We are nearing the end of March and on the doorstep of our spring aerification, as I brought together all my notes to produce this post it became clear that we have had a productive month. Until the last few days the weather has been very cooperative with record highs and just the right amount of rainfall. That combination has allowed us to finish our project on number two green complex, several drainage projects and apply pre-emergent fertilizer that has greened up our course much earlier than usual. The weather has also brought more members back to the mountains and we have much more active facility than we are use to at this time in March. There has been a great buzz around the property especially at The Lodge with the addition of Chef Mark and three weekends worth of successful dinner services. The turf team will utilize this great weather to continue the momentum by completing more drainage projects and greens aerification putting us in great position for exceptional conditions during this spring golfing season at Waterfall Club.
All of our golfers know that for the past few years we have had perennial issue at number 2 green complex that caused the cart path and turf at the walk-off to remain wet. This winter we attacked the problem and found an irrigation leak that was coming from underneath the cart path. It was clear that simply repairing the pipe with minimal disturbance was not an option. Most of our golfers know that every winter we try to make improvements to the course, I decided that number two was going to be our big project making a big impact. We ripped out the cart path, repaired the pipe, brought in eight truckloads of dirt to reshape the area, added rock piles, stone steps and a couple of rock walls. We do have a handful of additions to make to the area, but all the “heavy lifting” is finished. I would like to give special recognition and thanks to Efrain Espitia (your turf guy in the cowboy hat) and Juan Yepez. These two have close to 30 years worth of golf course construction experience between them and it really showed on this project. I gave them a rough vision of what I wanted to see and they exceeded my expectations…and hopefully yours!
Our course is green, growing and getting better everyday. So it is time for aerification! We completed holes 8-16 on Monday March 21st, keeping 1-7,17,18 open for play. Today we will complete the process and it appears that the weather is returning to the mild patterns that have become constant and will help grow the greens in quicker than years past. The grass is growing much more aggressively due to warmer soil temperatures and we have taken advantage of that by applying an extra shot of fertilizer prior to aerification. We’ve reached the point where I tell you aerification is necessary to increase oxygen exchange and water infiltration in the soils and allows for the addition of sand to dilute thatch and organic matter. All of this combined with the addition of nutrients will improve soil conditions which leads to a strong healthier plant going in to promising golfing season. This week a member told me the greens were great for this early in the year and of course I had to mention aerification next week and his response was one superintendents don’t usually hear. “We’re in it for the long haul. Do what you have to do.” They were right. We do what we have to do (within reason and budget) to insure the long term health and viability of the golf course and aerification is just one of the many “tools” we have in our “box”.
The long range weather forecast is favorable, showing the temperatures returning close to normal with a little rain we welcome. Who knows, maybe a few snow flurries here and there, but that’s to be expected. A continuation on projects through the middle of April to knock out some of those drainage and beautification opportunities will set us up for a great long range forecast on the golf course, as well. Just like the possible snow, you never know what the mountain and golf course at Waterfall is going to give you, so we aim to be present, flexible, adaptive, and looking for smarter ways to work. If you see any of our guys and gals out on the course please feel free to say “hello”; and, if you have any questions just ask and we’ll answer them to the best of our ability. See you on the course!
Golf Course Superintendent