Monday, September 6, 2021

Better Late Than Never!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper! Today is Monday, September 6th and I apologize for the delay since my last update Click Here thirty-seven days ago. Hopefully by now most of you have seen and read the Ross Report. It was a pleasure to submit material for the club's new e-newsletter, and I did not want to spoil the surprise with a post here. I will be sharing some of that information below, along with weather related statistics about last month, and wrap up with a quick reminder of what takes place beginning tomorrow morning!  So let's go!

This is certainly an exciting time for the golf course as summer winds to a close and we enter our busy fall season!  The cart path improvement project saw numerous areas adversely impacted by tree roots demoed and repaved eliminating the bone jarring bumps and creating a smooth ride.

The work was carried out over several Maintenance Mondays with the folks from John E. Jenkins, Inc. out of Gastonia.  They have been grading and paving since 1948 and were a pleasure to work with.  They were thorough and careful removing all the offending roots prior to resurfacing and they even carried out some additional skim patching at no extra charge on areas they identified in need.

Demo Adjacent to 18 Tee

New Surface 18 Tee

After completion we ordered new sod to patch the edges where needed from the repair work. It is most cost effective to order a full truck load, so we patched up other areas throughout the course as well. By now you've probably noticed additional stakes to keep all traffic off the new turf until it has sufficiently rooted.

Thin Areas from High Traffic

Celebration Bermudagrass

I elected to sod these areas with Celebration bermudagrass, as it has a higher shade tolerance than 419. Nearly ever area targeted aside from the path edges were areas impacted by high traffic in conjunction with the stress of shade. We can adjust our mowing patterns to help with the traffic in the future, and hopefully you will adjust your cart usage patterns to assist us in our efforts to provide you superior conditions. In fact, if folks would simply refrain from parking behind the 4th and 6th greens we could keep the main artery of golf car and utility vehicle traffic flowing without the need to go around by driving on the turf.

Well, if you thought last month was unusually warm that would be putting it mildly. The oppressive dew points and subsequent humidity made the final stretch of August one to remember. When the dust settled August ranked as the 13th warmest all-time in Charlotte and warmest since 2016. I know the greens were experiencing weather induced stress and this change in the pattern we've all enjoyed the past few days brought an amazing bounce back!

Courtesy of Brad Panovich, WCNC

I even texted with my former major professor from VA Tech last Thursday morning telling him the resilience of bentgrass still amazes me after all these years. The plant's natural response when the stressor is removed is a beautiful thing indeed.

So if you did read the Ross Report, then you know starting tomorrow we have an exciting project taking place on Holes 1 and 2. Our friends Golf Course Services, Inc. will be renovating the 8 bunkers located on those two holes using the capillary bunker system The process includes removing the old bunker sand and stockpiling on site (we will use for future topdressing). Removing the existing drainage pipe and gravel. Stripping the turf from the bunker faces and surrounds. Setting a new 6-inch bunker edge. Reinstalling drainage pipe with new gravel. Installing the Capillary bunker liner. Installing new sod on the bunker faces and surrounds. And finally installing new G-Angle bunker sand.

We expect the project to take approximately 2-3 weeks and our intent is to minimize your disruption as much as possible. When necessary we will either move tees forward into the fairway, use a temporary hole located in the approach, or close access to the hole in order to ensure workers can complete this work in a safe and timely fashion. We will communicate daily with the Golf Professional Staff so you will know what to expect each day of the project.

But that's not the big news starting tomorrow. The big news is greens aerification takes place as we will be performing a hollow-core aerification and topdressing Tuesday and Wednesday. This will be the first September aerification to our bentgrass greens since 2017. That's right, we moved aerification to early summer in 2018 for the U.S. Mid-Am and attempted similar practices in 2019 and 2020. Last fall with the record play the greens just did not possess the same vigor and vitality entering the winter, so the decision was made to reinstitute a traditional fall aerification once more. 

