Sorry it's been so long since the last blog entry but we have been so busy fighting the drought conditions we had this summer. It has been a very nice summer as most are in the PNW...........not too hot and virtually no rain. Yesterday in fact we finally got a nice rain which is why I'm finding time for a quick blog entry. Above you see a scene from the MGI horse race. The annual Invitational was really a fun time and it seemed like all the guests loved the new bunkers and tees.
Here's another picture from the event showing play from the founder's tee on 18. The historical significance of playing the original route on 6 and 18 had everyone pretty excited, but I think mostly people were just so happy that the renovated golf course was playing as if was renovated long ago. If you are one of those people that don't really like the new bunkers and tees, I hope that it is growing on and you're starting to accept that it was a good improvement. If you are one those people that just love the new bunkers and tees, then just you wait till next year, and the year after that as it will only get better as things mature. Let me explain.
Here's another look at the massive teeing ground that is used for #6 and #18. In fact this is a pic from the MGI and the portable bar was set up between the tees which was really fun. In this picture, the turf looks good but in reality, the turf stand is thin and there are many bare areas like you see in this picture below.
You'll remember we seeded these tees in May and it really rained very little after that and so it's just been a struggle to get good turf established. That will not be the case next year and even a few months from now as temperatures are dropping and the fall rains have returned which will make it pretty easy to get some quality grass coverage on the all the new teeing grounds.
The new open area that connects the fairways on 9 and 18 looks great in the picture and from a short distance, but up close (as you see below) it is clearly not the greatest turf as just a few months ago it was turf mowed at rough height, and turf that had been shaded for many years. Given an entire winter and spring at fairway height, this area should look like it's always been fairway next year.
Actually, all the areas that have been converted to fairway by simply scalping are showing signs of weakness right now. This is especially true for those areas that were 100% ryegrass like this little spot next to Boo.
Over the next several months, these areas will either be cut out and replaced with Poa turf, or over seeded with Poa and bent so that it looks and plays more like Poa turf. If you're a big fan of all the new short turf areas, just wait till next year as they will be much more consistent with our mature, short turf areas.
In the same way, the short turf areas that we sodded with Poa are still not that great. Sure it looks good in this photo but up close, you can see (like in the picture below) that the surface is not that smooth and consistent.
Again, if you like all the new areas that you can putt from, then just wait till next year after several topdressings..........these short turf areas will be pure, firm and smooth. Like I said earlier, the great thing about the renovation is that it turned out so nice that it looks like it's always been this way, but clearly there are a couple signs that something major happened recently. Like in this picture.......
You can still see some sod seems in areas that were finished up in May and had very little time to establish. Obviously this won't be noticable after a winter and spring so if you think things look good now, just wait till next year.
And what about these areas where we took fairway sod from???????? The high precentage of ryegrass in these areas make them stand out like a sore thumb. Again, a litlle overseeding will blend these areas in and by next year, it won't be so obvious. By the way we saved about $30,000 with this strategy of using sod from on site.
And what about the new bunkers themselves?? Well obviously after a winter of rain, they will play firmer next year, but the fescue eyebrows will also be so much better after a winter of cool rain to aid in establishment. For example, this next picture is the brownest spot I could find on the bunkers that were built last year.
You can see that it is brown but there is also good turf there and not fried down to the dirt. It's safe to say that this will be again one of the brownest areas next year as all the fesue eyebrows will be much healthier. So I'll just say it one more time, if you like the renovated golf course............just wait till next year..........It'll be so much better.