Sunday, May 22, 2016

What To Expect With All This Rain

The staff has been very patient and willing to juggle their personal lives to accommodate the extreme weather we've faced.  I can't thank them enough as without their extra effort, I'm not sure we'd have a golf course to play. 

Last Sunday evening we pulled staff together for some mowing despite conditions that would normally be considered too wet.  We knew Monday was going to be a better day, but we had a 144 players showing up for a 9:00 shotgun start and weren't going to be able to mow for 6 hours (yes it took them 6 hours to play 18 holes).  We also knew that more rain was coming Tuesday and the course would be even wetter then.  So Sunday evening, early Monday morning, and again late Monday until almost 8PM we got the rough, fairways, tees, and approaches mowed.  We made a mess, but kept the grass at a manageable height.  We got through the course again with mowers Wednesday evening until late Friday in advance of the storms that washed us out of Saturday and Sunday.  At this point we are just trying to keep things under control.  Turf is struggling with disease, greatly delayed weed control applications have allowed some weeds to get a head start, roots are sitting in water, and bunkers are a wreck.  We've been using push mowers to mow green surrounds, tee slopes, and other areas where large mowers are unable to go.

  • Expect to see a summer with some weed problems related to this month long rain as we are 4 weeks behind schedule on the pre-emergent herbicide application for fairways.  Weeds like kyllinga and sedges are our target with that product and they love wet soil.  We will treat curatively once we are able to get the sprayer off the cart path.  However, the problems are already very obvious in some areas and it will likely get worse before it gets better.  

  • Expect to see some diseases like dollar spot on tees and zoysia patch on fairways.  Again, it's tough to stick to the schedule with control measures when the rain doesn't let up.  When we have had a nice day the focus has been to simply get the turf mowed. 

  • Expect to see some potential loss of turf vigor when it finally warms up.  Grass with roots sitting in water for a month and leaves that see very little sun do not thrive.  

  • Bunkers have aged 5 years in the past month.  Each rain washes sand off the slopes and underlying rock and clay mingle with the eroded sand.  Shovels remove the aftermath leaving less sand than we started with.  Do this 4 or 5 times in a month and sand quickly disappears.  We have been buying new sand, but it is not cheap and it does not solve the real issue.  Bunkers need to be renovated with new drainage and/or liners and of course sand.  

  • The zoysia practice tee normally opens for use at the end of April.  We had a very hard freeze on the 28th of April followed by rain for 20 of the last 24 days.  The zoysia, which thrives in hot weather and does not like wet soil, is understandably weak and is about 4-5 weeks behind schedule.  If it dries up this week we will get the grass surface back in play.  For now, we need patience and better weather.  

Rain 20 of the last 24 days.

This is from the weather station at my office....

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