Frost Quickly Followed Fall’s Arrival to Laurel Ridge Country Club Golf Course

Hello all! Just a quick update on the status of the golf course as we inch closer to November. Frost has made its arrival to the area as evident of the late starts golfers have encountered. Please remember to not walk or drive on frost covered turf as this will stun and most likely injure the plant. Turf growth is slowing rapidly as we get colder nights and cooler, cloudy days. Brown areas in the turf are evident of the weed type grasses dying off, but the turf will begin to regenerate as we move forward. Early season applications of select herbicides will be most beneficial to our fight against weedy grasses.

Our greens continue to heal after the aerification in September. The final fertilizer of the year has been applied and we will now put them to “bed” for the winter months. I will be raising mowing heights in the coming days to alleviate any cold stress. This in turn may cause a slow down in green speed. You will also see us verticut the greens with a possible needle tine aerification to alleviate thatch build up that has occurred through the years. Rest assured, you will not notice any aerification holes. Please help us to maintain quality putting surfaces by repairing your ball mark.

Tees have been fertilized and sprayed for late season Dollar Spot disease. You’ll notice some brown areas in some tees, again this was Kylinga that is dying out. I’m sure most of you have noticed that we also sanded the tees to fill in divots. Please help us by continuing to fill your divots on tees and fairways.

Fairways are recovering well from summer heat stress. They too have been fertilized and sprayed for Brown Patch/Dollar Spot. Again, weeds are dying out and new turf is coming in. If weather permits, we may attempt an aerification in the fairways to help with regrowth. As many may have noticed, drainage work has been completed on #5 top and bottom fairway. Since then, the upper #5 fairway has dried a considerable amount. Over time, the bottom should follow suit. The lower part of #2 has been repaired and is draining very well. We look to do more areas on #2 in the future. Newly sodded areas will be seen as we move forward and try to raise some dips that are contributing to wet areas in the fairways.

Again, leaves will become a problem. They are late to fall this year but make no mistake, they will. Please be safe on cart path slopes with any leaves on them. Wet leaves can be as slick as ice, and cart accidents could result from excessive speeds. We will make every attempt to clear leaves from playing surfaces and paths at the beginning of each day.

Please continue to observe and obey the “No Carts” signs and or roped off area. These areas are closed to cart traffic to help avoid more costly repairs to the turf. We are working feverishly on getting those certain areas dried up and hope to have them reopened soon.

Paving of asphalt areas is slated to begin around November 1213. Be aware that we will be rerouting cart traffic on #8 and #17 on those days so that our cart paths can be repaired.

Tree work is about to begin at the putting green. We will be taking down five dead trees around that area. Be aware of any cones blocking entrances for parking areas.

Thank you for all the great comments and support that I have received from each of you. You have truly made me feel at home here at LRCC and I will strive to continue to produce a quality golf course for everyone to enjoy. Together, we will make 2019 a fantastic year at Laurel Ridge. As always, feel free to reach out to me with any comments or concerns.

Thank you,

Steve Akers, GCS

stevena@laurelridgegolf.com

The 2018 Lady Eagle Cup at Laurel Ridge Country Club, Waynesville, NC

The 2018 LADY EAGLE CUP will be remembered by a comeback of huge proportions! With the team colors of Pink and Green, sixteen ladies squared off in this year’s season-ending 3-day competition. Team play began with an Alternate Shot format on Day 1. Led by the team of Joyce Schlapkohl and Linda McHugh, who posted a 13-point victory, the Pink team finished the first day with a comfortable 5-point lead over Green. Day 2 saw the Pink team increase their lead by 3 more points and take what most thought to be a commanding 8-point lead heading into the final round. The Green Team did not concede, however, thanks to team members Deb Morgan and Nancy Renick who collected 13 points for their stellar play on Day 2. Sunday’s format was Better Ball and the Green Team came out strong. Down by 8 points, Lorraine Conoley and partner Deb Morgan collected 12 points, while Sydney Prevost and partner Nancy Renick garnered 13 points, making this the largest comeback the event has seen in years. The Green team’s 43-to-29 win over Pink on Day 3 was enough to give them a 6-point tournament victory and the title of Lady Eagle Cup Champions. We congratulate both teams for their outstanding play. This is certainly one for the books!

