Saturday, August 13, 2011

Course Update 8/13

It's official - This is now the driest 10 month stretch on record! There are many short and long term problems associated with extended drought conditions on golf courses. I wanted to take a moment to list a few of them.

Short Term:
  1. Weak and thinning turf
  2. Increased damage from traffic
  3. Yellowing and inconsistent turf density
  4. Irrigation system damage from swelling and contracting of soil
  5. Increased utility cost from increased pumping for irrigation
  6. More labor used for hand watering - takes away from other areas of the course
  7. Extreme temperatures reduce plant growth - even on bermuda grass
  8. Higher mowing heights
  9. Reduced play = less revenue for clubs
  10. Increased damage to well pumps - the wells must work harder as the water table continues to drop
Long Term:
  1. Wear and tear on irrigation system from increased usage
  2. Long term damage to turfgrass - may not recover until next summer
  3. Increased number of weeds when rain returns
    1. Weed seeds will not germinate until rainfall
    2. Extreme heat limits the use of herbicides such as Fall pre-emergent
    3. Thin or weak turf will be very susceptible to invasion by weeds
  4. Practices such as overseeding may not be an option for many clubs because of water restrictions and agronomic implications
  5. If we have a hard winter then winter kill will be much more prominent than in years past
  6. It will take many months of rain to return water tables to normal levels
  7. Increased pressure from media outlets and public for golf courses to be limited on water
  8. Damage to cart paths as a result of swelling and compacting of soil

We have three main goals for both courses right now:
  1. Maintain South Course at a high level
  2. Prepare North Course for re-opening
  3. Limit the damage from the drought on both courses 
 North Course:

We are working around the clock to get the greens ready as soon as possible. Currently we are still hoping to open in early to mid September. Please keep in mind that the greens will not be perfect when we re-open. It takes a full year for the greens to mature and provide quality putting surfaces. I have listed a few notes about the greens below:
  • Mowing heights have been lowered to .200" and greens are mowed about 3 times a week
  • We have started spraying the greens - allows for soluble fertilizer and plant protectants to be applied
  • Greens will be heavily topdressed again on Monday
  • The extended 100+ degree temps slow down growth and may delay opening

#6 Green on 8/12

#6 Green on 8/12
South Course: We are planning another light aeration from Monday, August 15th. This will be the same small coring tines and process that has taken place twice this year already. This process is absolutely necessary to ensure that the greens will continue to put well long term. Thank you for patience with this matter. We expect the greens to return to normal putting by the end of the week.

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