Monday, March 26, 2018

2018 goals for HOA

The 2018 golf season is getting underway at HOA and we have high hopes for the future of our facility. We have a list of things that we would like to finish up as well as a few new plans for improving the greens and the overall play-ability of the course.

First and foremost we are going to implement a a couple new cultural practices for the greens to improve both speed, and consistency of our putting surfaces. In addition to our usual verticutting and top dressing, we will be using the verticut reels to very lightly stand the grass up on the greens. This will allow for better cut quality from our primary mowers. It will also reduce the amount of thatch build up throughout the year leading to firmer more consistent playing surfaces.

Here is an example of verticut reels and what they do to the green. A good verticut program can greatly improve green firmness and speed.
Next we plan to use the greens roller on a more consistent basis. Rolling has many positive benefits including smoothing out and firming up the surface of the greens. Rolling can also help reduce our disease pressure in the summer months.

If you have been around the river course in the last two weeks you may have seen the new sod we have put down in the bottom of number 5 fairway. As most of you know the fairway was completely covered is silt that killed most of the grass in that area. the new sod will spread throughout the year and hopefully we will have a full fairway once again.

Looking forward to the 2018 season, we will see you out there.   

Friday, March 9, 2018

HOA Maintenance Update

I want to take a moment to update everyone on the ongoing projects at Heart of America. As I'm sure anyone who has played the course over the last few weeks will have noticed, the bunker project is well under way. Many of the bunkers that are in the flood plane will be removed and the bunkers that will remain have been lined and rebuilt with new angular sand.
This state of the art liner is as good as it gets and will make bunker maintenance much more manageable for our small crew. 

This is where #7 bunker used to be, as well as where it has been moved green-side. The shaper we have had out on the course the last couple weeks has done a great job reshaping and filling bunkers around the course.

The River #3 will be reduced to just one bunker and the other to are being contoured and filled.

During those cold, frosty mornings, Sam and I have also made some new signage and targets for the driving range. 

We built this sign and installed it by the front gate so that right when you pull into the course you can see which areas of our facility are open for play that day. This will be useful when we are performing weekly maintenance on the driving range or if one of the 9 hole courses is closed due to flooding or other conditions. 

The new targets we built with metal frames should hold up much better to golf balls and the elements. We should have these in place on the range shortly. 
The weather is getting much better and prime golfing season is right around the corner. We look forward to seeing everyone out at Heart of America Golf Course this year.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Still Busy in the Winter

Many people ask me what we do all winter long when its way too cold for mowing and there is no golf being played. I'd love to tell you that we take a couple months off and just relax, but that's far from the truth. The winter is a perfect time for us to get many things done we just don't have to for during the season. Everything from equipment maintenance to painting and tree work.

This year we lost many signs due to the flooding so we decided to make new signs from scratch.

These will be our new enter and exit signs for cart traffic on the river course
We will also be building a small sign that lets everyone know which portions of Heart of America are open that day. 
Each portion of this sign will be reversible so we can close areas that may be flooded or closed for maintenance 
While we had the wood and equipment out we decided to make all new tee markers for the River Course as well. These will be solid cedar blocks that we feel will give the place a little nicer feel. 

Each one of these tee markers was hand burned by Sam Marlin the assistant superintendent so when you see him let him know how great of a job he did. We think they turned out great. 

These are just some examples of the projects we complete in the winter as well as all the other mechanical, arboricultural, and horticultural duties. 

Looking forward to a great 2018 at Heart of America! 
**Stay tuned for all new bunkers this season!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Winter Golf

Although you probably wouldn't know it by the weather, winter is basically here. You will likely notice on the course that we have converted to our setup to reflect the season. Here are a few things that have changed for the next few months:

No Tee Markers. In order to help spread the play out on the tee boxes while the Zoysia is dormant and susceptible to overuse and winter damage, we have removed the tee markers. Winter golfers are asked to simply chose the best teeing ground to hit from. We have done this in the past and it works well for us to preserve the turf.

Winter Pins. Due to the fact that the greens will freeze and we are then unable to cut cups, we put winter pins on each green. This means pin locations will be random and each green will have two locations that we will select from each day. This just gives us a second option on each green to reduce wear on one area over a long period of time.

Cart Path Only. Everyone's favorite rule, I'm sure. We do this because the dormant turf cannot handle the traffic of golf carts and we would have significant damage if we allowed carts off paths through winter months. We have removed all directional rope and stakes for refurbishing so we just ask golfers to respect the Cart Path Only rules and keep the carts off the turf. Even when parking the cart, we prefer you leave it on the path completely. The majority of lost turf due to golf carts is actually from just slightly leaving the path or parking just into the grass.

