July 31, 2016

A fun, and very well done video about course etiquette.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4J9gBHH8us&sns=em


Peter Gorman
Golf Course Superintendent
Pine Orchard Yacht and Country Club
2 Club Parkway
Branford, CT 06405
203-483-9948

July 25, 2016

Water use: Home lawns vs. Golf Courses

A number of people stopped me this weekend asking about their irrigation strategy for their lawn.  Most centered around the concept of watering during the day, as they watched us scramble through the Member/Member tournament trying to alleviate drought and heat stress on the turf.  
Before you follow the link to an excellent article on residential irrigation, I want to explain what we were doing, and how it differs from from what most people are doing at home.  The water we apply during the day is meant to cool the turf, not add moisture to the soil.  Cooling occurs as the water evaporates, which is how our body cools itself through perspiration. If we perspire at an excessive rate we experience dehydration, and in extreme cases heat stroke. During the initial stages of drought stress turf experiences wilt, and extreme drought stress leads to significant damage to leaves and other vital tissues.   We apply very light doses of water to help the plants regulate internal temperature, especially in July and August when root systems may be compromised as a result of excessive maintenance (double cutting, rolling, etc.).
Many people strive to have a front lawn that looks like turf found on golf courses. I would like to point out a few key differences in the use and management of these turf systems. First, most of the turf on golf courses is cut very short and very often, requiring a very high level of maintenance including additional irrigation and fertilizer applications.  Home lawns typically require less maintenance, and therefore excessive fertilizer and irrigation should be avoided.  
The link below will bring you to an excellent article about the right and wrong way to manage water on lawns. As with fertilizer and control products, more water does not necessarily mean better turf. When it comes to irrigation, deeper and less frequent is often the best strategy.  




Peter Gorman
Golf Course Superintendent 
Pine Orchard Yacht and Country Club
2 Club Parkway
Branford, CT 06405
203-483-9948

July 6, 2016

Tweet by Jared Keller on Twitter

Jared Keller (@MgcTurf)
Tree roots pruned during mainline irrig. Install. Turf will NEVER win the battle for H2O when up against trees. pic.twitter.com/bzOu5DTYCl

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Peter Gorman
Golf Course Superintendent 
Pine Orchard Yacht and Country Club
2 Club Parkway
Branford, CT 06405
203-483-9948

July 5, 2016

Caring for Your Course

Every golfer has a responsibility make every effort to leave the course as they found it as a courtesy to others.  As we head into the dog days of summer, I thought I would provide a few reminders about what golfers can do to help keep the golf course in great shape.  As the volume of play increases, the two key issues are divots on tees and fairways, and ball marks on greens. 
Divots
Golfers that are fortunate enough to play year round are often confused by different instructions that they receive from the northern and southern courses with respect to divot repair, specifically should they be replaced or filled with a sand/seed mix.  In general, it is always better to replace a thick divot the contains enough soil and roots for the turf to recover.  During July and August few divots will be hardy enough to hold up during the heat, therefore I recommend all scrapes be filled with sand. 
We provide bottles filled with sand and seed throughout the course in the event you run out of mix (thank you for being so diligent).  When filling divots, it is important to fill the scrape to the surface but no higher as the sand will dull the mowers.  I recommend stepping on the sand to compress the mix, and swipe your foot over it to smooth it out.  In time the scrape will recover either by the seed mix germinating, or the surrounding turf creeping in from the sides.  Here is a video from the USGA that provides more information about the best way to deal with divots.
The seed mix in the bottles is replaced at least twice each week.  Now that we are experiencing more play we will be adding more bottles on the course, and providing extra replacements for the pro shop staff.  Any bottles that are partially filled or contain wet sand are emptied and the mix is used by the staff to fill divots and thin areas throughout the course at the beginning of every week.  If you ever find an empty bottle on a cart, please ask the pro shop staff for a full one or grab one on the 1st tee. 
Ball Marks
The extremely dry conditions we have been experiencing lately have required us to irrigate the course more often than normal resulting in increased moisture in the playing surfaces.  While I typically try to keep the surfaces as firm as possible, it has been very difficult over the last few weeks to do so.  The good news is that the greens are much more receptive to approach shots.  The bad news is that there are a lot more ball marks to repair.  The general rule is that you should repair your own pitch mark plus on other. 
The best way to repair a ball mark is to push the turf from the back of the mark toward the center, and avoid the temptation to lift the center of the mark toward the surface.  Here is a link to a great video from the USGA on how to properly repair a ball mark.
That !)@#* Fescue!!!
Surprisingly we have received more positive comments about the fescue than negative this season.  Unfortunately, these areas pose a few more challenges in addition to the obvious task of advancing your ball.  It is extremely important that golf carts remain out of the fescue at all times.  The seed heads that make these areas so attractive are delicate, and once run over by tires will not return to their original height leaving the path visible for the rest of the season.  Less obvious is the wear that will occur if everyone drives in the narrow strip of rough between the fescue and the fairway.  On holes where the fescue is located close to the fairway (3, 7, 8, 9), we ask that you keep your carts in the fairway.  The fairways are covered by irrigation and receive a higher level of maintenance making it easier to manage the traffic than if it is concentrated in the rough.

The Green Staff takes great pride in their work and in the condition of the golf course.  We appreciate all the encouragement and support that many of you offer throughout the season, and we especially appreciate those who show how much they enjoy their time here by taking a few minutes each round to care for the course.