Another golf season is upon us. Thanks to extended warm weather last fall and a mild winter, we have been able to get a lot of work done on the golf course. The turf that suffered damage from the extended drought last summer have been aerified, seeded, and fertilized, and most areas have recovered completely.
Since your last round of golf there has been a lot of work done to improve the appearance and playability of the golf course. Our first project involved adding a bunker to the 9th hole to restore the challenge lost when the trees along the left side died. The bunker was designed by Tim Gerrish and installed by our own staff, allowing us to complete the project on time and under budget. The plan is to install the sand in early April. I hope you enjoy this new feature as you drive by, and don’t have too many opportunities to play from it.
Another significant change is the addition of a new cart path to the 17th tee. The crushed granite path will help improve the appearance and function of the area. This project includes renovating the old teaching tee into a fescue mound, and small ornamental plantings that will complement the wetland meadow and attract pollinators. We also extended the path at the 7th/16th tees to provide better access to the forward tee and the help manage traffic and compaction.
The wet meadow is progressing nicely. The area was planted last fall using two custom native seed mixes that will mirror the grasses found along the tidal creek on the first hole. While these grasses mature over the coming year, we will be examining the possibility of adding more color and interest to these areas, including the pink Rose Mallow flowers that bloom toward the end of the summer.
We removed a number of trees and undergrowth from the wood lines throughout the course, especially on holes 4, 5, and 6. The long term plan is to highlight the natural beauty of the landscape by establishing low maintenance grasses and adding seasonal color interest in the form of native azaleas and mountain laurels. The first phase of the ornamental planting has been initiated at the comfort station, and will be completed this spring.
Looking ahead, we have modified a number of maintenance programs based on conditions observed during the drought of 2015. We have added late spring fertilizer applications to the fairways and primary rough that will promote more resilient turf through the heat of the summer. We have also upgraded the irrigation system to allow wetting agents to be applied through the sprinklers rather than sprayed onto the turf. This will improve our irrigation applications to greens, tees, and fairways, and will extend the area covered to include the rough areas covered by the irrigation system. The result of these programs will be a healthier, more consistent appearance throughout the golf course.
In the coming weeks we will resume our routine maintenance practices, and will complete our spring aeration and topdressing programs to greens, tees, and fairways. Any practices that will significantly impact the condition or access of the golf course will be posted on ForeTees, posted on this blog and on Twitter @pineorchard. Hopefully the weather will continue to improve, and we will see more people out enjoying a few early rounds of golf as the course continues to transition from winter to spring.