Big Changes for Weibring Golf Club @ ISU

The last blog post was May 2019.  It is disappointing that I allowed that much time to pass between posts... but, my energy has been spent improving the property and operations. Since the last post, there has been A LOT of changes at the golf course!!!

So what's new? The bunkers of course! If you didn't get a chance to see the big changes we made over the summer of 2019, you missed out!  We received positive feedback on both the strategic changes and the improved play-ability of the high quality white sand in the new bunkers. By finishing Phase 1 on-time and under budget in August, we were able to add more additions to holes 1, 4, and 13 as winter set in.   In all, we spent $290,000 to completely renovate every bunker and add a few new ones.  This was not just removing the bad sand and replacing with new sand- we gutted every bunker and made them all better. Better shape, better strategy, better sand, better drainage, better golf!!!  We had a great team with DA Weibring and Ste…

Friendly Reminders from Golf Course Supt

As we begin the golf season, I want to ask for everyone's help.  We try and provide golfers the best possible experience each time they play at Weibring GC.  As a user of the golf course, you can help us further that experience by "leaving it better than you found it".  Below are a few things each golfer can do during there round to keep the course at its best.

Audubon International's Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses We have added a sign at the first tee signifying our designation as a Certified Audubon Sanctuary Property.  Below are a few ways we achieved this prestigious designation.

Over the summer, I will continue to highlight ways we further our Environmental Stewardship insuring sustainable use of the golf course property while providing quality playing conditions. 

Thanks for reading
    Travis Williams, CGCS

Spring 2019

Spring is creeping upon us like a sloth and our soil temps are finally climbing enough that we see some "green up". With the spring green up, comes a few necessary tasks to help us stay ahead of future pest problems.  Our spring applications of Pre-emergent and plant growth regulators were completed just ahead of the rain on Thursday.  I often joke that we are "racing the rain", but often it is true.  Many of our practices are heavily influenced by rain events (better to use natural rain than to use the irrigation, which overuses electricity and the water from the Mahomet Aquifer) .  This week we used the rain to activate our Pre-emergent product.  The product is carried on a fertilizer granular that either needs to be irrigated or have rainfall to make it active.  Once active, it forms a barrier at the soil surface that inhibits summer annual seeds from germinating.  Examples of the weeds we are inhibiting from germinating are crabgrass and goosegrass. These summe…

Mid-Winter Update Jan 2019

Fall 2018
A quick recap of the Fall- we skipped it!

We had summer-like temps in early October and snow by mid-October.  November was cold (6-7 degrees below normal) and 7.7 inches of snow (we average 0.3 inches). Temps rebounded to above average for most of December and early January, but have been below average since Jan 10th, with record cold January 29-31.  Certainly a roller coaster over the last 4 months.

Fall fertilizer applications were scheduled 3-4 weeks earlier than years past, with a few applications not completed due to cold temps through November.   The challenge with fertilizing fine turf, such as greens, is that you need to be careful not to impact the plants' natural process of "hardening off".  Meaning the plant goes through the physiological process of releasing proteins and other enzymes to protect itself for upcoming cold and freezing temps.  A poorly timed fertilizer application can delay, or reverse these natural processes, and cause the turf to be d…

Summer Recap

Having had a few cold mornings recently, the pace around the maintenance shop has slowed.  This slower pace allows everyone a few moments to reflect back on the long summer. Here's a quick recap of the weather we faced.

The blue graph represents actual temperatures. The total number of days over 90 degrees and the flattening between Mid May and Mid October, indicate a warmer and longer summer than usual.  From the May 1 through Oct 10th the temperatures felt very "summer-like".  The lower graph represents rainfall.  Note the flatness of the line from early April to late May, indicating very little rainfall over that 6 week period.  Also note the two vertical shifts in the graph around mid June and early October.  These two rain events account for a large percentage of total rain over the last 4 months.  I estimate those two events were approximately 7 of the 18 inches since mid April. Overall, Bloomington has received 27 inches of precipitation this year.  For comparison…

Looking Ahead to Future Goals

Consistency is the key to momentum. You get momentum by putting intentional effort towards a goal or vision, and eventually the compound effect takes over.*
Our vision for WGC is to enhance the maintenance standards annually and provided quality playing conditions for all in the community to enjoy.  Some summers provide challenges to maintaining that vision. A specific example is our efforts to reduce our Poa annua populations in our fairways.  Every year we develop a agronomic plan that favors the growth of Bentgrass (the preferred fairway grass) over Poa.  The plan includes use of plant growth regulators, well timed fertilizer applications, reduced water use (Bentgrass is a more drought tolerant grass), and plant protectants.  
Weather is a variable that impacts all the components in our plan and we have no control over the weather.  Over the past couple summers timely rains and moderate temps allowed Poa to continue to survive stress free, despite our efforts for slow eradication.…

Post Aerification Maintenance Update

Aerification holes have healed.  The greens are slower due to the fertilizer we applied ahead of aerification, not applying plant growth regulators for 4 weeks,  and because of the mower 's cutting quality being ruined by all the sand.  Now that the sand is worked into the profile and the holes are healed, we put a freshly ground set of reels on the mower.  The quality will improve dramatically by Saturday.  We have also applied plant growth regulators again, which will limited vertical growth.
Next week we will mow with the intent to remove excess growth and grain from the turf canopies.   In order to maximize removal of excessive growth, we will not be rolling the greens until Thursday.  The reason for this is because if we roll after a mowing, we lay the turf back down until we stand it up again the next mow.  Not a problem when turf growth is limited, but to heal quickly we encouraged a lot of growth.  By skipping rolling, we will cut out more of the excess turf each day.  Onc…