Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Congratulations, Weather Tidbits, Aeration and Golf Course Services!

Hello and welcome to "The Greenkeeper"! Today is Tuesday, September 25, 2012 and we have just wrapped up putting green aeration for this year!  More on that later, first I want to congratulate Reid Waller for winning the 2012 Club Championship!  Reid birdied the final hole to secure a one stroke victory over Brett Boner in a final round filled with some riveting see-saw action between the two competitors.  The tournament, moved this year from Labor Day weekend to this past weekend (along with a perfectly timed cold front), afforded me an opportunity to provide some of the most demanding and challenging conditions to date since the course reopened.  Preparations for this event started back in late August with well timed fertility treatments to the putting surfaces.  As the days continued to shorten and the nighttime temperatures became more and more favorable for the growth of bentgrass roots, mowing heights were gradually lowered.  Members playing the course over the past three weeks should have noticed a progression as the greens became smoother and smoother as well as faster.  The entire procedure was timed to peak September 21-23 and I am so pleased with the response from the putting surfaces as they produced perfectly challenging conditions...take that Tour Championship!  At this time, I would be remiss if I didn't also offer a heartfelt congratulations to Marsha Gaspari on her victory in the 2012 Ladies Club Championship!  Marsha's victory came on the first hole of sudden death after her and Joanie Mashburn were tied after 36 holes.

I complimented Mother Nature earlier as she gets a very big assist with the conditions of the golf course during the Club Championship (cooler temperatures and lower humidity equals faster putting greens).  There were two interesting articles in the Charlotte Observer this past Saturday.  Bruce Henderson's article on zoysiagrass lawns becoming more popular ("Lawns Taking a Less Thirsty Path to Green") made reference to this past July as being the 3rd hottest on record (dating back to 1895).  Also, Steve Lyttle's piece "Wet Autumn in the Offing" noted this past July was the hottest in nearly 20 years and the Climate Prediction Center is predicting temperatures and precipitation to be above normal over the next three months.  Considering we are already at 4.88 inches rain for the month maybe they are on to something...guess we will just have to wait and see!

I guess at this point you have heard enough about the weather and you want to know what I did to the greens yesterday and today and when your golfing conditions will be back to normal.  The fall aeration of our putting surfaces is the same as spring. In other words we are more aggressive with a larger tine size (equates to a larger hole) and we topdress very heavily (more sand). 

Looks a little something like this!
The June aeration with its smaller tines and no topdressing is merely a bridge between the two major aerations where we impact a greater percentage of the surface area in an effort to remove unwanted thatch and make room for new roots to grow and develop.  I was asked prior to the final round of the club championship by one of the competitors what would happen if I didn't aerate the greens and I answered simply they would die.  I know that may sound extreme but you can reference the March 17th blog entry "Rabbit Season, Green Acres, Old Dogs and Robert Duvall" for a refresher on why aeration is so vital to the long term health and sustainability of bentgrass putting greens.  The greens will take a week or two to heal but the weather is ideal for bentgrass growth right now so I don't believe it will take too long.  I have annually aerated on the 3rd or 4th Monday of March and September so now is the time to take your buddy up on that offer for a guest round at his place if they were one of the courses to aerate a little earlier.  We all aerate at roughly the same time of year but different weeks work best for each course depending on a number of factors including but not limited to tournament schedules, outings, and etc.  I personally prefer later in September because bentgrass roots die in July and August due to the extreme stress of high soil temperatures.  By the end of August and into early September the roots of the plant are very short and the mechanical stress imposed from aeration is not to be taken lightly.  By giving our putting greens a few extra weeks to regrow some roots I firmly believe they tolerate the process better and heal more quickly annually providing the best putting surfaces in town every October and November!

I mentioned last time Golf Course Services, Inc. would be on site during this time to install some additional subsurface drainage on a few holes (2, 6, 7, 8 and 10).  I am happy to report the crew began work yesterday on the 8th hole and work continues there today.

Golf Course Services, Inc.
Trenching in drain along cart path #8

They will be working at Carolina for a couple of weeks or more depending on the weather, etc.  In an effort to accommodate the important work they are performing for us, starting tomorrow we will be shortening the golf hole where they are currently working.  Their plan is to work on only one hole at a time until complete.  In an effort to prohibit holding up their progress and more importantly placing them in potential harms way, my staff will relocate all tee markers (green, white, blue and black) to the fairway beyond the area where they are working.  You will still be able to play the hole it will just play shorter for a day.  Thank you in advance for your cooperation and I plan to post more pictures and updates to the blog showcasing their work so please check back!

Until next time...

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton
Golf Course Superintendent

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