Another step in winterizing the course is closing the Halfway House.  There are heaters inside the building, but as a precaution the water lines are drained and the water is removed from the lines using pressurized air in the same manner the irrigation system was winterized.

The first step is the close the valve on the main water line to the Halfway House.  This valve is located where the old maintenance building sat at the end of the driving range.  Then an air compressor is connected to the incoming water line in the Halfway House and water is forced back through the line to a drain near the 14th green.  This is done to remove the water from the line going to the Halfway House.  Once this is done, the air is redirected to the fixtures in the building.  Each fixture is turned on until air begins to blow out.

When air has filled the lines, RV anti-freeze is pumped into the lines, and poured into the toilets, sink drains and floor drains.

The coolers at the Halfway House are emptied and shut off.  The heaters are then turned on and set for the winter.

Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!  We will be back next week.
After the equipments use for the season is done, it is thoroughly cleaned before the start of it's winter work.  Our crew spends several days going through all of the equipment with degreaser, brushes, power washer, towels, and wax.  The equipment cleaning was started on Monday, and continue into next week.

The guys power washing and scrubbing the equipment.

 Our finished fairway mowers.

Once the equipment cleaning has been finished, the winter work on the equipment is done.  This involves sharpening all the reels and blades, oil changes, touch-up paint, etc.  Look for more updates on winter work of the equipment over the next few months.
Another maintenance practice that is indicative of the fading golf season is our final fertilizer application called the dormant application. This application was completed on Monday this week. We again utilized the service of a company to apply the fertilizer over 80 acres of fairways and roughs.

The late fall application is an important application for the health of the turf through the winter months, as well as green-up when the cold temperatures break in the spring time. The timing of the application is the most important aspect of this application. The goal is to spread the fertilizer after the grass has stopped growing, and the last mowing; but, before the ground begins to freeze. Though the leaves above ground have stopped growing for the year, the roots will continue to be active until the ground becomes frozen. This means the roots will be able to take in the nutrients from the fertilizer application, and instead of utilizing the energy for growing leaves, it will us the energy to grow roots and store nutrients. These stored nutrients become important when the turf starts to grow again in the spring. The stored energy allows the turf to green up sooner in the spring, and begin to grow out of the winter dormancy quicker.

The fertilizer application was made on Monday using the application service. They arrived at around 6:30 in the morning and had were leaving the course at 3:30 in the afternoon. During their time on the course they were able to apply 22,500 lbs of fertilizer over 80 acres of the golf course. Utilizing the application service is an extremely efficient way for the us to apply large amounts of fertilizer very quickly. Here are a couple of videos showing the truck in action on the course:

We purchase the fertilizer from a company locally, but the application truck travels here from Ohio. The truck brings the fertilizer in 2000 lb. bulk bags, and pulls a trailer with the application truck on it. Here are two videos showing the truck refilling:

Winter conditions bring the maintenance on the golf course to a halt. However, there are a few pathogens that continue their activity through the cooler months. These pathogens cause diseases most commonly referred to as pink snow mold and gray snow mold. Our efforts to control these pathogens and limit damage caused by the diseases consists of a fungicide application.

Pink snow mold is the most common snow mold in this area. Though both diseases can occur, gray snow mold is most common and most severe in areas with prolonged snow cover.

We began our snow mold applications on Friday. Greens, tees, fairways, and practice areas (all areas with bentgrass) will receive an application of fungicide. There will be some areas in the roughs and bunker faces that receive an application as well. Areas that collect snow drifts or are a north-facing slope tend to have prolonged snow cover and will be more susceptible to disease.

Pink snow mold

Gray snow mold

Friday we completed the application on greens, fairways, and practice areas. This coming week we plan to finish the applications on tees, and rough areas.
Today and yesterday's labor was directed towards completing a final mowing on all areas of the golf course. Temperatures have become cool enough and days short enough to cause the grass to slow it's growth for the winter months.

Alejandro mowing the 11th green on Thursday.

Torres mowing the 5th fairway on Thursday.

Greens, fairways, and approaches were mowed for the final time on Thursday. Tees and rough were mowed for the final time Today. There only remains a small number of leaves in the trees, so the final rough mowing today will mulch the leaves on the ground as well. Now that the last of the mowing is done, we will begin a thorough cleaning of all the mowing equipment next week.
The winterization of our irrigation system is underway. We began the process on Tuesday afternoon, and should be finishing by Thursday afternoon. Winterization of the irrigation system involves removing the water from the lines and heads, as well as changing our pump station configuration.

Removing the water from the lines is easier than it sounds. This involves connecting a large air compressor to the piping system and allow the air to push the water out of the lines.

Air compressor used to fill the piping system with air.

This is showing the air compressor hose connected to the piping system.

Once the air compressor is connected, the heads are manually switched on at the satellite boxes to open the heads and allow the air to push the water out. The next two pictures show the water vapor in the air coming out of the irrigation heads.

Most courses power down their pump stations as part of the irrigation system winterization. However, our pump station for the irrigation system also pumps the water for our emergency sprinkler system in our maintenance facility. Shutting off the power to our pump station is not an option for us. We do have a valve that we close to block the water flow in the main line out of the pump station. This allows for all of the lines on the course to have water pushed through them while our pump station is still active and the emergency sprinkler system line is still pressurized. We have a heater in our pump station that keeps the water in the building from being exposed to freezing temperatures.
Last week we completed the aeration on our approaches. This week we are planning to get our tees completed.

Ramon aerating a tee.

The crew cleaning up the plugs.
As nice as the weather was last week, it is that cold this week. As mother nature draws the curtains on another golf season, she draws the curtains on another working season as well. We are well on the way to having the course winterized for the year. Our benches, ball washers, signs and ropes are stowed away for the winter.

Over the winter we will repair any benches that need it, and add a layer of oil to the wood. We will do the same to out seed and soil boxes, cooler boxes, beverage stations, and trash can containers as well. The ball washers and trash cans will be painted as needed.

Tomorrow our irrigation system is scheduled to begin it's winterization.

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