a safety concern to golfers on the tee, as well as a turf health concern due to shade and density. This area has been thinned to the creek, with healthy specimens remaining in this area.

Much like the work at number 6 tee, we conducted similar work to the are behind number 13 tee, left of number 12 green and down both side of Tom's Creek that runs in this area. The area had become overgrown with dead or dying trees making for a potential dangerous situation. This area was cleaned out of undesirable/ unhealthy trees, aiding the healthy ones and improving the safety of the area as well as proving better views of the creek.

Tree density had become a turf and playability issue in the area to the right side of number 14 green and behind the men's senior tee on number 15. Because of this we have also thinned the area of undesirable trees in this area. This will help the turf quality to improve as well as increase playability here and make the area more attractive in the process.

cvgolf_winterprojects2014_landscaping16_1.jpg5.    Landscaping at 16 tee
An overhaul to the landscaped flower beds on number 16 tee was an area that we identified and targeted as an area that could be greatly improved upon. This area had become an overgrown monochromatic jumble so we have begun the process of clearing out and redesigning these beds. Already transplanted from the Carroll Valley "construction zone" is a Japanese Weeping Pine and an already finalized landscape design will be implemented this spring. Included in this design is Weeping Cherry tree and a mass of annuals and perennials to include; Zinnia's, Coleus, Petunia's, Winterberry Holly's and Celosia's.

6.    Tee Gardens
As part of the ever on-going  golf course beautification work that we are always looking improve upon, a redesign of the tee gardens was near the top of the list. As a result, I have come up with seven different designs for these tee gardens, each design tailored to suit each individual area on the course, taking into account sunlight, shade, water requirements etc. All of the tee gardens will produce stunning displays of color (flowers) and texture (foliage diversity) by utilizing a variety of plant material in a simplistic and natural design. Eight varieties of annuals and five different perennial species will be used in these areas.

7.    Tree Planting
While we have removed and improved upon many trees on the property this winter, I would like to say that we are not just focused on the removal side of the trees on the course.  On this note, we will be planting 25 trees on the golf course this spring. The primary areas of planting will be on the clubhouse side of the property, Holes number 1 and 9 will see the most new trees while there will also be new additions on hole 6 and 16.
The need for color and flowering capacity in the new trees is an area of importance to us, so we have picked tree species that will provide this for us. Of the 25 new trees, there will be five different species including: Weeping Cherry's to be planted behind number 6 tee and 16 tee; Royal Burgundy Cherry's to be planted in the area around the new pump house; Eastern Redbud's to be planted on the bank between hole 9 and 10 and down the right side of number 1 by the open field; Hawthorn 'Winter King' to be planted on the bank between hole 9 and 10 and near the new pump house as well as down the right side of number 1 and; Flowering Dogwood's to be planted between holes 9 and 1.

8.    Nursery Project
It has always been my intention to establish a turf grass nursery in the area outside our shop. This area will be primarily a Perennial Ryegrass block as this is the dominant turf that we have on the golf course, but I will incorporate a block of '007' Creeping Bentgrass into this area as well. Having a nursery is a vital component of being able to repair and replace areas of turf, large or small, that get damaged throughout the golf season as well as having an area that we can test machinery and tools on and also act as a training area for new employees before they go out on the golf course. It is also my plan to enclose this area more so that it is less visible from the golf course.

cvgolf_winterprojects2014_teeleveling2.jpg9.    Tee Leveling Project
Like last year, we have identified a few tees most in need for renovations. Holes number 3, 4, 9 and 11 will all have the men's tees leveled and resurfaced this spring. Hole number 9 has also had the men's senior and ladies tee relocated up the slope closer to the cart path. We did this as we felt this would cut down of cart traffic over a weaker turf area and also improve the playability and aesthetics of the hole. The new teeing ground on number 9 offers not only a better view of the golf course and surrounding valley, but a better vantage point from which to play the hole. The other holes (3,4 and 11) will be stripped of its current sod and leveled off before re-sodding takes place as the weather allows. All of the tees will become '007' Creeping bentgrass which is the same as the tees that we renovated last year.  Creeping bentgrass was chosen for its ability to recover quicker from divot damage and its overall superior resiliency.

