Course Blog

#5 Fairway Bunker Facelift – November 17, 2014

With the new professional tee construction, Hole 5 is stretching further and further. From the new back tee, the right side fairway trap is becoming less visible to players. Decisions have been approved to raise the lip of the bunker a few feet improving the bunker’s visibility from all tee boxes. Boards were staked into place to begin a clearly defined bunker lip.  Existing sand was shoveled back from the outer edges by hand to prevent soil contamination during the project.

Brian speeding up the process with his excavator

Bryan speeds up the process with his excavator skills

The staff has battled blistering cold weather this past week in order to stay on schedule with our list of winter projects. Many weekday mornings reached single digit temperatures turning the soil into ice blocks. Special heaters were brought out to make the soil more pliable for shaping.  You can see the heater in the image below.

Using a vibratory soil compactor to provide firm bunker face for players

Using a vibratory soil compactor to provide a firm bunker face for playability

Once the face is firmed up enough, new bunker liner material will be stapled in place to prevent soil from mixing into our white sand over time.  This liner also helps prevent native weeds from growing.

The newly defined edge to #5 right fairway bunker

The newly defined edge to #5 right fairway bunker

With the new bunker face flashed up, players will see a few feet of highly visible white sand from every angle.   Now everyone will be aware of the dangers lurking for a long, straight tee shot.

Native Area Renovation Update – October 27, 2014

The course already reflects results from our progress of cleaning up overgrown native boundaries.  We have heard many compliments from members and guests.  For those of you who have been unable to view it, below is a sneak peek of what you can expect next time you come out.

View from black tees on #4 before the project started.

View from black tees on #4 before the project started.

#4 after tree removal and native management practices.

#4 after tree pruning and native management practices.

 

This winter, our primary task will be to complete all the necessary work to help restore Flint Hills National closer to its original appearance the day it opened.  The tree lines and native grasses have overgrown their original boundaries and require some aggressive attention.  The views from tee to green will be opened back up to see key features of each hole as well as give players more space to enjoy a variety of shot strategies.  We will continue to provide great course conditions during our project but please excuse the added noise from our heavy equipment as we continue throughout the course.

Update: November 3, 2014

We’ve decided to install fescue sod in the line of play instead of re-grassing native areas.  Below is the latest view.  You can see the new sod line on the left edge of tree line.

 

#4 after new fescue sod replaces native grass

#4 after new fescue sod replaces native grass

Course Update – September 22, 2014

While our work load is very busy all year, August and September always seem to be more stressful and busy.   These past two months have been challenging trying to keep everything watered properly, set up daily course preparation, and completing our fall project list.  Our minor aerification went over very well last month and did not seem to disappoint anyone’s expectations for playing conditions.  As of last week, we completed the last of the bermudagrass eradication plan on 11 and 18.  The late summer drought forced us to seed thin areas of rough on the course.  Please bear with us as we water the rough heavier than usual to help establish the new seed.  Since it appears we will no longer have temperatures in the 90’s, we have resumed dusting the greens with sand on a regular schedule to stay on top of the fast and firm green conditions.  The leaves have begun to fall and the staff is doing a great job of removing leaves from playing surfaces.  Many of you have noticed our dirt work being done on 1, 5, and 16.  We will be installing new tee decks to add length and variety to our golf course.  These projects will continue on through the winter.  We hope everyone is enjoying this fantastic fall weather.  Fall golf doesn’t get much better than this!

Bermudagrass Prevention – July 30, 2014

For the past few years, we have been treating our rough with a non-selective herbicide program to eliminate all bermudagrass in the rough.   We will complete the final phase of the project this fall on #11 and #18.   Already, we are beginning to see new shoots of bermudagrass spreading onto the course from native areas treated during the first phase in 2012.   Fortunately a new product has come to the market which we can use to control bermudagrass without the expense and hassle of sodding afterward.

Topramezone is a selective caratenoid biosynthesis inhibitor, or chlorophyll inhibitor.   Remember, chlorophyll is the green pigment that allows plants to absorb energy from light.   Since this product is preventing the grass from producing chlorophyll, the bermudagrass will begin to turn completely white.   In less than one week, the bermudagrass is already showing results of the product working.   See below.

Color starting to bleach from leaf blades.

Color starting to bleach from leaf blades.

As the active ingredient stops the plant from producing chlorophyll, it will also fail to produce complex sugars necessary to sustain life.   The dead bermudagrass will then be overtaken by the healthy bluegrass rough.   This process, however, will take approximately 7 to 9 weeks to complete.

This will be a common site for the next several weeks.

This will be a common site for the next several weeks.

Summer Stress Prevention – July 18, 2014

With more days being forecasted in the upper 90’s, we will begin taking stronger preventative measures to help our greens battle summer stress.  We will be venting the greens again on Monday as we have been doing every few weeks.  This process makes tiny holes in the greens which are 1/4″ in diameter.  These open holes allow better flow of water into the soil as well as improve gas exchanges for plant life.  This does not affect the playability.  Within a few hours of venting, a staff member rolls the green to press down any areas that may have been disrupted in the process.

Ramon venting the putting green.

Ramon venting the putting green.

A closer look at the vented holes.  This process is also called Needle Tine.

A closer look at the vented holes. This process is also called Needle Tine.

 

Another measure we take is called root pruning.  Trees and other native plants compete for our irrigation water intended for the grass.  In order to maximize our water retention in turf, we must prune back other plant roots.  In the upcoming weeks, you will probably come across two thin lines sliced in the soil around trees and the perimeter of each hole.  Every year we run our root pruner where woody roots are encroaching into undesirable areas.  Below is a prime example of why we routinely run the root pruner.

2" diameter tree root found under #9 green.

2″ diameter tree root surfacing from under #9 green.