End of an Era

It has been two weeks since my last post and a lot has happened in that time. We continue to try and improve the property as well as maintain it. The rain is welcomed but adds to the pothole duty on roads, paths and some bunkers. We added stones in front of the course rest rooms to try and minimize the sand dragged into them which ruins the floors. We edged the sprinklers and fairway stones and then Murph painted the numbers on those stones. The brush cutting of the road edges continues in earnest and we even tackled some of the woods edges to help speed up play. The wildlife seems to be going nuts this year with sightings of all sorts. In fact one morning I was barely paying attention driving up three when I looked over at Bert sniffing the air. I looked around and saw my deer friend so stopped and engaged my phone camera for a picture. She actually started walking towards us and that is when Bert decided it would be more fun to chase the "big doggy". Murph found a lunar moth one morning so we snapped her picture and tucked her into the woods in hopes that she would survive.  The red tail hawks continue to dominate the course but the osprey can be seen flying overhead on a regular basis. The turkeys have been around but the number of poults is dwindling with each sighting. I made a collage of the different categories over the last two weeks: wildlife, irrigation, and projects

I could write an entire post on how a simple task of flushing a weepy head turns into a 24 hour project. Suffice to say Murphy's Law was in full force and if it could go wrong it did. A 3-5 minute flush turned into a new found leak then a broken valve which required a full system shutdown and draining. We managed and have seen a marked improvement on the pressure maintenance pump cycle so that surprise leak might have been going for some time.
7 fairway
As you can clearly see in the picture above there is a distinct line of disease damaged turf on the right. We spray our greens, tees, and approaches conventionally. What that means is we apply synthetic fungicides on a scheduled preventative basis. Much like your high blood pressure pill. The fungal pathogens are in the soil so always present. Once the conditions are met for growth they spring into life, so to avoid damage we have a preventative spray on the turf. Since September of 1997 we have not done this on fairways. Instead we have relied on a biological approach using a bacteria that we brew and either injected through the irrigation or for the last three seasons sprayed on the turf. This is more like your insulin monitoring and dosage with diabetes. When we noticed disease we would start brewing and spraying. As a contingency for this season I purchased a fungicide to avoid catastrophe like last season and pulled the trigger this week and applied it to all fairways. We have stopped the disease activity and hopefully will grow out of the damage. Most of the fairways are fine and you would not even notice, but other areas were hit pretty hard such as you see in the picture. It is hard not to feel like a failure when you have tried to be as environmentally progressive as I have and managed this long, but all in all it was a good run. I will continue to tweak the program and work to be fungicide free again but the reality is that I do this voluntarily. We are not under any restrictions and can treat conventionally but I have chosen since 97 to try a different path. Why be normal right? Thanks for sticking with me so far. I could not have done it without a great staff and tremendous support from the members and owners of the property. Maybe not quite the end  of an era but a speed bump along the roadway. Just thought I would keep you informed to the best of my abilities.
6 fwy. The sun always rises on a new day

Sunsets and Moonsets

Just another week has gone by. It seems like the summer is going quickly this year. As an update the hurricane turned out to be a tropical storm and no major damage was incurred. An awful lot of debris came down and continued to fall as the next few days after the storm  were almost as windy. But we persevered and the place is back to normal minus a million leaves.
Mink Meadows Yacht basin
Saw this deer the day after the storm and it was almost as if to say everything is fine here and you?

 We are in the middle of the club championship as I type this and boy have a couple of ladies tossed up a good number on day one. I must admit to feeling a bit intimidated and hope I can raise my game to match the effort.

Moonset pictures as we hosed fairways.

July Hurricanes?

Well July is sure coming in with a bang. First heat wave in Boston for the season. Earliest hurricane to hit the Carolina's since the 1800's. Luckily for us the projected path is well out to sea but earlier in the week before that was the case it made for some anxious moments. We will hopefully get some much needed rain out of the deal. The winds are not supposed to be too bad relative to what we see out here on a fairly regular basis. I am sure a few sticks and branches will come down but hopefully not much more. The weather looks good for most of the Holiday weekend with only this afternoon and tonight being disrupted by rain. Enjoy the break in humidity that follows the rain.

Ben working the rails

I took ladder duty after Chris prepped this area

Josh and Ben
We through lots of bodies at prepping and painting the deck and porch railing this week. We put a good dent in project and will try to wrap that area up next week before moving on to other areas. As you can see the hydrangea around the clubhouse are in their full glory. A member asked me why the ones in Katama (south side of the island) are no where near blooming? I should have directed her to last weeks blog post about micro climates. Instead I explained that parts of the island can be weeks apart in terms of flower bloom. The days are flying by and we are into normal summer routines: mow/water/rake- repeat. A few projects get tossed into the mix such as the above mentioned painting and also the brush cutting on the sides of the roads. Will has begun that in earnest. The tourney schedule is upon us with flag day today, the Mink in progress and the member-guests and championships coming up. This will keep us on our toes for course preparations.