Work TO BE Completed

While we have had a very busy winter so far, we have not been able to accomplish very much in regards to the turf and earth moving projects that we have planned due to the excessive days of snow cover and frigid below normal temperatures. We know when this weather pattern does eventually break that we will have to take advantage of every opportunity we have to work quickly and efficiently to accomplish our winter goals. We have much to do yet, including:

  1. Tee Projects - Strip, level and re-sod tees on 3, 4, 9 and 11
  2. Tree Improvement project - Continue to work on areas we have identified that need improvement. Clean up debris and burn piles in these areas.
  3. Course Clean-up - General golf course clean up after a long hard winter. Random fallen branches, trees and debris all need to be removed. Water damage from the over flow of the pond will need to be corrected as well as cart paths will need attention.
  4. Golf Course Maintenance and accessory replacement - General course maintenance will/could commence as soon as early March, weather permitting. The first golf package groups come in at the end of March, but if weather is good, people will take advantage. The golf course will need to be playable - bunkers raked and fixed, Goose excrement removed, initial mowing may start mid-March and hole locations changed.

Overall, we have an estimated 50 days of work with my 3 man crew to squeeze into approximately 35 to 40 work days. We have our work cut out, but we are looking forward to the results and we know this winter, as hard as it has been, would have been fruitful and productive. We look forward to sharing these results with you.

Summer Continues - August 7, 2013

We are well past the halfway point in the 2013 golf season! This year has been a relatively mild summer temperature-wise and a successful year for the Carroll Valley Golf Course crew. In today's post I will provide an update to the continuing irrigation system upgrade, to the overall condition of the course, and news of the recent loss of a course landmark.

Irrigation Watering3.jpg

We are about 2/3 of the way through the installation of the new irrigation system! As of August 6, 2013, 13 holes of the course have all pipes and heads installed. Some of those holes are operational and in use. Others, while fully installed, are not yet usable, as we wait to clear debris from the lines that bring water to those areas.

It is estimated that we have between four to five weeks left to completion. This week the designers of the system will be visiting to mark the locations of pipes and heads. The new pump house will be installed at the end of the month in the same location as the current pump house. The old pump house will be torn down. Without a full irrigation system in place, the crew has been working around the clock to keep the course in optimal condition. This has required careful monitoring of weather and soil conditions, but obviously some dry spots are unavoidable on the hottest summer days.

Dry spots

During the heatwave in mid-July, temperatures remained above 90 for seven straight days.  Our turf incurred some stress due to the heat and lack of water. The irrigation installation process at times required a complete shutdown of the existing irrigation on the course. This resulted in areas of stress that would not normally have occurred under typical irrigation conditions. The stressed areas are simply "dormant turf". Both bentgrass and poa annua go into "survival mode" in times of stress as a self-preservation measure. While it may look brown, it is not dead, and it is not dirt. These areas are recovering nicely; we've fertilized them and those areas remain playable.

Storm Damage DownTree18.jpg

At the end of the July heatwave, Carroll Valley suffered some severe storm activity. While the rain was minimal, there were wind gusts beyond 55mph. These winds caused minor, but noticeable, damage to the course. Lost to the storm was the sentinel tree at the end of the 9 fairway. In addition, smaller trees were lost in the grove off of hole 2. Various other branches fell throughout the course. The course was cleared within a few days. We are currently exploring options to replace the landmark tree lost on 9.

As we head into what is typically the hottest month of the year, we are below average in precipitation. While we've had 18 days with rain over the last month, the rain has resulted in only 2.8 inches of rain, which is over an inch below normal. Luckily the low average temperatures and hard work of the crew has resulted in excellent playing conditions on Carroll Valley Golf Course. Take a golf day and check it out!  

Summer Months - July 10, 2013 

July is upon us and that means we are in the thick of summer and face the toughest six to eight week stretch of the year as it relates to growing turf. High temperatures coupled with high humidity and often little rainfall can make for challenging times. Turf disease pressure ramps up and watering requirements have to be carefully managed so as not to exacerbate the possibility  of disease incidence, while also making sure that all the turf's needs are met. It's a balancing act with Mother Nature!

