A behind the scenes look into maintenance practices including past, present and future development plans of the Lac la Biche Golf Club.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Green Conditions (Spring 2011)

Today, the staff and I had a look under some of the green tarps. We looked under greens #2, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17 the Putting Green and the Nursery which was built last year. Many of these greens have been snow free for the past 2-3 weeks. Yesterday the staff shovelled off the remainder of the snow on greens #3, 11, 15 and 18. These greens remain fairly wet and I plan on having a look under them sometime next week. For tomorrow, the plan is to look under #1, 4, 5, 6, 10 and 18.

What I saw today were greens that wintered well with minimal ice damage. We have some pink snow mold particularly on #13 and the Putting Green. The other greens look great especially #7 and 8 which always seem to be come out "mint" year after year. The greens were cut and the tarps were put back in place. With the exception of #13 and the Putting Green, I plan on taking off the rest of the tarps permanently on Friday or next Monday. (Weather Permitting) This is a time consuming process and needs to be done when the tarp is 100% dry. Tarps that are put away wet are prone to mold and tend to degrade quicker then normal.

It's always an exciting part of the year having a look under the tarps and hoping things will be good. Sometimes I'm pleased and other times not as happy but that's the nature of this business. All the knowledge, money, cultural controls and chemicals in the world mean nothing when "mother nature" decides to reek havoc on a superintendents best lay ed plans.

Green #13: To date, our worst green in terms of pink snow mold.
(Apr. 27, 2011)

Green #12:  Good to Go (Apr. 27, 2011)

Green #7: Year after year, one of our best greens.
Reason being: South Facing, Great Surface Drainage
& Full Morning Sun.
(Apr. 27, 2011)

Green #8: Another great green that winters well.
(Apr. 27, 2011)

First Cut on Nursery. This green was built last year and had been
maintained at tee height. This is the first cut at green height.
(Apr. 27, 2011)

#15 Green: The boys shoveling off the last bit of snow.
(Apr. 26, 2011)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Paving of Parking Lot.

Hard to imagination what it used to be like prior to the parking lot being paved. I recall a combination of dust and mud and everything in between. The county stepped up to the plate for us on this one and the club and it's visitors are grateful. Here's some pictures of sub-grade prep and the laying down of the asphalt. Perhaps the biggest task of the project was the sub-surface work and making sure all drainage issues were addressed.

Trenching in New Gas Line for Gazebo. (June 3, 2009)

Hydro-Vac Holes Identifying Gas, Power & Utility Lines.
(June 3, 2009)


Main Drainage Outlet. (June 11, 2009)

Grading & Packing of Gravel Base Prior to Laying of Asphalt.
(June 11, 2009)
Laying of Asphalt. Notice the Elevation of the Parking Lot to the Cart
Path on the Right Aiding Drainage Flow. (June 11, 2009)

Finished Parking Lot and Sewer Pump Out. (June 12, 2009)

The parking lot was officially completed a few months later when parking stall lines were painted to maximize user space and direct efficient traffic flow. Concrete barriers were also put in place to keep all traffic contained within the parking lot and curtail potential access onto the golf course.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Augusta National Changes.

Here's an interesting link about the changes Augusta National has implemented since its inception in 1934. With this years tournament in full swing, it's amazing all the changes the club has made since that time. Imagine the possibilities of a limitless imagination and budget. A beautiful and flowing property to begin with doesn't hurt either. Enjoy.


Friday, April 08, 2011

Clearing Off Driving Range Tee.

This afternoon I decided to clear off the driving range tee. Like most of you, I'm looking forward to swinging my golf clubs and dusting off some winter rust. If the warmer weather continues, the driving range maybe open for Easter weekend?

Clearing D.R. of Snow (Apr. 8, 2011)

(Apr. 8, 2011)

The condition of the turf under the snow looks pretty good at this time. The freeze thaw conditions we experienced in February and March created minimal ice formation. I'll have a better perspective next week once I'm able to check potentially problematic areas. I am noticing fairly moist conditions on the turf which could mean pink and grey snow mold in spots. My experience here at the club has shown ice damage to be much more problematic then winter disease.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Winter Green Damage.

