Monday, August 15, 2016

August Golf Course Update

This could be a copy and paste of our last update, but many of the same issues exist.  Here is a rundown of where things stand.....

Summer Stress For Bentgrass

Extreme heat coupled with some late afternoon storms has made the soil in greens and tees unsuitable for bentgrass. Soil retains more heat when it's wet so, if it rains during the hottest part of the day, the soil stays warm all night.  The humidity has remained high throughout most days which prevents the soil from drying down.  Soil temperatures have hovered at or above what bentgrass can tolerate for the past two weeks and the current forecast shows no relief soon.  We turned off the sprinkler heads to greens a few weeks ago.  The areas that dry up between rains have been watered by hand with hoses.  It's very labor intensive, but it is the only way to avoid overwatering areas that do not need water.  The only living roots are near the surface and therefore we find ourselves handwatering all day everyday in order to keep little infant roots alive.  Night time temperatures need to fall below 70 degrees consistently and rains need to stay away until that happens.  On the bright side, the zoysia grass could not be happier.  

For those looking for more scientific explanations....

Recent Report From Virginia Tech's Turf Team regarding the current situation in Virginia

Understanding Wet Wilt from 2005, but perfect for what we are facing

Summer Staff Heads Back To School

The younger high school staff will remain to help us out on the weekends, but we will be saying goodbye to 10 college students this week.  Needless to say things will be challenging for us between now and winter.  

We had one of our best teams ever this summer.  I can't say enough about their work and I hope they all return next year.  They were a breath of fresh air when they arrived and have been a joy to have around.  This year's team worked very well together and brought a positive energy to the entire operation.  Some of them are moving on to bigger and better things, but if they need a "fall back" option we'll gladly take them back next summer.

Irrigation Project

For the past month we've been working our way through the course replacing irrigation heads around greens.  Each green is surrounded with 4 to 5 heads and they are 21-23 years old.  The new heads will be fully adjustable and will be set up to avoid watering green surrounds and bunkers.  We have 10 holes completed and are hoping to have the rest of them knocked out soon.  We are working on this when conditions and the golf schedule allow.  There will be plenty of touch up work to do as some of the turf around the new heads settles.  We won't be done with this aspect of the job until all heads are perfectly level and the ground around them is smooth and firm.  

Bermuda Battle

The battle we fought last fall with Bermuda grass did not go as well as hoped.  I knew we wouldn't win in one season, but I didn't expect the problem to grow after what we did.  For financial reasons we opted for the "low cost" option.  Obviously we learned that it's not wise to cut corners when fighting bermuda. We will be using some of the "good stuff" on small areas this fall and will send more info soon.  

Fall Greens Aeration

On Monday and Tuesday (September 19-20), we will be aerating all the putting surfaces.  This will involve a heavy sand topdressing followed by a 1/2"-5/8" solid tine.  We will then brush the sand into the holes.  It takes a long time to do this properly and ideally we would have 3-4 days to complete the task.  Bear with us on Wednesday and Thursday as we will still be touching up things to help speed the recovery process.  Lots of sand, brushing, rolling, etc...

Fall Tee Box Recovery

The biggest loser in the summer we've had is the tee boxes.  Many of them are far too small for the amount of use they get and all of them are built on a shallow root zone.  The hot wet weather has taken a toll on tees, but we will rebound and come out fine.  It is difficult to have to wait on the weather to cooperate, but attempting an aggressive recovery effort now would cause bigger issues.  We must wait for temperatures and moisture to settle down before beginning our work. Aeration and verticutting will be a big part of the job along with some spot seeding.

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