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.

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.

Friday, March 20, 2015

First Day of Spring Greens Conditions

Happy First Day of Spring

It sure doesn't quite feel like spring yet, but hopefully it will soon. There is still some snow cover and a good amount of frost in the ground on the course. Locate your good luck charm, whatever it may be. I'm knocking on wood. So far, the course survived the winter as expected. 

The playing surfaces are all in typical condition for coming out of winter. The turf is still dormant and looks exactly as it should. There is still the possibility of crown hydration (refer to our March 3rd blog post for more info).  Hang in there, warm weather is coming. 

We look forward to a great season celebrating our 50th anniversary.

9 tee covered in snow and very frozen ground.
9 green free of snow, frost and winter damage.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Greens Update

Not Quite Out of the Woods Yet

The Maintenance Team has been sampling various greens since late December in order to monitor their conditions. Lincoln White, our equipment mechanic, fabricated a tool we use to extract soil and turf from the green. After the sample is removed from the green, it is brought into the Maintenance Facility to warm-up and break dormancy. This process is how we will know what the turf's health will be come spring. Thankfully, all the samples that we have taken this winter have done well.

Turf samples collected from various
greens are marked and monitored.

We are not quite out of the woods yet. Crown hydration is still a concern to turf surfaces. Weather conditions dictate whether crown hydration occurs. In order for it to happen, temperatures warm for a few days and snow and ice start to melt. The plant breaks dormancy and starts to take in water. The major concern at this point becomes the nighttime lows or the "flash freeze". When this happens, the cells of the plant tissue rupture, causing the plant to die. To counter this issue, the Team remains very cognizant of the weather forecast and will adjust practices accordingly.

For more information about winter injury, view this site from the MSU Turf Team.http://www.turf.msu.edu/winterkill-of-turfgrass

The weather forecast for next week looks promising. We will continue to monitor turf conditions and make adjustments accordingly. Remember, only 15 days until spring!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

February Update

The Team has been busy in the Maintenance Facility this month. The Team is nearly finished with refurbishing our benches with a brand new look. We have also tackled some building maintenance, including a lot of painting and organizing. During this time of frigid temperatures, we also do our annual deep clean. We are excited to have the facility organized in order to maximize our efficiency throughout the next year. Now, we truly look forward to spring's arrival.

Stay warm out there, only 21 days until the first day of spring!

Bench Before
Bench After

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tree Maintenance

Tree maintenance is a necessary practice on the golf course. Trees are trimmed or removed for the safety of our Team and customers first and foremost. Secondary to that, trees are maintained for the health of the tree and of the turf.   As far as a tree's effect on play-ability is concerned, we rely on subject matter experts before making any changes.

So far this winter, the Team has been removing trees that pose a hazard on the 6th hole. Unfortunately, a wind storm in late November took out the Cherry tree on the inside corner of the dogleg.  This tree had been cabled together several years ago to prolong its life, but its time had come.  We also planted several Poplar trees in front of this tree in preparation for this event.

Where aesthetics and play-ability are concerned, once a tree has been removed, we will watch this area closely for a full season of golf to determine if another tree or trees will need to be planted. 6 will be no different in this case.

Severe rotting at the base of tree above. Tree must be removed.

Friday, December 19, 2014

December Update

The winter weather this month has not been typical. Fortunately for us, we have been able to work on a few projects. The 16th tee renovation is in the final review stage.

The Team has started planting trees on the 6th hole and will move to the 8th in the coming weeks. These trees are part of our continuing plan to maximize the natural feel of the property in spite of  an area housing development.

Work on course accessories (garbage cans, ball washers, etc.) has also started. This year we are giving the benches a face lift. Stay tuned to see that transformation.

Planting Norway Spruce on 6
Planting Norway Spruce on 6

16 Tee Before

16 Tee After


Benches Dissembled 
Benches before refurbishment