Individual point leaders over 3 days of competition:

PINK-Linda McHugh (34.5); Joyce Schlapkohl (31.5) and Veronica VonZwehl (27).

GREEN-Nancy Renick (34); Deb Morgan (32); Lorraine Conoley (29.5); Kathleen Korber (28) and Roxanne McCarthy (27)

Photo by Dave Pheatt

Photo by Dave Pheatt

Fall Is The Season Golf Course Superintendents Dream About

Welcome to Fall Everyone!

Yes, its that time of year again. Fall! This is the season Golf Course Superintendents dream about. It’s the end of those hot summer afternoons with showers and storms, and the start of cool, crisp mornings here in the mountains. This is also the season in which our turf resumes its growing activities and begins to heal from all the stresses of the summer months. We have endured days of high temperature and rain this year resulting in several factors that have weakened the turf in certain areas. I’m sure many of you have noticed these areas. Rest assured that these areas will come back over time.

So, allow me to give you an update on this beautiful course and what plans we have made to strengthen its character. As fore mentioned, we have dealt with issues that all courses in the area have been dealing with. Wet wilt hit hard early due to significant rain fall and then heating up. Many areas have made gains on recovery due in large part to the slicing that took place on the fairways. Our fall fertilizer application has been put out on the fairways and tees to help the green up process and prepare for the coming cold months. Fungicide applications have kept most diseases at bay so far, and as we head into the winter months, that pressure will ease off. We are planning on spraying an herbicide in the coming days on the fairways and tee areas. This will knock out the weed infestation of Kylinga that you see in the fairways and some tee areas. Do not be alarmed if you see brown spots. This is not our actual turf but weeds dying out. This will be a two-part application. One now and one after the first frost. This will ensure us that we stay ahead of this nuisance for next year.

Aerification went off perfect this year on our greens. The holes readily filled in with new turf and we were able to replenish lost nutrients and continue the great quality of our putting surfaces. The greens are due for another round of top dressing in the coming days. This will continue the process of breaking down organic matter and firm up the playing surface a little more. Disease pressure has been moderate on the greens and we have kept a rigorous schedule of fungicide applications to ensure no turf loss. Again, as we head deeper into the fall months, that pressure will subside.  We will be aerifying tees to some extent in the coming days. The tees are not getting the water they need due to being sealed of from the thatch layer. Aerifying will help to alleviate this problem.

Drainage has been a major issue this year. Many drain pipes were found to not be in working order or collapsed altogether. Drains that were thought to be lost or non-existent were found and debris blown out so that water could move. The first part of #5 fairway has a new drain system installed and is moving water rapidly away from the area that use to be extremely soft and wet. The lower part of that fairway is still roped off as it is still in need of a few drain lines. We will be adding those in the coming months. #9 fairway is all but dry, with the exception of a few spots. New drainage was added to the upper part while old drain lines were found and cleaned in the lower part. A new curb will be installed to direct the flow of water to the drain boxes. New sod was added to the bare spots and seem to be filling in nicely. We still have drain and water issues on #7, however, it is some dryer than it was. We will be adding a few lateral lines in that fairway. #2 is just a mess. Starting Tuesday October 9th, we will be closing that hole for two days, as we reconstruct drain lines that have failed. After exploratory digging, we have found that there is water 6 inches below the surface indicating the possible existence of a spring in the sub-surface. We will be adding 500 ft of drainage to move this water out. This process will not be to the extent that #5 was but will require many drain boxes. #2 will remain cart path only for the rest of the season to ensure the cart traffic does not weaken the turf any further. There are other places on the course that are wet, so please be mindful while driving your cart. We will try to address these areas as we go.

We will be having #17 paved from the turn around to the culvert in November. Along with #8 cart path that washed away due to a massive storm. You will notice a few other areas that will be patched as well.