The goal is to head into the summer months with a healthy and deep root system that will leave us with a thick, lush turf cover and I'm happy to say our Springtime goals were met in that respect.  Our main focus at this time of year is to protect the plant's root system first, having a deep healthy root system is the key, and that's what we built towards in the Spring. During July and August root systems tend to get shorter, it's a result of high soil and surface temperatures and the fact that the plant is using a lot of its stored carbohydrate reserves (that we help build up in the Spring) to keep growing. To keep the root system healthy, watering deeply, infrequently,and only where and when needed is key, too much water can be worse than not enough. Protecting the plant from fungal diseases, both to the roots and the leaves and stems is an important part of maintaining a quality playing surface, in this respect detailed scouting is an important activity that we do in the early mornings of every day as that is the best time to see the signs of disease. Another tool we utilize is applications of Potash, which is very high in Potassium, an element that is essential to cell wall structure and also helps regulate the opening and closing of the plants stomata, which are essentially its breathing organs. These stomata tend to get stuck open in high heat resulting in rapid water loss from the plant that therefore accelerates drying. From a mechanical perspective, in periods of plant stress, we may opt to skip a mowing here and there and roll the surface instead to reduce stress but keep the smoothness of the surface. Raising mowing heights is another suggested practice where rolling is not an option.  We also try to keep the greens "vented", we do this by aerating using needle tines which punch small but deep holes into the greens allowing the roots to breath and creating a passage for water and nutrients to get deeper into the root zone, it is a very successful and necessary operation. Our next scheduled Needle Tine is for July 15 to be followed by light topdressing. So far so good this summer, the absence of a prolonged heat wave and the regular occurrence of rainfall have been great for the course, let's hope the rest of this summer turns out to be as glorious as its beginning.

Among the other operations going on at the Carroll Valley Course is our irrigation install which is going very smoothly. Tanto Irrigation is doing a great job of getting that system in place while trying to be as "invisible" as they can. We thank you for your understanding and patience while this project is on going and we still hope to be fully operational by early September. I have had a lot of questions about the wildflowers on the course.  Applewood Seed Company in Colorado is where we got the seeds from. We used three blends; the Low Grow Mix, the Golf Course Mix and  the Northeast Mix for the areas around the tees and the hotel; as well as using Cosmos "sensation" in the natural areas on the course. We are very happy with how they turned out; we may even expand and incorporate more areas next spring!

I would like to close by thanking those that came out on July 6 for the inaugural Superintendents Revenge tournament, it was a great success and definitely a concept that we will be using and expanding upon in the future.

In the mean time, we look forward to seeing you on the course and Thank You for your continued support.


 

New Irrigation System - June 6, 2013

As you may be aware by now, we experienced a theft this past winter in our golf maintenance facility. Critical, no longer available, parts to our irrigation system were stolen rendering our current system unusable. The silver lining in this is that a new irrigation system has been part of the master plan for some time, and while we would have ideally planned this installation through the off season, we are doing it now.

The new Toro Decoder irrigation system that will replace the golf course's original manually operated one will be fully automated and feature state of the art control systems. This will allow us the ability to individually control the amount of water that each sprinkler head applies, monitor soil conditions and will have the capability to be operated remotely from off site if needed. In all there will be 776 sprinkler heads, which is roughly four times the amount we had previously. It is a double row system meaning that there will be sprinkler heads down both sides of each fairway giving us the ability to irrigate the rough as well. The green complexes will feature full circle and part circle heads. The full circle heads will irrigate the putting surfaces while the part circle heads will be for irrigating the green surrounds, giving us that added control. Another thing you will notice is that there will be no free standing satellite boxes on the golf course. The system is operated entirely from a central computer that sends electronic signals to each sprinkler head, which in turn is equipped with a decoder that deciphers that signal and thus knows when to water and for how long.

Installation of this system will begin on June 10 and will be done by Tanto Irrigation based out of New York. Tanto has a very impressive resume of work, included in which are the likes of Augusta National, Pine Valley and Merion Country Club, host of this years U.S Open. The installation should take about three months to complete and includes a new pump house with new pumps and a new Watertronics pumping system. The pipe that will be used for this new system is HDPE (High-density polyethylene), which has been around for a few years now. It is much stronger than traditional PVC, features thicker walls, and is more flexible thus requiring far fewer elbow and tee joints. HDPE pipe is joined together by an electrical fusion process that essentially welds two pieces together using electrical currents. These joints are said to be 150 times stronger than the pipe itself.

We realize the timing of this installation is not ideal, these projects are typically done in the fall and winter months, but due to the golf course's obvious water requirements it has to be done sooner rather than later. The timing of completion will greatly benefit this year's fall plans though. By the time we aerate the greens and tees and start to overseed the fairways in late August, the new system should be up and running which will allow us to maximize the results of these renovation projects. In the mean time, I promise to do everything I can and know how, to keep the golf course in the condition to which you are accustomed. The impact to play should be very minimal, and you can rest assured that any minor inconvenience this may cause is ultimately going to be a massive gain for the Carroll Valley Golf Course.


