Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Dog Days of Winter




Gross, boring, depressing, ugly!!!!! Just a few adjectives I'm sure we've all heard and used over the past few months. That's what the pictures taken today symbolize. As one can tell from the pictures above, the lakes remain frozen, the bunkers are still filled with snow, and the trees are bare. The good news is that there is only one way to go from here and that's up!!!

As most of you know by now, I was promoted to head golf course superintendent on February 1st. I would like to thank everyone for their support along the way, it means a great deal!!! I am beyond excited for the opportunity to continue the success that was brought forth before me by my predecessors. Now onto where the golf course stands.

There are a lot of people wondering if this weather will ever break. Well as evidenced by the 68 degrees registered at our course weather station, I would like to say yes. But unfortunately for us, there is a predicted snowfall of 1-3" across the area tomorrow with the temperatures falling out as well. We will evaluate the course once the snow has melted and hopefully Spring will arrive and we never look back.

 I was looking over some executive summary reports from prior years and I noticed that it was just a couple years ago that the club was in full swing for St. Paddy's day. Fast forward to this winter and the thought of being open next Monday is practically unfathomable. The prolonged snow cover and below average temperatures has taken its toll on the course. For the winter of 2013, the January and February average temperatures were right around 21 degrees for both months. For 2014, the average temperature for January was just below 8 degrees. A heat wave in February with the average high of 12 degrees. Lets just hope that March will wake up and allow us to make up some ground. The ground has begun to thaw out. The soil temperatures have climbed to 38 degrees in the upward inch of the soil. The problem is the soil temperature at 4-6" is just above freezing at 33 degrees. As these temperatures continue to climb, the course will respond and allow us to begin with our maintenance practices to prepare for the 2014 golf season.

                                                      Pink Snow Mold, top picture
                                                                     Gray Snow Mold
The course as a whole weathered the harsh winter very well. We do have a combination of both Pink and Gray snow mold on the fairways, pictured above. The majority of damage done by the snow molds will be cosmetic to the plant, meaning, we don't anticipate any severe injury from the disease. The only severe damage was from voles. Voles are small rodents that look similar to a mouse, also known as field mice. They burrow under ground cover, i.e. grass, and eat away until the plant is dead or until they decide to move onto greener pastures. The prolonged snow cover has increased their activity in the grass and in turn has created quite the eye sore. We will address these issues in the coming weeks with either seed/sand/fertilizer or some worse off areas may require some new sod. Luckily for us, the majority of the vole damage  was in the primary rough with a few exceptions in isolated fairways and collars. Here are a few examples of the vole damage.
                                                                  

As we move past a few of the damages that come along with a long winter, we hope to begin prepping the golf course to open as soon as mother nature allows us. More information will be posted on a potential opening date as we're able to begin that process.Thanks.

Dan Grogan
Golf Course Superintendent

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