With fall weather, we can expect to see a mess of leaves daily. We will be blowing leaves regularly to try to rid the course of them. With leaves on the turf and cart paths, remember to use caution. If it is even remotely damp, leaves can be as slick as ice. Sliding can occur on paths and on turf especially on slopes.  Please be aware of your surroundings.  

Now let me answer a question that gets asked quite often. Why do we water when the course is still wet? The answer is this: The root zone in the turf should be about 2 to 4 inches deep in a normal year. When you have a year like 2018, with a multitude of rain early in the year when turf is actively growing, the roots do not dive down to search for water because the water is readily there. This causes the root system to be shallow or closer to the surface if you will. So, when it gets even remotely warm, the areas of turf with the shallow roots begin to get hot and dry up. Even at 70 degrees. When this happens, we have to add water to the upper root zone EVEN if we just had, say, 3 inches of rain. And it’s a vicious cycle. Because you’re wanting the roots to search but at the same time, you don’t want the turf to burn up. So, you have to add water. It’s a fine line between too much water and not enough, especially when mother nature does not want to help. So, in short, water can grow turf and kill turf. This is why cultural practices are so vital to the overall health of the turf. We can all hope for a nicer 2019.

With all that said, let me just say thank you to everyone for your support, comments and continued cooperation in ongoing activities here at Laurel Ridge. I am here to answer any questions or concerns that anyone has. I am beyond blessed to be here and very excited about the 2019 season. We will continue to strive to be the best course in Western North Carolina.

Happy Fall!

Steve Akers, GCS LRCC

stevena@laurelridgegolf.com    

Golf Course Superintendent’s Update 6/15/18

Summer temperatures have arrived a little early to Waynesville.  The area is expecting highs in the mid-to-upper 80’s through most of next week.  It is nice to have this wonderful golfing weather, but this pattern means the start a tough season for the turf.  As a northern bred species, bentgrass prefers cooler temperatures.  While it is possible to grow bentgrass here, there are approximately 90 days in the heat of the summer that we must work to get the turf to survive until cooler temperatures arrive again in mid September.  Signage, cart rulings, stakes, ropes and traffic diverters are placed around the property to give the turf a great chance at survival.  Thank you for increased adherence to these rulings.

As many have seen, some turf decline has appeared on a few golf holes.  I was stumped by this when first noted last Thursday, so I called in an expert to view the damage with me.  After sending overnight samples to a disease lab in Raleigh, the test results came back negative for disease.  While that is a very good thing, the problem happened from the almost 19 inches of rain that we received from the middle of May until here recently.  Water moisture levels were reaching 60% in the sample plugs.  This much saturation was basically allowing no oxygen into the root zone of these areas, thus suffocating the grass plant.  After the conformation from the lab, crews aerified and seeded these areas on Monday and we have already seen improvement. Many courses in the area had similar damage.  It infuriates me that the course went from fantastic to now having some trouble areas, but, I greatly appreciate the helpful comments.  We will make every attempt to repair as many damaged areas as we can in the coming weeks.

I would like to wish a Happy Father’s Day to all fathers at LRCC and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Logan H. Nesbitt

2018 Youth Summer Sports & Activities Camps At Laurel Ridge

LRCC is excited to offer three week-long Summer Youth Sports & Activities Camps for ages 6-14.   Your child or grandchild will benefit from valuable lessons from our Tennis & Golf Pros plus many other activities such as swimming, arts & crafts, educational programs plus much more.  Days packed full of sports and learning activities will ensure a fun experience for all!

Camps are open to the public and space is limited.  Reserve your child’s space today or contact Mandy for details, info@laurelridgegolf.com or (828) 452-0545, ext. 131!  Camps run from 10 am-4 pm daily in the following weeks:

  • Camp I – June 25-29, 2018
  • Camp II – July 9-13, 2018
  • Camp III – July 23-27, 2018

Please click here to download the 2018 Youth Sports & Activities Camp Brochure & Registration.

Attention Golfers! Play Beautiful Laurel Ridge Country Club in the Great Smoky Mountains for only $49!

