From the Superintendent’s desk

Marc Francoeur, GCS

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a great and safe holiday season with family and friends.

The second week of December, we assembled an awesome crew of volunteers to add some sand to some problem sand traps. Our goal is to make all the bunkers consistent in playability, and it went well. Thank you, guys! Along with the greens committee, I will be exploring the idea of having another volunteer crew to come out and help us. For those who couldn’t make the first one, this is your chance. We will be seeking some volunteers this month to help out with painting the walls along the cart path crossings from the greens to the next tee. I will get with the Adopt-the-Hole team and start organizing days and sign-up for this. Keep an eye out around the pro shop for the sign-up sheets.

There has been tremendous discussion about the greens quality this year; I expect by the time this article is published, they have improved considerably from a month ago. I am not holding my breath, but I’m hoping by now we have seen some rainfall! When I sat down in my office to write this on December 6, 2017, we had not seen any significant rain since August 14, 2017. This is important, because we were having a real problem with Rapid Blight pathogen which was devastating the grass in the greens. Rapid Blight is a relatively new pathogen to the golf course world. It started showing up in Arizona in the ‘90s, Nevada, Colorado, Texas, California and two other states. We all suffer from having poor water quality. Now I’m going to go back to the fact about the lack of rain. With the extended period of no rain, we irrigate with our salty water more often, and we start to build up sodium chloride levels in the soil which normally the rain would help leach the salts through the root profile. With our irrigation water, we are shooting ourselves in the foot and creating the perfect environment for the organism to strengthen and start attacking our grass! Solution; we will be doing what we call a flush irrigation. Bottom line, there will be times the course will seem extra wet because we ran the system for hours out there. Along with some preventative fungicide applications and close monitoring of the salt levels, I hope to have the Rapid Blight under control! There isn’t much more in my arsenal to combat this. We are subject to the wonderful water we have here in Arizona. We all experience it, especially if you live on the course and you washed your windows and you got some overspray from the sprinklers because of the wind. If you have any questions, please feel free to stop me and I’ll be happy to answer the best I can. I have some other things to discuss, and Wanda has informed in the past to keep my articles around the 500-word mark, so I’m going to move on.

Lastly, I want to thank Joel and Jane Sybesma for their amazing work on the CRAB auction this year with the record-breaking totals! Of course, these numbers don’t get to be like that without the awesome support and generosity from everyone in the SunBird community!

The tractor and backhoe attachment we purchased with money has been a workhorse for us and will have many years improving the golf course. We have the CRAB committee and the SunBird Board to thank for it. Oops, I almost forgot to mention the SunBird open committee for padding the coffers to add on the backhoe attachment. This wasn’t going to be a part of this year’s purchases; however, all of you made it happen!

Thank you!