United States Golf Association Green Section - Southwest Region


Santa Cruz, California

July 12, 2011

Present: Mr. Mr. Mr. Mr. Mr. Paul Chojnacky, Superintendent Josh Lewis, Assistant Superintendent Scott Hovde, General Manager Mike Magnani, USGA Intern Patrick Gross, USGA

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INTRODUCTION The following report summarizes the discussions and recommendations made during the Turf Advisory Service visit on July 12, 2011. It was a pleasure to return to Pasatiempo Golf Club and discuss golf course maintenance issues on behalf of the USGA Green Section. The focus of the visit was to review general course conditions and offer suggestions for long-range and short-term improvement. Topics covered in this report include: Putting green management programs Reducing thatch and organic matter Fairways Tree program Native areas Equipment and maintenance facility Future use of recycled water Please contact our office if you should have any questions concerning this report, or if we can contribute in other ways to your turf management operations. PUTTING GREEN MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS Turf health and playing quality - The greens were in outstanding condition on the day of the visit with healthy turf growth and firm, smooth surface conditions. Examination of soil profile samples indicated healthy root growth to a depth of 1.5 to 2.0 inches and a significant increase in the amount of sand topdressing that has accumulated near the surface. A layer of organic matter approximately 1.0 inch below the surface was visible in most samples, which is a concern for the restriction of water infiltration and root growth. Overall, adjustments during the past year to the mowing and rolling program along with careful water management have had a very positive impact on the health and playing quality of the greens. Good agronomic practices are in place for fertility and pest control, and the focus for your ongoing maintenance plan should be to incorporate additional practices to reduce the amount of organic matter in the surface of the greens.

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Aeration and topdressing program - Cancellation of the core aeration and sand topdressing treatment last fall was a mutually agreed upon plan that helped the club increase revenue by scheduling additional tournaments and outside play. Although this has not caused a decline in the overall condition of the greens, there will be some additional work to do to reduce the amount of thatch and organic matter that has accumulated in the greens since last fall. Other clubs in the southwest region cancelled core aeration for the same reasons and are now dealing with the consequences of the deferred maintenance. It was recommended to schedule core aeration and topdressing on the greens later this fall so that additional organic matter does not accumulate in the greens and contribute to soft, spongy surface conditions. The recommended goal for the aeration and topdressing program is to impact 20% of the total surface each year and keep organic matter levels at 3% or less within the top two inches of the soil profile.

The accumulation of organic matter one inch below the surface appears to be a remnant from suspending core aeration last fall. It was recommended to schedule core aeration and topdressing this fall to avoid further increases in organic matter accumulation that can limit root development and restrict water infiltration.

Two to three aeration treatments per year are typically necessary to achieve this goal. From an agronomic perspective, the fall treatment is very beneficial to the turf by stimulating root growth, maintaining good water infiltration prior to the winter rainy season, and it is the time of year when greens will recover most quickly following coring and topdressing.

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Green speed and slope - Green speed has been a frequently discussed topic during previous visits to Pasatiempo Golf Club. It was once again suggested to avoid policies and practices that focus on excessively fast green speeds on a daily basis. In the case of Pasatiempo, many greens have slopes in excess of 4%, which limits the number of available hole locations when green speeds are excessively fast. An article that describes the relationship of green speed and slope is attached to this report as a further reference. To investigate this situation more fully, you may wish to develop contour maps of each green that can be used to analyze potential hole locations and fine-tune your policy for the recommended speed of the greens. As a reference for this work, you may wish to contact: Michael O’Brien, Director of Operations TerraVea Phone: (540) 745-6235 Email: micheal@terravea.com Fairy ring control - The green ring symptoms from the fairy ring fungus continues to be an issue on many greens. Research by Dr. Lane Tredway at North Carolina State University indicates there are several different fungi associated with this disease, with various fungi producing symptoms at different times of the year. Based on information from my colleague, Stan Zontek, many courses in the mid-Atlantic region have had good results by making two spring applications of Bayleton at the rate of 1 oz. /1,000 ft2 and following up with monthly applications throughout the summer at a reduced rate of .5 oz. of Bayleton per 1,000 ft2. Bayleton has a growth regulating effect on turf and should not be mixed and applied with growth regulator products, such as Trimmit or Primo . Applications of these products should be separated by at least one week. For effective control, it is important to apply the fungicide in 2 gallons of water per 1,000 ft2 followed by rinsing the material into the thatch with one rotation of the greenside sprinklers. REDUCING THATCH AND ORGANIC MATTER Excessive thatch and organic matter accumulation continues to be present in the tees, collars, and putting green approaches. Although the turf is healthy in all of these areas, implementing additional management programs to improve the firmness and smoothness of these surfaces will enhance the playing quality of the golf course. Efforts over the coming year should emphasize additional core aeration, vertical mowing, and sand topdressing. This process can be accelerated by investigating the use of the Graden™ Sand Injection machine that has been used successfully at Torrey Pines, Silver Creek Valley, and Quail Lodge golf courses. The recommended protocol for using the Graden™ Sand Injection machine is attached with this report as a further reference.

