Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Cowan Creek Opening

Monday Oct. 19th we will be re-opening Cowan Creek for play. The overseed has established nicely and we are continually working on its maturity with fertilizer, water and cultural practices. With the overseed being just 4 weeks old we will monitor it on a daily basis and rotate the course from 90 degree to Cart Path Only when we feel it is necessary. We will plan on observing the 90 degree rule for both WGA and MGA play days and major events. Any areas of the roughs and fairways that are still thin or have heavy traffic patterns will be roped off and we ask that golfers try to avoid these areas with their carts. We look forward to getting the course back in play and hope everyone enjoys playing Cowan Creek again!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Bunker Work Reminder

Just a reminder that if it is very apparent that we are in the middle of performing maintenance on a bunker you may play that particular bunker as Ground Under Repair. Signs that it is being worked on include, fresh sand, numerous in and out tire marks and boot prints. If someone isn't there at the time they are more than likely running back to the shop for more sand or additional tools. If you look back to the Blog post from August 6, 2015 you can see a full detail of the bunker maintenance plan that we've implemented and are having great success with.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Cowan Creek Fairway Overseed Complete!

The last day of Overseed is complete! Thanks to our friends down the road at Georgetown CC we were able to borrow a second Lely spreader and get done with the fairway overseeding as the sun was setting. We will post photos as things develop and keep everyone up to date. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Cowan Creek Overseed Update 9/17/15

Day two of overseeding is in the books! We were able to get started earlier today and have everything complete minus the fill in portion of the fairways which we will be starting tomorrow morning. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Cowan Creek Overseeding Update 9/16/15

Started the day off slow with some light drizzle holding us up this morning, but as we expected it burnt off around noon so that it was nice and humid by the time we started pushing the drop seeders. Today we were able to seed all of the collars around greens and all of the approach cuts. Tomorrow we will be outlining the fairways with the drop spreader and doing the center portions of the fairways with the broadcast Lely. While this is taking place we will also be overseeding the tee boxes. More to come....

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Cowan Creek Overseed Overview

Submitted by: Craig Loving, Cowan Creek Golf Club Superintendent

 ​Beginning on Monday, September 14th, we will begin the overseeding process at Cowan Creek.  This year in addition to the blue, green, and red tees, we will be overseeding the fairways, and collars and approaches.  The overseeding of the fairways and approaches will have multiple positive impacts on the conditions of the turf and subsurface.  Over the past month, the dead areas from the water line break have gradually gotten smaller and smaller, but there are some areas that won’t be completely healed by the end of the growing season.  By overseeding these areas, the healthy cool season turf (perennial ryegrass) will create a buffer from foot and cart traffic as the bermudagrass goes dormant.  As we enter spring transition next year, the bermudagrass and ryegrass will compete in accordance to air and soil temperatures, so the overseed transition should be gradual.  Another benefit of the overseeding is the buildup of organic matter in the soil, which will help with nutrient and water retention in the long term. 

The following paragraphs and bullet points will detail what the current plans are for the overseeding process, as well as what we hope to achieve and when we hope to achieve it.

• Monday-Tuesday (September 14-15th):  begin prep of overseeded areas
Fairways:  verticut @ 1/16th inches, mow @ .500”, buffalo blow debris off of fairways, paint fairway perimeters
Tees ( all blue, green, red, all par 3, all #14):  verticut @ 1/16tinches, mow @ .500” with tee walk mowers (with buckets), buffalo blow debris off of fairways, paint perimeters
Collars & Approaches:  verticut @ 1/16th inches,  mow at .500” with triplex approach mowers (with buckets), buffalo blow debris off of collars and approaches, paint perimeters
• Tuesday-Wednesday (September 15th-16th): Overseed
Fairways:  Seed rate – 12 lbs. /1000 sq. ft (~522 lbs. / Acre) Perennial ryegrass
▪ Overseed perimeters with pull-behind drop spreader; 2 passes
▪ Overseed interior with Lely broadcast spreader
Collars & Approaches:  Seed rate – 12 lbs. / 1000 sq. ft (~522 lbs. / Acre) Per. rye
▪ Overseed collars and approach perimeter with walk behind drop spreader
▪ Overseed approaches with walk behind rotary broadcast spreader
Tees:  Seed rate – 12 lbs. /1000 sq. ft (~522 lbs. / Acre) Perennial rye/fescue mix
▪ Overseed perimeters and interior with walk behind drop spreader, two directions