Big News Big Tines
Contrary to popular belief, I do not lie awake at night dreaming up ways to torture you and your golfing soul. Despite the ominous appearance above I assure the greens will heal relatively quickly and be ready for whatever Mother Nature brings our way between now and next spring.  Be sure and check back for a recap of aerification and the bunker project in a few weeks.

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG

Friday, July 30, 2021

So, What Happened Was...

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Friday, July 30th and I need to explain what happened since my last update. June Recap

You may recall I wrapped up my last post sharing an Instagram post from Ran Morrissett, creator of  Yes, that's an older photo of our third hole on their website.  Anyway, Ran had many nice things to say about our fescue that included a great picture of the thirteenth showcasing the contrasting colors and textures these natural/native areas provide.

Many of you were shocked to find these areas mowed down less than one week later.  So, what happened was not all our natural/native areas on the golf course are fine-fescue.  We have well over twenty acres of fine-fescue, tall fescue, broomsedge, bluestem, and grammas.  The fescues are cool-season grasses and we mow these areas annually in the late winter and early spring.  This is to remove the old, dead seed stalks from the previous year and allow for new growth.  The fescue typically produces its new seed stalk by May and they turn their desired golden color in early June. In fact, I highlighted the spring mowing in a blog update on March 26 Click Here.  

The areas dominated by broomsedge and bluestem (warm-season plants) we mow each year in early summer for the same reasons, to remove the old, dead seed stalks from the prior year and allow for new growth.  The broomsedge typically produces its new seed stalk by September and turns a nice coppery bronze by October.  So, it really is a function of two different grass types performing the same function in various parts of the property.  The cool-season fescues do not perform well in full sun and southern exposures as our climate is too extreme, they function best under the protection of trees and north facing slopes.

Hopefully that clears us any confusion you may have been experiencing. Earlier this month we closed the golf course for 3 1/2 days following the observance of Independence Day on Monday, July 5 to perform intensive cultural practices to the tees and fairways. So, what happened was on Day 1 we performed a deep vertical mowing of the fairways and approaches. Simultaneously we core aerified the tees.  

On Day 2 we continued with the fairway vertical mowing as that is a lengthy process, slowed even greater by the cleanup and removal of the massive amounts of organic debris. This year I refrained from taking the vertical mower on the steep slopes of the closely mowed green surrounds opting for solid-tine aerification immediately following the application of sand topdressing.  

Once the fairways were clean of debris we performed a circle mow then topdressed with 15 tons sand per acre, followed by solid-tine aerification with 3/4 inch diameter tines. Drag it all in and you're ready for play!  I make it sound simple but the reality is these are very long days, and we appreciate the support to provide us with time to perform these beneficial practices.

We first started topdressing fairways the summer of 2014 when we utilized all our old bunker sand following a replacement project.  In 2015 we made the commitment to invest in the equipment necessary to perform this task each season on a large scale.

To date we have applied 4,350 tons of sand over 30 acres.  That's 145 tons per acre for an average of just a little more than 20 tons per acre annually over the past seven growing seasons. And here's proof the process is working.

The red arrow above indicates the clay subsoil where fairway turf was planted in 2008, and you can see the accumulation of sandy loam now present following years of topdressing. Over time our fairways have gotten smoother, firmer, and we enjoy fewer cart path only days following summer thunderstorms.

Did I mention we were interrupted by a tropical storm? Elsa moved through Charlotte on the Thursday morning of our course closure, luckily the rain was light and we did not lose too much productivity. If you would like to see more photos or videos of the cultural procedures they're available on Twitter.  You might have to scroll through a good bit of Open Championship related info to get to them though. ;)

In other news this past weekend someone practiced their putting on the large practice green just a little too long. How is that possible you ask? Well, here is a photo I received Sunday evening inquiring about the prominent blemishes.

So, what happened was somebody stood in the same spot for far too long. I replied to my inquirer I see this at least once every summer as it happens during very hot, humid weather. The bentgrass is most susceptible to injury during extreme weather so the moral here is simply to move around and vary your practice to prevent it from happening.

