Thursday, April 12, 2018

Spring Aerification

A look back at the completion of our full course aerification process (March 5-26th)

A man and his machine: Super Dave and the Toro pro-core
Super Dave aerifying #7 green
The crew working hard picking up plugs
Top-dressing greens.....around 85 tons used on greens
Donnie brushing greens as the "Super" is found lurking
Phily using his new brush attachment on the vibratory roller
Brushing and vibrating sand into holes 
A beautiful morning to punch some holes with the Wiedenmann Terra Spike!
Early start punching fairways.....
The Wiedenmann Terra Spike working hard on #13 fairway
Super Dave aerifying #10 Tee
 Rough aerification #1
Rough aerification #15
#2 green .....Rolled and brushed ...4 days post greens aerification
First mow at .115  ....20 days post greens aerification
Mower height dropped to .110  .....35 days post aerification

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Winter projects progress

As I had mentioned towards the end of last year, we have been working on a few things around the course while the turf was in a dormant state. Here is a little update on what we were able to accomplish during that time with a winter "skeleton" crew.

The trees along the left side of hole two have all been limbed up to allow the irrigation to get to the turf. You should see turf improvements all along that area this season. We have also been around to various holes around the golf courses cleaning out deadwood (#2, #4) and cleaning out desert mistletoe throughout the entire golf course. Desert mistletoe is the dense cluster of brittle, leafless jointed green stems that you will see most commonly in the mesquite trees. If mistletoe is ignored it will spread from branch to branch and eventually to the neighboring tree. It is a slow parasite but would eventually kill the tree.

Limbing up trees along #2 cartpath   

We were able to get a few sumps done to drain water off the cart paths. We started off tackling the bad ones first; 9, 11 and one leading to the maintenance shop. We still need to get out to holes 7, 12 and 15 to get these knocked out before summer.

    #9  tee sump
The crew removing sod for the sump on #11 cartpath
       #11 sump
      #11 sump
    Shop Sump
    Shop sump
  Finished shop sump

We have been trying to get the bunkers back into better shape as far as playability and aesthetics go. The back 9 bunkers have been edged out and cleaned. A lot of the bunkers had lost their lip on the low side and have had a lot of bermuda grass contamination. Along with cleaning the edges, we have been checking depths of the sand, moving sand and adding sand where needed. We are shooting for 1.5-2” inches on the face of the bunkers  to prevent any “fried egg” lies and 4-5” on the bottoms to give the player a little fluff the splash their shot out. We are continuing on the front 9 as we are about halfway through there.

 #12 bunker new edge- added sand
#10 bunker new edge
 #8 bunker new edge...added sand

As always, Philly, our mechanic, has been very busy in and around the shop cleaning, organizing and preparing the equipment for another long season.

Clay McKinley
PDSCC Golf Course Superintendent

"The last fling of winter is over ... The earth, the soil itself, has a dreaming quality about it. It is warm now to the touch; it has come alive; it hides secrets that in a moment, in a little while, it will tell." - Donald Culross Peattie

Hopefully our last fling of winter....snow flurries Feb 28th

Friday, January 26, 2018

Greens Mower Brush Attachment


We have recently finished building a brush attachment for our greens mower. After we got our plan of attack and all the materials, it went together rather quickly and cost us under $100. Our mechanic Phil fabricated the steel tubing, painted it,  attached the three 24’ broom heads, hooked up the chain to hold up brush for transport all in about 5 hours(bathroom breaks not included) . The finished product mounts directly into the existing square tubing on the mower itself which makes for a nice clean look and functional unit. The many benefits to brushing 2-3 three times a week are as follows:

       Quality and consistency of cut
       Grain reduction
       Smooth surface
       Increased ball roll
       Less evasive than grooming or verticutting
       Promote upright growth
       Poa seedhead reduction
       Increased density and finer texture
       Opens up turf canopy to accept amendments like sand and fertilizer and also keeps air space in the canopy to help prevent diseases
       Overall improved greens health and appearance
       Can be mounted on a vibratory roller to brush in topdressing sand

All of these benefits combined will result in greater putting quality and an improvement in overall playability. 

Clay McKinley
PDSCC Golf Course Superintendent

A short video of our new brush in action:

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Divot Repair at Pueblo del Sol

Over the last 3 months we have been seeing a lot of unrepaired or improperly repaired divots in fairways.  I know many of you may be uncertain on how to properly repair a divot because different courses and Superintendents have different preferences on how to go about repairing a divot. Well, here at Pueblo del Sol we ask that you replace any solid turf. Any turf you can put back in the divot will speed up recovery- whether it be a pelt or chunks that are still holding together. Once the turf is put back all you need to do is add a little sand around the edges and pat it down with your foot. At this time of the year we tend to be on the dryer side and seed takes constant moisture to germinate and fill in, so any turf you can replace will help speed the healing process.

Improper divot repair- replace available turf

Proper divot repair- turf replaced- added a little divot mix

Improper divot repair- replace available turf

Proper divot repair- replace turf added a bit of divot mix-leveled with foot

Improper divot repair-  No divot repair at all

Proper divot repair- replaced turf- divot mix-leveled with foot

Improper divot repair- too much sand

If the divot explodes into little pieces and there is nothing solid to replace, then you can fill the divot completely with divot mix that is provided on your golf cart. Always make sure you fill it just below the turf surface and then smooth it with your foot. Any overfilled divot is wasteful of seed and soil and is bad for our mowing equipment.

Clay McKinley
PDSCC Golf Course Superintendent

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

"I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape - the loneliness of it - the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it - the whole story doesn't show." - Andrew Wyeth

Winter at Pueblo del Sol

As turf growth finally slows we can shift our focus from the every day grind to equipment preventative maintenance, limbing up trees, deadwood removal, installing drainage in low areas that tend to collect water and continue with course cleanup like sweeping leaves and debris.

Throughout the golf course there are tree limbs that have grown low and impede the irrigation throw preventing the water from getting onto the turf areas that need it. We will go through and selectively prune these limbs to get the irrigation watering more efficiently providing adequate water to the turf and making for a healthier more playable turf.  Along with selective limb pruning, we will go through and remove any deadwood that could be a falling hazard to the golfer. Some of this work will be contracted out as we are not set up to prune anything above 20 feet in house. A good example of this is the eucalyptus tree on #15.

Also, around the golf course there are areas that hold water along the edge of the cart path/grass. In these areas we will go through and install drainage to move the water down off path and turf. There are also areas that any excess irrigation or rain water will collect and run down onto the playing surface making for poor playability. In these areas, we will also try and install drainage to catch the water before it makes its way onto the turf keeping the areas firm and playable.

As always, we still want to provide the best conditions for the golfer, so we will still be out setting up the golf course, blowing and sweeping fallen leaves, mowing or rolling greens as needed, touching up bunkers when we can and keeping a light layer of sand on the green for smoothness and a little bit of warmth during these cold months. 

Clay McKinley
PDSCC Golf Course Superintendent

Monday, November 6, 2017

GMS at Pueblo del Sol Welcomes New Superintendent Clayton McKinley

The GMS team would like to welcome Clay and his family to Sierra Vista . Originally from Colorado, Clay has gained a ton of knowledge and experience with an internship at Augusta National as well as an Assistant at some top golf clubs in Colorado and Wyoming. Clay has spent the last three years as Superintendent at The Club at Las Campanas in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We are all excited for the future here at Pueblo del Sol !