Superintendent’s Blog

Superintendent's Blog

Superintendent Blog 3.1.17

It has been a good winter so far at Meadowlark Hills Golf Course. The moisture we received this fall and winter has been very good for the course, but we are going to need some form of precipitation soon.  We filled the irrigation system and are checking heads for repairs.  We apologies if a head turns on.

The maintenance crew completed servicing all of the maintenance equipment and golf carts. Our staff has taken advantage of the nice weather and has cleaned up the course from pruning tree limbs and picking up sticks that have fallen during the winter.  Staff also completed repairs and poured the cart path on number 8 by the canal.

For those of you wondering why we haven’t mowed,  it’s because mowing promotes growth and this could cause damage if we would get a cold spell. Which could happen between now and March! It also helps if  we allow the soil temperature to reach 50 prior to mowing for the first time.  

Our staff hopes you get out and enjoy the nice weather in February and we will be mowing as soon as we can!

Superintendent Blog 9.15.16

Well it is that time of year again when the greens are perfect and we need to punch hole in them….YES, Aerification time.  On Monday, September 19, we will start with the aerification process.  Dan Knipping, Golf Course Superintendent will explain the process and have some interesting, informative photos to post here and on our Facebook page.

Thanks, Dave James, PGA

Many people wonder why we aerify the greens. To tell you the truth I don’t like poking holes in the greens but it’s something we have to do.  Aeration is the process by witch holes are put into the greens to allow for air to get into the soil beneath the surface of the green. It also breaks up compact areas, improves drainage, and promotes root development.  Once we have poked the holes we put sand on the greens and the drag the sand around to fill the holes. Filling the holes with sand will help speed up the healing process. The sand also will help make the ball role a lot smoother.  I’m sorry for the inconvenience but it’s something we have to do for the health of the greens and the greens should be rolling good again in no time.

Dan Knipping
Golf Course Superintendent

Aerification

Superintendent Blog 4.15.16

We are excited to let everyone know that the new irrigation pump station is up and running.  The whole installation process only took a few days and the installation was a success.  Thanks for your understanding as the crew was working hard to complete the project without golf interruptions. 

Pump 1 Pump 3 Pump 4
 Pump Removal            Old Pump                     New Pump Station

Superintendent Blog 2.16.16

Winterkill has been a significant problem the last two years at Meadowlark Hills Golf Course.  This year staff was more pro-active in doing weather protecting on the course by adding more sand on the greens to protect the crown of the plants. This helps slow down moisture loss and to help protect against the cold winter wind.   The four greens affected the worst by winter kill and wind were closed for the season.  Snow fence was put up to collect snow and slow down the winter wind to help protect those areas.  These were just a small part of an ongoing effort to keep winterkill at a minimum at Meadowlark Hills Golf Course.

Snow fence

Dan Knipping
Golf Course Superintendent

Superintendent Blog 9.19.15

We had yet another tough winter.  The weather has been all over the place from wet to dry and cold to hot.  We started the year with winter kill on our greens again making it challenging.  The good news was the winter kill wasn’t as bad as last year and we didn’t loose any tees or fairways.  Growing back the greens is a very slow process as the low temperatures need to above 52 degrees for bent grass to germinate. Sanding the greens helps as bent grass creeps into the sand areas. By the end of July the greens came back nicely with only a few bad spots on the edges. 

Our new tee mowers and greens mowers have made a huge difference.  They do a great job with cutting and are reliable which has saved time and money on breakdowns.  We will be aerifying greens on September 22 & 23.  We will not core but vent the greens by pushing the turf down instead of coring.  This will allow for better playing conditions.  Our plan is to aerify the rest of the course the following week. 

Some fall projects you will be seeing are: Planting a few new trees, fertilizing everything, spraying herbicide (after the first frost), sodding bad areas around cart paths and working on some bad areas on hole #2 & #4.  We also plan on starting a greens nursery north of our shop.

As far as winterizing the greens, we plan on putting down more sand on the greens and we may use a few temporary greens.

Dan Knipping
Golf Course Superintendent

Superintendent Blog 11.17.14

This year we started out with a huge challenge as we lost a lot of grass and the weather did not work in our favor for getting new seed to germinate as it should. I think every course in Nebraska suffered some grass loss and they also struggled with growing the bad areas back to normal. Thankfully the weather changed in June and everything finally started to heal up.

You probably noticed some work going on this summer and fall at our maintenance shop.  Repairs were done on our 20 year old existing shop.  This shop will now be used as equipment storage.  A new shop has been constructed and will be largely utilized for mechanical repairs.  The new shop includes a wash bay for mowers and carts, reel grinder room, staff offices, and tool storage.   Golfers will be happy to hear that we also have public restrooms on the east side of the building that is accessible from the cart path going to hole #2 or #4.  The new shop is scheduled to be complete in December.

We had a great fall (except we could have had a little more rain) for everything to finish recovering. The majority of the course recovered with very few thin areas remaining.  We did the usual fertilizing and putting herbicide down.  In order to help “blanket” the greens, we will be putting down a layer of sand.  We replaced 22 trees in areas that trees had died and Dave wants to start adding a few more around the course. We will be working on the landscape around the clubhouse area as well as the around new shop later this winter. We also hope to start leveling a few tee boxes soon.  Our staff worked really hard to complete these major tasks.

Thank you for the support through this difficult year and I pray for a wet winter.

Dan Knipping
Golf Course Superintendent

 

Superintendent Blog 8.13.14

I am writing this blog to inform everyone on what happened to the greens this year, how we repaired them and what we are currently doing to improve the shape of the greens

The problems we had this past winter were caused because of the warm, dry, windy conditions that took place.  The wind caused most of the problems because the greens, tees and fairways that were sheltered by those North winds did not get as much damage.

Then we had a spring that would not warm up like usual.  The soil temperature needs to be over 50 degrees for grass seed to germinate (bent grass likes even warmer conditions) and this did not happen until late April.  Other experts I networked with agreed with me to wait until the soil reached 50 degrees to start over-seeding and that is why we waited so long to start seeding.

Our first attempt at over-seeding we verticut and used spike reels to make holes and then sanded.  The second time we punched holes with the procore machine and sanded again and did the same thing a third time.  We did this all two to three weeks apart so we could see how much seed germinated but we continued to hand poke holes every week in some of the real bad spots.

The results were slow and not real good.  The weather was still not helping the cause because we needed heat and humidity and were getting none.  Once we got that heat and humidity the seed finally started growing and the grass that made it started filling in.  This is when we could finally start moving plugs and putting sand down heavier as well as utilizing temporary greens on holes two and fourteen.

With the new grass I was unable to use a growth regulator (which slows the vertical growth of the grass to help green speed) but the grass started to grow too fast and I finally started putting it on in late June.  This is a tough product to put down because if you put too much down the chemical will stunt the greens and if it gets mixed in with fertilizer it will not work as well.  So I had to cut back on fertilizer and then I started putting more growth regulator down.

Now the big complaints are slow soft greens. This is due to hot temperatures and humidity.   We recently lowered the height of cut and are rolling green which will help some.  We are also starting to lightly sand the greens; which will help firm and speed them up but if the humidity stays high it will be a tough thing to do. 

We also have been asked why we haven’t verticut yet. The answer is that the new grass does not have deep enough roots and there are a lot of thin areas that most people do not see. Verdicuting would make these areas thinner and more visible.

We still have minor spots on the greens that we are working on, however they are in good shape now.  The rest of the course has a few spots here and there which we will be over-seeding sometime soon, since late August and early September are the best times to seed. 

Thanks for understanding.

Dan Knipping
Golf Course Superintendent