Winter will officially be here in 4 days although it appears to have started a week ago with the first snow. The snow has in fact set us back somewhat as we still have a lot of leaves to be processed on the course. The maples hung on to their leaves surprisingly late this year and the oaks shed theirs last week, which is normal considering the mild fall. They are always the last to the party and depending on the variety, they will commence their leaf drop into the spring.
Most of the snow should melt this week based on the latest forecast. This will allow us to go through the entire course for one last leaf clean up, apply snow mold protect to greens, tees and approaches and finish topdressing approaches along with alternate greens.
We were fortunate enough to get regulation greens doubled cupped, alternate greens installed and the irrigation system winterized before the very cold weather set in. All of these task must be completed before the ground freezes.
If your new to the club and will be playing golf over the winter and early spring, you may be hitting into alternate (formally known as temporary) greens. We establish these in order to protect the regulation greens during periods of freezing and thawing. Damage to the putting greens occurs under these conditions. Actually the entire course is subject to damage from playing in the winter. Fortunately, Bala has tee to green cart paths except for 10 + 11, to minimize cart damage to fairways and roughs. Tees do get beat up since we can’t germinate seed in the divots until the warmer weather in the spring but we do fill them through out the winter. If you’d like more information on alternate greens and their purpose and or are interested in the other perils of winter play on a golf course, this link will take you an excellent article from the USGA, .http://gsrpdf.lib.msu.edu/ticpdf.py?file=/article/hartwiger-moeller-winter-1-9-15.pdf
My next update will cover winter projects. Right now I know we will be doing tree work and have already started replacing the stairs on #1. I have submitted recommendations for bunker and tee restoration to the Greens committee. I will follow up a soon as I have confirmation on the details.
Thank you for reading and a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season to all!