Only the strong survive!

It is that time of the year in which we encourage growth of the greens to ensure they are strong enough to withstand the stresses of aerification, the summer weather, being manicured daily, and having thousands of members and guest playing on them.

The best way to encourage growth is through fertilizing. If you’ve been out playing lately or plan on playing this week, you’ll notice that the greens are off color especially when compare to the approaches, tees, fairways and roughs. They are very hungry right now! Their current state of slow growth is the main reason they are rolling so quickly. The recent drier weather, the few mowing’s and rollings we have done, have also added to their quickness!

I have receive many positive comments on the recent conditions of the greens, and as much as I would like this to continue, the greens would never survive the summer like this. So the balancing act of fertilizer, growth regulation, insect, disease and weed control, moisture management, aerification, topdressing, mowing and rolling has begun! And I can not forget to mention the largest input, the mother of all mother’s, Mother Nature!

The first input will be aerification of the greens, which is now scheduled for this Wednesday and Thursday April 18 &19. We will be using a 1/4″ open tine on a quad pattern of 2″x2″ spacing, it will look like this when the cores have been removed.

A light topdressing will follow to primarily smooth the surface, trying to fill the little holes is next to impossible. Rolling will be next followed up with a granular, slow-release fertilizer and water. It will take 5-7 days for the fertilizer to kick in. During this time the greens will be regaining their smoothness but also slowing down in speed. Depending on the weather, the greens should be healed in 14 days. Once healed we will initiate the growth regulator program for the season.

While I’m on the subject of green speed, we will be monitoring this more this season in an effort to find a acceptable speed that will enable us to maintain consistency between greens without challenging the health of the turf. I will go into more detail on this subject in a future blog.

On to other golf course news. We were able to finish the stairs on the 1st. tee last week with the warm temperatures. We officially opened them this past Saturday.

And the forward teeing surface on 6 tee was sodded last week also.

The sod will need to root for three weeks before opening it to play. During that time we will be mowing, rolling and topdressing it. I’m hoping Monday’s heavy rain helped settle the irrigation trench so we can finish up the tee’s perimeter with tall fescue sod. This will not affect the timing of the opening of the tee itself.

Rounding of the corners of the tees is in progress. We have mowed out the expanded areas along with rounding out the square corners. We are going to schedule aeration of the expanded tee surfaces during the last week of April. This will be followed up with a heavy rolling of the areas to expedite matching  the two surfaces. There is a substantial height difference between the new and existing tee surfaces. This process will have little affect on play ability and will bring uniformity to both the new and old surfaces.

You may have noticed some red lines along the fairways. This is our annual realignment of the fairways that is completed during the first few mowings of the season. Most movement is minimal and will not affect your game. We did take the liberty of shortening 4 fairway back to the first sprinkler head as we feel the fairway was to close to the tee, even for high handicap players and the irrigation coverage before the first head always presented a challenge maintaining quality turf during the summer months.

Work will resume on #13 bunkers this week. Our goal is to have them completed in the next three weeks. We have plenty to do on them, grading, drainage, sod and new sand. Of course Mother Nature will have to cooperate for us the reach our goal. Keep your fingers crossed!