Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mid Season Update

It's hard to imagine we are just a few days away from August 1st. Mother nature has taken us on a roller coaster ride throughout the past few months. The weather has been very conducive for the golf course. From tee to green, plant health is at an all time high. The past few months have almost and I repeat almost allowed us to forget about the brutal winter that we all suffered through, including the golf course.I'd like to touch bases on a few things that have been our primary focus throughout the past few months.

One of our biggest focal points leading into the season was eradicating the moss populations in the greens. The process is not an over night sensation. It's going to take a couple of growing seasons to completely eradicate the moss but I feel that we have made some incredible strides moving forward. There are 3 main focal points when attempting to kill the moss. The first is a bi-weekly chemical application that selectively weakens the moss populations. The next step is to verticutt the areas to thin the moss out, followed by multiple topdressing applications (sand). The last step involves keeping a balanced fertility program on the greens followed with a slightly higher height of cut. A healthier bentgrass green allows it to out compete the moss and slowly but surely begins to grow into these weakened areas of moss. The picture below illustrates this process.

The top left picture shows the moss after a verticutt. Top right, shows the moss after a heavy topdress application. The bottom two pictures show the green after the sand has been worked into the canopy. Green speeds will slow for a few days after this process but by the weekend the speeds should increase be back to normal.

The next project involved the re-establishment of our Bermuda practice tee. The harsh winter took its toll on the tee. The tee experienced "Winter Kill" to the extreme. In order to re-establish the tee we had to start over. The process began with a .50" solid tine aerification followed with a heavy topdress. The next step involved drop seeding bermudagrass in 2 directions followed by placing growing covers on the tee, as the picture below illustrates.

Fast forward 4 weeks and we pulled the covers off of the tee, followed by multiple fertilizer and topdress applications.
The top left image shows the juvenile bermudagrass seedlings. Bottom right picture shows the establishment and the picture to the right was the first mow on the tee. Fast forward another 4 weeks and we will be opening the tee tomorrow. Moving forward, we now know that we need to allow the bermudagrass plant ample time to recover before winter arrives in order to ensure the plant has enough nutrients in reserve to break dormancy in the spring. The picture below shows the finished product.

The last focal point for the agronomy team this year was bunker maintenance. As most of you have probably noticed this year, we have implemented a different raking technique this year. There were 3 main areas of focus throughout this process. The number one priority was to do our best to eliminate golf balls from plugging into the faces. The best way to achieve this was to minimize the amount of sand placed on the steep faces to allow the ball to bounce off of these slopes and roll down to the bottom of the bunkers. We have kept a maximum of 2 inches of sand on the faces and in turn have taken a lot of the excess sand from the faces and displaced the sand to the bottoms of the bunkers. The only raking that takes place on the faces is smoothing out the faces where sand has been displaced by using the back side of the rake. With eliminating raking the faces on a daily basis, the crew has been able to check sand depths more consistently along with pulling grasses and weeds in the bunkers on a daily basis. Here are a few images of the finished product.

In closing, I'd like to thank my entire staff for a successful Member Guest. We had absolutely perfect weather for the entire week. In turn, this allowed the course to play the way it was made to be played, fast and firm. The crew put in a lot of hours to ensure the course was "dialed in". Thanks again.

Best Regards,
Dan Grogan
Golf Course Superintendent


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