It is that time of year again for the important practice of greens aerification. Aerification is done to control organic matter, stimulate root growth and improve drainage. It also relieves soil compaction and reduces the accumulation of excess thatch on the greens.
We do this to help maintain the great conditions our maintenance crew have provided to us over the last few months. In the immediate 7-14 days following aerification, the greens are recovering and the turf is becoming healthier. This healing process makes playing conditions less than perfect for those initial days but leads back to quality putting surfaces that are more consistent throughout the year. This spring we will aerify the greens on 9 holes a day on March 22-23 (weather permitting), allowing 9 holes to be open for play each day.
When it comes to health and quality of putting greens, it starts below the surface where the roots require oxygen and good water flow. Without aerification organic matter would remain in the greens, the roots of the grass would become dense and unable to flourish. This buildup acts like an impermeable surface that does not allow water to flow through. Excessive organic matter beneath the turf creates a soft playing surface that is prone to ball marks and footprints which results in inconsistent playing conditions.
The process starts with the aerifying machine removing cores from the compacted soil. In the case of this spring’s aerification, we will be removing ½ inch cores, a very common industry standard size. Following the aerification, the greens will be topdressed. Once the organic matter has been removed, the sand is then brushed into the holes which allows for excess moisture to evaporate creating a stronger root system which allows for a smoother, firmer putting surface that is more tolerate to high golfer traffic on the greens. While the appearance of topdress sand makes it seems that the greens are less playable in the short-term, the sand actually makes the surface smoother for putting immediately following the aerification as well.
Thank you for keeping in mind that aerification is performed for the long-term health of the greens, making the short-term inconvenience to putting well worth it.
Assistant General Manager
Play More Golf in 2021
Is 2021 the year you get serious about your golf game? Was it your New Year’s Resolution to shave strokes off your game but here you are in February and you haven’t picked up a club yet this year? Studies have shown that somewhere between 60-80% of New Year’s Resolutions are already broken by the 6th week of the year but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to commit to playing more golf in 2021!
If 2021 is your year, now is the right time to get an annual membership at The Golf Club at Rio Vista. The great thing about the club memberships is that you don’t have to wait until the beginning of the year to purchase a membership. Memberships can be purchased at any time of the year and are good for one year from the date of purchase.
Not only do you receive unlimited green fees with a membership, but carts are also included in all 2021 annual memberships. Residents can add a trail fee to use a personal cart on the course instead for an additional fee. Having an annual membership makes it easier to fit golf in your busy life. Even if you don’t always have time to play a full 18 holes you can still keep your game in shape and enjoy some fresh air whether it’s 5, 9 or 14 holes.
Whether you are looking for a single or couple’s membership, play 5 days a week or plan to include weekends, there are great option available to choose from. Membership at the club is not just limited to residents of Trilogy at Rio Vista, membership is available to anyone living in Rio Vista and beyond.
Not only is unlimited golf a big plus, but members have 14-day advance tee time option, a week ahead of non-member bookings. We have exclusive member-only events, member bounty socials, and guests playing with members receive resident rates.
If you are new to golf or new to the area and need to find groups to play with, Rio Vista has both men’s and ladies’ associations that play 9 and 18 holes as well as several other groups always looking to add players into the mix.
If 2021 is your year to play more golf, the annual membership can provide great savings while giving you that extra push to play more. Check out our Membership Page for pricing and stop by or give us a call today with any questions.
Kandace Clatterbaugh, General Manager
First Phase of Irrigation Satellite Replacement
I am happy to announce that all of the satellites on the front nine have been replaced with the most current and state of the art irrigation controllers, the Toro LSS. These new satellites will allow for communication between the field and the central irrigation computer, the F.I.U. (field interface unit). Replacing the aged and malfunctioning satellites is a necessary first step in achieving our long term goal of repairing the irrigation system.
With that said, replacing the satellites is only about 10% of the irrigation system. The remaining 90% of the irrigation system needs to be repaired as well. This consists of leaking and non-functioning lateral valves, broken, leaking, and non-working sprinkler heads, leaking swing joints that connect the sprinklers to our water source, and all other associated irrigation parts.
