June "Clippings", report from the Greens Committee

Clippings

Notes from the Anthem Greens Committee

The Anthem Greens Committee met on Monday, June 22nd.  Here are the highlights of our discussions.

Persimmon Construction. As you can imagine, the bulk of our agenda centered around the work currently underway on Persimmon.

The greens renovation and Billy Bunker projects can be viewed as having three phases: destruction, construction and completion.

Greens.

Destruction involves stripping off the old sod from greens and collars, removing the sub-soil and ripping the remaining soil to remove invasive roots and debris below the surface.

Construction starts with installing new greens mix as a growing medium for both greens and collars, followed by shaping the green surface with the aid of a specialized GPS to insure green contours are returned to their original condition. This is also the phase where irrigation adjustments are made to provide efficient water coverage for greens and collars and minimize irrigation water getting into greenside bunkers.

Completion is the final step when the new collars are sodded in, prior to hydro-seeding Mini-Verde sprigs into the greens.  This will be followed by a hundred days of watching and watering.

Billy Bunkers.

Destruction starts with removal of the old sand and cloth liners. The sand is sifted to remove rocks, mixed with ground-up plugs taken from fairway aerification and saved to be put back on the aerified fairways. This combination of sand and organic material will improve drainage, provide a healthier growing medium and bring compaction relief for the transitioning bermuda. The old cloth liners will be donated to the Anthem Coyote Conservancy as toys for the critters (just kidding). 

Construction is when bunker drainage is checked and if required, additional drainage installed. This is followed by shaping the bottoms of the bunkers and the installation of the special Billy Bunker gravel base that is then bonded with the application of a polymer that allows water to pass through, but keeps rocks and native soils from contaminating the bunker sand.

Completion is pretty straight forward, with the addition of new bunker sand that meets USGA specifications.

Where are we now?

By the time you read this we will have completed the destruction phase for both greens and bunkers and will be finishing the construction phase on both projects.

By the end of June we will have completed construction on all greenside bunkers, including the installation of the new bunker sand. It is important to have this work completed prior to grassing the new greens to eliminate any chance of nearby construction activity endangering the grow-in of the newly planted greens.

Greens will be well down the road on construction, with greens mix added to greens and collars and shapers using GPS verifying all green contours. We expect to have all 18 greens signed off on by the end of the month. And if all goes as planned, we expect to enter the completion phase of grassing greens and sodding collars by July 1st

The “grassing” process begins with laying in new bermudagrass collars. These collars will be 328 bermuda and will not present an invasive issue for our new Mini-Verde greens. Collars will be followed by hydro-sprigging of the Mini-Verdi on the green surfaces and will take less than a week to complete. From that point on it’s simply watch, water and wait for the new greens to grow in. 

It is important to note that the newly sprigged greens will appear green at the start, but they will quickly turn brown. This is part of the normal grow-in process and they will transition to green again as the new sprigs take hold in their new environment. 

Ironwood Maintenance. We haven’t forgotten Ironwood and the pace of Ironwood’s maintenance activity will increase once we have entered the hundred-day watch and water period on Persimmon. 

We are beginning to work on a major effort to level hundreds of individual irrigation heads and dozens of drain boxes. This work will get underway in earnest in the next couple of weeks. 

We will soon begin to chemically remove the bermuda that has invaded our bent grass greens. After the bermuda dies out, the bent grass will most often be able to grow in and repair itself, but in some cases we will have to plug the damaged turf with grass from our nursery. 

We are using multi-directional mowing patterns to improve Ironwood’s fairway growth and the results so far have been good. You may have wondered why we have “scalped” some areas in the rough. This has been done to encourage lateral bermuda growth. While it looks a little ugly now, you can expect to see a healthy stand of grass come in quickly. 

In July we will begin to apply the same aerification processes we are using on Persimmon to the Ironwood fairways. We use 5/8” hollow tine aerification equipment to pull 6” deep plugs from the soil. The plugs are ground up, mixed with sand and applied to the fairways to relieve soil compaction, promote increased oxygen to the root zone and allow irrigation water to pass through the entire profile of the plant. This is an important cultural practice to maintain healthy fairways and because it will be somewhat disruptive, we will make sure members stay informed as to what holes are being worked on during the process.  

We have already used multiple aerifications combined with a new ceramic product called Profile to relieve compaction on troublesome fairway areas, like #13. Here is a picture of the renovated area as of ten days ago.   

IW #13

Communications. The Club has added a Communication Blog to, among other areas, improve communication between the Greens Department and the membership during this summer’s construction. Dave Dube’, our Director of Agronomy, posts weekly updates on the blog to keep everyone up-to-date. You can find the blog at http://www.clubcorp.com/Clubs/Anthem-Golf-Country-Club

That’s the latest from the Anthem Greens Committee. Thank-you for your continuing support. You can contact us at anthemgreens@icloud.com

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