Last week was our annual Member-Guest tournament and many of you had very positive things to say about the condition of the golf course. I want to thank you on behalf of my staff for your kind words! After the damaging winter and cold spring I was starting to worry about this year's event. I mentioned to several members in conversation maybe the golf course had looked better in the past this time of year, but I really don't think it had ever played any better. The fairways were firm and fast and I was paid the ultimate compliment by one of our members when he said, "Matthew the greens are so firm it is hard to find a ball mark!" When you have bentgrass greens, that's the way they should be.
I do want to share with you some information about our bermudagrass turf, and explain some things you may be noticing and possibly curious about. The first is thin areas. Currently on the far right side of the first fairway along with some areas on five, eight, fifteen and eighteen you will find turf that is suffering from winter injury.
The other areas I mentioned were compromised by the extremely wet conditions experienced this winter. Nearly 20 inches of rain fell on Carolina between December 2013 and March of this year. Throw in another 8 inches last month and these areas spent more time under water, even with internal drainage. Last week we verticut these damaged areas to break up the crusty layer that formed and was inhibiting bermudagrass regrowth. We will pay these areas extra attention with fertilizer treatments and topdressing and everything will be good as new before you know it.
Another bermudagrass topic I want to discuss is a fungal disease commonly called Spring Dead Spot (SDS). SDS is noticeable after the bermudagrass breaks winter dormancy and is seen as mostly circular, depressed patches of straw-colored turf. The patches may range anywhere from 6 inches to 3 feet in diameter and are slow to completely fill in and grow over with healthy turf.
|Spring Dead Spot|
Earlier I mentioned the comment about the firmness of our putting surfaces. In order to promote good water infiltration and assist oxygen entering the root zone it's important to vent the surfaces regularly. This past Monday we vented the putting greens with needles tines and then rolled the surfaces smooth. The holes are so small you don't notice them but they work like magic and are critical to the long term health of our greens.
Sneaking in a needle tine venting before outing today @CGC1929! One roll and they'll never know! #SuperSecrets pic.twitter.com/jOIgxBHdTODuring the venting process intern James Dennett spotted this view from behind the 6th green and shared it with me. The clouds really caught his eye, especially in black and white!
— Matthew Wharton (@CGCGreenkeeper) May 12, 2014
See you on the course,
Golf Course Superintendent