Irrigation. If you have noticed in the last couple weeks there has been water running off and on throughout the days, it is because of this unseasonably dry weather. Our goal is to hydrate the turf so that we can blow out irrigation for the winter. The problem we are running into is that mother nature doesn't seem to want to play ball. Please bare with us while we run water during the day (our only time without the risk of freezing) and we should have it blown out and put to bed for the winter soon.

We will still have some great weather I'm sure for golf this year, so I look forward to seeing you out at Heart of America Golf Course.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

#9 Tee Project

As many of you know, number 9 back tee has been a thorn in HOAs side for years now. There are numerous reasons why this tee does not thrive during the season and this fall/winter we are going to be addressing some of these issues in an attempt to maintain a healthy tee.
For those that don't know, this is the back tee of number 9 and in the middle of the season the majority of the turf is lost.

A few of the reasons this happens is as follows:

*The surrounding trees shade the majority of this tee for most of the day, it does not get the proper sunlight to photosynthesize and thrive.
*There is dense underbrush almost entirely surrounding this tee and airflow through the area is minimal.
*Being a high-clay push-up tee, there is little to no drainage that peculates down through the tee and due to the low-center shape, water sits for far too long on the surface.
*This is a very small tee with a portion being essentially unusable due to the fact there would not be a clear shot down the fairway. This creates heavy traffic and compaction in a small area.

Now we are going to address some of these issues directly, as well as create new ways to take direct pressure off of this tee during the rough summer months.

Thick underbrush between 8 green and 9 tee
Our first project that will be addressing the air flow as well as sunlight is to remove all of the underbrush between #8 green and #9 tee. We will also be pushing back the undergrowth that is growing around the back and sides of the tee. This should help with air movement through the area as well as letting in the morning sunlight.

Our goal this off-season is to restructure this tee and add a drainage system that would draw the water from off the tee. This would reduce standing water time and help the tee dry down quicker. Reshaping to get heavy rains to run off the sides of the tee instead of sit in the middle is also part of the restructure project.

In order to address the small tee and compaction issues, we will be trimming back the underbrush and trees to the right of the teeing area so that the entire tee can be used properly. A regular aerification process will also be implemented to help reduce some of the severe compaction caused over the years.

One other way we are planning on reducing the stress of this tee is to build an alternative tee. The details and logistics of this are not set in stone yet, but you can expect to see Sam and myself out working on it throughout the off-season.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Fall Seeding and Course Recovery

This month at HOA we made big strides toward getting the course back to the condition our patrons expect.

All of the weak rough areas on the river course have been seeded and is beginning to fill in.
Flooded area between #2 and #3 that was bare dirt before
As many know, number had a very rough season this year. All of the rough on the hole was lost to the flooding and we have since seeded it with good results.

#7 tee bank before seeding

#7 tee bank after seeding
The vast majority of #7 fairway was covered in very thick silt when the river receded.

After we aerified numerous times and removed as much silt as possible, we now have a much better stand of turf and the rough seeding is starting to fill in

The warm weather in September gave the Zoysia another good month of growth this year, which helped with the recovery process on our heavily damaged fairways.

The course recovery is a continuous process and I would like to remind everyone to obey the rope and stake and signs we have on the course to help give the turf the best chance possible to heal.

I want to say thank you again for your patience and understanding, we hope to have the course looking great going into next season.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Course Update

As everyone knows, the golf course was hit by yet another major flood in August. I thought I would take a moment to update everyone on the cleanup progress and other ongoing projects at HOA.

The flood cleanup has been equally extensive and exhausting. Starting from greens and working out to tees, fairways, and rough we cleaned as much of the deposited silt off the turf. Currently we are in the process of seeding areas that are too far gone to recover. Many areas still have silt that has nowhere to go and we are trying to break it and get grass to grow through it. You will likely see hundreds of feet of rope and stake on the course, which are areas that have been seeded.

The reason carts have stayed on the path so long is that the flood water and silt deposits weakened our cool-season turf severely. Most of the fairways are in good shape, but getting carts from the path to the fairway is the problem and any excessive driving on the weak rough areas will certainly kill the turf and lead to more seeding. This week our goal is to get everything seeded and roped off so that we can get carts back off the paths, but it will be imperative that carts stay on the fairways and out of the rough.

During this disaster cleanup regular course maintenance has to continue. With a crew of only a few guys this is extremely hard to do, but we have managed. All of the greens were aerified last week and the main driving range tee has been aerified and seeded. Unfortunately the grass does not stop growing for us to clean the flood so it has been a very long process. One of the major eye-sores on the course that has not been fully addressed since the flood are the bunkers. We hope to get the bunkers back into playable condition in the comings days.

Thank you all for your patience and I look forward to putting this flood behind us and getting the course back to the way it should be.