An update to document and inform our members of the progress of the South Bowling Green at the Laguna Beach Lawn Bowling Club.
The current Height of cut (HOC) is at .175” (Between 1/8”-3/8”). The sod was installed at a HOC between .500” to .600” (Between ½” to 5/8”). The Green is being mowed daily (except on Saturdays and Sundays). The green has been verticut weekly since the arrival of our new verticutter 3 weeks ago. The green has been top dressed on a weekly basis over the past 6 weeks.
Last week we conducted a video conference call with West Coast Turf (Provider of the sod) and Tim Hiers, a Golf Course Superintendent in Florida. Tim was the 1st Superintendent to grow Platinum TE Seashore paspalum wall to wall at his golf course in Naples, FL. He is considered one of the leading experts on growing and managing the Platinum TE turfgrass. Tim saw our South Green on video and provided observations.
Tim’s observations were:
These are all great recommendations and will be a tremendous help as we prepare the green for play the beginning of October. We have been somewhat tentative with the green, as to minimize scalping and keep the green visually pleasing.
It is extremely important that we relay the message to the membership that they will see some scalping and that this is a natural process as we look to get the greens to our HOC goal. Being aggressive with the green in the next few weeks will allow us to push through the barriers of getting the surface ready for play in October.
LBLBC Greens Committee
June has been a busy month with continuing improvements to the club. Our new water fountain was installed at the entrance to the club providing the members cold and filtered water. Curt Bartsch, Bruce Wheeler, Bob Leach, Chris Quinn, Randy Hatfield worked together to paint the storage sheds. The broken cement pathway between the north and south greens was removed and new cement and a functional drain was installed.
Our new South Green is now 1 month old. We have a terrific rooting depth at 4"-6". The surface has come together nicely, and you cannot see the sod seams any longer. We have lowered the HOC (height of cut) to .200", which is about .100" away from our goal. We are getting close! The sod came in at .500", so we have come down quite a bit in a short period of time. We are starting to see some areas of scalping, particularly in the center of the green and some of the edges. This is totally natural and a part of the process of getting the greens down to lawn bowling heights. These areas will recover and get stronger now that the thatch mat has been taken out. You will also see periodic verticutting and sand topdressing coming up in the next few weeks. This process will help prepare the green surface, as it adapts to its new environment and lower height of cut.
This week, we put down our first application to control the Nematodes on the South Green. The South green backboards with new coverings and plinths are being installed. The ditches have been cleaned out, deepened, and will be filled in with new sand before we begin bowling on that green.
Finally, we would like to welcome Gil Sanchez as our new Greenskeeper. Gill has over 15 years of experience as a Greenskeeper coming from Mission Viejo Country Club. Gill works full time at Mission Viejo CC during the day, then will come and work at LBLBC in the afternoons. Gil has a high level of expectations and is very meticulous of his work on the greens. Please say hello and welcome Gil to LBLBC the next time you see him.
We have really tried to bring our greens back to health. Unfortunately our greens are old and weary. We also have tested positive for nematodes which inhibits and destroys root structure.
The board has approved the resodding of both greens.
We will install a sod that has greater durability and wear tolerance, is tight and smooth for the bowls, can be mowed low which will improve speed, and is shade and salt tolerant.
We will also use this opportunity to laser level the greens and replace the plinths (on the south green). We will have level greens!
The work will begin on the south green next week and will take about 5 weeks until it is playable. We will do the north green shortly thereafter. There is no better time for us to complete the project since we are limited by the virus and the fact that all tournaments are cancelled for the rest of the year.
This is a huge upgrade for our club - once complete we will have some of the best greens anywhere and they will deliver a wonderful bowling experience for years to come.
Remember last year when we were having green quality issues on the north green partly due to rabbits? Well, it looks like our solution was a good one. Encircle the greens with a rabbit fence. That seems to have done the trick. Well done board!
The work performed this past week, commencing on Monday with core aeration down to 5”, is essential to the maintenance and rejuvenation of our greens. The process included removing the plugs followed by sand topdressing to fill up the aeration holes. This intensive aeration work and clean up was completed on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, the greens were then aerified using DryJect technology, which utilizes pressurized water to inject more sand to a depth of 4". The DryJect compliments the work done earlier in the week with the core aerification.
The aerification and sand work this week were followed by applications of gypsum and soil amendments to improve the soil chemistry and structure of the greens. After the applications of fertilizers, special micro emitter sprinklers are utilized to leach the salts out of the rootzone, which in turn will help the vigor of the bermuda grass turf.
Our goal is to have the greens playable by the end of April when hopefully the self-distancing requirement as mandated by the governing authorities, is lifted.
Paul Cushing, our new greenskeeper along with Will Reardon from DryJect, combined their knowledge in directing this long-needed work. Club members are reminded that disruption of our greenskeeper and or other contracted persons is not encouraged. Our greens need their full undivided attention.
Your greens committee, on behalf of our club is so appreciative of their expertise and time.
Heather Stewart (chair)
Following recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and other governing authorities, Laguna Beach Lawn Bowling club will be closed for all activities until March 31st. At that time we will review the situation.
The health, safety and physical well-being of our community of lawn bowlers is of great importance and current conditions deem this action necessary.
Take care, keep well and follow the guidelines given by the CDC.
Greg Mech on behalf of Board and Greens Committee
To learn more about how the coronavirus is affecting the City of Laguna Beach, click the button below.
Members of the Laguna Beach Lawn Bowling Club as well as neighboring Southern California clubs were graciously hosted to a Bowls & Braai by Morningside Country Club in Johannesburg, South Africa . 8 ends of 2-bowl triples were played with people playing on new teams each game. LBLBC participants included: Bobby Milas, Lou & Shelley Cohen, Randy & Ginger Hatfield, Bill & Julie Buchanan, and Linda R
For the first time in recent memory, the Laguna Beach Lawn Bowling Club will not be hosting an Open House to attract new members in 2020.
Well this year and in 2021, the club will once again be hosting the US Open in October. To prepare for the Open, we must refurbish both greens as the club seeks to provide the highest quality natural greens for the competitors as is possible. We plan to accomplish this feat in a staggered fashion such that when work begins, there will ALWAYS be one green open for the membership to bowl on.
Last year our membership was the largest in the United States at 378 members. As of the end of February 2020, we have a membership of 244. Typically at our Open House, we sign up close to 80 people. This year, we need to limit our membership so that everyone will be able to bowl. One way to do that is to cancel the Open House. And that's what the board has decided to do.