The timeline may be altered one way or another by any issues that may occur, but the overseeding process should be complete by mid-late week.  Afterwards, we will set up irrigation cycles to keep the soil the correct moisture for seed establishment.  Depending on weather conditions, the first seed shoots should sprout within 8-10 days.  The overseed will be ready to mow somewhere around 14 days after overseeding.  This will be done in the afternoon when the grass is dry to keep the new grass from ripping from the roots.

A majority of our focus after overseeding will be moisture management, and we will fertilize with both granular bulk applications as well as foliar sprays.  There will more than likely be areas that need additional attention and re-applications of seed for proper establishment.  Our ultimate goal is to provide excellent playing conditions throughout the winter, as well as building organic matter in the soil for long-term improvement of the playing conditions in the fairways.  Although this may not completely alleviate the current issues with the weak areas come springtime, it should minimize the amount of sodding we will have to do next year.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Cowan Creek Closure for Overseeding

On Sept. 14th we will be shutting down Cowan Creek until Oct. 19th for overseeding of the fairways. After losing the main irrigation supply line due to a break located under Sun City Blvd. we were unable to water fairways for 11 days in July. This limited us to watering greens and tees only at both White Wing and Cowan Creek. Due to the sand base that Cowan Creek was built on it dried out much quicker than White Wing and the turf health suffered the most out of the two. We have been pushing the fairways with extra fertilizer and water in an effort to get the fairways to heal up but there are some areas that are going to take a lot more time.

Overseeding will provide a nice playing surface throughout the winter months and into the late spring. This will be beneficial to the fairways in the long term because it will allow us to start building up some organic matter in the soil. This will also help out with any future drought type situations. Overseeding will also allow us time to keep pushing the Bermuda grass through transition in the spring and early summer. That being said, with certain areas of the fairways being almost completely dead right now we will more than likely have areas during transition that will be thin or need to be re-sodded altogether.

In short, overseeding gives us the best playing conditions possible moving forward and it also gives us the best chance to push the Bermuda grass for re-establishment next year.
During the time frame that Cowan Creek is closed we will not have closed Mondays at the other two courses.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

2015 August Course Conditions

We have completed all of our large core aerifications of the year on greens and are looking forward to excellent greens conditions throughout the remainder of the growing season moving into fall. The biggest challenge that we have right now are the Cowan Creek fairways and getting them back in shape and returning to 90 degrees. Below is a summary of everything we have done since losing our water supply due to the non-potable water line break under Sun City Blvd.
Cowan Creek Recovery Maintenance Plan
            As you may know, the broken pipe that fed White Wing and Cowan Creek’s irrigation pond has taken its toll on the Cowan Creek fairway’s and rough.  Both courses went 10 full days without irrigation on all areas except greens and tees.  The following paragraphs will hopefully answer some common questions, including what we’ve been doing and what is planned to achieve full recovery.


  • 7/17/15 – Pipe broken, water shut off
  • 7/21/15 – sprayed green surrounds with a wetting agent and micronutrient fertilizer
  • 7/27/15 – Pipe repaired, irrigation turned back on
  • 7/28/15 – sprayed wetting agent on fairways, roughs, green surrounds
  • 8/1-8/5 – watered maximum flow (1800 gpm) throughout course, 18 hours per day
  • 8/3/15 – fertilized fairways with Helena Fairway Program (Coron 25-0-0, Nucleus 0-0-25, Axilo Magnesium, Axilo Micronutrients)
  • 8/8, 8/9, 8/11-8/13/15 – watered maximum flow in needed areas, using local control boxes on individual holes
  • 8/12/15 – fertilized fairways with Helena Fairway Program (Coron 25-0-0, Nucleus 0-0-25, Axilo Magnesium, Axilo Micronutrients)
  • 8/13/15 – began fertilizing fairways with granular HydraHume organic fertilizer (humic acid)
  • 8/19/15 – fertilized weak areas with 21-0-0 ammonium sulfate
            The wetting agents we use aid in water retention in the soil.  The fertilizer program we implemented should increase recovery time, as well as load the soil with nutrients for the long-term.  Maximum flow refers to the amount of water we can put out at one time without losing pressure.  For Cowan Creek, 1800 gallons per minute is generally the maximum amount of flow, which ranges from 60-90 irrigation heads at a time. 

