Friday, January 6, 2012

Course Update 1/6/11

Good Morning,

I would like to spend a few moments discussing a few areas on the courses that I have received several questions on.

Question #1: Why is it so hard to hold shot on the North Greens?

Mike McCarty Aerating the South on Monday.
Answer: There a couple of reasons that the North Greens are so firm. The biggest reason is the fact that there is a low amount of organic matter in the top inch of the greens. This is because the greens are so young. As greens age the amount of organic matter increases thus providing a pad which makes the greens more receptive. This pad also helps the greens tolerate traffic. However, organic matter is a double edged sword. Too much organic matter causes disease, poor drainage, less oxygen for the roots, causes soft spongy putting surfaces, and decreases overall playability. It is for these reasons that we must put in place cultural practices such as vertical mowing and core aeration in order to slow the accumulation of thatch. Thatch management is one of the biggest challenges in managing putting greens. The greens are also difficult to hold because of the architectural design. Almost all of the greens on the North are elevated thus making approach shots more difficult. The moisture content of the greens also influences their receptiveness. In order to provide healthy turf we must carefully monitor the amount of moisture applied. Wet greens hold better, but are much more susceptible to disease and traffic. One way that we can help the greens be more receptive while improving turf health is through light aeration. Earlier this week we used a combination of light topdressing and solid tine aeration on the South Greens. This process will help smooth the greens and help them hold shots. We will repeat this procedure on North on Monday.

Question #2: What are all those ugly patches and rings in the fairways?

#10 Fairway South on 1/1/12

Answer: Rhizoctonia solani, or Large Patch. Large Patch (also known as Zoyzia Patch) is a common fungal pathogen that affects warm season turf during extended periods of cool wet weather. Much of December provided excellent conditions for this disease. Unfortunately, the only control is expensive preventative fungicide applications combined with sound agronomic practices. The good news is that on bermuda grass the damage is primarily aesthetic only, and I do not predict any real turf loss. The bad news is that we will see the patches and rings for quite some time. Once the bermuda grass begins to grow the evidence of the disease should quickly disappear. However, other warm season turfgrasses such as St. Augustine and zoyzia are much more susceptible and significant damage can occur. If you have either of these grasses in your home lawn then I suggest the following: 1) Apply a preventative fungicide in early fall 2) Limit applications on Nitrogen late in the season 3) avoid over watering - particular in the fall and winter 4) If you already have the disease then apply an appropriate fungicide as soon as possible. This will not repair the damage, but it will keep it from getting worse. 

Question #3: What are those squares on the Nursery/Practice area on the North Course?

Answer: We utilize a variety of products to keep the greens healthy. In order to determine the effectiveness of these products, we use various test plots on our nurseries. A piece of plywood is placed in the area to be sprayed, thus preventing the turf underneath from receiving the application. This process is repeated twice for each application. The first placement puts the board in the same place every time - showing us what the greens would look like if we never sprayed. The board is then moved to a new location for each application - showing only the effects of the most recent spray.

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