Wicked Wet Weather

I’d like to update everyone on what’s happening on the course. If you’ve played recently you noticed how the recent wet weather has stressed many areas of the golf course.

The golf course has received over 6.21” of rain in the last 18 days, September’s average is 3.5” for the month. Within those 18 days we’ve experienced 3 partly sunny days with the others being overcast. These conditions are not conductive for growing finely manicured turfgrass.

 

Most greens have algae on them to a certain degree. This is caused primarily by water sitting on the surface and not percolating downward. In an effort to reduce the algae on greens, we were able to solid tine aerate the thinnest greens last Wednesday and spike all the greens on Thursday and Friday. I did blog on the solid tinning aeration on Wednesday. We were also able to quad hollow tine (1/8″) all the collars except # 7 Thursday and Friday.  We will continue to spike and solid tine them as needed until the algae problem is under control.

Greens were sprayed this past Monday with a broad-spectrum fungicide and a fungicide especially for algae. Tees have been holding their own with a few exceptions mainly on 5 & 9. All tees were sprayed last Thursday. We will continue to spray fungicides on all feature areas on an as needed basis to prevent and alleviate the growth of algae and other turf diseases.

Rutgers has found Gray Leaf Spot (GLS) in the fairway samples we sent them last Tuesday even though we just sprayed for it on Wednesday and Thursday, September 12 & 13, and have been spraying for this and other diseases on schedule since mid-July. We picked a fairway that was sprayed each day as the course received 1.53″ of rain on that Wednesday. The disease was found in both samples. The GLS is responsible for some of the fairways thinning, but overall environmental conditions have contributed more to the thinning of the fairways and roughs than the GLS. We began spraying the fairways again last Friday and will finish as weather permits. These fungicide applications will also be continued until the threat of all diseases has past.

For the upcoming weeks, we are planning to begin slit seeding the fairways, the thinnest ones first. (1,4,7 for example) along with aerating and seeding approaches and tees. We will need to balance our work with the golf schedule as October is a very busy month. We will do our best to keep disruption to a minimum but there will be times when our work will interfere with play ability.

It has been a difficult year weather wise to produce consistent conditions. Recovery will have to be in the form of aeration, seeding, and fertilization. These processes will have to be completed as soon as possible to give the golf course time to heal for next season. I thank you in advance for your patience as we work through this difficult period of weather.

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Venting of greens

In an effort to dry down some of the wettest greens on the course, today we have begun a process called “venting”. One definition of venting is: “permit air to enter” which is exactly what the greens need after the 6+ inches of rain they have received over the last 12 days!

There is an abundance of black algae on many greens like # 7 below:

algae 7 green

Using a green aerator with 1/8″ solid tines on a 2″x2″ pattern we can punch 36 holes per square foot, 3 ” deep which will allow air to enter the green to hasten the drying process. In the past we have used this process to do just the opposite, to let water in after the soil has become hydrophobic. But that’s not the case this time around.

green aerator with solid 1/8″tines

After aerating, we will roll each green using a mower with the blade off. This will gently smooth the surface to keep ball roll as true as possible. This process is slightly more disruptive to the surface than spiking but should heal over in most areas within a few days.

finished product

At this point we only plan on doing the following 8 greens, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15 & 16 along with the 2 practice putting greens, as they have the most algae on them. We will be spiking the other greens beginning tomorrow. These forms of aerification along with fungicide treatments should expedite the healing process. In the upcoming weeks we will be aerating tees, approaches, collars some fairways and roughs. I will be posting information on these processes both here on the blog and on the “members only” page on the website.

Bunker rake trial

In an effort to improve bunker conditions after a golfer makes a bunker shot, it was suggested that we try wider bunker rakes in the bunkers. I have purchased 4 different models, pictured below(#5 is the current rake on the course) and have numbered them accordingly.

They have been placed  on holes # 1 ,2, 5, 10, 14 &16.

I will be working with Mike Viscusi to make up a quick pole that we can email out at the end of the season. Your feedback on this experiment will give us insight on making changes for the 2019 season.