Tuesday, November 6, 2012

That Time of Year Again!

Hello and welcome to "The Greenkeeper"! Today is Tuesday, November 6, 2012 and as the country heads to the polls to decide our next president my staff and I are busy with the beginning of some "off season" projects and other maintenance.  The Carolina Invitational wrapped up early Sunday evening as another historic success and your golf course received nothing but rave reviews from all the participants.  I will spare you the details and results as I am sure you will be receiving a full detailed description of the event in the near future and I do not want to steal the spotlight, but I can say you missed a great tournament if you were not able to attend.

Of course with the Carolina Invitational each year comes the change from daylight savings time back to standard time.  Although we have one more tournament yet to prepare for this season (The Hazel), the time change ceremonially signifies the end of the golf season for the year and my staff and I transition into winter project season.  One other important item the time change signifies here at Carolina Golf Club is the closing of the bermudagrass range tee for the season.  Per our standard operating policy the artificial teeing area will be used indefinitely as we give the bermudagrass tee some much needed time off in order to preserve and protect it for use next season.  A friendly reminder the artificial teeing surfaces hold a golf tee and thus the need to "cheat" in front is not necessary (this behavior also damages the bermudagrass turf due to the inordinate amount of foot traffic concentrated in such a small space over the winter months).

Artificial Teeing Areas

Earlier I mentioned some "off season" projects and we wasted little time getting started today.  The vegetation growing along the creek bank crossing the 11th and 13th holes was cut back.  These plants are required as part of our wetlands mitigation in exchange for the creation of the damn and irrigation lake.  It is the desire of the Greens Committee to maintain them as small as feasibly possible while simultaneously appearing natural.  This has been a challenge due to the growth habit of these willows and birches thus we are cutting them back in order to get a fresh start.


The willows are being cut back to only 6 to 8 inches of trunk and we will attempt to limit the new growth next year from getting bigger than desired.  The birch trees are being topped at approximately 5 to 7 feet in an effort to limit their size development and prevent them from overtaking the tee shot from the 13th tee.  Upon completion in this area we will repeat the process along the creek crossing the 4th and 17th holes.

Work in the natural/native areas is still ongoing as we continue to spread seed, compost and starter fertilizer to areas targeted for improvement.  We are irrigating and using portable sprinklers in an effort to achieve germination and establishment.  Although we have seen some moderate success the current weather pattern is extremely challenging.  We wrapped up the month of October with less than 1.25 inches total rain (1.23") and we have received only 0.17" in the past three weeks!  Add these dry conditions to the cold temperatures we are experiencing and you have a recipe for delayed response when attempting to germinate seed and establish new growth.  Despite these conditions I am optimistic our efforts will yield the desired results and our natural/native areas will impress next season.

In the coming weeks you will see the staff begin our annual edging of the cart path network.  We will again soon be planting trees approved from our Master Tree Planting Plan this fall/winter.  I am also planning to utilize our seasonal staff's remaining time (about 31/2 weeks) to initiate a major thinning and removal of underbrush growing along the 1st, 8th and 11th holes.  This will aid tremendously in both the overall look and cleanliness of these golf holes but also improve air circulation.  These are just some of the improvements you can expect to see on the course this "off season". 

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton
Golf Course Superintendent

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