Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Catch Up, Staff Photos, Dry, Divot Management and Happy 4th!

Hello and welcome to "The Greenkeeper"!  Today is Tuesday, July 3rd and I need to inform you of a few items before the fireworks tomorrow.  This is the 3rd blog post since the last member email informing readers of an update.  Therefore, if you haven't checked in on your own lately (please consider bookmarking "The Greenkeeper" to your favorites and stop in from time to time) then you need to scroll down and get caught up!  On Friday, June 22nd I posted "Congratulations, Ratings, Dress Code Revisited and Staff Update!" and this past Friday, June 29th I posted
"Benefits, Good Scouts, They're Back and "Solomon Says"!".  These two posts contain lots of good information regarding the collars, the putting surfaces and the Eastern Cicada Wasp along with some staff information that is obsolete.

Let me explain...on Friday, June 22nd the "Staff Update" portion of the blog contained the following:  "On Tuesday, June 5th I posted "Fairway Aeration, Perseverance, Dirty Jobs, Defections and Don't Turn Off the Fans!" and mentioned some staffing issues we were experiencing. I am happy to report we are back to full throttle with our staff numbers as two young lads (Ivan and Dmitri) arrived this past Sunday (June 17th) from Moldova. Ivan is our first "repeat customer" as he was employed here last year through the program. He experienced some issues regarding his visa application and that is why he is arriving late in the season. Also, I informed you about a young lad getting ready to start his employment with us after his high school graduation (Jeremy Smith). Jeremy's first day was June 11th. At this time I do not have pictures of these young men but I promise to include them next time."  Since that time Ivan absconded (last week).  This was a very disappointing situation considering Hidden Creek and I worked so diligently to expedite his return.  Anyway, he has been replaced with a young man named Marin who actually arrived late yesterday and started today (we are happy to have Marin join our team)!  I do not have a picture of Marin ready at this time but here are the photos of Dmitri and Jeremy Smith I promised.


Jeremy Smith

If you are wondering what some of the discoloration in the fairways and tee boxes might be it is simply dry conditions.  We concluded the month of June with exactly 1.58 inches rain.  That is significant because that is the lowest June in my tenure at Carolina!  The average for June over the past 6 years was 4.18 inches and even the last 3 years averaged 4.41 inches.  Heck, we received 2.56 inches in 2007 (the drought year)!  Anyway, what this means is we need rain.  Irrigation systems, no matter how modern and sophisticated are not a substitute for natural rainfall as irrigation water merely supplements the rain we receive and helps to fill in the gaps when rain events are more than a week apart.  When we go two full weeks without significant, measurable rain the bermudagrass turf does not show any ill effects but by week three you can start to see issues rear their heads.  It is important to understand even though the turf is discolored the playing surface is fine and the turf itself is just naturally reacting to the current conditions and taking steps to preserve itself.  Bermudagrass will enter into a semi-dormant state during extreme dry periods and will green-up once again when rain graces us with her presence.  Most every discolored spot in the fairways is either a remnant of a construction haul road, the water line project, sewer line project or just an area where the soil used was less than ideal.   In the meantime, playing conditions are great and the appearance is merely cosmetic. 

Moving on, I would like to share with you a couple of photos I took two weekends ago on the driving range tee.  Many times in the past I have written about the preferred method of taking divots on the range tee and there is even a posting on the bulletin board between the men's locker room and pro shop detailing the necessity to have a tight divot pattern as opposed to a "shotgun blast" approach.  See below and allow me to explain:

This is an example of the WRONG way to practice or warm-up!

This is a BETTER example!
In the two photos above the top illustrates the improper method of practicing as the divots are completely scattered within the designated area.  This will actually take much longer to recover than the preferred method shown in the top half of the bottom photo.  You can clearly see 5 distinct elongated divots (this is where the next ball is struck from the back edge of the divot created by the previous ball, and so on...).  That is the preferred method of practicing and warming-up which helps to minimize turf disruption and preserve the longevity of the practice area.  Next time out give it a try and if you are not sure about how to proceed, check with Jeff Peck or another member of his professional staff...they will be happy to help!

That's all for now.  I just wanted to get everyone caught up with everything going on with the golf course.  Right now the greens are withstanding the extreme high temperatures and humidity and conditions are very good.  I hope everyone enjoys a happy and safe 4th of July and I am looking forward to...

Seeing you on the course,

Matthew Wharton
Golf Course Superintendent

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