About Me

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Los Gatos, California, United States
Kevin is currently the certified superintendent at La Rinconada Country Club. Kevin was the Director of Maintenance at Lahontan Golf Club for over 14 years. Some of the responsibilities over the expanse of his career include the daily upkeep of multiple golf courses, natural resources, environmental compliance, and roads and streets. The wide ranging expertise has come from a combination of education and experiences. Degrees in Meteorology (1987 University of Nebraska/Lincoln), and Horticulture (1992 Colorado State), complete the formal side of this important combination of qualifications. A lifetime of experience around golf courses, and the game of golf was provided by Kevin's father.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Long View of the Turf Conversion

The strategy of a turf conversion is to get the population of desirable grass plants much higher than the undesirable plants so that the undesirable plants can be eliminated without affecting playability.

We have successfully changed those population percentages in our favor, but now we will be very busy working to eliminate those undesirable plants that are regenerating from seed that is in the soil. We are a long way from being finished with the turf conversion project.

Broad leaf weeds coming back around tree wells are being sprayed with herbicides.

This thin area in an approach has been reseeded and will be thin for opening and will not be fully grown in until next spring.

Poa annua growing back into areas that were slow to grow. These areas will be treated chemically to manage this grass.

The turf conversion is more difficult for me right now because it is not as straight forward as it was at the beginning. There are many variables involved in successfully killing the undesirable plants and keeping the tender new grass from being harmed than adding sand, and seed at the beginning.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

We are beginning to put the course back into shape for opening in a few weeks.

The sand in the bunkers has compacted and algae has accumulated on top. We are removing that top 1/2 inch layer as you can see from the picture below.  The contaminated sand is then broadcast into the rough and fairway, and new sand will be added as needed. It takes 4 workers about 2 weeks to do all the bunkers.

Workers scraping off contaminated sand for disposal

As we get more equipment out onto the course we inadvertently have damage occurring that needs to be repaired and seeded as soon as possible so that it is recovered prior to the course opening.  This is an ongoing process for the next few months.
Seedlings emerging in damaged area

Although time has passed quickly, it seems like a long time ago we were prepping the course for play.  Maybe it was because the turf conversion has been the focus of what we have been doing for the last 6 months? I truly do feel that the course will be ready the first week of November, and staying closed any longer does not do a lot of good. What the grass needs is time to mature and grow more dense, and not playing does not change that maturing time. We will be very cautious of traffic patterns, and it will be a matter of months before carts are allowed off the paths. And like the picture above shows, there will be damage and when it does occur we must be good about getting out the seed and getting it back.

#14 September 4th
#14 October 17th

Monday, October 8, 2012

Grooming the Course

This last week has been about working on getting our mowing equipment out while not setting back the tender new grass.

#16  21 days after first watering of seed

There has also been a fertilizer application made to all turf surfaces, and an additional 200lbs / acre of rye seed broadcast on fairways and week areas. Compost and seed have been applied to areas that are slow to grow-in throughout the course. It is important to stay on top of these stubborn areas and assure that the course is fully recovered while we still have good growing conditions.

It is necessary to keep the grass cut for a couple of reasons.  1) it opens up the canopy for sunlight penetration to new seedlings that are coming up under the existing grass.  2) the existing grass is then encouraged to grow laterally instead of just vertically.  When these things happen there is an increase in the density of the grass and that is what we need right now. Density!!

Density improving with fescue under the rye

The daytime watering has been cut back to encourage the exiting grass to root deeply, and so that mowing equipment damage is limited. There has been a great improvement in the rooting and the stability of the surfaces in the last few days in response to less watering.

Defining the new mulched area on the 1st hole

Our opening date is yet to be determined, however the first week of November is looking very good right now. Playing conditions at that time will be good with small areas still growing in and densities in fairways not being 100%.  Carts will be restricted to paths for some time and will be let on the turf when the grass has reached appropriate maturity and can handle it.

In this next week we will continue to cut the grass 3 to 4 times, and work on returning the greens to great shape by repairing damaged spots.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Stripes on the 2nd hole October 1. 17 days after starting to water.
Cutting the new grass has begun, just 17 days after turning the water on the seed.  Everything is cut at a low height to facilitate lateral growth of the new plant.  This will increase the density, which is especially critical on the sanded fairways.

The mulched areas are providing a nice contrast to the new grass. These areas will also reduce the time to mow around trees and clean up small debris from the trees.