The rain last week was a welcome sight although we got about 1000% more than we needed. We received just under 8 inches from Tuesday night to Sunday morning. Bunkers are the biggest challenge in terms of clean up, but we also have a number of other storm related issues to deal with. A few drain inlets collapsed and will need to be excavated and repaired. We also have muddy cart paths, mulch washed out of beds, and earthworm castings covering the fairways and tees. The staff is much smaller now than it was in the summer and we are also closing in on the tail end of the ideal grass seeding window. For these two reasons we’ll have to postpone much of the storm related clean up in order to get back into the fall turf related jobs before the weather turns too cold. When the storm arrived we were in the process of aerating rough prior to seeding. Things are just starting to dry up enough to return to that task. We’ll follow the aerator with seed and then a machine called an Aeravator to help work the seed into the soil. The final step will be to spread a thin layer of compost called Or-gro over the rough. We had hoped to be wrapping this project up this week, but due to the rain we will be at least two weeks behind. Bunkers will remain in a messy state until we are all caught up with the turf related tasks. We sure miss the summer help.
BUNKERS…. Every time we receive intense rain (intensity matters more than volume) we lose some sand. Soil beneath the sand is exposed and mud and gravel wash over the surface of the sand. Removing the mud and gravel also requires removing some of the sand. The bunkers are 10 years old (average life for sand bunkers is 5-8 years) and have endured over 100 rain events where sand was lost to erosion and contamination with the underlying soil. We are in bad need of additional sand, but more importantly we need new drainage and bunker liner to go beneath the sand. “Topping off” the bunkers with new sand without addressing the real problem would be a very short term band-aid solution and ultimately cost much more than doing the right thing now. We are studying our options and hope to be able to make improvements in 2016. For now we’re doing the best we can.
SEEDING…. Our efforts to remove unwanted bermuda and bentgrass from the fescue rough are easy to see. Dead patches of turf will soon be green with fescue. There will still be a number of areas in need of work next season, but for now we’ve addressed a large amount of the problem. The rough will look and play much better with fescue taking the place of bermuda and bentgrass.
GREENS…. The rain last week took us out of our daily mowing routine. We mowed in the rain on Thursday and Sunday just so things wouldn’t get too out of hand. However, we had to skip mowing on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. The fertilizer we added following aeration combined with 8 inches of rain and a few days without mowing caused a tremendous amount of growth on greens. We cut twice on Monday, and are back to our daily routine now. Aeration that was done two weeks ago is almost invisible now and we should expect to see good putting conditions real soon. It just takes a few days to bounce back after the conditions we had.