Friday, September 16, 2016

One Week Down...One Week to Go

Thanks for your patience with us this week.  For the first time in my 16 years we got a break during the growing season to do some much needed turf repair work.  We know it was a great week to play golf, so we appreciate your willingness to let us have nine holes each day to do our work.  The entire course is open today, tomorrow, and Sunday before we go back at it next week on greens.

This week we:
  • applied herbicides to the rough to suppress bermudagrass, and remove unwanted weeds.   
  • verticut and aerated tees, then seeded where needed, topdressed, and rolled
  • aerated, overseeded, and fertilized all tee slopes around tee boxes
RIP #13 tee.  In addition to the chores listed above we decided it was time to surrender in the battle against the 13th tees.  Bull Paspalum is the wonderful weed that has plagued the 13th tee for 16 plus years.  It is a perennial that cannot be selectively removed from bentgrass.  We sprayed the front two tees on 13 with Round Up and re-seeded them to a new variety of bentgrass.  Bermuda or zoysia may be our next step in the summer of 2017, but this is not the time to sod those varieties.  We'll probably see bull paspalum again next year on this tee, but it should be a much smaller population.  We'll give the new bentgrass a chance and then make another move if needed.  

Next week we will:
  • aerate and topdress all greens
  • brush and roll all greens 
  • follow up topdressing if needed 
  • brush and roll all greens again until satisfied that all holes are completely full and the greens are smooth
  • keep tee complexes well hydrated for the sake of all the new seed we just put in place (they will be soft and messy in places until the grass starts to come up and then we'll back off the water
  • begin aerating roughs
  • fertilize roughs
The course will be closed from Monday morning until 11:00 AM next Friday.  We think the fall golf season will be fantastic in large part due to your patience and cooperation over this two week period.  Enjoy golf this weekend, and get back on the course next Friday.    

Truth And Consequences...the latest update from your USGA Green Section

USGA Green Section Update: Truth and Consequences

Friday, September 2, 2016

Recovery Plan and Golf Course Schedule

We've made multiple announcements recently regarding the difficult summer on the golf course.  Hopefully a break in the weather will arrive soon and we can begin some much needed recovery work.  With a busy tournament schedule over the next two weekends we are focusing on September 12th as a starting point for this work.  Tees will be our priority this first week.  Greens will then be aerated on September 19th and 20th.  Given the scope of work to be done we will be closing part or all of the course for several days during this two week period.  

The course will operate under the following schedule from the 12th to the 23rd :

Monday, September 12th 

Tuesday, September 13th
Front Nine Closed / Back Nine Open

Wed/Thurs, September 14th/15th
Back Nine Closed / Front Nine Open

The putting green will be closed all 4 of these days, but the Practice Tee and Chipping Green will be open

The course will be open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (16th-18th)

Monday, September 19th- Noon Friday, September 23rd
The course will be closed for greens aeration and continued recovery work.  

The putting green will be closed until Friday morning, but the Practice Tee and Chipping Green will be open

The course will re-open at Noon on Friday, September 23rd.  

We thank you very much for your understanding and cooperation.  As previously mentioned, this summer has been extremely painful for many areas of the course.  We are surrounded by courses with similar situations and many with far greater challenges.  I am sure that with some small breaks from the weather and your cooperation, we will have a pristine course very soon.

Yet Another Timely Update From The USGA

A Summer Brawl
SEPTEMBER 2, 2016By Jim Skorulski, agronomist, Northeast Region

Roberto Duran's famous phrase "No mas" that ended his brawl with Sugar Ray Leonard, and essentially his career, comes to mind this summer. Enough is enough already! Whether dealing with season-long drought or the effects of heat and humidity, this season has pushed turf and many turf managers to their limits. Courses in the northern half of the region continue to hope for rain while those in southern half wish the rain would stop for a while.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

More Than Just A Weather Issue

The fight to survive continues, but I wanted to add some photos to clarify that weather isn't our only foe. Some heavy morning shade issues on several greens as well as some design features that concentrate foot traffic are the common denominators among all our troubled areas.  Areas that have both heavy morning shade as well as concentrated wear are the worst looking areas.  When May is saturated and the temperatures ramp up in June, July, and August the added stress of foot traffic and shade can send turf packing.

A green like 11 (pictured below) has no bunkers to concentrate foot traffic, the path is a long way from the green allowing for even more dispersion of on/off traffic, and it is in full sun as soon as the sun rises.  Not surprisingly we have very good turf throughout number 11.  The chipping green is the same way.  It gets almost zero foot traffic.

Conversely, number 8 (pictured below) is in full shade well into the morning, almost all the on/off traffic crosses the back middle of the green, and the contours of the green limit the number of pin placements.  In fact two of the six placements are on the back portion of the green where all the on/off traffic crosses.  So regardless of where the pin is located the back portion of the green gets traffic.  It also stays in full shade until 10:00 each morning and gets full sun during the hottest part of the day.  Not surprisingly this is one of our weakest greens. 12 is the same way.   A chainsaw would be our best friend in several places although some of the problem trees are not on our property.  The trees are 23 years older than they were when the course was built and they've grown a lot.  

The two pictures below are of 12 green.  The trees to the east side of this green (right side of each picture) need to come down.  Also, much like the 8th hole pictured above, most all of the entry/exit foot traffic comes across the back middle of the green.  Morning shade plus the bulk of all foot traffic each day = Weak Turf.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Break Time is Over

The first few days of the week offered a much needed break from the heat.  Night time temperatures finally getting into the 60s was a big help. Unfortunately the next week to ten days looks painful....

Roots on greens and tees are very shallow and therefore require a lot of babysitting.  Greens are softer, as is always the case in August.  If our bentgrass was a person it would be in ICU.  We're going to be ok, but for now things are minute to minute.  Some very nice courses nearby have gone as far as closing temporarily in order to protect the greens from further damage.  No visitors in ICU.  I'm hoping that the oppressive heat keeps the traffic to a minimum during these next few stressful days.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Timely Updates from the USGA

We continue to play defense in our quest to make it through August.  It looks like we are going to catch a break with the weather next week.

Here two recent USGA Updates focusing on this situation...

The Marathon Continues 
AUGUST 5, 2016   
By Addison Barden, agronomist, Northeast Region

"Underlying issues, such as a poor growing environment or lack of internal drainage, have caused turf decline this summer."

Back To The Basics
AUGUST 19, 2016   
By Paul Jacobs, agronomist, Northeast Region and 
Adam Moeller, director, Green Section Education

"Extreme heat and high canopy temperatures forced superintendents to adjust maintenance practices and emphasize water management."