GolfWeek Magazine published, “Laurel Ridge is the yardstick by which all area golf courses are measured”.  Now you can play one of the premier mountain golf courses in WNC for only $49! This offer is available any day after 3 pm. Call for your tee time, 828-452-0545.

Golf Course Superintendent’s Update 11/3/17

I hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful color on all our trees.  We have had a very late leaf season due to above-average fall temperatures.  Many trees are simply turning from green to brown and the leafs fall off.

Our Hispanics finish their season at the club today.  They have been wonderful to work with and wonderful for the golf course.  Having the same trained guys back from 2016 was a major boost to start the 2017 season off quickly.  Our winter season staff will consist of two men on the course, our mechanic, and myself.  We will continue to clean up leafs and mow turf that is still growing.

My goal for the off season is to send out a monthly update, so please be looking for these.  My staff thanks each of you for a very successful 2017 golf season.

Logan H. Nesbitt, Golf Course Superintendent

WCU Golf Tournament Was A Success!

Thank you so much for hosting “The Mutt” Catamount Football Classic golf outing in October.  A great time was had by all our donors and fans!  We truly appreciate the time and effort you made to make the event a success!  The success of these golf outings in terms of fundraising dollars directly impact our Student-Athletes at WCU and the mission of the Catamount Club.

We loved being able to set up in the pavilion for registration and then dinner.  Everyone said the greens were in great shape and that they enjoyed the course.  They also loved the coffee, lunch and dinner!  Thanks again for all you do! ~Miffy Henley, Assistant Director, Catamount Club, WCU Athletics, 11/2/17

Golf Course Superintendent’s Update 10/20/17

According to the Park Service, this weekend will be the peak for leaf lookers on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The foliage has been beautiful this fall.  Leaf drop is always a tough task for maintenance crews since leaves continue to fall after we have already completed morning tasks, necessitating cleaning the leaves off greens again after lunch.  Hopefully this has helped keep the putting surfaces clean for afternoon play.

Fairway aerification began this week, but the rental machine is having a few issues.  We hope to have a replacement Monday afternoon to continue this process next week.

The following tasks were performed this week:

  • Mowed greens 6 times
  • Mowed T,C,A twice
  • Mowed fairways twice
  • Mowed rough twice
  • Mowed clubhouse
  • Mowed DR twice
  • Raked bunkers twice
  • Changed pins 3 times
  • Interseeded clubhouse grounds
  • Added 2 additional sprinkler heads on #5
  • Partially aerified #5 and #12 fairways
  • Leaf cleanup
  • Started brush blading native areas

Have a wonderful, colorful weekend!

Logan H. Nesbitt, Golf Course Superintendent

 

Golf Course Superintendent’s Update 10/13/17

So far, fall has been a continuance of summer for 2017.  We almost reached record high temperatures on Wednesday and expect above average temperatures through the weekend.  It has been excellent growing weather for the grass seed that we have around the golf course as well as a beautiful leaf season.  The hurricane rain on Sunday and Monday were wonderful since the course was very dry from a couple weeks of limited rainfall.  The hurricane wind was pretty intense blowing small branches and leafs down throughout the property; however, we only lost one tree on number 7.  Wet conditions limited golfers to ‘cart path only’ rulings all the way through Thursday and changed to ’90 degree’ ruling for Friday.

Next week we will start fairway aerification.  Crews will pull a 1 inch core, drag the cores to bust them up, and then blow the remaining debris into the rough or woods areas.  We will possibly have 1-2 holes closed at a time to keep the process moving as quickly as possible.  The following tasks were performed this week:

  • Mowed greens 5 times
  • Mowed T,C,A twice
  • Mowed fairways twice
  • Mowed rough twice
  • Mowed clubhouse
  • Mowed DR twice
  • Turbine blow leafs 5 times
  • Changed pins 3 times
  • Weedeated bunkers
  • Raked bunkers 3 times
  • Brushbladed native areas
  • Sprayed greens
  • Edged sprinkler heads
  • Mulched hole signs
  • Overseed DR tee

Have a wonderful weekend!

Logan H. Nesbitt, Golf Course Superintendent