Rough - May 28, 2013

Rough. It seems as though it's always one of the most contentious issues at this time of year in regards to the condition of a golf course. From an agronomists stand point, in the spring time months it's a good sign if it's thick and lush, it means the turf is healthy and growing like it should, but from a golfers view it also means that it's going to be pretty difficult play out of at times, if not very difficult. As golf course superintendents we do not grow rough to penalize any golfer, but as a golfer I know that there will, and should, be "some" penalty.

At the Carroll Valley Golf Course we mow our rough at a height of two inches, that's on the low end of the spectrum, one that ranges from about 1.75 to 3 inches for 90% of daily play golf courses (The U.S Open sets up at about 4 inches). When I was on the Eastern Shore of Maryland we mowed at 2.25, at Congressional Country Club we mowed at 2.5 inches, it all depends on a few important points: 1. The demographic of the golfers that play the course, 2. The type of turf that is to be grown and, 3. The terrain on which you are growing it. Considering all these points a two inch height of cut is about right for our course, but when you factor in that we do not have the ability to irrigate our rough you could even make the argument that it's rather conservative. But two it is and I think that's right.

One of the bigger issues we encounter every year is clipping debris left by the rough mower. It's unsightly and makes a mess of the roughs and it happens not because we get behind in mowing or forget to mow particular areas but because the turf is growing so rapidly at this time of year. We fertilized the rough at the end of last season, with this summer and the fact that we have no irrigation to our roughs in mind. A result of that is healthy, thick and growing rough that will hopefully last the summer months without wilting out. Rough constitutes the largest acreage of turf on a golf course and we mow it every day of the week, but we can't mow it all in one day, it takes about 5 days for us to get around the course and back to where we started and in that time, at this time, it grows in inches. We do our best to combat clipping piles, when possible we'll use another mower to cut up dried debris and we also do our best to blow the rough using a tractor mounted blower to disperse the clippings, these methods work but they aren't a preventative measure by any means.

You may also have noticed that we have expanded some of our "natural" areas around the course where we have allowed the native fescues to grow up. These areas were created for a few reasons: 1. To create areas of separation between holes and to define the course in these areas, 2. To reduce our carbon footprint and be more environmentally sound by having less area to mow, thereby limiting our own pollutants, 3. To save money on labor and gas, 4. To enhance and create areas that attract wildlife and native insect pollinators that use these areas for nesting, foraging and cover, 6. These areas act as buffers which filter runoff and can also result in water savings and finally, 7. To bring some character and a modern design element to an older lay-out. We have also grown up areas around select bunkers and along with the reasons listed above, we have done this as a protective measure to keep sand from blowing and washing out the bunkers and to protect the edges from further erosion until we get to fully renovating these in a few years.  These areas were not grown with the intent of making the course exponentially more difficult or to punish marginal shots and we don't believe they punish anything but a very errant shot.

With summer on the way and no way to irrigate the rough, the chances are that you won't even give the rough a second thought in August, but here's hoping that's not the case either. After all, it's called ROUGH for a reason!!




The Golf Season is in Full Swing! - May 10, 2013

The golf season is in full swing at the Carroll Valley Golf Course, and so too is the golf course maintenance department. It has been a busy and very productive April and first part of May as we condition the golf course and prepare it for the summer stresses that are sure to be on the way.

The spring season is a great time for us, it gives us the best weather and growing conditions of the year which enables us to get golf course is prime condition and peak health as we head forward into the summer months. It is critical that we lay a good foundation in the spring, as any deficiencies the plant may have now will only be magnified in the summer. That means the focus is on building strength and giving the plant the protection it needs moving forward. We build strength from the soil up; a healthy root system is the most vital component of building strength in the plant, all of the plants carbohydrates and energy reserves come from the roots, so a deep, dense root system is the goal in spring. We accomplish this with aeration, fertilization, water management, chemical applications that get watered into the root zone and by protecting the plant from insect pests, fungal diseases and weeds. All of our preventative insecticide applications have been successfully completed, targeted mainly to the ever increasingly dangerous Annual Bluegrass Weevil and the White Grub family. We have also completed our pre-emergent herbicide regimen with the focus on Crabgrass and Goosegrass. Post emergent treatments for other broadleaf species will continue through the summer that target the clover, dandelions, plaintains and so forth. Our fertility and preventative fungicide program is also on schedule and I am pleased to report that we have healthy turf with a healthy root system and that all our spring goals in this respect have been met.

