April is the month in which seasonal staff sometimes visit the shop in order to see what the plan is for the coming year and/or simply to say hi. Like robins migrating back in the spring. This past week was especially interesting in that one of our most valued crew members-Greg Federly-brought a drone for us to use to have a look at the golf course. I had been looking into this technology for a while-there are indeed drones that are built for specific golf course maintenance activities through the use of both conventional cameras and multispectral sensors. The drone we used combined with a cell phone to give us the ability to shoot video and take pictures. Flying this drone was so easy a caveman could do it. I think that the following pictures we took make interesting topics of discussion:
April 1, 2019
This picture of the green side of hole 10 shows that we still have substantial snow cover on many parts of the golf course. The greens cover is partially exposed. Snow pack of two feet or so is still prevalent here. Goes to show just how much snow we had this past winter and how, sadly, it is hanging in there well into the spring.
Back of Driving Range
April 1, 2019
Some parts of the golf course have a nice southern exposure with full sun. In these areas the snow melts at a much faster rate. This picture in particular is very interesting in that it shows just how effective our snow mold fungicide applications are for winter diseases. Green means treated. Brown means non-treated. Very easy to tell where our sprayer did its work last fall on the range targets and fairway. For these areas of the range, we used our older spray rig that does not have GPS technology to assist in the application. For that reason, we have the triangle shaped areas of the rough adjacent to fairways that are treated. The limited, manual controls on the older unit, even with my outstanding skills, make it unavoidable to treat small areas of the rough that might otherwise be left alone. This is in contrast with the next picture.
April 1, 2019
Note the 6th fairway on the left side of this picture and how clean the edge of the fairway is compared to the previous driving range picture. This fairway was done with our GPS sprayer with more modern controls. No waste on the edges and honestly, a more professional job done. We have had this unit for over three years now and I can say that using this unit has saved us, on average, about $4000-$6000 per year in chemical costs-not to mention an increase in application uniformity and efficacy. We really try to take advantage of the latest technologies on our golf course.
Also note the 5th fairway in the middle of the picture and how the snow is melted on the side of the fairway. Never underestimate the value of having full sun on a golf course. The part of the fairway that is exposed is not shaded by the wood line adjacent to the golf hole. Looks fantastic. Remember this picture next time you see your golf course crew removing a tree. There is a reason for it.
Moving on to what my thoughts are regarding the condition of the golf course for the coming season, I am cautiously optimistic that we will emerge from this winter in much better condition than the previous year. We do not have the glacial ice layers on the golf course that we had last year for over 150 days. Everything I have seen so far looks great-including areas under greens covers that we have looked at. The entire staff looks forward to presenting to you the product to which you are accustomed.
See you on the golf course,