Saturday, October 27, 2012

Frost Delays

Embedded image permalinkThis morning was our first official frost delay, so I thought I should take this opportunity to remind our members and guests why we must delay golf.
Frost occurs when clear, cold nights allow the turf plant to cool down more than the surrounding atmosphere.  This causes condensation that freezes on the leaf blade.  When the leaf is frozen, any foot traffic or mowing, will cause severe damage.  One foursome of golfers on a green that has frost, can leave behind hundreds of footprints of brown, dead turf.  Once the sun rises, and the temperature starts climbing, it doesn't take long for the frost to lift.  Even though we, the agronomy department, know that it is an inconvenience to hold up morning play, we also know how important it is to protect the greens from preventable damage.  Your cooperation during this off-season, will allow us to maintain the best possible putting surfaces.  As always, if you have any further questions, just let us know.  Thank you.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bermuda contamination

Embedded image permalinkOver the past week or so, you've probably noticed the brown areas on #1, #5, and #8 greens.  These areas contain Bermuda grass that was sprayed with herbicide prior to removal.  We use herbicide to be sure that the entire Bermuda plant is dead (esp. the rhizomes).  Rhizomes are underground stems that spread laterally and contain growth points where new roots and shoots can be created.  If we miss any of these rhizomes during removal, we will have more Bermuda contamination to remove next year.
So, why go through all the trouble to remove it from the greens?  Common Bermuda spreads quickly and has a very coarse texture.  Over time, these areas will continue to get larger, thereby compromising the quality of the putting surface.
The staff did a great job stripping off  the old sod and then excavating down below the Bermuda roots to be sure all plant material has been removed.  Once this was complete, the holes were back filled with new root zone mix containing 90% sand and 10% peat.  After the mix was blended with the original root zone, and tamped down firm, the sod was carefully laid down.  Once the sod was down, the pads were tamped smooth and all seams were topdressed.
The largest portion of work was completed this past Tuesday, while we were closed.  The last few remaining areas are very small and will be wrapped up next Tuesday.  Once this green is done, we still have a few other greens we need to finish.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Irrigation additions

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One of the few benefits of a historic drought has been the identification of the maintained areas that do not get good coverage from the irrigation system.  Some areas are along the perimeter of the course and we utilize mobile sprinkler heads to apply sufficient irrigation for these areas.  However, there are a few areas that have been on my list that are great candidates for adding new sprinkler heads.  We decided to address a few of them this morning.  The first area we looked at was north of the forward tees on #1.  This area always gets very dry during the summer.  Since it is on the very first hole, we wanted the area to be as visually pleasing as possible.  The second area we added a sprinkler head was on #6.  The area west of the 100 yard marker has always been thin, and dry during the summer.  We've noticed that a large percentage of golfers hit their approach shots from this area so keeping this area covered with healthy turf will really help the playability of the hole.  This happens to also be the area that has the most concentrated cart traffic from golfers and maintenance staff.  I believe that having sprinklers in these areas will definitely improve the playability of these holes as well as their aesthetics.