Status Report On the Condition of the Courses at Las Campanas

May 20, 2011
  If you have spent the winter and spring in Santa Fe, you are aware of the unusually harsh weather we have experienced.  Due to a La Niña weather pattern, the jet stream that typically brings winter and spring precipitation has been diverted north of New Mexico.  In fact, this spring is the second driest on record.  We also encountered two days this winter with lows in the minus 20-degree range. The exceptionally dry and windy spring coupled with little-to-no snow cover has left some of the turf grass at Las Campanas courses still fighting to emerge from dormancy. The slow greening of the grass is due to night time soil temperatures in the low 40s—ideal growing temperatures for cool season turf grass are in the 55- to 70-degree range.  Despite these challenges, the Agronomy staff at Las Campanas is working to ensure you have the best possible playing conditions this golf season.  They have already made one application of fertilizer and plan to apply the second one in the next few weeks.  They are completing the aerification of all the fairways and approaches on both courses at Las Campanas.  They will apply topdressing to the dormant turf if necessary. They are confident that the vast majority of these areas will green up adequately, and that a very limited amount of sod and seed will be needed to repair these areas.
There are several other agronomy projects that have taken place over the last six months of operation at Las Campanas.  The grow-in of the new #12 green and surround is going very well—they anticipate it will be ready for play in early July.  The new practice tee is now open at the Practice Park at Las Campanas.  They will begin the final sodding of the target greens and surrounds on the practice park this week.  Most of the areas on the courses where turf was removed have been seeded with native grass.  They are presently going back over these areas with a silt seeder, adding additional native grasses to these areas.  One benefit to this procedure is that it has significantly leveled these areas, giving them a more polished look.  The only process remaining is the mulching—slated to begin in a few weeks.
One of the goals after Turnover was to reopen the Sunrise maintenance shop to improve time management and reduce fuel costs. With the help of the entire crew, this became a reality on May 2. For the first time in nearly 10 years, we can maintain the Sunrise golf course from the Sunrise shop.  Assistant Superintendent Chad Hinderlighter will direct a crew of 12-15 employees from this location.  Assistant Superintendent Dan Weinstein will direct a crew of 12- 15 workers from the Sunset shop.  Another great benefit of the dual maintenance facilities is to ensure consistent standards on both courses at Las Campanas.
The golf workers have also been busy upgrading the irrigation system.  This extensive project began in August 2010 and, since that time, more than 1,400 sprinklers have been replaced.  Simultaneously, they eliminated more than 400 sprinklers associated with turf reduction.  Another part of the sprinkler upgrade involved the replacement of all Sunrise Course irrigation controllers.  The higher reliability of the new controllers have enabled them to gain single-head control, allowing for better management of wet and dry areas at Las Campanas.  They also have upgraded and repaired all pond aerators, soil sensors, weather stations, rain buckets, irrigation pumps, fertigation systems, gypsum injectors, wireless radio systems, and irrigation computer monitoring.
As summer approaches and they put the finishing touches on the current projects, they will concentrate on taking the playability of the golf courses at Las Campanas to the next level.