#12 @ Wild Horse

#12 @ Wild Horse

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

YouTube Vlog

 Obviously it has been awhile since I have posted here.  I will be posting here only sparingly in the future if a topic warrants extra explanation or pictures.  But instead of this blog we will be putting out short videos on YouTube.  These vlog posts will allow us to explain topics more quickly and with video that should illustrate what we are trying to convey.  So it should be easier for us and more informative and quicker to digest for you.  We will hope to get these 1-5 minute videos out weekly keeping you more up-to-date with goings on at Wild Horse.  A few videos have been posted at the Wild Horse Golf Club channel already so check them out and leave feedback as to what you like or dislike.  We are not great videographers but hope to get better and highlight the best Wild Horse has to offer.  Tune in!

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Summer heat

 There has been many times I've been going to sit down and write another blog but other priorities seem to keep me from doing so once again.  We struggled through a seemingly cold May and are now baking in summertime heat.  Just good ole Nebraska weather.

We believe that May is when we really make up ground and the course rounds into form about Memorial Day.  That was no exception this year.  The month of May is used to recover from aerification and thicken up the stand of turf.  It can be tricky to manage for consistency then due to the swings in weather and that limits the quality and consistency of the greens.  But by late May our brushing and plant growth regulation schedules start to improve the greens quality.  This year was no exception and greens really improved in the last week of May as we hoped.   They are usually the last part of the course to get to where we want them and that is mostly due to bentgrass liking just a bit more heat than the other grasses we manage.  

Now we are into full summer mode and the course is looking and playing well for the Nebraska State Match Play this week.  We always enjoy seeing how the course presents for good competitors.  There were some very good scores with playing condition hot but not windy.  

We have been working on a new poa control program this spring on some fairways (6, 14, 15, 17).  That was going well until our last application which, while it achieved good control on the poa, it also damaged some of our good grasses.  This caught us a bit off-guard as previous apps did not affect our turf that much.  A sharp increase in temperature and our experimentation with a slightly more acidic solution seemed to really ding the ryegrass.  So you will see some thinning in those spots in the short term.  But in the long term we should come out with a more consistent stand of bluegrass.  That is one of those learning moments that will help guide us next spring.   

We liken poa control to cancer chemotherapy because it is very hard on the patient in an attempt to kill the cancer.  And they may look really tough for awhile, but in the long term the goal is to get rid of the bad and the patient survives.  And so too we expect the turf to recover and be better in those areas in time.  That recovery is being hindered by some very unusual grub activity (for this time of year) and the hot weather but slowly and surely through the summer our turf will get better there.

That really is the only concerning areas on the course right now.  Greens, approaches and fairways are looking good right now as is the wooga.  The May rains provided good moisture for some of the wildflowers that call the rough home.  It started with Western Wallflower (yellow), progressed to shell-leaf penstemon (pink flowers near cabins), and now spiderwort (purple clusters between 7&8) is giving color to the wooga.  I'm not busy chasing my golf ball so I notice these things-hopefully you too take time to appreciate the diversity and beauty of our "wooga"

Until next time good golfing!

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Kudos to crew

Today we will finish up topdressing on the aerated greens.  First time I can remember aerating and topdressing in a snowstorm.  And for that I want to give kudos to my small crew that for some reason keeps showing up to work in 35 degrees/35 mph wind.  It has not been pleasant to finish up our spring aeration session but thanks to my crew we will get it done as scheduled.  

As greens start to heal up from aerification, we will start to focus more on putting quality and you should see a noticeable improvement in the next couple of weeks.  The rest of the course has just been sitting there for the past three weeks with the weather we have had.  At one point we were ahead of schedule and now the turf seems to be at or behind what is normal for late April.  But that is not unusual for spring in Nebraska and we really don't see our turf doing much until we get into May.  The next 3 weeks should see much improvement in that regard.

There has been a delay in the VFD that controls our new irrigation motor due to supply chain issues but we are happy to report that it is now installed and we will start programming it today.  Super excited for this upgrade.

So while it has been a little bit of a trying aerification season, we are certainly excited for the upcoming golf season and are expecting great conditions.


