Friday, March 29, 2013

Bunker trenches

One of the winter preparations we make at Briar is the creation of bunker trenches. Recall from summer photos that heavy rains travel over the edge of the bunker, wash the sand away, erode the soil, and deposit the soil in the low area of the bunker. This resulting soil contamination of sand removes the ability to drain. Bunker sand has a finite lifespan as this contamination contributes to the need to replace the bunker sand. We extend the life of our bunker sand with some simple winter practices.
Winter brings the potential to erode and contaminate a great deal of our bunkers. To prevent this situation, we create trenches along the high sides of the bunkers to trap any eroded soil. This "dirt" that is in the channels can be easily removed, the sand pushed to the edge of the bunker, and the integrity of the sand maintained.
As we move to opening the course, we must re-grade the sand to remove our trenches. In the meantime, if you find yourself in one of our trenches, take a drop on me!
Winter rules,

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring is coming

The course will be waking up soon!
The turf has went through the winter well. I really like to see the turf harden off for the winter. The dormant grass turns a shade of bronze and is protected from winter disease and desiccation. This year our turf hardened off well and should be strong this spring.
We expect the turf to break dormancy soon.
We lost one hive of bees late last fall, but we have one strong hive. They look like they have broken their cluster and are actively drying their hive.
I wish everyone a wonderful weekend,

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Course opening

We are very excited to open the course. We have been working very hard this winter on many challenges and want to "show off" our hard work. We think you will really love some of the tree work that has taken place.

Here at Briar Ridge, we are always open. We put temporary greens in place for you to come out and get your swing in working order. The part of the golf course that we do close is the regular putting surfaces (greens). We do not have a calendar date which we follow on when to open the greens. The decision to open the regular green to play is based on many factors both above and below the ground. For instance, we protect the most vital part of the plant form damage, the root zone. Quality putting surfaces that will survive our hot summers, need a deep and extensive system of roots to bring water and nutrients to the plants. By making sure that we can only access the greens when the root zone is completely thawed, we protect this vital lifeline to the plants. Early in the spring, the air temperatures will be mild and the soil will begin to thaw at the surface. Below the surface, the thawed soil water saturates a layer above frozen soil making a slippery upper layer that is free to slide about over a hard, frozen layer. The result of traffic of any sort in this situation is the cutting of the root right at the surface of the soil, this is known as root shear.
Many factors impact the depth of the frozen soil. Soil physical characteristics, percent saturation, sun angle, temperature, humidity, all influence the freezing and thawing of the putting surface root zone. We are fortunate that our physical characteristics are such that we can open as soon as we get some marginal nighttime lows (32 ish). The forecast is getting closer and we are eager for spring to arrive. We constantly strive to bring you greens at Briar Ridge that you can be proud of, and you find, are worth the wait.
We will monitor the forecast and keep you updated as we move closer and as the forecast changes (they always do!).
In the meantime, nine holes on temporaries is a good way to get your short game primed, and ease into the season to prevent injury.
Hope you have been stretching,
Ralphie really likes our new dirt pile.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

August storm

This photo taken on nine red green last August, appears in this months Golf Course Management magazine.
This storm was responsible for the removal of several large trees on the golf course. We have temporary greens open and will remain on them until we begin to see temperatures rise. The forecast remains chilly and below freezing for the next ten days. We will keep you updated with any forecast changes.
Preparations should begin for the golf season with strength and conditioning.
Gary is back and can set you up with a program to get you swinging injury free!
Get ready, it won't be long,

Friday, March 15, 2013

Sorry Tom

It seems I owe one member a sincere apology. After years of sarcasm and funny looks, it seem like the Indiana bobcat is real, and could possibly roam lake county.
These creatures have seen population numbers decrease as habitats have been converted to agricultural or developed land. They have also been needlessly destroyed because of the misconception that they are terrible predators. They are in fact a beneficial predator, feeding heavily on rats and mice.
The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program that we are involved with, includes a habitat creation component.
Hoping my apology is accepted,

Friday, March 1, 2013

Long range forecast

We were looking good and the signs of winter were fading away.
The forecast for march is slightly above normal temps, with above average precipitation.
Snow is likely in the middle of the month with a cold spell before temps rise toward the last week of the month.
April is forecasted to be 3 degrees above normal and slightly drier.
Early march has also been predicted to be the snowiest period.
Who knows?