Friday, October 19, 2018

Goodbye Summer

We are making progress in the race to recover from summer.  Winter is the finish line and it looks like it may be approaching quickly.  Our first frost came this morning and soon the leaves will be raining down from the trees.  The new seed is coming up great in some areas of the rough and is a little sluggish in other areas.  Hurricane Michael brought 4 inches of rain last Thursday which likely disrupted some of the seed that had not yet germinated.  We'll have to re-seed those areas and may not see great results this late in the season.  It's going to be close. 

The greens are recovering slowly after the long wait for summer to end.  The aeration we missed in September would have done wonders for them.  We need some drier weather and a Fall that lasts more than a week.  We typically count on greens to make big strides through the month of September, but this year they actually regressed due to the warm wet weather.  Going into winter on weak roots puts pressure on us next Spring.  Please remember what this year was like when next Spring rolls around.  We'll need your patience and understanding when it's time to aerate. 

It seems like the bulk of my messages this year have centered around the tough growing conditions.  I hate excuses more than anyone and don't want to sound like I'm making them.  For the rest of this season I will put this topic to rest as I've beaten it to death.  From now on I'll focus on what we are doing and what we are going to do.  No more talk about how awful the weather has been.

Thanks again for your support!

Shade on the back of 13 at 11:00 AM.  The shaded area is visibly weaker
than the rest of the green

Shade across the right half of 1.  Again...this is the weakest area of the green

Preventive fungicide application for Take All Patch has to be watered in

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Recovery Update


Sunday morning there was fresh new grass popping out of the ground just 5 days after planting.  We still have a little more to plant, but it's very encouraging to see results so quickly.  Lots of TLC will be required for the next 2-3 weeks in order to get this new grass to survive and mature.  We'll need to water lightly and regularly over the next few days (if the hurricane doesn't hit us) and will gradually back off as the grass grows.  Carts will need to stay on the path until the new grass has been mowed a couple of times.


Monday and Tuesday we completed verticutting, aerating with 3/8" solid tines, and lightly topdressing greens.  They will putt a little slower for a day or two since brushing and verticutting pull up some of the excess leaf tissue.  We are still working to recover from the summer as we were washed out of core aerating in September and the weather has been so unpleasant for bentgrass.  Typically at this time of year the greens have been aerated and experienced a few weeks of fall weather.  This year they were saturated for most of the past month, did not get aerated, and have endured the highest nighttime temperatures in September history.  They are not ready for winter and we are pushing them to get healthier before winter kicks in.

New fescue popping up in just 5 days

Foggy start on Monday 

Verticutting is lightly mowing with vertical blades.  It helps to promote new growth.
We hope to see some lateral growth in the weaker areas

The aerator with small solid tines followed the verticutter

We lightly topdressed and brushed greens following the verticutting and aerating.  

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Growing Pains

We were able to get 15 holes over seeded this week and will wrap up the rest next week.  Thanks for dodging us during the process so that we could keep the tractor moving.  It was a big help for sure.  As you know, seeds need moisture in order to germinate and newly sprouted seed will need light frequent water in order to grow.  We will have to water more than we'd like in order to push the new seed to grow.  This may make some areas too soft for carts.  Once the seed germinates it will be important to keep carts off it until the new seed is up to mowing height.  This can be 2-3 weeks if we are lucky.  We're doing our best to make this process as quick and painless as possible.   

September.....21 rainy days + hottest night time temps ever = trouble
Mapping out the needy areas for budgeting purposes.  Trees and carts are
the two common themes among the weakest areas.   
Same hole pictured above.  Earlier this year
the rough was much happier.  
Jimmy at work with the seeder
The seeder does a good job poking holes and
drop spreading seed all in one pass.  

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Light Reading

Here is a recent note sent out from one of the legends in our industry.  We've seen most of what he references in this article:

Misery Loves Company
Peter H. Dernoeden, Ph. D

Since spring, the story has been mostly of prolonged periods of overcast and rainy weather –interrupted by heavy downpours. July was for some incredibly hot and dry. It’s been one for the books, and the effects have been on display on golf courses, sod farms, home lawns and other professionally managed turfs. Inability to mow for long periods, and the need to get equipment out before turf has properly drained, has resulted in lots of scalping and mechanical damage.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

2017 v 2018

From our weather station here at the office:

2017 vs 2018
September 8 - 30th

 Last year we waited until the ground softened up to aerate and seed.  This year we are waiting for the ground to firm up.  Both are problematic, but we'll find a way to make things work regardless.  Many of the recent rain days brought very little volume.  However, dense fog, constant mist, and high humidity, kept it much wetter than the amount in the gauge indicates.  

From our gauge at the shop:


Monday, September 24, 2018

Schedule Changes and USGA Green Section Update

We are experiencing a great deal of frustration with the weather.  A calendar that was already booked with plans for course maintenance has now been reduced by at least three, but more than likely 4 weeks.  Aeration has moved from Plan A to Plan B and is now closing in on Plan C.  Unfortunately we don't have a Plan C so we are going to have to wing it.  Aerating greens, aerating roughs, overseeding roughs, fertilizing, etc... have been bumped from the schedule for three straight weeks.  All these tasks need to be performed between Labor Day and early October.  Unfortunately it's rained all but two of the last 17 days and this week looks like another full wash out.  If it stops raining on Thursday as predicted, we'll need several days to dry out before we can get the big mowers and tractors back out.  With that fact, we've decided to put off the much needed core aeration of greens and just use solid tines as a "band aid" for the moment.  We did some of that work today in the rain and will attempt to complete it tomorrow.  Pulling cores and topdressing (much needed) is out of the question with the weather and ground conditions we have.  When things improve we'll need to pounce on catching up with mowing and aerating/overseeding roughs.  We are running out of time to get this stuff done before the leaves start to fall and frosty mornings become the norm.  It's going to take some time for us to catch up from this weather and things will likely be less than ideal for some time following the last rain drop.  Please bear with us and know we are doing all we can to shuffle priorities and keep the course in shape. 

Click the link for the latest update from our USGA Green Section : When's It Gonna End

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Brief Update and Reminders

It looks like Florence is going to knock out summer.  That's a big step in getting the course back in shape for the fall golf season.  Summer weather, the cumulative affect of a summer's worth of golf/cart traffic, tough soil conditions, and a host of other stresses put a real dent in late summer course conditions.  We have a very short window now in which to work out the kinks as before we know it, frost will be a morning ritual. 

Greens Aeration scheduled for the upcoming week (Sept 17-19) will not happen as planned due to the remnants of Florence.  The course is saturated and the forecast is for more rain over the next two days.  We will try again next week. 

Rough aeration and overseeding is high on the list and will be completed as soon as possible.

Fairways will get their fall treatments for zoysia patch and winter weed prevention.

In addition to the many seasonal issues that we face this time of year we are also seeing a rash of golfer related challenges.  It's important to remember that golfer etiquette has a big impact on course conditions. 

Some recently observed breaches of course etiquette...

Our campaign to keep the practice tee in good shape all season is not going so well. 
Please take a look at the big white sign the next time you visit the practice tee.  

Please don't apply sunscreen or insect repellent when standing on grass
Don't take divots on greens 

If you can step directly from the cart to the green, you're too close to the green

Park on the path when putting and/or teeing off

Rake your own footprints from bunkers