#12 @ Wild Horse

#12 @ Wild Horse

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.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

More Accolades

Recently Wild Horse received some more accolades that can be seen at the following links.



It is an honor to be highly thought of by these sources and others that have included us in their best golf courses listings.

So how does a course get into such lists and what role does maintenance play in that regard?  Each publication or panel of raters has criteria for rating courses and most of it is based on the design of the golf holes and how they challenge the golfer.  Criteria can vary from one source to the next which can account for the differences in course rankings from one list to another.  As with all rankings there is the subjectivity of each rater that can make the difference between being 56 or 78, but that really doesn't matter much.  If Wild Horse is included in these lists it must generally be a highly regarded course among the best in the state and nation.

At the stockholder meeting this year I talked about what I feel the maintenance team's role in this ranking game is.  We are the coach that hopefully maximizes the "talent" of the course.  Wild Horse is a great design with variety, strategy, and fits well into our prairie landscape.  So we have plenty of "talent" to work with.  Then we try to maximize the golfers' experience by providing great playing conditions that contribute to the design of the course.   For example the greens and fairways have some slope to them but are not overly severe.  Therefore we try to maximize those slopes and run-up areas around greens by keeping them firm and fast as possible. 

Along with playing conditions, we strive to keep the architectural merits of the course relevant and intact.  What exactly does that mean?  That means keeping bunkering looking as intended by maintaining the "blowout" look.  It means keeping mow lines in their place.  It means examining teeing areas and adjusting if necessary to weather conditions and/or player capabilities.  It means managing the native vegetation and topography to visually accentuate the golf holes.  Some of these things probably are not consciously recognized by most golfers, but together these things create a product that subconsciously "feels right" to the player.  Then when they are done with their round they say that was fun. 

We hope that our work solidifies each golfers' perception of Wild Horse as a top-notch facility-one that they want to return to often. That's what we are trying to accomplish.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Greens aeration update

We have poked holes in all the greens during the cruddy weather we have been having the past few days. It hasn't been pleasant to work in but it is great timing because we aren't in your way and you aren't in ours.  We hope to get our topdressing out Monday if we don't get too much snow tonight.  Then we hope for some warm weather to help greens heal up quickly.

Even though we see it often, it is truly amazing how quickly and easily new roots find these channels in the soil.  The new roots love the freeway without compaction and water and air are readily available. 
As most of you know we are seemingly always poking holes but there is really no substitute for this critical practice if you want to maintain high quality turf.   We realize it can be an inconvenience for you playing the game but we try to do it as quickly and efficiently as possible.  And the week of less than ideal playing conditions pays off in a season long stretch of great conditions coming in the months ahead.