Friday, June 9, 2017

Course Update:

After such a sloppy wet spring, we opened summer with extremely dry weather.  The low humidity has provided us with the ability to finally dry the course out, and get it to play fast and firm, which is how we want it to play. .  This was the week of hand watering as moisture is lost to the atmosphere at a rapid pace.  We were able to apply a wetting agent on Monday to the greens to help aid in moisture consistency throughout the entire profile.  Tuesday we topdressed greens lightly, which gave us some great green speeds all week long.

If you were here on Wednesday morning, you were probably asking what is that truck doing driving all over the fairways?  This is a fertilizer spreading truck from Harrell's.  It applies fertilizer the the fairways once a year that will provide season long food and color, as well as provide grub control.  The truck uses GPS to spread the product perfectly.  It also has large floatation tires that leave a very little foot print.  It looks like a very hot week ahead, but the course  is in great shape.  Please enjoy, and have a great weekend! 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Service Path

If you have been to Blackstone lately, you may have noticed a project taking place on your way to the first tee.  We are adding a paver service path.  This will have a very natural look once established, and will resemble the cross over path that is directly behind the black tee at #15.  This area was becoming unsightly, and will provide Blackstone staff members a path to get to our tasks quickly, and without disturbing golfers on the first tee.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Great day for sand!

Topdressing, and why do we do it?

Wednesday was a perfect day for the Blackstone grounds department to apply a light amount of sand to the greens.  The greens are first mowed, then topdressed, brushed, blown in, and lastly rolled.  With the light wind on Wednesday, and the chance of showers on Thursday morning, our timing was perfect.

This process is preformed every two weeks.  Topdressing is the key to providing our golfers with the best putting surfaces that we can. Why do we topdress? 

- Dilutes thatch layer
- Makes greens firmer
- Smoother, and truer putts
- Fills old voids and ball marks
- Helps control cleat marking
- Brushing stands up grass, which helps remove grain
- Helps aide and preventing some diseases (Anthracnose)

Below are a few pictures of our process.

USGA article on topdressing and putting green quality.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Welcome 2017 - Course Update

Welcome Back to Blackstone!

I started this Blog a few years ago with the intentions of providing updated information regarding the Blackstone Maintenance department and to answer any questions that there may be. I would like to sincerely apologize for my lack of entries to this blog in the last couple of years, and I promise to do a better job of providing you with more up to date information in 2017.

Course update: Most of the winter was spent refurbishing all course accessories, and going through all equipment. With the mild winter and the lack of snow cover, we were also able to prune almost every tree on the golf course, as well as cut down several others as you may have noticed. How do we decide what to cut down? This year was pretty obvious because of the amount of small Ash trees that have died due to Emerald Ash Borer. The adult beetles do little damage only chewing on leaves, but the beetle larvae feed on the inner bark which disrupts the trees ability to transfer food and water throughout. You'll notice when looking at these dead ash trees D shaped holes carved in to the bark. Most of the other trees that were removed were dead, and pose a safety hazard, with the exception of hole 3. These Oak trees that were removed on 3, were removed to provide a better growing environment for that green. Although they were perfectly beautiful healthy trees, the green was placed to close to them. As the trees grew taller each year they continually blocked more and more sunlight causing the green to struggle under wet conditions and in the Fall. You may notice we also lowered the grade on the front of 3 approach to allow for excess water to flow from the green at a quicker pace.

 Hopefully by making these new changes to 3, we can provide you with more consistent playing conditions for the entire year. With a warm February we were able to get a head start on course clean up. Branches and debris were blown in to piles and picked up throughout the entire course. Bunkers have all been pushed up, levels have been checked, and faces of all been tamped. We have begun to add sand to a handful of bunkers that did not have an adequtae amount. We will continue to work on this in the upcoming week as weather permits. It is important to understand that the bunkers will play softer in the beginning of year due to the amount of freeze and that that takes place in the winter, as well as the amount of sand that we have moved around to provide consistent levels. Bunkers that have had sand added to them will also play softer. As we begin to rake them more often, they should begin to firm up and improve.

The mild winter also caused us to have to start greens mowing height out at a higher cut than we generally do. Now that we have been able to get several mows on them, we have now got them to the height that we were at all of last year. Greens will also get faster and firmer, as we get in to more frequent mowing and rolling (as weather permits). All other playing surface have been mowed, and are generally in great shape coming out of winter. I look forward to seeing you all out on the course, and hope that some better weather is on its way!

Andy Perry
GCS- Blackstone Golf Club

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Slow Start...

As the warmer weather is finally upon us. I felt that it was a great time to give you a course update. Hopefully I can clear up any questions you may have. As of Friday, (May 1) the driving range tee will be set up on the grass from now until fall. The mats will only be used for certain events, and Extremely wet conditions. How do we determine win the tee is set up on the grass? The answer to this is soil temperature. As the soil temperature rises and the grass becomes steadily active, it is able to compete with the divots taken. It also allows the seed in the divot mixture the ability to germinate. Had the practice tee been open in early March, we would not have much of a playable surface come June. Another reminder is to begin to change your warm up pattern to the picture below...
This will greatly improve the practice surface throughout the year. Higher soil temperatures will also help heal divots, ball marks (if properly repaired) and slowly start to green things up consistently throughout the course. Respectfully, Andy Perry Golf Course Superintendent

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Welcome Back!

As the 2015 golf season approaches us, I wanted to take this time to welcome everyone back to Blackstone!  After a very long and depressing winter, it is a pleasant relief to see that the course didn't suffer any winter damage.  You may notice some areas in the rough that mice have chewed thatch and leaf tissue, but once soil temperatures increase we get a flush of spring growth, these areas will no longer be noticeable...

If you were able to play the course before the recent snow fall, you may have wondered when we will be mowing the greens.  The answer to that is hopefully soon.  We are waiting for soil temperatures to increase and see some growth activity.  My best guess would probably some time next week, once the snow and moisture soaks in.  We were able to get 3 good rolls on them, which really helps smooth them out after the freeze/thaw cycles of winter. 

All we can do now is wait and hope for better weather. 

Hope to see you all soon!

Andy Perry
Golf Course Superintendent

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

17, 10, and 18 Pond Bank....

If you have been to Blackstone lately, you may have noticed the tall native grass that covers the slope of 10, 18, and 17 pond banks to be burnt, and tilled bare soil.  These areas will be fine graded and seeded with Kentucky Bluegrass, like we did to the right of 1.  These areas were rounded up, burnt, and tilled, in order to prep for seed.

This will not only speed up play, but it will provide a cleaner look.  Below is a few pictures of the process.  We are hoping to complete this project asap, just waiting for a break in the weather.