#12 @ Wild Horse

#12 @ Wild Horse

Monday, October 9, 2017


The golf season is winding down but there will be a few more good days to play and the course is looking pretty.  The greens are healing nicely from the aerification of last week.  The holes were small and the topdressing has worked in nicely leaving a good surface to play on.  We have raised the height of cut as we prepare for impending winter so greens aren't summertime fast but they still roll smooth.  Our mowing schedule on everything has slowed and we will only mow a couple more times on fairways and tees.  This is the time of year when we try to go easy on the grass to allow it to go into winter as healthy as possible.

One nuisance you have probably noticed this fall is the worm castings, but there is not much that can be done to prevent them.  This year they seem to be particularly bad perhaps because of the recent rains.   We hate them as much as you because they are unsightly and gum up our mowers but usually it is a short-term problem.  They are really active for about 2-4 weeks, but this cold snap should start sending them down in the soil as they too prepare for winter.

Below is a picture taken after the cross country meet showing the impact of hundreds of runners on the turf.  I show this not because I am upset about it but it is a good way of showing what golf carts, mowers and golfers do to turf.  This picture illustrates it better because the traffic is concentrated in one area and at one time, but the same compaction is occurring all week every week during the season.  I know golfers get tired of the mess associated with aerification but this is why we aerate so often-to counteract the subtle stress turf sustains due to traffic of all kinds.

Again this fall you have seen these rectangular spray strips.  We are once again trying some different rates and timing of Roundup application in hopes of controlling Poa annua.  You might wonder why we have done these trials in various areas and not just in a single fairway.  We want to test our applications under various conditions of soil types, traffic, and soil moisture to see if there is differences.  Also each area will have different percentages of bluegrass vs. rye so we can see how much injury occurs to each type of turf.  And finally Poa has many different varieties within its species so we want to see if one type is affected more than others.  Each area treated will have differing types and abundance of poa plants.

Monday, September 11, 2017


Say it every year but man September is just perfect here in Nebraska.  And the golf course is enjoying the last days of summer.  This is the time of year when superintendents can catch their breath a bit and enjoy the fruits of their labors.  The weather, the shortening days, and the turf growth habit come together to make the course as good as it gets.
It has been another great season here at Wild Horse and we hope you can make it out a couple more times before the snow flies.  It is indeed glorious out there today with the emerald green fairways surrounded by the purple and orange hues of the native grass roughs.  Makes for some inspiring golf.  Enjoy!!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Aeration Schedule

Hard to believe but we are on the downhill side of summer which means aeration will soon be taking place.

We will start poking fairways on August 13.  We usually try to do 3 or 4 fairways per day and get done as quickly as possible-probably by August 16.  We try to get cleaned up as quickly as weather allows- the plugs must be dry to start dragging and blowing them.  If you play those days there will probably be 1 or 2 holes that you encounter full cores that haven't been broken up.  We appreciate you patience with this process.

August 28-29--Greens Surrounds.  9 per day

Sept 5-6--Tees

October 2-3--Greens with small tines similar to last fall.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Dog Days of Summer

It is now the height of golf season as July is the month with the highest number of rounds played at Wild Horse.  But it is probably the worst conditions for growing grass as high temperatures and ample humidity can cause turf to suffer.  We have not been lucky enough to catch any rains recently so the rough and edges of fairways are starting to brown off quickly.  Our efforts to keep irrigation out of the rough is readily apparent now as the first cut beyond the fairways is brown and crispy.  Below is a good example of where irrigation is and where it isn't.  There are still some areas that receive some irrigation overspray but without rain even those areas are becoming parched.   This is definitely makes finding and hitting balls from the rough much easier but the "look' of the fairways may not be as consistent due to a few brown spots here and there.  But all in all the course is holding up well and golfing conditions are great.

I posted a video of this critter on twitter about a week ago under the caption of "Omaha rattler".  Every year we have one or two people swear they saw a rattlesnake.  Not to say it couldn't happen but most of the time they are probably seeing this critter-a hognose snake.  It very much looks like a rattlesnake from its markings and its diamond shaped head.  It will even twitch it's tail rapidly which  can look and sound almost like a rattlesnake. These guys are generally pretty timid although this one was a bit feisty.  I attribute that to him being the largest  specimen I have seen.  Really a cool snake to have on the property-keeps you city folk on edge.  Ha!

Oh I barely recognize you with your haircut!  You can see we have knocked down some areas of rough similarly to last year. You can read about why we do so in a previous post on rough management called Gnarly "Wooga"

Friday, June 23, 2017

Got a Leak?

That's the question we get most times when someone sees us doing a project like this.  No, not a leak- we are just making work for ourselves by moving sprinklers around to 1) get better coverage on turf and/or 2) limit the amount of overspray into the rough.  We have probably done nearly 40 of these over the past few years as we try to maximize our irrigation efficiency by placing the heads in just the right spots.  Also we cannot completely eliminate irrigation overspray into the native areas but we have made significant progress over the years in minimizing the amount of irrigation spraying into the rough.  It is little projects like this that can make incremental improvements to the course in the long term.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Poa control

Revisiting the test strips we talked about earlier this year  http://whgcturf.blogspot.com/2017/03/test-strips.html.  This picture clearly illustrates the spray path that we took last fall.  Outside of this pattern you can see the abundance of Poa seedheads (whitish splotches).  So it sure looks like we might be on to something with Poa control using Roundup.  We will once again pick some spots to attack again late summer and early fall and hope we can achieve great control like you see in the rectangle below.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Irrigation Driven Sump Pump

We have been wanting to improve the drainage in front of 6 green for several years.  During large rains our "French drain" sump fills with water and must be pumped out with a transfer pump.  In an ideal situation electricity would be available somewhere close and a simple electric sump pump could be hung in the catch basin.  But this area on 6 fairway is not near electricity so instead we used unique system developed by Turfdrain that allows us to move water without electric power.  In this application, irrigation water is run through a siphoning valve that then sucks the water out of the sump and pumps it through the outlet pipe.

This first picture shows the excavation of the old gravel fill sump.  This was complicated by the water still in the sump and the caving of the banks but Richeson Irrigation dug us a nice hole.

Here you see the new catch basin draped in erosion cloth to prevent contamination.  To the right is the 1" line that ties into the irrigation system.  To the left is the outlet piping that will carry the water up and over the hill to the east.  As you can see we backfilled with sand which should move water better into the sump and not get as clogged with sediment like the previous gravel layer.

The project nearly complete-just waiting for the sod..

Finally here is the working parts of the system.  You can see the float ball that will automatically open the siphon valve when water reaches a certain level in the catch basin.

We have been pondering doing this sump (which almost always holds water after any large rain event) for some time now and we are quite excited to have this really cool system installed and ready for the next thunderstorm.  Kudos to my crew that knocked this out in a day.