Welcome to the Maintenance Blog for Radrick Farms Golf Course. Visit this blog to view pictures and other information about golf course projects and maintenance practices on the golf course.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Aeration is Approaching

Just mentioning the word "aeration" can bring out negative feelings among golfers everywhere. But aeration is one of the key components to healthy playing surfaces and soil composition on the golf course.

Mother Nature willing, our plan this year is to aerate the tees the week of Sep.7, then collars and approaches the week of Sep. 14, and finally the greens during the week of Sep. 21. We plan to stay open on "alternative" greens during that week.

Tees, collars, and approaches will be done utilizing 5/8" hollow tines. While the greens will aerated with 1/2" hollow and solid tines. The 2014 process on greens went very well and we will utilize the same process. Refer to the 2014 Greens Summary post for the detail of the greens process.

The Team appreciates your continued support during this very important aeration process!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Why We Don't Just Water at Night

Throughout the growing season, the course's water demands change based on several factors, including soil structure and evapotranspiration rates. Several times throughout the year, we utilize wetting agents to insure that water makes its way into the soil profile. These wetting agents are sprayed onto the turf and then watered in.

Over the course of the last few weeks you may have wondered why sprinklers are running during the morning. This is to soak this product into the soil as well as aid turf health from our recent stretch of warmer weather. We appreciate your support and patience with the occasional sprinkler nuisance as we do our utmost to provide you with superior conditions.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Greens Venting

Greens have been vented today. Small, solid 5/16" tines (about the diameter of a pencil)  were used. After greens were aerated they were rolled to smooth the surface. This aeration process is necessary to allow gas exchange in the rootzone as well as increase oxygen. Just like humans, turf needs oxygen to thrive. It is important in a wet year like this one to manage rootzones and give turf the best chance at survival.

9 Green being vented

More information about greens venting can be found at the USGA website here. There is also a short video explaining the benefits of venting from the USGA.

Thank you for your continued support as we celebrate our 50th year together.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Our New Natural Area Mowers!

We welcomed Boer Goats to the property on Saturday, June 20th. These goats are on the golf course for the next two weeks, potentially longer. During this trial period, we will see how fast an area can be cleared, what vegetation they like to eat the most, and how much they like living on a golf course.

To our knowledge, Radrick Farms may be the first golf course in Michigan to utilize goats for vegetative management. This project is potentially a viable environmentally friendly approach to clearing unwanted or invasive species. Regardless of the results, this should be an entertaining experiment to say the least.

Electric fencing to contain the goats.

While these goats are on-site, an electric fence will be used to contain them as well as provide protection from any predators. Please, for the safety and health of our goats, don't feed or pet them. If a golf ball goes into their pen, please do not try to retrieve it.  Play the area as ground under repair.

The goats are already at work clearing brush.

Please help us welcome our newest Team members to Radrick Farms!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

We Need YOUR Help.

The driving range tees receive plenty of use throughout the season. In order for turf to recover, we need your help filling divots with the supplied soil and seed.

Divots filled after practice.

Filling divots isn't the only help we need. The proper use of the tee while practicing is one of the keys to turf recovery. The diagram below illustrates the proper and improper way to practice.

How divots should be spaced.

Also, we will be rotating the availability between the range mats, and the upper and lower tee boxes. There will be certain days when you have to take the extra few steps down to the lower tee box.  Check our website for details on the mat schedule. We are rotating in this fashion in order to treat the tee box like a grow-in, providing plenty of opportunity for watering.

With your help, the correct fertility, water, and seed combination we can speed up the turf recovery for all to enjoy. Thanks for your help and dedication in making Radrick such a special place to enjoy.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Spring Is In The Air

Spring is in the air and there's no doubt about it. The trees are blooming and the birds are singing and it is a great time to play some golf.

The spring flush of growth has hit the golf course and the rough is getting thick. So we are mowing it daily (as well as other turf surfaces). As is usually the case during this time of growth, the Team is doing our very best to keep up.

Greenskeeper Katharine Stewart mowing rough on 7.

This growth spurt is very typical for cool-season turfgrass in these spring conditions. The forecasted temperatures and rain will definitely continue to add to this rapid growth. Please be patient with Mother Nature and the Team as we prepare this extraordinary golf course daily.

Happy Mothers Day this coming weekend to all our mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers! Hope to see some you playing with Mom every Sunday during Family Golf Night.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Architectural Changes

R.I.P.: Dog Leg Cherry on 6. 

A big, multi-trunk American Cherry tree guarded the dogleg on the sixth hole for a long time. This tree made the hole a daunting par four. Over the years, the tree has been cabled together numerous times to prolong its life.  At one point, many years ago, Poplar trees were planted between the tee and this giant tree in an attempt to prepare for the inevitable.  During a wind storm late last fall, the inevitable occurred.  Half the tree blew over. After assessing the condition of the remaining portion of the tree, our Team decided that the rest had to be removed.

The American Cherry blew over in the storm on Nov. 25, 2014.
Severe decay in American Cherry left us no
choice but to remove the remaining trunk.
Our number one priority in tree care is ensuring a safe environment for our community. This winter, the rest of the tree and several other American Cherries were removed due to their poor health.  All of these trees posed risks of imminent toppling.  The American Cherry tree has a typical life span of 50-60 years.  Given this is our 50th year of golf, it is no surprise that many of our American Cherry trees are in declining health.

We have heard many golfer opinions on what we should do next:  "make it easier", "make it tougher", "add bunkers", "put in a pond", "do nothing".  When it comes to major architectural decisions at Radrick, we have a guiding strategy: gather information and subject matter expert's opinions before acting. This case is no different.  As of right now, we have no definitive plans to alter the architecture of this hole this season.

Most importantly, as we celebrate our 50th year, we plan to host a visit from our Hall of Fame architects Pete and Alice Dye this fall. We plan ask for their feedback on a variety of issues.  They have been very generous with their guidance throughout the past 50 years.  We hope their insight will provide significant direction for the future.

In the meanwhile, our Team is busy getting the golf course cleaned up and ready for another great season.  Enjoy the rare birdie on six... while it lasts.