Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Golf Course Update July 3rd, 2012

Golf Course Update

July 1st, 2012

I wanted to provide an update and golf course conditions and agronomics practices that we have accomplished to survive the current drought and extreme heat situation.  I want to first provide a few facts about this year and the level of extreme stress the golf course is experiencing currently.  We have had over 22 90 degree days so far and it is not even July 4th yet.  The average for a summer in Indiana is 18.  The 10 day forecast shows that we will experience at least another 7-8 days in the 90’s without relief.  On June 28th, we recorded a temperature of 105 degrees with only 22% humidity and 15-20 mph winds.  These types of days are a true test in golf course management.

The other factor that has been a challenge is the lack of rainfall.  We have only recorded 2.3” of rain since May 1st with 1” of that on May 1st and the other 1” on June 29th.  We went over 58 days with no rainfall and relied on irrigation as a water source.  One other point that I would like to point out is something that we watch very carefully that not many people are concerned about unless you are growing grass for a living.  We watch a value called Et or evapotranspiration rates which is how much water is lost to the atmosphere on a given day. On low humidity, windy days we lose more water to the atmosphere and on humid, calm days we lose less.  There were several days that we would lose almost .25” of water to the atmosphere and were only able to replace with less than .1” of irrigation water.  This creates a huge deficit especially when this happens for long periods of time.   Since May 1, we have lost over 12” and have only received 2.3” of rainfall.  In summary, we need lots of rain to overcome this deficit. 

The last thing I wanted to point out is some things that have help us through these conditions and things that we are doing to insure we have an adequate water supply.  Here is some key agronomic practices that we have accomplished:

Ø  Applied wetting agents to greens, tees, and fairways  to help conserve water

Ø  Lots of handwatering of greens, tees, and fairways to place water where needed

Ø  Applied a new sunscreen product to greens to reduce surface temperatures

Ø  Vented greens, tees, and fairways to help get moisture deeper in the profile and to help with oxygen exchange.

Ø  Went cart paths only on extreme days

Ø  Reduced mowing frequency to reduce stress

There are also several things we are working on to insure we have adequate water supply during these conditions and for the future.  We had our large well pump evaluated for proper output and found that it was only producing half the supply it should.  We are in the process of having this pump repaired and a new pump installed this week.  This will supply is with more recharge into the irrigation lake to help keep up with our irrigation needs.  We are also getting the well pump behind #11 green repaired and looking at the possibility of repairing the other well pumps around the course.  These repairs should provide us with enough water to get through these extreme conditions.  Our last resort will be the purchasing of city water but we are looking at all other avenues before resorting to this.

Thank you for your support during these extreme conditions and we are doing are best to provide exceptional conditions during these times.

Gary Myers, CGCS

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