Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Heat is on

Another summer month has passed us by and the heat is still on. July is always a hot month in which cool season grasses are under a lot of stress. This year is different because of an unseasonably hot June causing turf health to decline earlier than usual. Temperatures this July have averaged over 90 degrees with the heat index well over 100 degrees. Rainfall has continued to be scarce as well falling further behind for the year keeping us in a severe drought. 

Turf will undergo different types of stresses throughout the year. Mechanical stresses from our cultural practices such as mowing and aerification, disease pressure and environmental stresses such as heat, humidity, drought and even too much rain which hasn't been the case this year.  These are just a few of the battles the maintenance staff will fight off any given year.

We do our best to provide golfers with a healthy and consistent playing surface. During the hot summer months we try to do as much as we can to reduce the amount of stress that our turf has to endure. One of these practices is to switch to a walk mower on some of our weaker greens. These greens might be weaker than others because of different micro-climates throughout the golf course. A micro-climate could be an area that receives more sunlight, like a south facing hill, or an area that does not receive as much air movement or sun because it is surrounded by trees. The walk behind greens mower is set at a slightly higher mowing height to allow for more leaf tissue for better photosynthesis and reduced stress. Another change that is implemented during the summer is restricting carts to path only on certain holes. This is done again to help alleviate the added stress the turf is facing from cart traffic that can damage turf that is dehydrated.  Hole #6 is one of our weaker growing holes. This hole is completely surrounded by trees and receives very little air movement. Thus, it stays very hot during the summer with no help from mother nature to cool it down. The soil characteristics of  #6 are very similar to most holes out here consisting of very heavy clay which makes managing consistent moisture levels very difficult.  The different environmental stresses that each hole is faced with creates the need to manage and utilize different tactics to help get through the summer months.  We appreciate your cooperation and look forward to an early fall this year.  

Cart damage on #6 from previous years

Friday, June 29, 2018

Dog Days of June.....

As June has come and gone, it is apparent that there will be no rebounding back to spring that we missed, unfortunately.  Half of the days this month have been above 90 degrees with heat indexes well over 100 nearing 115 here at the end of the month.  Not ideal for cool season grasses that in general optimum temperatures are from 60-75 degrees.  Besides the elevated temperatures, rainfall has been scarce for the most part falling about 3" short of average for the month.  Below are a set of pictures that reveal surface temperatures of a couple of greens and a fairway taken with an infrared thermometer about 2' from the ground.  A couple of observations besides the fact that these temperatures are way too hot for cool season grass, is the changes before and after water applied and its residual temperature swings. Water was needed but a very temporary cooling affect was provided.  In addition to some extreme surface temperatures, soil temps are rising quickly as well measuring around 96 degrees about 2" deep in the early afternoon.  Needless to say, a very long summer awaits the course and hopefully an early arrival to fall is in the near future.   

17 green

17 green after applied water

17 green, 15 minutes after being watered

8 green at 2:00 pm

9 fairway at 2:00 pm

8 green soil temperature 2" deep 2:00 pm

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

What happened to Spring???

  April 9th after 2" snow and day time high 36

       May 30th after 1.4" rain and day time high 94

Somehow we completely skipped a season this year going straight from winter into summer.  April was the second coldest month on record with more snow falling this month then the entire winter. May will be the second warmest month on record with a record breaking stretch of 90's for highs.  Memorial weekend felt more like the end of July.  Not just here, but weather has created havoc across the country in several ways and this trend doesn't seem to be changing.  Doesn't do much good to complain about it either as Mother Nature will ultimately control our world.  Good luck to all the grass growers out there this year and to anyone else that is affected daily on the unpredictable nature of our wonderful weather.  

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Welcome to the New Look of Adams Pointe...

Bunker renovations here at Adams Pointe Golf Club have finally been completed. We have reduced the total number of bunkers on the property from 37 to 30. Removal of certain bunkers was necessary because of flooding and other maintenance issues while others were removed or relocated because of lack of play. We feel these renovations have made the golf course more aesthetically pleasing and also maintenance friendly. The Arkansas Premier Play white sand stands out and defines the bunker edges nicely. This sand also has a high infiltration rate. That along with the Better Billy Bunker liner and new drainage systems should hopefully reduce, if not eliminate, washouts and standing water issues. 

With the bunkers just recently being finished some of the sand feels soft and is susceptible to the dreaded "fried egg" lie. This is more prevalent on the front nine since the back nine was finished a few months ago. Over time and with a few heavier rains the new sand will settle and become a more consistent playing surface. 
No.1 bunker was reshaped and reduced in size. 4500 sq. ft. of fairway was also added to the landing zone 
A new bunker was added to the layup area on the par 5 No.2
No. 4 bunker relocated from behind the green to front left 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Bunker Project Update

Progress on the bunker project has again been slowed due to weather. Work has been started on all of the front nine but with each rain the exposed soil turns to mud, making it impossible to work cleanly. The work that Mid-America Golf has finished so far has been very professional and the outcome of the finished bunkers look great. We do not want to rush by working in unfavorable conditions and risk the finished product looking sloppy. With that being said, the target completion date of March 31st is not going to be reached.

April is the informal start to our golf season here at Adams Pointe. Leagues and high school events begin as well as tournaments. The maintenance staff would like to apologize for any inconveniences the bunker project may cause during your round here at Adams Pointe but we assure you that the finished product will be worth the wait.

Our annual Masters scramble is scheduled for Sunday April 8th. Although the bunker project will not be completed, all holes will be open for play during this event.