Another way to think about it is like this, what does your backyard look like the morning after a barbeque with family and friends? Exactly, you can see all the traffic where folks played cornhole and congregated around the coolers with cold beverages.  Or, just think about the condition of Wimbledon's Centre Court at the conclusion of the championship's fortnight? That's all traffic stress. For the record I am not here looking to place blame but merely inform so everyone can take better care in the future and hopefully we won't see this again till sometime next year. ;)

Well, that's all for now. Time to grab the hose and check plant moisture levels cause we are still in the dog days of summer. Stay cool and stay hydrated everybody. Only 38 days till greens aerification, but who's counting. ;)

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

June Recap!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Wednesday, June 30th and I'm barely sneaking this recap in before the month ends!  We have much to cover since we last convened in this space so let's get to it.

June arrived on the heels of the driest spring (March, April, and May combined) in fifteen years!  The course had only received 7.72 inches rain over those three months with the majority (4.22") falling in March.  The cool, dry weather in April and May led to some very firm playing conditions enjoyed by most.

You may recall last time I mentioned how the cool, dry start to the golf season had the Bermudagrass lagging behind.  Well, June brought with it some warm, humid temperatures as to be expected, and nearly three inches of rainfall on the evenings of the 6th and 7th.  And just like that the irrigation reservoir was full again and the golf course greened up overnight!  After spending two months playing like a supermodel but not quite looking like one, the golf course began to look as good as she played!

No. 5

No. 7

As the month continued we did get a little more rain bringing our total for the month up to 4.55 inches which brings us to 22.22 inches for the year, which is about average.  Considering we have run close to twenty inches above average the past three years, it's good to see a little brown scattered about the fairways again.  It means the course is firm and you should be enjoying some extra roll on your drives!

In other news, we added new bunker sand to all greenside bunkers this month.  There are 81 bunkers on property, 79 on holes 1-18 and two practice bunkers.  We added sand to the large practice bunker nearest the Chipping Green and the 38 bunkers located nearest the putting surfaces.  At this point I've asked members of the Committee to listen for your feedback before we make any future decisions about adding more sand.

Here's a tweet showing how we installed the bunker sand utilizing our topdresser for a smooth and even application!

As we made our way thru the month of June we made height of cut adjustments to the fairways (a little more cushion under the ball) and rough (a little more rough to snag your ball).  We vented greens with a combination of needle and Samurai tines on a couple of occasions along with some wetting agent and light topdressing to aid with the stresses of summer.

Samurai Tines

Material Easily Removed

Like it Never Even Happened

We have continued to roll with an increased frequency resulting in smoother greens with faster speeds.  This week we slightly raised our height of cut to combat the heat stress of the past three days but with a favorable forecast for the upcoming holiday we will lower accordingly.

The next big thing on the horizon is aerification week starting next Tuesday, July 6!  I'm sure by now you've seen the club email reminding everyone of the schedule.  While the course is closed we will perform a deep verticut on all fairways, remove material, topdress with 450 tons of sand, and solid tine aerify.  Tees will be core aerified and topdressed.  We will hold off on aerification and topdressing of the practice facilities until Monday, July 12.

You may recall we first performed these cultural practices the first week of June two years ago. Click Here  And last year, we bypassed the solid tine fairway aerification in order to minimize the course closure as a result of the pandemic. Click Here

The biggest difference this year from the previous two is the decision to resume a fall putting green aerification which means we will not be aerifying the greens next week.  We will likely apply a light topdressing and wetting agent but mostly the greens will be getting a breather for a few days while we focus our attention on the labor intensive cultural practices to make our tees and fairways better.

That's all for now, we're mowing the warm-season native areas (broomsedge) this week while the cool-season fine fescue areas are in peak form.  So get out and enjoy your golf course, we've had several admirers of late. ;)


Big Snapper!

I love nature!

