Hello Deep Springs! As many of you know we are in the midst of Masters week, the unofficial start to the golf season is underway. Hopefully, many of you were able to get out and enjoy our edition of the Par 3 Tournament this past Wednesday. It has been a couple weeks since my last post and things are on the greener side compared to the last post. The weather has greatly improved, but it looks like the last bit of winter is making one last stand. Looking ahead to next week and towards next weekend, temperatures will begin to go on the rise.
So, as the weather begins to slowly transition so to does the turf. Many of the tees, fairways, rough, and greens are greening up. On our tees and fairways, you will see areas green up quicker that spent a great deal of time in the full sun. The slower areas that will transition will be areas that were wet and shady. The “w” word(winterkill) is a word that everyone is fearful of this time of year. Just a few years ago the Piedmont area had a severe case of winterkill. However, fortunately, here at Deep Springs this did not occur. Hopefully, that trend continues this year. I honestly feel and hope that it won’t be as severe as 2015.
This past winter we covered greens over 35 days, compared to 17 in 2017. The direct impact from this is an extended transition that will take some patience and some timely cultural and nutritional practices. The greens have started to wake up over the last two weeks and we will help jump things into gear this coming week. We will needle tine the greens to relieve compaction, increase gas exchange, and provide a avenue for roots to grow. The process will be a mow before the needle tine and then followed up with a roll. This will not disrupt ball roll and we will repeat this job again in 3-4 weeks. As the temperatures start to rise and be more consistent, we will incorporate a bi-weekly foliar program. The goal is to increase root growth and to ensure that our greens are consistent as with everything else on our course.
I have heard a lot of talk around the area on the transition throughout the Piedmont at other golf courses. The one consistent thing that I have been hearing is that most of the issues coming to surface is on courses whom sprigged greens last year. So, the greens were too immature to handle the brutal cold winter that we experienced. There have been signs of this as far south as Charleston and up to the Greensboro area. Also, courses who do not cover greens also are experiencing problems. Another part of the equation is the subsurface that many of the greens are built on. Here at Deep Springs our greens are built on native or “push-up” complexes. So, these kind of surfaces tend to hold more moisture. During the summer months, the constant fight is to alleviate wet soils. However, during the cold/winter months holding some moisture in the top 3-4 inches can be beneficial when it comes to preventing injury. A lot of courses who are having issues are on USGA sand based greens. These greens are different than “push-ups” in that they are designed and built to drain more efficiently and quicker than push up greens. The downside is during the winter it can be harmful to keeping moisture in the top 3-4 inches. Overall, I believe we are healthy, but I think the turf is very weak. So, we will help things out as we move forward. The hardest thing for me is to be patient. I wish I was as thin as my patience. As much as I want to push our turf right now to be green and flush, the best thing we can do is to wait for Mother Nature to give us ideal temperatures and then we can get to work. Once the soil temperatures get to 50-60 degrees we will apply 1/2 pound-1 pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet. Eventually once we get down to maintaining our greens our nitrogen applications will reduce considerably. However, the micronutrients we apply will stay pretty consistent throughout the growing season. I’m looking forward to this summer and seeing where things go.
As a reminder, to further help universities like NC State, Clemson, Virginia Tech, and others to perform turfgrass research on topics such as winterkill and other problems, please visit http://www.rounds4research.com. You will have a chance to bid on courses throughout the country. Some courses you could only dream of playing! The bidding runs April 30th-May 6th.
Please help us out with cart traffic. As a reminder, carts are not allowed near greens and/or tee complexes. If you notice anyone abusing the privilege please let us know. Your help with this matter only improves our turf immediately. If we continue to have issues then rope and stakes will be enforced. Some courses, especially in Florida, there are weekly resting holes where carts are restricted to cart path only and this could potentially be a program we enforce here.
Again, thanks for fixing ball marks and replacing divots. If you have any question or comment, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org