Summer Closures: “A Time to Maintain”

Dear Member,

It is summer time again…time to close the club for a week in June and again for a week in August. But WHY?

The main reason for shutting the club down for a week at a time is that we do severe golf course maintenance. What do we mean by “severe”? If you have ever looked out the window of your unit during one of these closures, you will know that we mean. Summer time is cultivation time.

1. We actually start our maintenance work the week before the closure. We begin by verticutting the fairways, tees and greens. This work is performed by a contractor as they have the big equipment necessary to perform this work all on one day. The end result of verticutting the fairways is the removal of 70 cubic yards of thatch and organic buildup that inhibits plant growth and water transpiration. After the verticut, all the tees and fairways are fertilized with 6 tons of a combination blend of organic, ammonium sulfate and sulfate of potash magnesium.

2. Whew! Now for the actual closure work. During the week of June 6 – 10 we aerated the greens, tees, fairways.  Again, a contractor is hired to perform this work as they have the really big equipment to do the job. We only do this work twice a year, so it is not cost effective to actually purchase this equipment. On the greens, the contractor uses 5/8 “ hollow tines at a 4” depth to forcefully remove cores of turf and soil every couple inches, thus exposing the root system to more air and encouraging faster growth and a healthier plant. The same core aeration is performed on the fairways as well using a larger ¾ “ hollow tine at a depth of 4” as well.  All these areas received a total topdressing of 500 tons of sand! This process takes about 4 days to perform, and since this is usually the rainy season, we have to allow for “rain days.” You cannot aerify or top dress when the course is wet.

The course reopened on Saturday, but as most summer residents know, it will take a week or two before conditions are once again pristine. And then it looks and plays absolutely perfect… until we tear it up again in August! There is such explosive turf growth in the summer, this process needs to be done again within 2 months or so. It is standard southern golf course protocol to perform aeration twice during the summer. Some courses even throw in a third or deep tine aeration as well. It’s all in the name of providing a beautiful course for our members year round.

When the course is closed, we close the clubhouse too in order to perform maintenance or renovation work in other departments, such as:

Food and Beverage
•    Cleaned and fixed Grill Room tables
•    Deep cleaned and organized the side stations.
•    Started working on decorations for fall events.
•    Got a new tarp for the beverage cart.
•    Cleaned out the bar area and bar fridges.
•    Organized attic space

Golf Operations
•    Shampooed the Pro Shop Carpets
•    Did a complete shop cleaning
•    Cleaned and shined the Golf Cart Fleet

General Clubhouse Work – The Dining Room no longer has the “Blues”
•    The dining room walls have been repaired, textured, and painted a lighter color
•    The old dining room carpet has been replaced with brand new carpeting
•    The old window treatments have been removed and new fabric will soon be made into new drapes
•    Old dining room chairs are gone, and will be replaced with brand new chairs, which are much more sturdy, and will match the room utilizing the same high end, beautiful fabric as the drapes.

The golf course requires maintenance during the winter season as well, but with the majority of demand for tee times October-April, there are only a couple opportunities to do regular maintenance without disrupting play.  Throughout season, the only time we have to do anything is on Tuesday mornings (when no shotgun starts are planned) or on Thursday mornings (opposite 9 hole golfers).  Generally, we will do a light sand topdressing and fertilizer application during these mornings and any other necessary work that we can accomplish without inconveniencing the membership.

One last note: we were planning an application of “Curfew” today, but due to the extremely dry conditions, we need to postpone this. You probably remember Curfew as that really smelly chemical we use to kill nematodes. Nematodes are tiny organisms that latch onto the grass root and sucks the nutrients from the plant. Curfew is the only available and effective means for dealing with these plentiful and annoying pests. Let unchecked, nematodes can destroy a golf course. We will keep you posted as to the new application date, as this application requires you to stay off the course for 24 hours.

Hope you are enjoying your summer!

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