In the coming weeks we look forward to the arrival of some new equipment, we will be getting a new fairway mower which will be a great upgrade in technology and will help us be more efficient, more environmentally sound, and provide a better cut for the turf which in turn improves plant health. We will also be getting a rotary rough trim mower which is much lighter and efficient than what we have currently to handle to green and tee surrounds. And finally a topdresser that will give us the ability to apply a much lighter coat of sand than we can put out now, thus enabling us to formulate a more regular topdressing program.

On June 3rd, the first trenches will be dug for our new irrigation system in what looks to be roughly a three month operation. I promise to get into much greater detail in my next post!!

So far so good on the golf course this spring, it's been kind, the weather has been terrific and the golf course is in very good shape which sets us up well for the summer. Please remember to help us in looking after the course when you play with us and your fellow golfers; please repair your ballmarks, fill your divots and rake your bunkers.

We look forward to seeing you on the course!!

Matt Hopper
Golf Course Superintendent

If you have any questions or comments regarding the golf course please feel free to contact me at mhopper@skiliberty.com.
You can also follow the Golf Course Maintenance Department on Twitter for current course conditions and information:  @CVGolfatLiberty
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Welcome to the 2013 Golf Season at Carroll Valley Golf at Liberty Mountain Resort - April 23, 2013

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you, our valued golfers and guests to the 2013 Golf Season at the Carroll Valley Golf Course, we have a lot of changes on the golf course to share with you and even more planned for the immediate and long term future in what we hope will be a fantastic golf season.

All of our winter projects have been wrapped up and the spring aeration on the greens and tees were completed as scheduled and as planned. So far, April has displayed rather drastic temperature fluctuations, with some days topping out in the high eighties only to experience frost delays a few days later. Rainfall has also been minimal thus far and we currently run a deficit of two inches compared to normal. Comparing last year's weather and growing degree days to 2013, we are about three weeks behind where we were at this time last year. The warmer days have however brought about that spike in growth we associate with spring and our core maintenance program is in full swing.  This past week we applied our preventative chemical applications for crabgrass and goosegrass as well as our first preventative insecticide application, targeted mainly for Annual Bluegrass Weevil and the White grub family. We will be treating the greens with their second Embark application on April 23, which is what we use to suppress the Poa annua seed heads. We try to prevent the Poa from producing seed heads to keep this winter annual from dying off during the hot summer months and to maintain putting smoothness in the greens which these seed heads can severely disrupt.

Other things to look out for on the golf course in the next few weeks would include; the growth and development of our wildflower gardens around the tee at number 1 and green at 9, as well as all the gardens on the course, we are anticipating seeing flowers by mid-June in these areas; and then the start of installation of our new irrigation system which should see ground broken by May 15, I will get into more details on this in another post.

Please remember to fix ball marks on greens (a ball mark fixed within 15 minutes can heal in a day or two, if left un-repaired they can take up to two weeks to heal), rake your bunkers, fill your divots and have fun!!
We look forward to seeing you on the course!!

Matt Hopper
Golf Course Superintendent

If you have any questions or comments regarding the golf course please feel free to contact me at mhopper@skiliberty.com.
You can also follow the Golf Course Maintenance Department on Twitter for current course conditions and information:  @CVGolfatLiberty

Spring Is Around The Corner - March 13, 2013

Spring is around the corner, the days are getting longer and a little warmer and as I write this it seems as though the first real spring rain is falling. On March 22 we welcome our first Golf Package groups of 2013 and we are as excited to get the course in spring conditions as I'm sure they are to be playing golf again.

Our winter projects for the most part are completed with only one yet to wrap up and that is our Tee Box leveling and expanding.  The weather has not been kind enough for us to have had our tee project done by now, as we had hoped, with most of February going through freeze and thaw conditions, along with the occasional rain and snow that create difficult conditions to move earth. Hopefully, weather permitting, we will have these new tee boxes sodded by the end of next week and if we can get that to happen, there will be about a two week window for rooting and settling before they will be suitable for play. Of all the tee boxes we have restored, perhaps the most unique one we did was on hole 15, where we located an original Ault and Clark tee box from 1967 that had been "let go" over the years and restored it to a functional surface which will act primarily as a Senior tee ground, shortening the hole from about 165 yards to roughly 145 yards. We have also added a ladies tee box to hole 15 and hole 5, to make those very difficult holes a little more enjoyable.