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG


Monday, May 24, 2021

Two Thumbs Up!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Monday, May 24th and Phil Mickelson just won the 103rd PGA Championship at Kiawah Island to become the oldest player in golf history to win a professional major championship!  Did that really just happen?  Yes it did, and it was incredible to watch the theatre unfold on a Pete Dye masterpiece in front of thousands of fans eager to enjoy life again.  

What an incredible scene it was to watch the masses encircle the 72nd hole and create an ambiance for this historic moment.  Other than Tiger's win at the Tour Championship at the end of 2018 you might have to go back a couple of decades to find scenes like this, I seem to recall this was a common occurrence at the Open Championship in my younger days.

But enough about Phil, his bombs, his calves, and his thumbs.  Let's talk about the golf course at Carolina Golf Club!  After three consecutive years with rainfall well above average, the pattern shifted since spring's arrival and firm, fast playing conditions have returned.  Through the first three months of 2021 the golf course had received over 14 inches rainfall, once again putting us on pace for a fourth consecutive year with nearly 60 inches.

But since April 1 we have only received 3.22 inches and there isn't a strong chance of rain in the immediate forecast.  With a little more than 1.5 inches in April and about 1.5 inches so far in May the course has been able to dry out, firm up, and play like Donald Ross intended, with the ball running.

And to add to that, the cool spring temperatures have permitted us to push the greens as it relates to moisture content each day providing a firmer surface that resists ball marks and enhances putting speed.

Courtesy of Brad Panovich, WCNC

Now, the graphic above also tells another story.  This is the third consecutive cool spring, but this one is absent the rainfall of the two previous years.  Although cool and dry is great for bentgrass, it means our Bermudagrass tees, fairways and rough are slow out of the starting gate.  This includes the practice tees and short game area too.  

Bermudagrass likes warm, humid conditions and we've had neither most of this year.  On top of that, we did encounter late season frosts in April and we set a record low just two weeks ago during the Member-Guest.  This translates to rough that is still slow to thicken and an absence of color in high traffic zones.

If you played this past weekend you may have noticed the return of small stakes to help direct cart traffic as the golf course is unable to recover without proper growing conditions.  On the plus side, these same conditions inhibiting the growth and recovery of Bermudagrass is helping create those fast playing conditions because lush turf is slow.  So there are plusses and minuses with every situation.

In other course related news, we will be adding bunker sand to those most heavily played from starting next week.  The Green Committee has discussed several plans for immediate and long range improvements to the golf course, especially relating to bunkers and cart paths and we ask your continued patience as the final details are ironed out.

Also, I want to remind you we will not be aerifying the putting greens or the fairways immediately after Memorial Day.  You may recall we did so beginning in 2018 as a result of the timing of the U.S. MidAm in September that year.  We continued the practice each of the past two years, with only closing two days in 2020 because of the pandemic.  

We determined the greens would benefit more from a traditional fall aerification and adjusted the schedule for 2021.  Fairway verticutting, aerification and topdressing will take place July 6-9 and greens aerification will take place following Labor Day.  We will most likely "vent" greens on Maintenance Tuesday next week to alleviate the stress of  close mowing and rolling associated with tournament conditions, but you can rest easy you can continue to enjoy them as summer gets underway.

Of course I would be remiss if I didn't mention our thoughts and prayers have been with Green Chairman Brett Boner since his accident and we are thrilled to learn he has recovered well enough to be released and return home to his family!  Get well soon Brett!

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG

Friday, April 16, 2021

It's a Small Golf World!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Friday, April 16th and my heart and soul goes out to the entire Virginia Tech community on this remembrance day.  So much has happened since my last post.  The Easter Bunny returned to Carolina Golf Club, Hideki Matsuyama won the Masters and Will Zalatoris continues to be the hottest golfer on the planet without status!

Spring continues to be a roller coaster in our region as the golf course continues to wake from winter hibernation.  Although many mowing operations have returned, the frequency is less than peek growing season as cold snaps continue to slow progress.  In fact, we are experiencing another cold snap as temperatures this morning dipped to 41 degrees F.  The graph below depicts the daily average temperature at CGC from March 1 through April 15 (yesterday). 

