Maintenance Update September 12
Update on Goals for the 2017 Season
Our greens have been consistently firmer and faster than last year. We did loose some speed late July and early August. We had to react to a negative effect that our growth regulator was having on the turf in the heat. The result was some increased turf growth to strengthen the plants and the extra growth slightly slowed the speed down. We have since got back on track, learned a few things, and greens are consistently 9 ½ to 10 ½ feet on a regular basis.
Growth drives everything. Too much growth and the surfaces are soft and slow. Too little growth and the surfaces will thin and turn to dirt. Our management of the putting surfaces is constantly walking the line between too much growth and too little, trying to find that perfect balance.
We are still hand raking the greenside bunkers. We are planning on starting to edge the fairway bunkers this fall. We do not have enough staff to rake bunkers everyday. We are asking players to rake any bunkers they play out of and not assume they will be raked the next morning. This will greatly improve the day to day play of the bunkers.
Proactive Fungicide Applications
We are staying on schedule with our applications and the greens are healthy. We have some dollar spot disease on some collars and in some fairway sections. We are not budgeted to treat fairways for dollar spot (~$6000), however we do have some partial jugs left over and we can spot treat the bad areas. To put it in perspective we have 27 acres of fairway and we can treat approximately 4 acres. The 4 acres is enough to get the bulk of the problem spots. The only issue is the winter chemical may not be as effective because the fungus population in the fairways will not have been knocked back mid-season. Our plan to minimize our risk as much as possible is to do the same as last fall and split the winter application into two separate applications. Rather than spray once at a 120 ml rate we will split it into two applications of 60 ml and 60 ml. This allows the first application to knock the fungus populations back and the second will protect the plant for the winter.
Annual Bluegrass Control
We have continued to spot spray all greens and collars with annual bluegrass control. This can be labour intensive but it is our best defence to keep this less desirable grass variety out of our greens. We have a very clean stand of bentgrass and we want to keep it that way. We also mix a small amount of chemical control every two weeks. This will kill any small seedlings before they get established.
- We have made a conscious effort to let the carts out as much as possible this season. We feel that our aeration program for fairways is paying off. This week we had 25mm or rain Sunday through Monday, 20mm of rain Monday through Tuesday and we were able to let carts out 90 degrees from the path Wednesday morning.
- The new tee markers are completed and out on the course.
- We have edged all the catch basins on the course in an effort to handle any fall rainstorms that are becoming more common.
- We were able to vent (solid tine) the greens three times throughout the season. This was part of our reduced thatch management plan.
- We will finish slicing fairways and then core aerate any fairways we didn’t do last fall due to focusing our efforts on flood repair.
- We will begin core aerating tees in the next few weeks. We will start on the pro decks, then the double diamond deck and work our way to the in play decks last.
- We will not be aerating greens, with a larger hole, until after we close the golf course for the season.
- The golf course edges (tree lines and fescue) are growing in. After we close we are going to bush hog all the fescue in an effort to push nature back. Next spring we can also get a good handle on the weeds when they are small plants.
- We are exploring different ways in which we can maintain the practice facility. Having to stretch labour always seems to find the practice range at the end of the list for maintenance and easy to skip. We are going to aerate the struggling spots on the driving range and try to establish a hardier variety of turf in that area. The reality is that no turf has much of a chance of survival under three months of ice. However, we will do all we can to get it to survive. We ordered new orange and red flags so you can tell the difference between the two. We repainted the little flags on the yardage sign so you can tell the difference between them as well. We added a chalk board to the yardage sign so we can write the plus or minus yardage to reflect where the ropes are located in relation to the flags. Hopefully this will make the actual yardage from the teeing area to the flags more accurate.
Golf Course Superintendent