Course Blog

Summer Stress Update – July 24, 2015

I wanted to give you all an update on our greens. Unfortunately, we are experiencing some bacterial wilt. We usually experience some of this every summer on a few greens. I do not want to alarm anyone, but thought you needed to know. We have areas of bacterial wilt on most greens. Some are worse than others. I believe the reason we have more than usual was from pushing the greens too far during the wet conditions of the Trans-Miss Championship. We are on top of the situation and have implemented all the tools to resolve the problem. From past experience, this will take some time and help from Mother Nature providing cooler night time temperatures to grow out of it. The 3.2” of rain Monday night and 100 degree temperatures is not helping the problem. If you are wondering about a little slower green speeds, we have raised mowing height and will not be mowing and rolling on the same day for a while. The rest of the course is in great shape and I’m sure the greens will be back to normal soon. Thank you for your patience. I will continue to keep you posted.



Success Story – July 21, 2015

With the 112th Trans-Miss  Championship behind us, there is finally a window of opportunity to update our blog.  First of all, everything we have heard regarding the tournament conveys it what a huge success.  Many compliments were passed along from every aspect of Flint Hills National with special consideration to the course conditioning throughout the event.  Everyone from our department had great time preparing the course for all the highly skilled players.  We are very much looking forward to hosting the 2017 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship.

This morning, we had a very unexpected 2.85″ of rain in our gauge.  While it was a bit excessive, we are very thankful for the moisture and cooler temperatures for a day or two.  Our staff was able to pump out the remaining water from flooded areas and push-up any washed bunkers in no time.  Other than carts remaining on the path, you would hardly notice how much rain flooded the course this morning.

For the past 10 days, temperatures have been very hot and the staff have been hand watering our greens and rough to help urge the grass through the summer stress.  We have continued to use back-pack blowers regularly to circulate fresh air through the drains underneath our greens.  Our team will continue to exert all our efforts to maintain the high quality course conditions we are known for.  We hope to see you on the course again soon.

Excessive Rain Requires More Labor – May 28, 2015

Only a few months ago, all of us were wishing for rain.  Perhaps we wished too hard.  The golf course has received 13.14″ since April 6th.  This is almost twice our usual combined average of 7.16″ for April and May.  Even though everything is currently very green on the golf course, many of the staff’s labor hours have been focused on bunkers, mowing, and blowing grass clippings.  There have been three storms this month which poured more than 2″ of rain on site.  We feel very lucky none of these storms caused flooding on the golf course.  The team has done an excellent job ensuring all storm drains are cleared of debris after each rain event.

More than 2 Ft. of  debris collected over this storm drain from flash flooding

More than 2 Ft. of debris collected over this storm drain from flash flooding

Eroded bunker faces from storm rains

Eroded bunker faces from storm rains


Silt washed into bunkers which requires removal before repair

Silt washed into bunkers which requires removal before repair

We were fortunate enough to purchase another debris blower this year which has helped tremendously during cleanup after storms.  Mowing the rough has proved to be challenging lately.  Typically, we send four team members to mow our rough.  Due to the excessive rains, we have been forced to send three or four extra members to follow the mowers and blow grass clippings left behind.


Update: Fresh Air – April 13, 2015

Our greens are looking fantastic right now and we work so hard to keep them this way all season. Earlier this year, we posted images of our project to help introduce cool, clean air into the sub layers of our greens.  We will focus our efforts for this task in the early morning.  This allows cooler air to be pushed into the drain pipes which will help raise soil temperatures during the middle of summer.  Below are two videos showing how we intend use this capability to help maintain healthy greens while pushing the fast, firm conditions during the summer months. Staff members will blow air into the drain pipes on a regular schedule to maximize root depths throughout each green.  Pushing our roots deeper allows us to conserve water enabling a better balance of sustainability and playability.

We have attached back-pack blowers to the open ends of our drain pipes which run underneath #10 green. Our goal was to introduce fresh, cool ambient air into the pipes forcing air out into the gravel layer and soil to provide a healthier growing environment for our roots. We probed holes into the green to check for the strength of air flow. A ping pong ball was placed over the hole to display air flow.  Here’s what we discovered!


Please check volume before playing videos.  The engine noise in the background is loud.

Fresh Air 1 (1 of 2) from Dylan Senn on Vimeo.

Fresh Air 2 (2 of 2) from Dylan Senn on Vimeo.

Upcoming Greens Aerification – March 23, 2015

Next Monday, our staff will begin the necessary process of aerifying greens.  We apologize for the inconvenience this brings but it is imperative that we complete this step to provide fast and firm conditions while still maintaining healthy turf.   Our experienced staff work at an arduous pace to open the course as quickly as possible so play can resume.  We target this time of year because temperatures are cool and our bentgrass greens are growing vigorously which allows the plant to heal quickly.  This means the turf will spread and grow laterally to fill in the aerification holes getting back to a true rolling putting surface.  Usually, there will be no sign of aerificiation in about two weeks.

This week, team members are preparing the greens to endure all the stress aerification brings with it by providing  the essential fungicides and nutrients needed to sustain strong, dense turf during recovery.   The equipment managers bring the aerifiers out of storage and inspect it for repairs before we begin.  All equipment is tested on our nursery green to ensure no errors happen on the championship course.  Thank you again for your cooperation as we ramp up the golf course to its high level expectations.