Monday, August 31, 2015

Course Update

#7 greens surround taken August 14th
#4 fairway taken August 30th
Over the past month or so, the golf course has seen a lot of seasonal changes.  During the last week of July, the typical hot, dry summer weather pattern started to settle in and the golf course began to dry out.  This dry pattern continued until rains came in mid-August.
Although our irrigation system is more efficient than I've ever seen it, it cannot give the grass all the water it needs to replace what is being evaporated in the absence of periodic rains.  As a result, the Bermuda on the course began to turn brown and semi-dormant in certain places.  Although this is normal for this time of year, I still had a lot golfers in disbelief that we could be so dry after having so much rain this spring.  The picture on the right was taken on August 14th and it's clear to see we missed some key rains in July.  I recently wrote in greater detail on the dry weather pattern and it can be found here.  Relief from the hot, dry weather came in the form of several big storms that, not only dumped almost 7 inches of rain, but dropped the temperatures down into the 80's.  As you can see from the picture on the right, the golf course greened back up quickly.

Removing thatch on #17
Aside from the weather, the staff has done a fantastic job of not only keeping up with our daily tasks, but completing timely improvement projects leading up to Labor day weekend.  Slicing of fairways and greens mid month alleviated compaction stress, and provided a much needed dose of oxygen into the rootzone during this most stressful time of year.  Our chemical applicator, Doug, applied fertilizer to the entire golf course a week before the rains started which allowed us to recover from the dry weather very quickly.  Last week, the staff performed a quick core aeration on collars.  Once this was drug in and watered, there was very little, if any, disruption to the surface.  This will heal before the holiday weekend and provide long lasting benefits well into fall.

Removed a lot of organic during this process
In the two weeks leading up to Labor Day weekend, the staff has verticut greens several times, to smooth and firm the surface.  All fine turf areas (tees, fairways, etc.) have been sprayed with fertilizer to improve color and density.  Bunkers have become a main focus.  The staff edged them last week and this week, a full depth audit will be performed, with fresh sand added where needed to improve consistency.

Applying nitrogen and growth regulator for color and density
Overall, I couldn't be more proud of the staff and the hard work they've put in over the past month to ensure the best possible conditions leading into this important holiday weekend.  I hope to see many of you out there enjoying the golf course!

A fresh edge always improves the look of the bunkers

Friday, August 14, 2015

How Come the Course is So Dry?

It seems hard to believe that the golf course could be this dry considering the torrential rains we had back in May and June.  However, our typical dry, warm summer weather pattern has settled in and much of the soil moisture that was in the ground is now gone.  To put in perspective, just how much it has changed, we've only received .75" of rain since July 9th.  During this same time, our daily ET rates have averaged over .16".  ET is an acronym for evapotranspiration, which is a measurement of water lost from the soil by a combination of water evaporating into the atmosphere and water that is used, or transpired, by the turf.  That means that almost 5" of moisture has been lost out of the ground since July 9th, while only receiving .75" of rain.  Now, of course we have irrigation to help compensate for the lack of rain, but with almost 11 million gallons of water that has been lost out of the ground over the past 5 weeks, our water supply is running low.  As you can see from the picture below, our irrigation pond has dropped almost two feet.  Almost two weeks ago, we began our summer water conservation program to keep as much water in our ponds as possible.  As you play the course over the next few weeks, you'll continue to see the Bermuda go dormant.  Please know that although the turf will turn brown, we are watering just enough to keep it alive and once the rain returns, the course will bounce back and look as green as it did earlier this summer.

As always, if you have any questions, or concerns, please feel free to contact anyone in the grounds department.  Thank you.