Seven Oaks Country Club
2000 Grand Lakes Avenue Bakersfield, California 93311 Report – 8/19/19 Report prepared by Bill Nauroth GMS
Course Visit The following document gives an overview view of the existing conditions of fairways, greens and the recommended steps to reach the goal of quality consistent playing conditions year round. Opinions expressed in this document are not intended to place blame on any individuals at the golf course, it is intended solely to add support for the improvement of the club and lead the course on a “road map” for success. I visited the course on August 19 th and met with GM (Mike Stanton), Supt. (Jay Ervine) and two board members. We toured the course to review the current conditions of the fairways, greens and the renovation of the green complexes. This day temperatures were in the mid 90’s which was a little cooler than the weather they have been having. One of the biggest issues for the course this summer is the loss of ryegrass in the collars on the newly renovated Oaks Nine greens and transition the club go through each year from overseeding. The renovation of the greens have given the course an opportunity to evaluate the overseeding of the golf course fairways, tees, approaches, surrounds and rough. West Nine Greens For being at the end of summer the West Nine greens are in good shape. You can see all the different grasses in the surface (bentgrass, poa annua and bermuda grass) which makes it hard to manage and is what I’m sure brought around the start of the renovation of the greens. The cuts on the greens are very good and greens are rolling smooth and very receptive to shots. After reviewing Jay’s programs on with fertility, pesticide and watering for the West Nine it is producing a good playing surface for these old greens.
Course Visit The greens on the West Nine have a pretty thick Thatch Layer in the top part of the profile, which happens as the greens age. The renovation will take that organic layer out and bring the greens back to the original design of a USGA Green. Tees The tee’s are in good shape overall. The bermuda grass is healthy and tees are fully turf on the West Nine. Jay and I talked about getting the tees ready for overseed with an additional verticutting to help thin the tees out a little more before the finial prep before overseed.
Fairways The West Nine fairways had not been overseeded this last fall to give the fairways a rest and to grow the bermuda grass base. You can see after two growing seasons how much stronger the fairways are than the other Oak’s Nine fairways that had been overseeded this last fall. All of the fairways on the West Nine are filled in except for a few areas and that looks to be due to irrigation issues that need to be addressed. There are minimal weeds and the turf is actively growing. Reviewing Jay’s agronomic program for fertility, pesticide and watering are inline to producing quality turf. Jay had explained that he was able to keep color in the fairways up until mid-Dec with fertility and pigments and then with the cold weather the fairways went dormant. We discussed the use of dormant paint during winter months to help keep a greener color on the fairways until the warmer weather comes and bermuda grass comes out of dormancy.
Rough The hardest areas on the golf course to transition from ryegrass is the rough as it is maintained at a higher height and the ryegrass can become more established and shade out the bermuda grass come the spring. The West Nine rough including all the greens and tee surrounds have had two seasons to grow back and look much healthier than the Oak’s Nine that was overseeded this last fall. Most of the rough are clean of weeds except for the far roughs where limited herbicide control has been use based on the budget. These far rough areas struggle near the perimeter of the course due to weeds and irrigation issues. Oaks Nine Greens The Oaks greens where seeds last fall after the renovation of the greens with a blend of 007 and Tyee bentgrass. The 007 & Tyee bentgrass is well suited for Bakersfield’s climate and can produce a superior putting surface once it matures. Being less than a year old the bentgrass plants are still immature and will take another growing season this fall and next spring to help gain mature and improve the playability. We had a chance to walk on a majority of the Oak’s greens and only a couple greens had some thinning that may take a little patching this fall from the summer heat. You could see the ball marks on several of the greens, which will be more evident on these young immature greens due to minimal thatch in the profile. This will change once green mature and ball marks can be fixed to heal. Overall the greens have taken the summer stress well and being the end of August will only improve going forward with the cooler temperatures of September and October. Jay’s Fertility and Pesticide program for the new
greens is good and the greens will continue to mature and playing conditions will improve as weather improves for the bentgrass.