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Spring Progress

It's been a warm and windy start to April for sure.  The warmer temps have allowed us to get a good portion of the fairway aerification done (only holes 2 and 3 left).  Hope to finish up this week which will allow us to move greens surrounds aeration up to next week on the 13/14th from the 26/27.  That way we can get out of your way sooner while weather may not be ideal for golf.

The course is farther along than most years but when it is 80 degrees people wonder why it's not greener?  It just takes time for grass to get moving when soil temperatures are still in the forties.  So even though you are in your shorts, the turf's legs are still in the fridge!  

As we have said many times before, April is our set-up month with aerification and fertilizer and chemical applications coming in the next few weeks that prepare the turf for the prime golfing months ahead.  So while many of you expect fast greens right out of the gate, we are certainly not pushing for superb playing conditions at this point.  As we transition out of aerification season and weather conditions become more stable our focus will shift towards better playability.

We were able to execute our burn on Monday on a very warm and dry day.  Fortunately the wind stayed manageable but even with that the fire was quite volatile.  So we were able to complete most of the areas, but we left some on the outside of #14 and #2 just because it was too dangerous and difficult to control the fire like we wanted.  But all in all another good burn day for Wild Horse.    I appreciate my staff and some extra volunteers for their hard work to pull it off.  It has become a rite of spring here at Wild Horse, but should not be taken for granted.  We have been doing this for twenty years now and feel pretty experienced at it, but it is still a relief to get it done right without incident.  

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Here we go

Its golf season again and the course is looking as good as it can this time of year.  The snow cover did its job as expected and both greens and fairways are looking nice.  It is easy to see how important that snow coverage was as there are a few mounds (putting green, #14, #9 are examples) that still had some snow cover albeit not very thick and those places are still brown while everything else has greened up.  Without a cover it would be looking much poorer.  So we got lucky this year.

We are in process of doing our normal spring duties.  I have started to work on irrigation-going through each station and making sure it is operating normally.  There are always a few sprinklers that don't work for a variety of reasons and now is a good time to repair them to ready them for the season.  

Todd is working on path entrances and exits trying to eliminate the bump at the transition.  This is a never-ending task.  Wind and water move the finer sands off the path and it piles up in the turf border creating a lip there.  We try our best to keep that transition smooth but mother nature is always working against us.

Together Todd and I will be adding and reshaping bunkers as needed.  We had some pretty fierce winds early in the winter that really moved some sand around in bunkers so we will be working on them in the next couple weeks before we really get busy aerating and mowing.

Speaking of mowing, our first greensmowing is probably going to be around March 20-about a week ahead of "normal".  

Then our next task is aerification of fairways starting around April 1.  The aerification schedule looks like this for the spring (pretty similar to past springs):

Fairways        April 1-16

Greens          April 18-19  (again small needle tines followed by topdressing on April 20)

Surrounds     April 26-27

Tees                May 10-11

Monday, February 15, 2021

Winter reading and listening

Yikes it is cold-We are so fortunate to have great blanket of snow protecting our turf!

It's that time of year when the days are getting shorter, golf is on TV, and we all know despite this cold snap that spring is just around the corner.  We, like you, are excited for another season of golf at Wild Horse.  To pique your interest here is an article on Wild Horse from Golf.com  Below that is a podcast that I did this winter.  Not that riveting, but perhaps it will pass another hour of time until our March 15 opener.

Stay warm!

Why Wild Horse Golf Club is the best course you've never heard of

 Superintendent Series, Episode 12: Josh Mahar - Wild Horse GC - The Fried Egg

Thursday, February 4, 2021

New well drilled


Thanks to Sargent Irrigation and Gothenburg Irrigation for drilling us a new irrigation well yesterday.  We are very excited about this new water source for our irrigation.

It was an interesting and educational experience to watch this process take place.  Really quite amazing to see a well driller in action.  Below is the drill bit used.  

16" casing was set to 310 feet with the static water level around 40 feet.  The pump itself will probably be set around 125 feet but that will be determined after the test pump today.

This well was drilled under the same parameters as our other irrigation well and I would assume our pumping capacity will be similar.  Test pumping will take place today to determine exact specs.  The last well produced nearly 1500 gallons/minute free flow and we try to run about 1,000 GPM during our irrigation cycles.  Our sprinklers are nearly all the same and run 52 gpm so we are running about 20 heads at a time during an irrigation cycle.