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For more information and to arrange a demonstration, you may wish to contact: Jock Eddington, Sports Turf Services Cell: (702) 985 4035 Email: jock@stsvegas.com Website: www.stsvegas.com FAIRWAYS Perennial ryegrass seeding - It was good to see a steady increase in the amount of perennial ryegrass and creeping bentgrass in the fairways as a result of seed applications and improved water management. This has resulted in a firmer, drier golf course and a reduction in water use. Ongoing programs for the fairways should continue to emphasize the routine application of perennial ryegrass seed to the fairways and irrigating in a manner to favor the growth of perennial ryegrass and discourage the growth of Poa annua. Although you can expect to see areas of stress and turf discoloration, especially during the summer, the drought-induced stress favors the growth and expansion of stronger grasses, such as perennial ryegrass and creeping bentgrass and is in the best long-term interest of the club. Fairway expansion - It was good to see that the width of the fairway was expanded on hole No. 2 and other areas over the past year. This has enhanced the strategy and playing quality of the golf course and is a benefit to all levels of players. Other courses in northern California have implemented this same strategy and they report having a drier, more playable golf course as a result of having more short cut fairway areas.

Efforts over the past year to incorporate more short cut fairway areas have brought more bunkers into play and enhanced the strategy and playing quality of the golf course while providing drier conditions.

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TREE PROGRAM It was good to note significant progress with selective tree removal on holes Nos. 14 and 16 along with brush control in the arroyos that run through holes Nos. 10 through 18. This has helped to open up views of the property, reveal interesting landforms, and restore strategic shot values. It was suggested to continue evaluating the age, condition, and position of trees on the golf course and make plans for selective tree removal. Of particular concern are the dense plantings between holes Nos. 6, 7, and 8, and the corridor between holes Nos. 1 and 9. The following comments are offered for your consideration regarding tree management in these and other areas: Many of the Monterey pine trees are showing advanced stages of decline and should be targeted for future removal. Consider different pruning techniques for the cypress trees, which could be laced to reveal the dramatic branching structure typical of these trees. Evaluate trees on the south and east sides of greens, tees, and fairway landing zones that block early morning and midday sunlight that is critical to healthy turf growth. As a supplement to your existing tree program, you may wish to contact Mr. Sean Tulley at The Meadow Club who has developed a very good protocol for determining the need for selective tree removal. Mr. Tulley can be contacted at (415) 497-0928.

The removal of declining pine trees and lacing the Monterey cypress trees between holes Nos. 1 and 9 was recommended as a high priority for your tree maintenance program.

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NATIVE GRASS AREAS Significant progress was noted with the growth and development of the native grass areas throughout the property. Winter rainfall helped to accelerate the growth and coverage of these grasses and contribute to a natural, wispy appearance. One of the difficulties managing these areas is controlling the rapid growth rate during the spring, which leads to a tall, dense turf and an increase in the number of lost golf balls.

Comparison of the growth and density of the native grasses on hole No. 2 in 2010 (L), and 2011 (R). The light seeding rate and allowing these grasses to develop naturally has resulted in a wispy appearance with acceptable playing quality.

The following points are offered for your consideration regarding strategies to manage native rough areas: Mow the native grass areas to a height of 4 to 6 inches in the late fall/early winter to remove as much biomass as possible. Consider applying a granular turf growth regulator, such as Governor™ (Andersons Turf Products), during the winter rainy season to help control vertical growth. Efforts to produce a thin, wispy rough will be completely dependent on your ability to keep irrigation out of these areas.

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EQUIPMENT AND MAINTENANCE FACILITY Like many clubs throughout the country, Pasatiempo has had to make difficult budget decisions in response to economic factors and defer the purchase of new equipment. While understandable, the age and condition of the equipment fleet has continued to deteriorate, resulting in more repairs and equipment downtime. It was recommended to make equipment replacement a high priority as part of the club’s short-term plans. Over the last five years, many equipment manufacturers have offered good economic incentives for equipment lease/purchase program on golf course equipment. This has allowed many courses to obtain added pieces of equipment and maintain an adequate inventory with a lower initial investment. In many cases, lease/purchase plans were less expensive than directly purchasing the equipment. To assist with this process, it is recommended to contact Wells Fargo Financial Leasing, who specializes in custom equipment packages using different manufacturers. To start the process, you can contact: David Dunn Well Fargo Financial Leasing, Golf Division Phone: (800) 223-1420 Email: daviddunn@wellsfargo.com Another issue discussed during previous visits is the need to remodel and expand the maintenance facility. Currently, there is not enough space to store equipment and supplies, and staff areas are completely inadequate. Remodeling and expanding the maintenance facility will enhance the safety and security of the area and improve staff efficiency. FUTURE USE OF RECYCLED WATER It was reported that discussions and negotiations are ongoing regarding the possible delivery of recycled water from the City of Scotts Valley. Although this is a complex issue, many future problems can be avoided if the design of the plant is done appropriately and proper treatment protocols are put in place to assure the best possible water quality. As a reference for this project, you may wish to contact Mr. Mike Huck, who has extensive background and experience related to golf courses with this type of project. Mike Huck, Irrigation & Turfgrass Services Phone: (949) 388-5097 Email: mhuck@cox.net

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CONCLUSION Thank you for a most enjoyable visit and the opportunity to discuss golf course maintenance issues at Pasatiempo Golf Club. Since 1921, the USGA Green Section has been providing the game and industry of golf a reliable, unbiased, and agronomically sound source of information regarding the care and management of courses. We invite you to visit the Green Section web portal at http://gsportal.usga.org to subscribe to the digital Green Section Record magazine, and find information regarding upcoming live webcasts and links to prior recordings, announcements of upcoming USGA Green Section activities, education conferences, and meetings. Best wishes for continued progress over the coming months, and I look forward to being of further assistance on behalf of the USGA Green Section. Respectfully submitted,

Patrick J. Gross, Southwest Director USGA Green Section

Distribution: Mr. Paul Chojnacky, Superintendent Articles: Putting Green Speed, Slopes, and Non-Conforming Hole Locations Protocol for Using the Graden Sand Injection Machine

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