I came across this picture the other day while surfing through all my JPEG files on my computer.
After removing the tarp in the spring of 2009 this is what we saw. Any ideas what that ugly brown streak is?

#4 Green

#4 Green
What you're seeing is the result of a snowmobile driving on the green. It's analgous to a golfer who walks on a heavily frosted green. Their weight crushes plant cells within the crown (growing point) of the plant (grass) which in turn leads to plant death. At the time, there was roughly 12 inches of snow on the ground.

In 2008 I took it upon myself to fence off areas around the golf course to keep this common occurrence from happening. (#11 Fairway and Green, #12 Tee, #13 Tee and Fairway, Access Road into Shop, #4 Green and #7 Fairway Beside Dugout)

Some how this snowmobile found a spot and was actually on his way to gain access to the lake when he came across my new fence behind the green. He turned on the green and realised after traveling the course the only way out was the way he got in.

To fix the damage, I core aerated the area and then overseeded and topdressed. Spring conditions that year were optimal and within 4 or 5 weeks the damage had healed.

Tee to Green Cart Path Construction.

In November of 2010 after temperatures fell below freezing and many of you stored your clubs for the winter, we began construction of our new tee to green cart paths. The weather cooperated, (unlike the heavy rains we experienced in July and August) and we were able to get everything done before the first snow fall. Chedkor Contracting Ltd. was awarded the contract and I'd like to personally thank Barry and his crew for completing the task in a timely manner with minimal destruction to the course.

The project involved excavating the new paths (6 feet wide x 4 inches deep) and then hauling away this material. To speed up construction, excavated material was hauled on site to the back of the driving range. Here it will be contoured like a dike and help stop the long hitters from rolling balls into the creek. The cart path on #7 fairway is 8 feet wide since it's used as a major travel route from the maintenance shop to the clubhouse. Approximately 1,300 cubic yards (1,672 Tonne) of 3/4 inch gravel was then applied and packed to level grade. Culverts were added in depression areas where drainage is an issue. The total length of the project was approximately 4,700 yards (4.28 km).

Beginning From #9 Green (Nov 3, 2010)
Advancing Down #17 Fairway (Nov 11, 2010)

The addition of the new cart paths will be a welcome sight for the golf course and it's members and I'm looking forward to the positive comments. Last year we lost almost 3 weeks of power cart usage due to the heavy rains. It will be nice not having to field phone calls from the pro shop asking if carts are OK to go after we experience rain. (I still enjoy talking to you Lance over the phone..lol) This is a look of what I hope to avoid:

#11 Tee. (Let's avoid some potholes & wreck some grass)

For 2011, the Capital Project Plan is to finish the existing green to tee cart paths which measure approximately 1,400 yards (1.27 km). Our goal is to pave all the paths within the next 2 to 3 years.

Hopefully this year the course will be a little drier but it's nice to know that when the rains come, power cart usage will still be allowed. In such cases, the 90 degree rule maybe enacted to keep turf wear at a minimum. The club thanks you for your support if such conditions apply.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

When Is The Golf Course Going To Open?

This is a question I wish I had a nickel for every time it was asked. Mother nature has her own schedule no matter how hard we work to prove otherwise. To help answer your own question, here is a list of the opening dates since 2003. (My first year here at the club)

2003: May 22 (Pre Tarp)
2004: May 21
2005: April 25
2006: April 22
2007: May 1
2008: May 4
2009: May 2
2010: April 21

As you can see, the dates vary by as much as a full month. If the weather continues to cooperate the way it has for the past week, a good guess is we "should" be golfing the first week of May. Lets keep our fingers crossed and hope for sooner.

I Figured It Was Time.

After weeks of visiting other golf superintendents blogs, I decided to initiate the same for the Lac La Biche Golf Club. The purpose of the site is to educate and inform our members and guests regarding the many maintenance practices that occur on our golf course. This will also include updates of past, present and future development projects that have helped propel the club to where it is now and where it plans to be years down the road.

Check back often and feel free to comment on any of the postings. I will also do my best to answer any questions you may have as it relates to our golf course.