Greenkeeper App

Although in Centigrade, it is easy to see the rapid dips followed by the gradual warm ups that characterized March.  This past week has seen the steadiest of temperatures from day to day, which is nice considering we experienced frost on the first and second of this month!  It will be interesting to revisit and see how the back half of April shakes out.

If asked to compare the course to years past, I would say things are about average.  We have definitely been greener and farther along with growth some years, but I would also say there have been plenty other years where the course was lagging behind 2021.  We have made two mowings to all the rough to open the canopy, and you can see plenty of new green leaves emerging from under the remaining dormant material.  

Landscaping should be wrapped up today as all on-course mulch areas have been tidied and refreshed.  We addressed all the clubhouse and parking areas prior to Easter.  Tee box realignment (you may have noticed blue dash marks along the edges) continues to progress and I marked all the fairway edges too as some areas between fairway and rough have become blurred due to heavy cart traffic associated with record rounds.  In fact, through March 31 rounds are up more than 12% over last year with over 5000 rounds played since January 1!

You may recall some time back I mentioned this past winter was the coldest in our region in six years.  I do think we are now far enough along into spring to recognize areas that are slow to recover as a result.  Most notably the high cart traffic exit points and the rough on the north side of large trees.  Not to worry, they will recover, they're just stumbling out of the starting block.

Things could be worse, the hard freeze that gripped the central southern region this winter has Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma patching and replacing damaged turf areas much sooner than normal years after the turf succumbed to freezing cold and north winds.  The Perry Maxwell masterpiece was recently restored by Gil Hanse and they are scheduled to host this year's Senior PGA Championship at the end of May.  I tip my cap to superintendent Russ Myers and his team as they battle the elements, just another example of how Mother Nature always wins.

Before I go, let's go back to last week's Masters.  Hideki Matsuyama became the first male golfer from Japan to win.  When I was growing up watching the Masters was the one time each year I got to see Japanese legends like Isao Aoki, Jumbo Ozaki, and Tommy Nakajima play.  Ok, so Aoki did play and win on the PGA Tour, but mostly the Masters was the only time Americans really got to see these legendary players compete.

At the conclusion of this year's Masters the golfing world was touched when Hideki's caddy respectfully bowed to the course.

I can tell you I was not at all surprised by this gesture.  From January 2000 to April 2002 I was the Assistant Superintendent of Augustine Golf Club in Stafford, Virginia.  And at that time Augustine was owned by a Japanese businessman named Tadahiko Nukui.  We had a full-time translator on site, Fumio Jenkins and when possible I would ask her questions about Japan and Japanese culture.  I learned that golf courses are considered sacred ground and the course is treated with the utmost respect.

In fact, Augustine Golf Club operated as a Cart Path Only facility 365 days a year.  If you had a physical disability that required you taking your cart off the path, you were only permitted to ride in the rough, never on the fairways.  Mr. Nukui and his family would visit Augustine two or three times each year and it was a great learning experience early in my career.  Mr. Nukui also owned and operated two courses in Japan, Green Park Country Club and Sendai Minami Golf Club.

I left Augustine in the spring of 2002 to take my first head superintendent position, and unfortunately lost touch with the Nukui family.  In fact, Mr. Nukui eventually sold Augustine Golf Club but in May of 2000 we did host a professional tournament for the Tear Drop Tour.  A few young players you may recognize competed in that event are Jason Gore and Zach Johnson.

I remember there was a three-way sudden death playoff involving Tim Petrovic, a player I cannot remember, and the eventual winner, Stephen Woodard.  Yes, our Stephen Woodard!  

So there you have it, somehow through the greatest of all games we find ourselves connected to the reigning Masters Champion, Hideki Matsuyama.  And now you know, the rest of the story.

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG

Friday, March 26, 2021

Course News, Good News, and Best News!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Friday, March 26th and it pleases me to bring you this brief update on and off the golf course.  I will touch on the recent greens aerification and recovery progress.  We'll talk about spring preemergent herbicide applications, mowing operations, and other tasks as we continue to ready the course for the upcoming season.  Then I'll share with you some good news, followed by an update containing the best news.  So let's get started.

