Friday, April 11, 2014

Golf Course Update

The golf course has been up and running now for 10 days. There has been anything but a consistent weather pattern from Mother Nature. Dating back to opening day on April 1st, the golf course weather station has recorded 5.16" of rain. To help put things in perspective, the average rainfall totals for the entire month of April is just under 3.5" of rain. The bulk of the rainfall occurred on April 4th when the course received 3" of rain in a very short window. We're hoping to turn the corner in the coming weeks to allow the course to firm up so we can resume our normal mowing schedule throughout the course. When there is standing water on the golf course and a quick drive down the fairways leaves a 'rooster-tail' of water following the cart, unfortunately it's time for the dreaded sign.

Enforcing the cart path only rule is in the best interest of the course. Cart traffic on saturated fairways can have a significant impact on turf quality. The soil compaction caused by golf carts reduces the shoot growth rate and the recuperative potential of  the turfgrass. We are simply doing our part this early in the season to ensure our fairways remain in pristine condition for the duration of the golfing season.

Now onto a few projects happening throughout the course.

If you have played the course recently then you have may have noticed a few isolated spots of discolored turf on #4 green. The discoloration of turf occurred from a chemical applied to selectively kill the silvery thread moss on the green.
A brief explanation of how moss encroaches into our putting greens. Moss is one of the most problematic weeds in Creeping Bentgrass greens. The moss populations have increased over the past few years due to reduced mowing heights that have caused a decrease in turf density. 
The first step in the removal process involves spot spraying the moss to weaken the plant structure. Next, we will verticutt and topdress the greens in the coming weeks followed by a granular fertilizer application. Once the correct measures are in place to reduce the moss populations, the greens will have a truer stand of Bentgrass and a more consistent ball roll.
The picture above is an example of the silvery thread moss. The top left picture is prior to the chemical application. The other two pictures show the moss beginning to weaken post application. We're hoping to slowly eradicate the moss populations this spring without interfering with the playability of the greens.

The next topic I'd like to discuss is our new bunker raking technique that we have implemented this year. The excessive rain events haven't helped our cause but we feel as though the bunkers will remain more consistent throughout the year. Essentially we have eliminated pushing sand up the faces and have dedicated the staff to the bottoms of the bunker. The crew has put in a lot of hours this year to ensure the depths remain consistent on all bunker floors as well as pulling grasses and weeds from the sand. From a playability standpoint, the goal is to ensure that as golf balls hit into the face they will end up on the bottoms of the bunker. The end result should be fewer "fried eggs" in the faces and the opportunity to have a playable shot out of the hazard. The bunkers will have a slightly different look than previous years but we're hoping everyone will enjoy the finished product.

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