Collars The collars on the Oaks Nine didn’t fair to well from the summer heat and will need to be sodded to bring the collar back to playing conditions before winter. Last fall Jay had seeded the collars to bentgrass and added ryegrass seed to the collars during the overseed to act as a buffer for the bermuda grass that will try to grow into the greens. That way he would see the bermuda grass as made its way into the collar and then spray or mechanically take it out before it enter the greens surface. The ryegrass took over most of the collars on the Oaks and when the heat and humidity of the summer hit at the end of July if took out the ryegrass and left the collars bare. We had lots of discusses on what to do with the Oaks collars and I feel there are two options to get the collars back quickly. Both would be good options going forward for the collars. 1. Sod the collars on the Oaks to Bentgrass of a similar blend if available. The bentgrass would have the fall and next spring to root in and provide for the Bermuda grass buffer. The cost of this very expensive as Jay is obtaining pricing but it’s around $2.25/sq.ft., plus stripping and prep estimated at $.50/sq.ft. @ 12,000 sq.ft. totaling #33,000 (estimated from Jay). Pro’s o Great playing surfaces and would be ready to play once installed but would take a month to root in. o Would establish the cool season buffer between the putting surface and the bermuda grass approaches. o Easy to see the bermuda grass encroachment for removal.
o Cost is very high. o Will have to spray or mechanically take out the encroaching bermuda grass yearly so some scaring during different times of the year.
2. Sod the collars on the Oaks to TifGrand Hybrid bermuda a slower lateral moving bermuda grass. This grass has been used for buffers between bentgrass and more aggressive bermuda grass types with success. You will have to edge along the bentgrass and TifGrand to keep its runners from entering the putting surface and monitor to see how long it takes for the more aggressive bermuda grass from the approaches to move into the TifGrand. Depending on the climates it may take 4 to 5 years before you may need to replace the TifGrand if contamination pushes throw. Cost is $.60/sq.ft. plus stripping and prep $.50/sq.ft. @ 12.000 sq.ft. totaling $13,200 (estimated from Jay). Would need to be done soon to root in. Pro’s o The playing surface is good and takes the heat. o The cost is much less. Con’s o Harder to see the encroachment of the aggressive bermuda grass in the buffer strip. o Will have to overseed and transition. o Will have to replace down the road after the aggressive bermuda encroaches completely into the TifGrand.
Tees The tee’s are in fair to good shape overall. The transition on the tee top is not an issue as around the tees from the overseed. There are thin areas and some weeds that have come in that will need to be sprayed and Jay can push these areas to fill in before winter. Tall grass areas (rough) will struggle to transition in your climate and will take all summer to fill in and some areas may not making it tough to overseed into and bigger transition issues the next summer. Fairways The Oaks Nine had been seeded at a lower rate last fall (400#/ac of ryegrass) and for the most part has transition well except for some areas where the irrigation coverage is lacking and/or irrigation control is an issue. Jay had 3 to 4 people out hand watering the weak areas to help them fill in over the last 2 months and is helping. I recommend using low gallon emitters irrigation sets in some of these areas to really give them the water they need to grow healthy bermuda grass.
You could see the difference in the bermuda grass compared to the West Nine that was healthy and filled in from not being overseed last fall. The fertility and cultural program that Jay is doing is working, but the irrigation system does hamper putting the right amount of water on the areas that need it (see irrigation section). Rough The hardest areas on the golf course to transition from ryegrass is the rough as it is maintained at a higher height and the ryegrass can become more established and shade out the bermuda grass come the spring. The Oaks Nine rough is struggling in the usually
Course Visit areas to fill in. My recommendation is all rough should not be overseeded going forward. This will improve the bermuda grass and those funds should be put toward weed control to help clean up the far roughs. Most of the rough are clean of weeds except for the far roughs where limited herbicide control has been use based on the budget. These far rough areas struggle near the perimeter of the course due to weeds and irrigation issues. The greens surrounds on the Oaks have areas that need to be pushed to fill in before winter and several spots that may need sod. Knowing that you will not be overseeding the roughs on the Oaks will help Jay use the rest of the summer growing months to fill these areas in with fertility and additional irrigation. Back Nine Greens Back Nine greens and complexes are under renovation and it was progressing well. All the bunkers and surrounds are getting redone and will really make a difference in the overall look and playability of this nine. Tees, Fairway & Rough With this nine closed I do suggest Jay use that time to push these areas to make sure they have proper moisture and fertility to grow the bermuda grass so when he does overseed tees and fairways he has a good base to seed into. I know the green complexes will need to be seeded with ryegrass but I would work hard to limit the areas that will need overseed to just fairways and tee tops. The less you have to overseed the better the bermuda come next year.