Putting greens were aerified and topdressed back on the first and second.  This is the earliest we've performed spring aerfication and I know some folks were curious to the modification of the schedule.  Granted, in order to fully recover from spring aerification we need growing conditions and these are controlled more by soil temperatures than ambient air temperatures (this is why the course is never immediately in spring form when we get unseasonably warm temperatures in February or early March).  

So, why would I aerify greens when the soil temperatures are not in the optimum range you ask?  Great question and the answer is a couple of reasons actually.  One, our greens had been subjected to the most intense traffic in their history with record rounds played each month since the beginning of the pandemic last spring.  Not to mention, our last aerification took place in early June meaning the greens had endured nine consecutive months of heavy play without relief.  This in turn negatively impacted water infiltration rates causing puddling and ponding even after small rain events in spite of our wetting agent regime.  Two, the busiest month for golf last year was April.  That's right, more rounds of golf were played in April 2020 than any other month and that includes May, June, July, and August which all have more daylight hours.

So, when you're trying to ready the course to accommodate high demand in April, some compromises and adjustments are made.  We may have stumbled out of the starting blocks, but it certainly appears things are trending in the right direction for what we hope is a spectacular spring golf season at CGC.

March 26, 2021

March 26, 2021

Following the completion of greens aerification we managed to treat the entire course with preemergent herbicide for the management of crabgrass and goosegrass this coming year.  If you haven't treated your home lawns for crabgrass do not delay much longer.  Forsythia hasn't dropped its blooms yet across town but the clock is ticking.

All of our cool-season natural/native areas were mowed and cleaned up using our Super 600!  This removed both old and unwanted growth and permitted us to get a good application of our preemergent herbicide combination in those areas too.  The predominant warm-season areas will be mowed in early June.

As for the remainder of the golf course, we mowed all rough this week and again used our Super 600 to clean up the clippings.  The first mowing of rough is always at a lower height of cut than normal play to open the canopy and allow sunlight to penetrate and warm the soil (this is why you always see the tees, fairways, and approaches green up faster than the rough).  

Mowing Native

Preemergent Application

Mowing Rough
We had planned to make the first cut on fairways and approaches this morning but Mother Nature had other plans by dropping over 1.5 inches rain last night.  So you can expect to see these areas get trimmed and groomed next week when the course dries out.

In other news, I'm excited to announce Assistant Superintendent Matthew Rollyson was selected to join the Agronomy Volunteer Team at the upcoming Augusta National Women's Amateur.  Mr. Boilermaker will be heading down to Georgia on Sunday to help prepare the courses this coming week.  Rounds 1 and 2 are played at Champions Retreat on March 31st and April 1st.  The final round is played at Augusta National Golf Club on Saturday, April 3rd.  We are thrilled here at CGC Agronomy to have Matthew selected for this opportunity.

Mr. Boilermaker!
And, in the best news department, Darless beat cancer!  Yes, you heard correctly, following four long months of chemotherapy followed by surgery just one week ago today, she received a clean bill of health yesterday when we met with the surgical oncologist, Dr. Turk to get her pathology report!  We are thrilled to come through this arduous journey and we cannot thank everyone at Carolina Golf Club enough for your unending well wishes and support.

Dr. Joshi, Medical Oncology

Dr. Turk, Surgical Oncology

Flowers from CGC
Flowers from CWGA

That's all I have time for now, we're still tidying up the course in preparation for tomorrow's Donald Ross event.  Unfortunately I believe it will most likely be cart path only, but best of luck to both teams!

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG 

Friday, March 5, 2021

Aerification Recap, the Back of the Range, and the King!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Friday, March 5th and I want to bring you up to speed on the recent aerification to the putting greens and talk about what you will see happening on the course over the coming weeks.  With meteorological winter in the books there is much to accomplish before the arrival of mowing season.  So let's get started.

