Greens held up well through the sweltering heat of our aeration last week. The task was very difficult given the conditions, but the staff knocked it out of the park. The heat meant that we had to be very cautious in our topdressing and brushing steps to avoid damaging the turf. It took us a little longer than we'd like, but the end result was well worth it. We appreciate your patience and willingness to give us the time we needed to get it done the right way. Greens are now 10-11 days into recovery and they are getting visibly better by the day. Soon we will ease the height of cut down and they will roll much faster and truer.
The mass exodus of staff leaving for school is now complete. We had a tremendous group of kids this year and miss them in a big way now. In the old days we had a much larger full time staff so the shoulder seasons were not so tough. Today, we are down to just myself, Ryan, Mike, Alan, Ginny, and Rich. A small team of seasonal staff members has been hired over the past few weeks to help us out and we are grateful they chose Fawn Lake. They will be here until sometime in late November. There is a lot of training underway as everything is brand new for them. We are still searching for good people, but the competition is stiff and the applicant pool is small. Labor will remain our biggest challenge for some time I have a feeling.
As of today, we are down to one irrigation pump. We generally operate with two, but one of them has died. The submersible motors that we use typically give us 5-6 years so we anticipated that this would be the year to replace the older of the two. We replaced one of them in 2017 and it is likely that one will need to be replaced in 2022, if not 2021. It's uncanny how predictable this issue is. We'll cross our fingers for good weather and good fortune with the one pump we do have. The replacement motor will hopefully be installed within the next 7-10 days. We just limped through a different ailment in July that rendered one pump down for a week. It's very stressful....which is why I'm typing this on a Friday night when I should be relaxing with friends and family.
A recent USGA Green Section Update explains our situation perfectly.
Don't Sleep On Tees...USGA Update
The late summer heat took a toll on tees. When greens demand more and more of our resources, tees often get less than they deserve. We know they need more, but in tight times they suffer. In a nutshell they need more aeration and better irrigation coverage. Tees are built on several inches of sand and the entire tee complex (bentgrass tee and fescue tee surround/slope) is irrigated with a single row of heads. An impossible dilemma to overcome with our situation is how to properly irrigate the tee complex. When the fescue growing in native clay is irrigated with the same zone that a bentgrass tee growing in sand is tied to, there is no way to satisfy both situations. If we give the tee complex enough water to keep the fescue alive, we likely overwater the bentgrass. If we water to make the bentgrass happy, the fescue dies. We combat this by using a team of guys with hoses in order to save water and get it where it's needed most. If mother nature dumps a mid afternoon storm on us when it's 95 degrees....things go south. We will be working to squeeze in a few aerations between now and spring in the hopes of firming up tees and getting them to function better. Aeration won't solve the irrigation issue, but it may make us more durable when heat and humidity crank up.