• September Newsletter

    Written By: Rich Quadrel | 6 min read

One Word: LUSH

We knew it was going to be inconvenient – and sometimes downright frustrating – but the midday watering schedule was very effective! The combination of deep irrigation and aggressive fertilization has produced the greenest, lushest golf course that we’ve had in years. The extra water encouraged the root system to reach deeper into the soil – in some places, an additional 1”-2”. We ended the daytime watering at the beginning of September, and we will continue to irrigate nightly until mid- to late October, when the water gets turned off. A lot of the credit goes to Jeff Riddelle and his volunteer Irrigation Committee, who are mapping and optimizing the irrigation system.

As we enter the fall, our #1 priority continues to be greens. We intended to aerate the greens last week, but our puncher was damaged, unfortunately, and we’re waiting for new parts. As soon as it’s repaired, we’ll punch all of the greens and tee boxes before the cold weather sets in. In the meantime, the greens have been treated with fertilizer every week for the last three weeks, and they’re showing real improvement.

The #3 green and the #12 green are coming back – the long grass has been mowed and new grass is emerging. The #4 green will be sanded and seeded. The #2 green still needs work: we plan to use a sod cutter to level the “humps” and fill in low areas with sand. One of our winter projects is to re-do the irrigation for the #2 green. In October, we’ll apply a fungicide to prevent “snow mold” this winter. The cold-weather fungus did a lot of damage last winter, so this treatment should prevent that from happening again.

There’s been a lot of work in other areas of the course as well. We now have eight staff members on our grounds crew, and given the rapid growth, we need all of them to keep the course maintained. The fairways and rough are being mowed every week, but we will likely need to go to a twice-per-week schedule for the remaining weeks of the growing season. Do you know how long it takes to mow just the rough for all 18 holes? 24 hours! So expect to see our grounds crew on mowers regularly for the next few weeks! In some places, we are extending the rough into wider areas to allow for greater playability. For example, we’ve widened the “collection area” left of the 150-yard marker on the #7 fairway. That fairway funnels balls down to the left, and a larger collection area will still allow golfers to have a reasonable second shot at the green.

“It’s been a lot work, and we’re expecting the course to be in outstanding shape next spring. In late March/early April, we’ll punch the greens again and start verticutting and rolling the greens monthly. The work that we’ve done to fertilize and irrigate the course through the burning hot days of August and the strong growth days of September will serve us well throughout the winter and position us for a truly awesome course in the spring!”

Sand & Seed Available for Divot Repair

There is now sand and seed in the bin next to the cart barn for your use. When you fill your sanding bottle, remember it takes surprisingly little seed to be effective, about 1/8 cup of seed in a typical bottle. Please don’t “help” by mixing seed into the sand pile – it will germinate in the pile, and we would rather it germinate on the course!

  • Irrigation Committee

    By Jeff Riddelle, Irrigation Committee Chair

Sorting Things Out

In the last edition of the Horn Rapids View, we described our plans for mapping the irrigation, modifying the timing to eliminate irrigation during play, and maintaining the irrigation heads. We are proud to announce progress on all fronts!

We have mapped seven holes, placing the location of each sprinkler head on an overhead photo so we can better identify individual irrigation head issues, and manage individual head watering times as the weather cools off. As the volunteer teams mapped the irrigation circuits, they also removed the grass growing around the heads to allow the heads to extend and retract properly. We discovered some with broken housings/solenoids that require water supply shutdown to replace. We also found several heads that are now 5–6 inches below the surface, which will require raising to keep them operating correctly. Once we finish mapping, we plan to have a Volunteer Day in the fall to take care of some of those troublemakers, which will result in an even better course.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that you are no longer dodging sprinklers during the day. We have completed the reprogramming to water the course only at night and are modifying the irrigation schedule as weather cools to keep the greens and certain low spots on the course from collecting water. You may have also noticed that the driving range is now being watered during the day. We chose that time in order to preserve water pressure at night for the course.

In the last month, we ordered 30 replacement irrigation heads which have arrived. We replaced 25 of the most critical heads affecting play. For example, this broken head on the left side of #7 created a river down the middle of the fairway, and left dry spots 10’ uphill. Dry spots and fairway river no more! We have also ordered and received 10 more heads so we can replace broken heads we find as we continue mapping the course.

One of the issues we have is identifying irrigation problems before they become bigger issues. Fortunately, we have a lot of regular players and homeowners who border course, therefore, lots of eyes on the course. If you notice something amiss with the irrigation during a round or while enjoying your patio, please send a note to [email protected] so we can jump on it! To all of the folks who volunteered for the mapping and cutting out the heads, thank you! The course has never looked better. You should be proud of the work and the results!

Join the Irrigation Committee!

© Copyright Horn Rapids Golf Course