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, January 9, 2014

Catching up on Winter Maintenance

It has been about a month since my last posting.  Time for some new information. Through the holidays and down time since that last post, not a lot has changed.  Work has continued that becomes more and more important every day we don't experience nce rain.  

In the absence of rain, we have had more play on the course, and the added traffic needs to be managed so that the turf doesn't thin out in high traffic areas. We have performed additional aerification to reduce compaction and the fertilizer schedule has been adjusted upwards.

Fairway aerification
Out on the practice range, you may have noticed two mounds of soil. Those are areas where we have dug down to the irrigation main line and examined the wiring to the existing sprinkler heads. Last summer when the irrigation control system was purchased, I negotiated for free sprinkler heads for the range. The existing heads are over 20 years old and in need of replacement. When we replace the heads, the wiring will be updated as well and we need to know the condition and path of that existing wire. The original plan was to do the change-over when it rained during the winter, but since that has not happened we are taking it a little slower and making sure that the course is watered properly before we allocate a lot of man hours to the range. The goal is to complete the project before spring, so expect to see more disruption to the range in the meantime.
Dirt pile out on the range were wires are being located
Winter is the best time for tree care and you may have noticed a lot of that going on between Christmas and the New Year. During that time the concentration was on oak trees. The strategy was to remove dead wood and prune for the health of the trees. The live oaks that were shading the 15th green were more aggressively thinned for the increased sun exposure. Over the last 2 years, that area has been changed completely. A new green surface, approach cut in the back, and tree thinning on the east and south sides have improved the turf quality tremendously. Although it may seem to be a more dramatic change, the overall health of that area is vastly improved and has been long overdue for this treatment.
Thinned trees on #15 and resulting sunlight on the green surface

Lastly, I want to talk a little bit about migratory birds, especially coots and geese. Meggie, our Australian shepherd, is trained to chase these birds away and she is good at her job. But she can't be at the ponds all day every day. What I have learned is that the geese can be scared away and are not very territorial. Coots, on the other hand, will stay despite harassment from the dog. These birds are not a protected species but they did choose an environmentally friendly neighborhood to reside. The options on getting them off the course are limited and we are looking into all methods to end the waste that they deposit and the damage to the golf course playing surfaces. It has our attention everyday and we will find a solution as quickly as possible.
Meggie keeping watch on the 14th green


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