Friday, December 1, 2017

November 2017

November has been another unseasonably warm month. There have been several great weather golfing days. We have continued herding leaves and will continue through December. The winter season is when we attempt to get caught up with tree trimming.  Below are some pictures of some of the work we have done, including cutting back the Honeysuckle brush along the drive up from Gregory Rd, and thinning up the Honeylocust trees behind 11 green.
Top is a before photo and bottom is after.
Thinning of Honeylocust behind 11 green
Fall is also a good time to plant trees. The plant survival rate when planted in the fall is much greater than when planted in any other season. We planted a Frontier Elm between 17 and 2 early in the month where there was a previous tree. Frontier Elm is a tree well suited for the Kansas City climate and is a fast growing tree.

Monday, November 6, 2017


October has come and gone and now one of our biggest tasks at hand is keeping the course clean of leaves.  The trees changing colors look beautiful this time of year but the mess they make is frustrating for the golfer and the maintenance crew.  With the course surrounded by trees its going to be a constant battle this time of year. Every morning we take a backpack blower and clean off the greens of debris (acorns, sticks and leaves). Below is a photo of what some of the greens look like before we start blowing them off.

Friday, September 29, 2017

September Review

September is over and at times, it felt more like August but with shorter sunlight hours the heat doesn't last long. This is the time of year when we aerify our greens.  On the 5th of September we fertilized the greens to get them rapidly growing. Then the evening of the 11th we started aerifying and finished up on the 12th.   On the 17th we received just under and 1.5" of rain.  With the fertilizer, moisture and warm days the greens healed extremely quick.  This morning when I rolled the greens I was unable to see any holes caused by the aerifyer.  This is a task we perform twice a year and it is done to relieve compaction, increase air to the plants roots, as well as removing thatch from the surface.  The result is a much healthier putting surface!   

Friday, August 25, 2017

August Report

The above two pictures sums up the month of August. It has been a month of flooding all around Kansas City. Swope Memorial however is lucky when it comes to heavy rains, because of the hills on property we get very good surface drainage. The bunkers are the biggest issue at Swope Memorial when dealing with excessive rainfall. Almost all bunkers have been severely contaminated with silt blocking the drainage and then holding water.  We are forced to pump the water out and push the sand back in place.  Most of the bunkers need to have the sand removed, drainage fixed and new sand added.  It is a slow process with the size of crew we have and the amount of bunkers on property but getting them repaired is on our to do list.  The positive for the month of August is the below average temperatures we have been experiencing. Very comfortable playing conditions! Aerification is scheduled for September 12&13.

Monday, July 31, 2017

July 2017 Update

Like most Golf Course Superintendents July is their least favorite month. For me this July is no exception. We have been battling extreme heat, humidity, high dew points and excessive rain. All are recipes for disaster when maintaining cool season turf. If you have played you may have noticed fans running on holes 12 & 14. Those greens don't get very good air flow and that creates a sauna like atmosphere not ideal for short cut Poa greens. We have been using the resources available to help the turf survive but still have had some weak spots show up. We have vented all the greens twice this month to give the roots more oxygen and help water infiltration but what the turf really needs is cooler temps with less humidity. The extended forecast looks promising.
You may have also noticed bunkers aren't as sandy as they once were. Heavy rain has washed silt from the edges into the traps and plugging the drain tiles.  With a small staff this is going to take some time to repair but it is on our radar.  The course is still very playable so come out and enjoy or if you are like me wait till September:)  

Saturday, June 24, 2017

June Report

In the month of June we have been staying busy with detail work. We have started edging some bunker faces, spraying broadleafs in the rough, and sodding some tee boxes. Below is a photo of 18 greenside bunker.   
From what I have been told sodding the tees on 16 is an annual task.  This year we were lucky enough to have received the leftover sod that Arrowhead Stadium uses on there field to put on the tee. It is called Northbridge Bermuda and the head groundskeeper at Arrowhead Travis Hogan thinks its an excellent cultivar of turf for areas like 16 that take a beating.  It recovers much quicker than Zoysia, has great color like bent grass, better shade tolerant, cold tolerant and it can handle the cleats of Dontari Poe.  Below is a before and after photo and also a photo of the sod shortly after being put down at the stadium.

Top picture is Zoysia bottom half is Northbridge Bermuda. Please remember to fill your divot with sand. 

Arrowhead shortly after the Northbridge was put down in early June

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May Update

This month we started our Venting of the Greens program.  We will be venting greens with a small solid tine every 2-3 weeks through the month of August.  Venting of the greens is a very valuable cultural practice.  As the weather heats up and the turf growth continues, destructive gasses such as methane and CO2 can build up in the root zone. Couple that with excessively wet weather and the combo is a recipe for dead turf. When we vent the greens it allows the bad gasses to escape and oxygen to penetrate the root zone.  It also improves drainage and penetration of water. By reducing water, increasing oxygen, and allowing bad gasses to escape the soil microbes become more active, roots thrive and overall plant health improves. Immediately after venting we roll the greens and spray a wetting agent to allow even better water penetration to the roots. As a golfer you might not even know we were there ;)

Also this month we were able to put annual flowers in the flower beds. Some of the annuals you will see on the course are Coleus (wasabi & Redhead), Canna's (Wyoming, Red King Hummert & Panache), Cleome Seniorita Rosarita, Purple Pennisetum, Lantana's (Yellow & Rose Glow) & Marigolds. Enjoy!

Friday, April 28, 2017

April 2017 Update

This month at Swope Memorial the maintenance team successfully aerified the putting greens(week of April 2nd). The process is hard work, extremely beneficial and quite frankly preventative maintenance.  Aerification reduces excess thatch(dead stems, leaves and roots), relieves soil compaction, and also provides a method to improve the soil mixture around the highest part of a green's roots. When the grass is cut as low as the greens are, deep, healthy roots are a necessity and good roots demand oxygen. We understand the process is frustrating for the golfers but unfortunately it is a necessary practice.
Bruiser the Supervisor
If you have played within the last week (4/23) you may have noticed new flags and flagsticks. The old flags were fading and the sticks were no longer allowing for straight pins. The new setup is a little different than they have been in the past. The red and white have been replaced with black and white. Hopefully you will enjoy. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spring Cleaning

Spring is in the air! According to my calendar the first day of Spring is March 20th. So far this month we have been doing some course clean up work. All ornamental grasses have been burned down, dead trees have been cut down, stone edgers have been cleaned and exposed and the Swope Park entrance sign was also cleaned.  Along with the cleaning we have been spraying the greens with a plant growth regulator to control seed heads from forming and allowing a smooth ball roll. Hopefully Spring will stay for a while and we can continue detailing the course before Summer arrives and we are dragging hoses. 
Before photo of rust at entrance 

After photo (cleaned with a Muriatic Acid)

Round about by 16 Tee

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Cutting Native Areas

Last week all the natural grass areas were cut.  This is done annually to help us control weeds.  We will apply a fertilizer with pre-emergent to all these areas in the spring to also help with controlling weed infestation. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

My Status

In early November of 2016 I said good bye to the maintenance grounds of Heart of America GC.  I was employed at Heart of America for 5 seasons and it will always have a special place in my heart.  I am now a mile north and employed at Swope Memorial.  Swope is a classic 18 hole Tillinghast designed course with beautiful downtown views.  It has Zoysia fairways, Fescue/Blue rough and Poa/Bent greens (mostly Poa).  Andrew Jones was the previous Superintendents here and he is leaving the course to me with extremely big shoes to fill.  However, I am excited for the opportunity.  This blog page will be updated periodically so be sure to save it to your favorites :) Enjoy!