The golf course property includes over 2,500 sprinkler heads and hundreds of miles of underground pipework, which makes repairs and replacements time consuming. It can take up to two hours to dig out and replace a faulty sprinkler head and underground breaks sometimes require hours of excavation just to determine the exact issue.
Both golfers and homeowners have asked some great questions regarding the irrigation system and I’d like to share and answer the top 3 questions we’ve received:
Question: Why isn’t the area closest to the houses being watered?
Answer: Due to years of neglect there are numerous irrigation lines that are not operative, and our plan is to work from the greens and other key play areas and then to the outlying areas.
Question: A leaking sprinkler head is causing a wet area on the course, how will this be addressed?
Answer: When leaks are discovered, they are first evaluated to determine severity. With many leaks on the golf course, the more severe issues are addressed first and the smaller leaks are documented to be addressed when time allows.
Question: How do I report an issue I notice with the irrigation system?
Answer: Emergency issues such as an irrigation head stuck running can be reported by calling the golf shop at 707- 374 - 2900.
After years of deferred maintenance, the irrigation system requires adjustments, repairs and replacements. As the process of completing the necessary irrigation improvements and adding the additional irrigation equipment continues, you will see uniformity across the golf course. Thank you for your patience as we continue bringing the course back to the condition it once was in and deserves to be in again.
Brendan Soika, Golf Course Superintendent
Ground crew installing the last new satellite on the front nine.
Keep the Greens Rolling Smooth!
The greens at any golf course are the focal point and The Golf Club at Rio Vista is no exception. Greens are also the most expensive part of the golf course to maintain.
As golfers, we want the greens to roll smooth and fairly. To me, putting is golf's great equalizer because anyone can be a great putter. It doesn't matter how far or straight you are able to drive the ball, if you don’t putt it into the hole in one or two strokes, your score can add up quickly.
When CourseCo took over management of the golf course in August of 2019, the greens conditions were the starting point for the Renaissance in Rio Vista. Standard agronomic practices such as fertilizer, fungicides, aerification and proper mowing heights are all important pieces of having good greens conditions.
The other big part of keeping the greens rolling great comes from our golfers. This is why we always need your help in keeping the golf course better for everyone, especially on and around the greens.
While Covid-19 has delayed our beginning golf classes from starting at the Club, it's worth noting that anytime I instruct a novice golfer, we always start with putting. The reason is because putting is that important! While all our swings are unique and have their limitations, putting lowers scores and is the foundation for the rest of the golf shots in your bag.
Back to those beginner lessons, on day one we also talk about playing Ready Golf including what to carry in your pockets while you play. A ball and some tees don't really come as a surprise to most newbies but when I pull out a divot tool (also called a ball mark repair tool) many have no idea what it is.
As I mentioned, anyone can be a great putter with a good mindset, solid setup position and practice. How frustrating is it though, when you are watching your ball roll closer and closer to the hole, it looks dead on line BUT it hits an old ball mark that wasn’t repaired and rolls off line past the hole. To prevent these bumpy conditions on the greens, everyone should carry a divot tool in your pocket and repair your marks on the green. In a pinch a tee can work as well and is better than not fixing your mark at all, but the tool is designed to do the job making it the better option.
Sometimes it's hard to find exactly where your ball lands on the green so start by keeping an eye on where the landing spot is when your approach shot hits the green. When you arrive at the green, one of the first things you'll want to do is repair your ball mark.
To do so, insert the tool behind the ball mark and gently pull the top of the tool towards the center. Continue working around the ball mark, so that the surrounding turf pulls in toward the center of the indentation. Avoid using a twisting or lifting motion so as not to damage turf roots. Once you have finished, gently tap the area down with your putter to create a smooth, firm surface.
It really is that easy and makes a big impact. You can take it one step further with the motto ‘leave the course better than you found it’ when you have time to fix your mark and another one someone else missed. So keep that divot tool handy next time you play and help us keep the greens rolling great.
Kandace Clatterbaugh, General Manager