Hello Deep Springs!
I thought I’d take a breather and give you an update on the golf course. It’s been almost three weeks since my last update. The weather has been slowly improving each week. It’s hard to believe that just a little over a month ago we had a frost. This month has been on the wet side. So far, we have received just under 8 inches of rain and about 6 inches of that was last week(May 16th-19th). We definitely needed some rain, but not that much all at once. We only had 5 inches of rain for the month of April. Looking at this week, it appears we are in for some rain from the first tropical storm of the hurricane season.
Winter Recovery Update:
I thought I’d give you an update on where we are in regards to recovering from the winter. I would like to mention that we are recovering more than we are replacing. That is definitely a plus compared to many other clubs having to replace turf. We took a pretty good beating from the really cold January, warm and wet February, and a cold March and April. We still are waiting on ideal temperatures to really get the bermuda to jump. Those ideal temperatures being highs in the 90’s and lows in the 60’s and 70’s with a little bit of humidity. I think we are getting close to those days. I think this past week the humidity was definitely there on most mornings.
So, as I said, we are recovering more than replacing. What I mean by that is that we have a lot of bermuda to work with on our greens. I’m seeing a lot of active stolons or runners. So, with cultural practices and improving weather the greens will be able to recover on their own. This month we needle-tined the greens at the beginning of the month and I noticed that the greens were a lot less compacted as compared to the previous needle-tine in April. We had a week of heavy rains come through last week and more this week and so I applied fungicides that will treat and prevent any weather related diseases from the rain. One thing I have learned with Champion is it is very sensitive to overcast skies and after 2 or 3 days of overcast days the greens will get a lean look. This was the case two weeks ago with over 6 inches of rain. Also, we had algae pop up and that was treated with the fungicide as well. Last Friday, I fertilized the greens with an application that will build up its stress tolerance and we will be on a 14 day schedule moving forward.
I mentioned that we would be performing cultural practices beginning on Tuesday, May 29th, weather permitting. Our process will include mowing, grooming and/or verticutting, topdressing, rolling, watering and also applying any wetting agents every three weeks to work the sand into the canopy. Every week we will lightly verticut in a different direction. I will put a video on the next blog update to give you a better understanding of what we do. We will not aerify the greens that we originally scheduled for June 4th and 5th. My goal is to groom/verticut/topdress until July 9th and 10th where we will then aerify the greens and pull cores.
I’m really looking forward to seeing the greens respond to our practices as we get into June and the rest of the summer.
Tees, fairways, and rough:
As with many courses in the Carolinas, we too have had some winterkill in areas where we had or a mixture of compacted areas from traffic, lack of sun from the shade, and prolonged wet turf in freezing conditons. A lot of these areas we will fill in with some help from continuing fertilizer applications, verticutting, and aerification. However, some areas we will have to sod and plan to do so very soon. In particular, those areas that we will have to sod are tee boxes on #5, 7, 9 and 12. Also, we will be sodding the left side of #17 where trees were removed. These areas will be roped or staked off and it will be very important that we keep traffic off of these areas until they are tacked down and ready for regular play and maintenance.
We will be using a new variety of bermudagrass called, TifTuf, that I have tried in South Georgia and has been very successful since it hit the market a few years ago. It is drought, shade, and cold tolerable and a lot of golf courses are using it. It has done extremely well at places as far north as Washington, D.C., and has blown the doors off on expectations coming out of this winter.
I’m confident with the steadily increase in temperatures and the work we will be performing that many of our affected areas will be a thing of the past sooner than later. I’ve seen a lot of these areas start to fill in on their own and that will only speed up with the supplemental aid that we will provide. We’ve already completed our tee and fairway aerification. The next task will be the bulk fertilizer spread on June 4th. As we get closer to the middle of the month then we will start sodding and doing the aforementioned fertilizing, verticutting, and aerification.
Just a few items that somewhat ties in our recovery is that we will be postponing our wildflower project between #14 and #15 until the fall. We feel all of our attention needs to be devoted to our turf and so that is what we’ll do. Also, it’s recommended from the seed company to do a fall planting.
Our new equipment has been a blessing so far. I’ve noticed better cuts on all of our turf. We will really start to notice the full affect and benefit of our new package when we start to verticut and roll greens with the pieces we have for those tasks. I plan to have an Equipment day for members to checkout all our maintenance equipment to get a better understanding of what each piece does. Stay tuned for that.
As always, please continue to repair ball marks, replace your divots, rake those bunkers, and keep carts away from all tee and green surrounds. Also, please feel free to email me with any question or concern at firstname.lastname@example.org.