When you visit us again, you will notice many other changes to the golf course; we have cleaned up a lot of the wooded areas around the course to enhance the views and growing conditions for the turf; we have added several thousand feet of drainage to fairways which was a huge need; we have created flower beds around the first tee box and ninth green as well as other areas on the course which will become home to a large variety of wildflowers that will add color while being maintenance  and environmentally friendly areas;  we have also tended to the vast majority of the trees on the golf course by removing dead growth and limbs for both the health of the trees and the enjoyment of the golfers, and finally all the golf course accessories have been refurbished to look like new again.

Some of these things will take time to develop and mature, the wildflower beds will be seeded in the middle of April and will not produce flowers until late June; the areas in which trees and brush were removed will also be seeded with Fine Fescue in mid to early April and will need ten to fourteen days to germinate and show visible growth. We will also be starting our spring cultural program in a couple of weeks, Green Aeration is first and will be done on Tuesday April 2, followed by Tee Aeration on Monday April 8. Our Spray program will start at the same time with Poa annua seedhead suppression on greens first on the list, followed by our broadleaf weed control and preventative fungicide program on all surfaces to commence in mid April.

We are looking forward to a fantastic year in 2013 and are excited for you to see the changes and experience what will hopefully be the best year ever for golf course conditions on the Carroll Valley Golf Course. In closing, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my staff for their efforts this winter, it hasn't always been easy but it's definitely been worth it!!

If you have any questions or comments regarding the golf course please feel free to contact me at mhopper@skiliberty.com.

You can also follow the Golf Course Maintenance Department on Twitter for current course conditions and information:  @CVGolfatLiberty

We can't wait to see you on the course!!

Matt Hopper
Golf Course Superintendent


Winter Work & Improvements - December 20, 2012

Tomorrow marks the official start of winter, the season normally considered to be "the quiet time" or slower paced when it comes to golf course maintenance. That has not been the case so far for the Carroll Valley Golf Course as there have been numerous projects and improvements that have been on going. The weather has also played its part in providing conditions suitable for timely project completions and we have taken full advantage of what Mother Nature has offered up.

Drainage, drainage, drainage. That's pretty much been the focal point thus far and it is what has consumed the majority of our time. For the past four weeks we have been focused on improving the drainage in the some of the wettest areas of the course. Holes number 5, 7, 8 and 12 have all received new drainage upgrades as the existing drainage systems were failing quite substantially, as they have a tendency to do after many years in the ground. Like most things in life, PVC drain pipe has a limited life span in the ground and one should expect to have to repair or replace this type of drain system every ten to fifteen years in order to maintain functionality. We have installed close to 4000 feet of new drain tile and inserted 8 catch basins in these new systems, and in some areas, we have also used a revolutionary new product called HydroBlox. HydroBlox was developed in England and is made from recycled plastic materials, it has been used successfully in both England the Netherlands and as far as the distributor tells me, we are among some of the first to use it extensively in America. I can tell you that each of our new drain systems is functioning well and we hope that this will allow us to provide better playing conditions for our golfers and better growing conditions for our turf.

Tree work has been another point of emphasis for us as we head through the winter months as the trees throughout the golf course have been in much need of some TLC. There has been significant clearing work done to remove undergrowth and "volunteer" and invasive trees, pruning of branches to enhance the appearance and growth habit of certain trees and in some areas we have eliminated trees due to either their interference with how the golf course was intended to play or, and in most cases, the adverse effects the tree was having on turf health. This work will continue throughout winter with intention of highlighting our courses' primary physical feature, Tom's Creek.

There is still much to be done this winter and as we move forward into the new year we will start renovating some of our teeing grounds. The primary goal is to eliminate the unevenness of the teeing surfaces. In some areas we will be expanding the area of these surfaces so we can better distribute wear and tear and provide more teeing options. In other areas we will be creating entirely new teeing grounds for our lady guests to enjoy a more "friendly" version of our course.

The projects are on-going and going strong and we're sure you will notice a vastly improved, more attractive and most importantly, healthy golf course next season. Until then, come and enjoy a winter round of golf with us and see the changes for yourselves.