A few bunkers (pictured below) have been completed since our last post. Scroll down to our February post to compare some of the architectural plans to the photos and to the work that you may have seen being done on the course.
No.18 before
No.18 after

No.6 before
No.6 after
No.5 before
No.5 after

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Spring is on the Horizon


Winter can be long, grey and perhaps even a little mundane for both golfers and the golf course maintenance staff. We have seen nice, sunny days recently with temperatures in the upper 60's followed by freezing rain and lows in the teens the very next day. These drastic changes in the weather can be frustrating and can make it hard to get into any kind of a rhythm. Regardless, work is still being done both on the course and inside of the maintenance shop. Believe it or not, spring is just around the corner and the 2018 golf season is fast approaching. 

A significant amount of trees have been removed from the course this winter, most notably on No.'s 5, 6 and 12. Three trees along the right side of No. 5 have been removed for better visibility and access of approach shots from the fairway to the right side of the green. This will also give us a better chance to grow turf in these areas that have struggled in the past. Compaction issues and competition for water and nutrients from the tree roots can make it hard to grow turf. Trees have also been removed from behind the green to allow more sunlight and airflow to struggling turf in the rough and to the green itself. Multiple trees have been cut down along both sides of No.6 fairway. These trees have been removed for better visibility and access to the fairway from the tee boxes. No. 12 is a tough par 3 requiring  an accurate tee shot to thread the needle between tree lines on both sides of the tees. Over the years brush has grown up and trees have gotten a little too big. Brush on the left side and a few trees from both sides of the tee boxes have been removed. This hole is still demanding and will require an accurate tee shot for par. 

No. 12 before tree clearing
No.12 after clearing
Progress on the bunker renovation project was slowed down due to bad weather in the month of February. This project is now scheduled to be completed by March 31st. Our next post will highlight some of the work that has been completed on the front nine bunkers. Also, just a heads up, the course will be closed Monday March 12th for greens aerification.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

February Bunker Update

Finished bunker in front of No. 17 green.
After a fast start to our bunker project this fall, things have slowed down a bit in the past month. With the holiday season, followed by abnormally cold and then wet weather, the bunker renovation is currently on hold. As soon as more favorable weather conditions take over, we will be back at it to finish work on the back nine. Sand needs to be added to the bunkers on No. 10 and No. 18 still has a few days of work left before it is finished. Check out our last post for more information about the work that was completed before the holidays and plans for No. 10 and No. 18.

After the back nine bunkers are finished, we will shift our focus to the front nine. Not all work will be finished on the back as we will begin tree removal and rehabilitation of the haul roads used during construction. Aside from those two projects, all heavy construction will be finished on the back nine. 

In this post, we will focus on the plans for the front nine and practice area. With the uncertainty in weather forecasting and amount of moving parts involved in a project of this magnitude, no firm timeline can be established for completion of the front nine. As with any large project, plans are subject to change for a variety of reasons. It remains our goal to have the bulk of the work finished before spring and the unofficial start of golf season.
Design plans for No. 5 green complex.
Almost every hole on the front has changes in store, except for holes No. 7 and No. 8. We will most likely begin work on No. 5, as it is the furthest hole from our shop and storage areas, and work our way back towards the center of the property. As you can see in the plans above, No. 5 will have quite a different look. Slight reshapes will take place to the two bunkers in front of the green, while the two bunkers behind the green will be removed. Two trees on the right side of the fairway will be removed to open up the right side of the green, which in its current form is basically inaccessible. The large tree in front of green will also be removed, in part to open up that side of the green, but also to reduce root encroachment in the bunker and under the green. We are confident that removal of these trees will provide improved playability, but also healthier turf in these areas. 

Design plan for No. 6 fairway bunkers.
Design plan for No. 6 green.
Hole No. 6 will be a straightforward renovation with slight shape changes to the bunkers in the works as well as new sand. The large tree between the fairway bunkers will be removed to reduce root encroachment and should increase the lifespan of these new bunkers dramatically. 

Design plans for No. 4.
Tee shots in to No. 4 green will be much more daunting after work is completed. The bunker behind the green will be removed, as it is not in a location conducive to catching shots, and will be replaced with a grass mound. A new bunker is being added to the front left of the green, where it is sure to see more action than the replaced back bunker.

No. 3 fairway bunker plan.
Design plan for No. 3 green complex.
Hole No. 3 will also look quite a bit different this year. The fairway bunker is being reduced in size and moved to make it more visible from the teeing area. The big bunker behind the green is being removed and replaced with rough. The bunker in front of the green is being enlarged and reshaped to make for a more challenging shot in to the green. These changes will improve playability as well as aesthetics on the hole.

Design plan for No. 2 fairway.
No. 2 is seeing a new hazard being added to it with the addition of a fairway bunker on the right side of the hole. This is a popular landing area for second shots, and with the current topography a bunker should lay in seamlessly, making for a tougher choice in club selection after your drive.

Design plan for No. 1 fairway.
Unlike most holes in this renovation, the tee shot on No. 1 should be a bit easier. The fairway bunker is being reduced in size, and additional bentgrass fairway will be added where the old bunker was. This will create a wider landing zone for tee shots, and should only punish longer hitters who try to "cut the corner". 

No. 9 green complex design plans.
Hole No. 9 is also a very simple renovation. Bunkers will be cleaned out, reshaped, and new white sand added. The small bunker in front of the green will have fescue sod added around it to hopefully increase turf health around that bunker. Both bunkers will also be made more visible from the approach area.

Design plans for the practice area.
The practice area is our last target for renovation. The west bunker is being removed and replaced with bentgrass. The east bunker is being reshaped and expanded to allow for bunker shots in to all areas of the chipping green, not just one side of it. Allowing shots to be spread out, instead of all shots going in one direction and sand building up over time, will help increase the lifespan of this bunker and reduce maintenance needs.

As mentioned above, with unpredictable weather and numerous moving parts, these plans are subject to change. Keep checking back here for updates on our progress, before and after pictures, and more.