Why did White Wing recover so much faster?

            There is a vast difference in soil types between Cowan Creek and White Wing (in fairways and rough).  Cowan Creek was built on straight sand and hasn’t had enough time to mature and build up organic matter within the soil.  This causes the soil to dry out much faster than more mature, clay or silt-based soil.  White Wing’s soil is more clay-based, which has a much greater ability to retain moisture over long periods of time. 

When will it not be “Cart Path Only” at Cowan?

            Every hole has shown improvement over the past three weeks under the current irrigation and fertility program.  However, there are currently only a few holes that are almost completely covered.  Over the next week and moving forward we will assess individual holes to see if they are ready for cart traffic, but we don’t plan on allowing access to areas that are still recovering.  One of the most helpful factors to recovery this time of year is keeping traffic off our weak areas. 

Why is it taking so long?

            A majority of the areas in the fairways and rough that dried out and lost their color went into summer dormancy.  Similar to the winter months, the plant shuts down and focuses its energy on storing carbohydrates in the roots.  When we began watering again, this triggered the plant to “wake up” and focus its energy back to growth.  However, some of the areas on the course went beyond dormancy, and there are some areas on the golf course where the grass completely died. 

What is the plan to recover these areas?

            We are treating these areas as a “grow in”, which will require more time and a lot of effort to grow new grass where there is little.  Higher fertility, ample water, and aerifications (to open up pore space) will factor in on how quickly they recover.  This will be an ongoing process as the growing season continues and ends, at which point we will know what our plan of attack will be for the spring. 

            With the current fertility, irrigation, and cultural programs we’ve implemented to expedite recovery, time is still the greatest factor on the road to recovery.  The photos below will display what recovery we have achieved over time.  Over time, the healthy grass bordering areas of dead grass will grow laterally and reduce the size of the dead areas until they are completely gone.
The following procedures began Wednesday, July 29, 2015. The greenside bunkers being the main priority.
·         The bunkers are inspected every morning by the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent at each course.
·         We have ordered new trap rakes that will be delivered prior to Aug. 21st 2015 and this will help with any grooves left in the sand.
·         Each Course will have a staff member assigned to working on bunkers throughout each day. Their job will be to check depths, repair or remove liners and insure proper raking. This staff member will start after their first job assignment has been completed each morning. They will have rakes, shovels and all necessary equipment with them to address any deficiencies in bunker maintenance. This will take place daily until further notice.  
We are reviewing and revising our training of equipment operators in proper bunker care and educating as to what is the acceptable standards required. 
Cowan Creek – The fairway bunkers still have the original bunker liners that have been failing over the past two – three years. They are slowly being addressed by staff but the majority of the bunker refurbishment will be done this fall.
White Wing – We will continue to distribute one load of sand (22 tons) to the green side bunkers every week moving forward until we feel all adequate depths are being reached.
Legacy Hills – We are on the same daily schedule as the other two courses.

USGA Tracking
The tracking is going well and we’ve completed the first round at White Wing and Legacy Hills. Below are screen shot photos taken from hole #4 at White Wing to give you an idea of what the tracks look like once they are laid over Google Earth Pro.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Last Large Core Aerifications of the Year

Last week at Cowan Creek we completed the last of our large core Aerifications for the 2015 growing season. We can now look forward to having the greens at all three courses in great shape and free of Aerification moving into our heavy tournament months and hopefully more enjoyable playing weather. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Cowan Creek Update

Below are pictures of the Cowan Creek progress being made. It is slow going but as you can see we are moving in the right direction. Hopefully the rain forecasted later during the week will hit Sun City and help us out.