From everyone at the Golf Course Maintenance Department, we hope you have a happy and healthy festive season and we look forward to seeing you soon.

If you have any questions or comments regarding the golf course please feel free to contact me at mhopper@skiliberty.com.

You can also follow the Golf Course Maintenance Department on Twitter for current course conditions and information: 

@CVGolfatLiberty

Matt Hopper
Golf Course Superintendent

September 7, 2012

September has arrived but so far it seems there has been little reprieve from summer's heat and humidity, nevertheless, the golf course operations have moved ahead full steam.

The last week in August saw the start of our Fall aeration and overseeding campaign. The greens were aerated on August 27th using our new aerator, a Toro 648 ProCore, which enabled us to be done in one day which is very beneficial and efficient. After the greens were cleaned up, topdressing was applied to fill the aeration holes and aid in the healing and overall smoothness of the greens. Two days later we applied fertilizer and Creeping bentgrass seed and then watered those in with the irrigation system. The fertilizer was applied in light quantity to give the turf a boost after the hot summer and to aid in the recovery process, while the seed applied is done to try and obtain a denser more uniform stand of our desired species, Creeping bentgrass, by aggressively competing with Poa annua (Annual bluegrass) which is a weed species that naturally invades putting surfaces.

The fairways on the golf course have also received some attention as they too have undergone a complete overseeding for the first time in many years. Perennial ryegrass was overseeded at 261lb per acre and we have already seen some great results with widespread germination. The fairway overseeding will be an annual process for at least the next 3 to 5 years as we try to build up some density to overcome our Poa annua problems that we have seen in the past, resulting in the patchy nature you see from time to time in the mid-summer months. When we reach the point of long term sustainability, we may scale the overseeding back to every other year or just do the fairways that are in need on annual basis.

September sees a spike in play, so with aeration and overseeding complete, our main focus will be a return to our routine maintenance practices and providing the best conditions possible for you to enjoy. October will see the return of some core cultural practices with the fertilizing of fairways and roughs , aeration of tees and roughs and then prepping the course for winter and our winter projects.

As we head into some cooler and more colorful times we hope to see you out and about on the golf course.  If you have any questions or comments regarding the golf course please feel free to contact me at mhopper@skiliberty.com.

You can also follow the Golf Course Maintenance Department on Twitter for current course conditions and information:  @CVGolfatLiberty

See you on the course!

Matt Hopper
Golf Course Superintendent


August 14, 2012

It's been another record breaking summer across much of the U.S with extreme temperatures and minimal rainfall, providing for many challenges when it comes to growing turf on a golf course. Carroll Valley Golf Course has seen its share of extremes too.  We've backed up a soaking spring with a hot and dry summer which has, as it always will, take its toll on the turf. The good news is fall is around the corner and that means it's time to renovate and rejuvenate the golf course. The shorter days, cooler nights and (hopefully) rain, provide a great opportunity to help us revive the golf course from the summer heat.


The last week of August see's the start of our fall aeration program. Starting on Sunday, August 26th and wrapping up on that Monday, we will be core aerating the greens. While somewhat disruptive to golfers this is a vital procedure, it relieves compaction, removes thatch build up, allows toxic gasses to escape the soil profile and be replaced with oxygen, and it improves the turfgrass' response to fertilizers. Topdressing will be applied to fill the holes behind the aeration and we will also be fertilizing and seeding into the holes to aid in their recovery. The same week we will start the process of overseeding all of the fairways; to the best of our knowledge this was last done in 2002, so it is long overdue. The fairways will be overseeded with Perennial ryegrass and should take about seven to ten days to germinate. Overseeding is one important tool to help reduce the Poa annua (Annual bluegrass) population which has spread throughout the fairways and is the reason for their patchy nature you see in the summer heat. Poa annua is a winter annual weed which germinates in the fall, produces seed in the spring and by early summer has completed its life cycle and dies. The goal of the overseeding is to fill the voids the Poa has left thereby providing an even and uniform fairway surface.


So, we have a busy end of August and early September ahead of us but we are relishing the opportunity to breathe some additional new life back into our golf course. There will be some slight disruptions to some of our playing surfaces for about ten to fourteen days, so please bear with us during this time knowing the process will make the course both healthier and even more enjoyable to play! We hope to see you out and about on the course.  If you have any questions or comments regarding the golf course please feel free to contact me at mhopper@skiliberty.com.


Matt Hopper
Golf Course Superintendent

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