On Monday and Tuesday we aerified all 22 putting greens with 12 mm diameter solid tines at a depth of nine inches.  This was done using our Toro SR70-S attached to our John Deere tractor.  You may or may not have seen a tweet on Thursday of last week when we made a practice run across the nursery green.

Following the deep tine process was the immediate coring using two Toro 648 aerifiers equipped with hollow tines measuring 0.41 inch at the inside diameter.  This was the first core removal since spring aerification last year on March 9th and 10th.  

We did receive three-tenths inch of rain on Monday in the form of off-and-on showers and drizzle during the first half of the day.  Although I could keep going with the deep tine machine, it did delay the walk behind units a couple hours and more importantly delayed the cleanup and removal of the cores as only eight greens were completed before darkness.

Day Two started with core removal and cleanup of the fourteen remaining greens.  All greens were then topdressed with sand, brushed to incorporate sand into the aerification holes, and rolled two times.  The temperature dropped as the day progressed and just when we wrapped up our last green we were treated to a beautiful sunset.  I shared the photo with my granddaughter and told her I also see God's glory at night, not just in the mornings.

Nothing improves greenkeeper morale like wrapping up putting green aerification.  The drive home was loud and a celebratory toast warmed my cold bones.

Speaking of cold, if you were wondering why you couldn't seem to shake a chill this winter, well, it's because we just experienced the coldest winter in the Queen City since 2015!  Of course, nothing makes the cold feel colder than rain and we had thirteen inches fall on the golf course during meteorological winter this season.  That makes the third consecutive winter with more than one foot of rain!

Courtesy of Brad Panovich, WCNC

The good news is there isn't any rain in the forecast and we are slowly beginning to dry out.  You may have already noticed a greener tinge to the fairways following last weekend's spectacular spring-like days where the temperature climbed to 73 degrees!  Forsythia is beginning to bloom about town meaning it is time to make preemergent herbicide applications for the prevention of crabgrass and goosegrass.

We will be treating the golf course all next week, 100 acres of bermudagrass tees, fairways and rough plus the practice range and more.  In case you're wondering, yes, it is also time to treat your home lawns too!  Now is also the time to mow the fine-fescue and make preemergent herbicide applications to those natural areas.  You will see the Super 600 in action next week and the team will mow other areas by hand where the terrain is too steep for our piece of kit.

Wednesday I met with with the 2021 Green Committee.  We have four new members this year and a new chairman.  Brett Boner has served on the committee since 2011 and will chair the group this year as former chairman Ed Oden now serves as Club President.  One topic discussed was drainage, and the group was happy to learn my team and I have identified several areas we will be installing additional drainage once we wrap up the natural area mowing and preemergent applications.  

Well, there it is, a recap of aerification and a game plan for the next few weeks.  As you anxiously wait for the greens to recover and heal from their long overdue break I found something you might enjoy.  If you're into podcasts you can check out Brett Boner on The Back of the Range Podcast hosted by Ben Adelberg CLICK HERE.  Seems Brett and Ben were talking on the same day Tiger Woods wrecked his courtesy car.  Did you know Brett and Tiger were paired together for two rounds as juniors?  Neither did I until I listened to this interview.  If you like amateur golf, and stories from the mini tours you'll enjoy this episode.

And finally, its Arnold Palmer Invitational week on the PGA Tour.  Early yesterday morning Golf Today asked people to share stories about meeting Mr. Palmer on Twitter.  I posted a quick reply about my one and only encounter with the King.  A few hours later I received the photo below in a text from Eric Mauntel. 

Well, what do you know.  Thanks Golf Channel for sharing our story.  Chris Anderson (pictured far right) also saw it from his home in Florida and texted all the group with the caption, "We're famous!"  LOL, thanks Arnold!

Before I go I was excited to see the announcement yesterday from the Golf Professional Staff announcing Ryan Parker and Jason Rossetti recently qualified for the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball to be played later this year at Chambers Bay!  Way to go guys and looking forward to seeing the CGC represented in the PNW!

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG