Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Covering Greens in Winter Weather

Covering greens is a challenging but necessary process.  First we strategically plan so we can ideally insulate the greens, preserving the warmest air prior to the wind and cold hitting.  Believe it or not, WIND is the greater enemy when it comes to protecting our warm season turf.  Not only does it make the tarps blow like an out of control parachute, but the danger to delicate Bermuda greens increases, we refer to the term desiccation to best explain what we are working to prevent.

DESICCATION: Desiccation, also known as winter drought, is the term used to describe turf grass death due to drying out over the course of winter when the grass is dormant or semi-dormant. Desiccation is more likely to appear in areas where soil was dry prior to entering winter or where there has been little snow precipitation or cover throughout the cool winter months. NOTE: In regions where drought occurs regularly throughout the season, desiccation is more likely to be prominent (i.e. the Dakotas, Kansas, Nebraska and others). - Reference: Turf Care Supply

For this reason our first order of business is to hydrate by hand watering each green the day before we anticipate covering.  Then we must manage guest play as we work to get 36 greens prepped and covered for cold wind and freezing temperatures. 

We would much prefer to stay open and keep our staffs working and golfers happy, but alas, Mother Nature reigns supreme.  If we don’t play it conservative the potential cost of turf loss for one green can be $3,000-$4,000 to strip then reseed or resod.  Multiply that cost x36 greens in addition to the lost rounds and trust from the playing public and it makes sense that all golf courses are conservative about the process of covering and UNcovering warm-season Bermuda greens during severe winter weather.

Our fingers are crossed that this next stretch of bad weather is short-lived, so you can all move on with your golf goals for 2018 and we can put the tarps away for the season!

Click here to follow us on Facebook to stay updated on the latest regarding any interruption in play due to weather; we’ll keep you posted!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Overseed Project Results

Here at Indian Creek GC’s Creek Course the overseed project wrapped up in October and we are now seeing the fruits of that labor as the fairways and tee boxes are green and lush with winter rye grass.

The project took place over 4 days as the crew seeded 40+ acres using 24,000 pounds of seed to cover the tee boxes, fairways, driving range and chipping area.  Getting the winter rye to germinate requires a lot of watering, a bit of cooperation from mother nature (so the seed doesn't get washed away in a torrential storm) and management of cart traffic while the seedlings fight to sprout!  

While it is a significant investment overseeding provides premium conditions during the winter months.  Golfers enjoy the look of the defined fairways and the lush turf helps preserve the integrity of the course layout.  The warm season Bermuda grass will start to spread again in May or June depending on how fast we warm up this spring, effectively it chokes out the winter rye and takes back over for the hot summer months!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Meet our Assistant Superintendent: Doug Cameron

Hello, my name is Douglas Shawn Cameron, Assistant Superintendent at Indian Creek Golf Club.   My parents met at the University of Iowa and I was born shortly thereafter.  I am of Scottish descent and as a youngster had freckles and bright red hair. 

As my mother will attest, I was an outdoor kid.  I love to fish and poor mom spent many an evening wondering when I would drag in, wet from head to toe, after all day at the creek.  I have two younger sisters Morgan and Shannon. We grew up with an assortment of dogs, cats and horses.  My only pet now is a fish.  He is a Beta.  I call him Fish.
My father was in the United States Army and we moved from Iowa to Texas when I was four.  I got here as fast as I could!  San Antonio was home on three occasions.  I have also lived in El Paso, TX; San Francisco, CA; and spent four years in Germany.  I graduated from high school in Baumholder, Germany with a class of 58 students.  Baumholder was my fifth high school, we moved around quite a bit.  Growing up I loved to play baseball and hoped one day to play college or pro ball.  Alas, in Germany soccer rules and there was no baseball.  While in El Paso I also dabbled in motocross.  My friends and I would spend all day riding across the desert for miles and miles.  Sounds like a song from Asleep at the Wheel.
I am a graduate of Texas A&M University.  As a student I worked for the university Grounds Maintenance Department in the irrigation division.  I also served as a care taker for Hensel Park, a 25 acre facility owned by the University.  I lived in a small cabin in the park while attending classes.
I moved to Carrollton, Texas in 1987 where I met Teresa, my wife of 28 years.  We enjoy camping, fishing and going to local festivals together.  Our children, Brian and Sarah, are grown and reside in Lewisville and Carrollton.  No grandchildren yet, but sometimes Maggie comes to visit.  She is Sarah’s Cairn terrier, a Scottish breed.  Teresa works in Accounts Receivable for Parks Coffee.  A local business started in 1986 by Randy Parks in the garage of his Carrollton home. 

I began working at Indian Creek Golf Club in the spring of 2016.  I really enjoyed the challenge of helping our Superintendent, Kenny Baker, prepare the courses for reopening after the great flood of 2015.  Prior to Indian Creek I worked at three other local golf courses.  Buffalo Creek in Rockwall, TX; Castle Hills in Lewisville, TX and Royal Oaks in Dallas, Texas.
Oddly, I don’t play golf.  I realized early on that it takes a lot of time and patience to chase the little white ball!!  Since fishing has always been my favorite hobby I ditched the clubs and kept my poles.  I like being outdoors and exploring new places.  I think nothing beats good BBQ.  I like most music, especially blues and bluegrass.   I also enjoy craft beer and of course Scotch.  Single malts only please. 

I work with a great staff and enjoy meeting our customers.  A little patch of green amidst the urban chaos, Indian Creek is home for now.  Hope to see you there soon.

Time Change & Frost Delays

The recent time change caused both disruption to our sleep pattern and our golf habits, so how does daylight 'savings' affect Golf Courses and is it a positive thing?  The short answer is NO.
After November (and this year the first frost came in October) even North Texas battles cold mornings, which are less desirable for golfers and can cause starting time issues due to frost.

OFF SEASON HOURS begin when daylight savings starts and ends, while the sun is coming up sooner it doesn't equal earlier start times due to necessary adjustments:
1. Demand for sunrise tee times is reduced due to colder temps
2. Maintenance staff is reduced to prepare for off season, course set up for 36 holes is still required, but with a skeleton crew 
3. Frost delays must be managed
4. Overall facility resources are reduced to align with less demand


Monday, October 2, 2017

Weed Control: Fall / Winter

Whether it’s a homeowner’s lawn or a golf course, weeds are unwanted aesthetically and pesky for golfers who expect a good lie in the fairway!  Pre emergent weed control is a common practice for Golf Course Superintendents, but perhaps not as much at home.

At ICGC we have approx 115 acres of turf where weed control is essential, a relatively inexpensive commercial grade pre emergent can cost up to $30/acre.  So for the fall pre emergent application we budget $3000-$3500. 

The photos below show a plot treated with and without weed prevention and the difference is clear, so unless you have goats roaming your yard, here are recommendations for fall/winter lawn care specific to North Dallas.
The facts from a Texas Coop Extension expert: 
  • Apply pre emergent in early to mid September (weather dependent, if too hot and dry wait a couple more weeks)
    • Ensure you purchase the correct material for your lawn type
    • Water a good half inch within 1-2 days
  • Annual winter weeds may require a post emergent application, because the best time to treat is fall and early winter while they are actively growing.
    • Allow material to dry a couple days, then mow
Weedy dormant bermudagrass

Plot of turf untreated vs. treated

Dormant bermudagrass sans the weeds

Friday, September 8, 2017

Grub Control

What can make a pristine fairway (or lawn) like this…

Look like this?

As we rolled into August, not only did Pre Season football kick off, but so did Grub season!

Many have asked the question, ‘what is happening on some tees and fairways?’  The simple answer is skunks and armadillos have an appetite for grubs, and we have plenty for them to find!  Our grub control program has begun with applications of Imidacloprid in the affected areas.  The areas closer to the Elm Fork of the Trinity River (holes on the Creek like 14 & 15) get the most activity, as there are areas of vegetation along it, which make a comfortable home for these critters.  Other pests like ants will also be affected so we can control the mounded anthills on fairways and tees.

Next month:  Weed Control

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Why Aerate the Greens?

Premium turf conditions and healthy greens are no accident, regular maintenance practices create the ideal playing surfaces we have come to expect as golfers. One of those key practices is Aerification of the putting surfaces.  This method relieves compaction and helps to reduce the possibility of turf loss from disease and other threats.

We completed core aerification of both The Creek & Lakes courses in July while turf health has been at its peak.  This allowed for faster healing and less ‘downtime’ for the ideal green conditions we all prefer. 

Thanks to our golfers who continue to play and comment about the great conditions here at Indian Creek, it’s been a good weather season so far with well-timed soaking rains and moderate heat.  In addition we continue efforts in preventative care to ensure the course is always ready for your next golf outing!