May 29, 2013

Greens Maintenance Days

The 2013 golf calendar includes new events called greens maintenance days.  These are days that were built in to allow us to complete our routine cultural practices such as grooming, topdressing, and venting the greens.  The timing of the events allows us to prepare for and recover from the premier golf events.  The nature of the practices will vary based on their proximity to tournaments or other cultural practices. 

Yesterday we verticut the greens to thin out the turf and smooth the putting surface in preparation for the Sid Noyes Championship this weekend.  Essentially this was more of a grooming and less of a verticutting, therefore the disruption to the putting surface is minimal.  What does this mean?  Not much to the average golfer, but to turf nerds like me it is exciting. 
Verticutting is an important tool that we use to control thatch and smooth out the surface.  Earlier this spring we used the Graden to remove a lot of material from the surface, which produced the firm smooth surfaces we have enjoyed this spring.  This time we just tickled the surface, but we did it in three directions.  In a couple of weeks we will be a little more aggressive and lower the blades to help with our topdressing application. 
So how does this affect the average golfer?  
In addition to the short term benefits realized by the tournament participants, and the long term benefits over the course of an entire season, golfers will be able to check the calendar before they invite guests out to enjoy the course or schedule an important match.  Additional information will be available on the blog to inform golfers about the level of disruption they should expect, and how long it will take for the greens to recover. 

Here is a link to a USGA video that explains the "Venting" process.


May 11, 2013

New Tree on 3

The new sugar maple has been planted on the 3rd hole. It is one of three trees that were approved by the Golf Long Range Committee, and is part of a larger plan developed by Tim Gerrish. It was the largest tree we could install considering the cost and equipment available.
Most people have commented that it is smaller than they expected, which is reasonable considering the size of the other trees in the area. The mature size will be 50'-70' tall and almost as wide and will compliment the other trees on the hole very nicely. It will take time to fill in the void and restore the penalty for an errant tee shot, but we will be fertilizing the rough in the area to add additional penalty to shots that stray left off the tee. We hope to add money into next year's budget to add more trees in the area.

We finally received a few showers this week which will promote a lot of growth throughout the course. The tees bounced back nicely from the dry spell as did the greens. The rough seems ready to explode which will pose many challenges for golfers as well as my staff. We Aeravated the fairways last week using our new aerifier. This shattered the firm dry soil allowing the rain to penetrate deeper and rehydrate the root system. After we mow them this week you will not know we did anything. We performed a similar "venting" of the greens last week which will provide oxygen for the root system for about three weeks. We will complete this periodically throughout the season to help the turf survive the heat and drought stress of the coming months.
The coming weeks will be dominated by fertilizer and chemical applications that will set us up for what I anticipate will be a great summer.
Thanks for checking in, and I look forward to seeing you on the golf course.