Irrigation: Jay talked about the spacing, nozzle and pressure issues he has on the entire golf course. We did notice several areas in fairways and rough on the golf course where there is dry weak turf. These weak areas can be caused by a number of issues and more than likely a combination of issues (compacted soils, bad nozzles, low pressure, sprinkler head not working, bad data in the center computer, traffic, lack of irrigation control, sprinkler head to low or not level, trees, sprinkler heads out of adjustments, spacing, etc.). Jay would need to look at each case and determine what is causing these areas to develop the fix. The irrigation system is getting older and there are a number of things that can be done to help prolong its useful life before you have to look at a complete replacement. • Conduct a complete irrigation audit of the system. This would take a couple of people in the field gathering all the data from each station and each head (head type, nozzles, etc.). You would also gather repair information like head unleveled, low, broken case, etc. Once this information is gathered that person would go through each station in the central computer and make the changes need to insure all the data is correct and up to date. • Jay told us he has already changed out the nozzles in the fairways and tees in 2017 and 2018. I would recommend changing out the rest of the nozzles for the rough. This would help insure better coverage and gain efficiency. A count of total heads that need replacement nozzles would have to done to estimate cost. • The wet and dry areas that Jay battles and the members encounter playing the golf course are due to lack of irrigation control. All fairways, rough and tees have 2 to 3 heads per station in the field controllers. As you can imagine it is hard to control these wet and dry areas over a large area when 3 heads come up and are watering same amount of water on high area and low area. Mike and Jay are hiring extra people to help with this problem each summer by hand watering. The fix is looking at pulling additional wire from two of the 3 sprinkler heads back to the field controller and upgrading the controller for the additional stations/heads. This would give Jay single head control and would eliminate lot of hand watering. Jay would need to obtain a total head count per station (from Irrigation Audit) to come up with estimated cost. • Jay had communicated that he has been having problems with the lateral piping coming off the mainline. As much as 10 break a week which is a lot. I would want to understand this more and check on the hydraulic tree in the central computer and is there is some water hammering happening from the pump station flow. That being said you could pull pipe as your pulling wire to the heads.
Course Visit • We did see a number of smaller issues that can be a focus for Jay over the next few months to insure the system is working as efficient as possible. Would recommend Jay work with the irrigators and develop a plan to identify and repair all issues based on a set priority from the greens, tees and middle of the fairways out. These areas may need additional aerification and fertility. Overseed of Golf Course Mike and the board members talked to me about how the members are looking for the best playing conditions year round at the club. The years of overseed wall to wall have weakened the bermuda grass base and Jay has struggled with transition of the ryegrass back to bermuda grass each year. The Re-grassing of the Oaks greens last year disrupted that cycle and actually gave you a glimpse of how playability could be without overseeding on 2 of the nines. You could see how much the fairways and rough on the West Nine are full and healthy going on their 2 nd growing season without overseed. This gives the members a very good playing condition. The answer to this questions is really up to the membership on what the expectation is, but let me line out a 2 options for you that I would say are the best to accomplish your goal of the best playing condition year round. Both will gain you good playing condition but the first option #1 I believe will be the least disrupting to the membership, most cost efficient and healthier option for the Bermuda grass overall. 1. Only areas that are overseed on the golf course are tees tops, approaches and collars (short cut areas around greens). The use of pigments and iron while the Bermuda grass is still growing and once dormant switch to turf paint for the 3 months of dormancy. Pro’s o Able to grow Bermuda grass for whole season keeping solid stand. o Fewer inputs (mowing, fertilizer, water, etc.) during winter months. o No transition of fairways, rough come summer months so more consistent look and playability. Con’s o Hitting off dormant painted turf for 3 months. o Divot grow back limited during winter 2. Only overseed 18 holes of fairways, tee tops, approaches and collars (short cut areas around greens) yearly rotating Nines in process. Overseed would be a lower rate than has been overseeded in the past (350 to 400# of ryegrass/ac). By doing this you rest one of the nines each year to gain back the Bermuda grass base to seed into the following year. On normal years should not be an issue to gain back the bermuda grass base in two seasons as long as all the cultural practice is done.
o 18 holes with overseeded fairways. o On one Nine holes able to grow bermuda grass for whole season keeping solid stand. o Fewer inputs on one of the Nine holes yearly (mowing, fertilizer, water, etc.) during winter months. Con’s o Each year you will have to deal with transition issues come spring on 18 holes. o Having your golf courses down for overseed. o Being able to work the play onto the non-overseeded Nine in the winter. o Divot grow back limited during winter on one Nine.
We appreciate the opportunity to lend our expertise to the Board and Seven Oaks Country Club and if there are any questions, please contact me.
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