Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Employee of the Month.....Mother Nature

We've received more positive feedback this summer than ever before and that's been very rewarding. We've worked really hard and, for a change, have had some support from the weather.  Typically we're hanging on for dear life at this time of year and planning the turf recovery efforts that start in late summer/early fall.  We still have a ways to go but it's safe to say the turf is in good condition and will be stronger than usual heading into fall.  This will be helpful to next year's conditions as well believe it or not. Going into winter in good condition will give us a leg up going into next season.  
Here is a recent update from the USGA that emphasizes the impact weather has played throughout our region.  We always work hard and do our best, but in recent years we've been fighting against mother nature.  This year she is on our team and that makes a huge difference.  

MILD SUMMER WEATHER EQUALS BETTER PLAYABILITY

By Darin S. Bevard, director, Mid-Atlantic Region
August 6, 2014

Playability and turfgrass health have been better than normal during the height of the summer stress season. The mild summer weather in much of the mid-Atlantic region has been a welcome change from the weather extremes of the past few growing seasons.
During a recent Course Consulting Service visit at a golf course in the Philadelphia area, course officials praised their maintenance staff for how much “better” playability and overall conditions were on the golf course. Equally, they indicated that their staff had done “better” maintaining the grass. I was quick to compare the hot, wet weather of July 2013 with the cooler July weather of this year. Timely rains have also been helpful. Perhaps the staff did their best work keeping the grass alive last July. The response was, “But the golf course has played so much better this year than last.” Playability probably is better, but it is not because the maintenance staff has worked harder this year than last. While maintenance programs are always adjusted, the mild summer weather has been better for conditioning cool-season grass and adequate for warm-season turf growth as well.
With no major agronomic problems trending in the region aside from persistent annual bluegrass weevil pressure in some areas, this is a good time to discuss the impact that weather has on turfgrass health. With overall cooler temperatures this summer and timely rainfall, the grass is healthier than would normally be expected in early August on many golf courses. When the grass is healthy, maintenance practices can be more aggressive and can focus on playability instead of primarily focused on turfgrass survival. Mother Nature has more impact on turfgrass management than golfers and course officials want to give her credit for. In years when the weather is bad and playability and/or turfgrass health suffers, the weather is often viewed as an excuse rather than a reason for problems.
The bottom line is that weather conditions dramatically impact daily golf course maintenance decisions. Weather is not the only reason that problems occur, but it is almost always a major factor. The mild summer has been a nice change from the weather extremes of the last three growing seasons. After the winter damage that occurred to bermudagrass in the southern part of the mid-Atlantic region and Poa annua in the northern tier last winter, I guess we deserve a break. For superintendents, the mild weather does not make their job easy as some have suggested. However, it offers the opportunity to provide better playing conditions than normal at this point in the growing season. Hopefully the golfers get out and enjoy their courses and the weather.
Source: Darin Bevard (dbevard@usga.org)
Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service

Contact the Green Section Staff  
We've received more positive feedback this summer than ever before and that's been very rewarding.  We've worked really hard and, for a change, have had some support from the weather.  Typically we're hanging on for dear life at this time of year and planning the turf recovery efforts that start in late summer/early fall.  We still have a ways to go but it's safe to say the turf is in good condition and will be stronger than usual heading into fall.  This will be helpful to next year's conditions as well believe it or not.  Going into winter in good condition will give us a leg up going into next season.  

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Cart Path Repairs Underway

Rain pushed us out of our original slot in early June so we rescheduled for this week.  Once again rain arrived along with the contractors, but we opted to go forward with the job.  The old broken sections were removed yesterday, but the rain today kept us from being able to pour new concrete.  Therefore, we are going to wrap up tomorrow and will have to keep the front nine closed for another day.  We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your cooperation and understanding.  No more bone jarring bumps on the front nine.  The back nine will be addressed when we aerate greens on September 15th and 16th.  The back nine will be closed at that time anyway so we can piggy back the two jobs and avoid closing more than necessary.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

What Not To Do

Only two carts per group are allowed to leave the path on any given hole.  That's been publicized enough to rule out the possibility that these guys didn't know the rule.  

Nothing says more about what these guys think of themselves, each other, their fellow members, and of the course than the picture below....



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

USGA: Mid-Atlantic UPDATE

USGA: Mid-Atlantic



WHY CAN’T WE KILL THESE WEEDS?

By Elliott L. Dowling, agronomist, Mid-Atlantic Region
July 23, 2014

Weed control in summer is difficult with weeds turning off-color following herbicide
applications, but often still able to recover.   Sequential applications at low rates are
the best method for control, especially during the hottest months of the year.
If weed populations seem out of control on your golf course, you are not alone. Broadleaf and annual weeds have emerged on golf facilities throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Weeds such as kyllinga, yellow and purple nutsedge, goosegrass and crabgrass are widespread. Unfortunately, they can be very difficult to control during summer due to the potential risk of injury to desirable turf.
Postemergence applications should have already begun. Generally, better control is realized while the weeds are small. Keep in mind that during hot and dry weather weeds have reduced ability to absorb herbicides which equates to reduced control. If you are currently in a dry period, delay control applications until adequate soil moisture is present.
Careful herbicide applications must be made on cool-season turf, especially in midsummer heat. Sequential, low-rate herbicide applications are often the best method for postemergence control, especially on sensitive grasses such as creeping bentgrass. If control measures are not implemented in a timely fashion, populations will continue to increase.
Source: Elliott L. Dowling (edowling@usga.org

Monday, July 28, 2014

Irrigation Motor Replacement

No summer is complete without at least one irrigation debacle.  This year, like many before, we lost one of our two 75hp motors.  On the night of July 3rd the motor in question died way too soon.  We limped by on one motor until last week when the new one was installed.  It is a large expense that we did not expect for several more years.  Since our motors are submersible (not the norm) they can not be repaired for less than the cost of a new one.  We are back up and running now and hope to have a pain free summer from here on out.  



White Weeds

Until last week you may have thought we were weed free this summer.  We were doing well, but were not as "clean" as you thought.  Cool temperatures gave us a window of opportunity to attack some weeds on tees.  The product we use causes the affected weeds to turn white.  It's unsightly for a few days, but should disappear soon.  We are planning to use a similar method in the roughs this August in an effort to remove bermuda, zoysia, and patches of bentgrass.  Our roughs are supposed to be fescue, but in 20 years the zoysia has crept out from the fairway and common bermuda has appeared in weed form.  At rough height these two grasses are nearly unplayable and in the winter time they appear as brown patches in the green fescue.  I'll give more detailed information on this project before it gets started.   


small goosegrass plant 

bermuda in bentgrass tee

Monday, June 23, 2014

Grub Control Underway

Beetles (especially Japanese beetles) are everywhere now and soon they will be laying eggs.  These eggs will hatch into grubs (the larval stage of the adult beetle) and quite possibly damage the turf.  If they don't damage the turf themselves, the raccoons and skunks will dig up the turf looking for them.  This is as bad, if not worse, than the actual damage from the grub.  To help prevent this problem from happening we apply a safe and commonly used product to the entire course.  We must irrigate enough to get the product through the thatch layer which may cause some areas to be a little soft.