#12 @ Wild Horse

#12 @ Wild Horse

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.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Winter Update

In many other parts of the country the summer is the toughest time for turf with disease, drought, and heat affecting turf stands, but as we have mentioned before here at Wild Horse the winter is our most concerning time as a turf manager.  Luckily this year has been good so far.  We haven't received much moisture, but what we have has come as snow that stuck and didn't blow around like usual.   That provided a much needed blanket and consistent moisture throughout the course.  Another benefit has been the relatively mild temperatures with only a few single digit lows so far.  The turf still has a tinge of green color to it now even in mid January which indicates desiccation has not taken place at all to this point.  So far so good!

The big news here at Wild Horse is obviously the departure of Don Graham, General Manager.  It will definitely be something new for me as Don and I have worked together for nearly the entirety of Wild Horse existence.  We wish Don the best in his new endeavor and appreciate the contributions he's made to the success of Wild Horse.  Although the clubhouse and maintenance operations are somewhat removed from each other, it is imperative that we work together to provide a great golfing experience for the customer.  So we look forward to finding a new golf pro that can continue Wild Horse's success.

Other than that our winter work continues as normal with mower maintenance and reel sharpening in full swing.  This work can get monotonous but when you see those freshly ground blades scything over a new bedknife, it reminds us of the beautiful look and smell of a fresh cut fairway on June morning.  I'm sure all of you are looking forward to that as well.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Season Recap and New Irrigation Well

Hey we are back after a terribly long hiatus through the season.  I apologize to the 12 of you that actually read and look forward to this sh__!  I just kept pushing this off to the last of the list and never got it done-no excuse.  Sometimes it becomes difficult to come up with something that is interesting but I will try to do better in the upcoming year.  

I guess to recap the year it was a very good one at Wild Horse considering the pandemic.  Many people found the golf course as a place to get out and enjoy fresh air and we are thankful for your continued patronage.  As far as the golf course was concerned it was another outstanding year turfwise.  We came out of winter well and despite a terribly dry year the course was good throughout.  The first half of the season was just OK in my opinion,-some days I thought it was good, others not so much so I guess average.  I thought the last half of the year was really consistent and better than the past couple so it was great to end on that note.

The big news of the fall for us is the conversion of our irrigation from a natural gas power unit to electricity.  You can see below the final placement of the transformer that will supply power to a whole new motor and well.

We have contemplated this for some time and felt the time was right to give ourselves a more reliable power and water source for our irrigation. The three phase electricity necessary has been installed.  A new well will be drilled sometime in January.  Then we can install the motor and VFD and begin plumbing into our existing system sometime after that to be ready to irrigate when season starts.  This will be a huge upgrade over what has been a workable but spartan pumping situation.  We are excited to bring this online and it will be a great infrastructure improvement at Wild Horse.

One last quick note about the winter weather.  It has obviously been very dry, but the last snow covered everything nicely.  And although it held little moisture and melted quickly it was just what we needed to keep the crowns of the plant moist.  We do expect to need to water greens sometime this winter, but this little snow sure helped for the time being.

Hope you all have a Happy Holiday and we all most certainly look forward to a more normal and great 2021.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Whats up with those fairways?

We have continued maintenance as usual with a few modifications to keep ourselves and crew safe during the coronavirus pandemic.  But for the most part the on-course activities have been proceeding as normal.

Aerification is nearly complete with only tee boxes left to do.  We just finished up greens and will be topdressing them tomorrow.  They are in good shape and we expect them to heal quickly and then we will start to focus on putting quality in about ten days.

The course looks pretty good for the most part except for a couple of fairways notably #12 and #14.  These were treated aggressively last fall to remove Poa annua.  It worked well and much of the Poa was killed leaving some voids and overall thinning.  These treatments however can be pretty hard on our "good" grasses particularly bluegrass and that is showing up now with thinning and delayed green-up.  Other fairways that were treated 5, 6, 7, 17 also show signs of thinning but not to the extent that is occurring on 12 and 14.  These fairways were looking pretty good early this spring but the couple really hard freezes late in the year definitely took their toll.  We did do some seeding on the very worst spots and will really push the thin areas with fertilizer to help them thicken up.  We expect these areas to really respond as temperatures warm and will see noticeable improvement in the next month.  By June 1 these fairways should be very nice and pretty much poa free.  These pictures illustrate the difference in green-up in #16 fairway (untreated) and #14 fairway (treated)

Here is another shot of the thinning and slow development on #14.  So while it may not look the greatest right now the long term benefit of keeping the Poa population in check is our goal with these treatments.

Friday, March 20, 2020


I just finished testing PVC fittings to install in our cups to keep the ball from bottoming out in the cups so golfers won't have to touch the flagstick or the cup.   Did I just type that?  Weird as that would have seemed a month ago that is where we are at.

So what does this situation mean for Wild Horse maintenance specifically?  Well first and foremost is we want to allow use of the facility, but our concern is for the health of our customers and staff.  Don Graham, GM, has outlined our modifications to the clubhouse use and food and beverage service in an email to our customers, but we will talk here specifically about what will happen on course.

As mentioned in the opening line, we will be installing a pvc irrigation fitting into the cup so your ball will come to rest partially in the cup.  Players should avoid removing or touching the flagstick at this time.  Also carefully remove your golf ball avoiding touching the cup.
Rakes will be removed from bunkers to avoid touch point contamination.  Smooth bunkers with your feet or club.
Course bathrooms have not been opened for the year yet and will remain closed.
Water coolers and water fountains have not been implemented yet this year and will not be for the time being.

We are still about two weeks away from starting to mow, aerate, etc. on a regular basis.  That is generally when we bring extra staff on.  We will continue to monitor the situation and decide at that time if it is prudent to do so.  If not, Todd Bubak, assistant superintendent, and myself will handle any and all necessary duties at that time.  What does that mean?  Probably no aeration, limited bunker raking, limited changes in course set-up, and a concentration on basic mowing practices.

Again the situation is very fluid and can change overnight so we will try to keep you updated on what is happening out here, but we hope you can come out and enjoy golf and some quiet time at Wild Horse.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Snow mold

Here is something we rarely see out here at Wild Horse.  This is snow mold-a fungus that attacks turf under snow cover.  These spots are on the back of 15 green.

So why do we not see this more often?  Well the most likely reason is that we rarely have snow piled up on greens for an extended period of time.  Secondly the turf must be somewhat active as it was in late November when we received this snow.  Usually snow falls later in the winter when the turf has hardened off leaving very little green leaf tissue for the snow mold to infect.  These spots are amazingly circular and will show up for awhile but the grass should be able to grow out of it in time.  Snow mold can be controlled by applying fungicide in late November and we used to apply, but decided several years ago that it was just not necessary as snow mold pressure is very light during most winters.