Friday, February 1, 2013

What Drought, New Equipment, Fairway Topdressing and Led Zeppelin!

Hello and welcome to "The Greenkeeper"! Today is Friday, February 1, 2013 and I am happy to inform everyone I was finally able to upload the photos to my blog post from January, 17th (No Pictures...).  I updated the title to reflect the change (No Pictures...Wait a Minute!) so be sure and check it out down below.

I will be brief here but you recall Mecklenburg County had reached severe drought status last month.  Since that time we have received considerable rain.  December ended with a grand total of 4.15 inches and our most recent event Wednesday night brought our monthly total for January to 4.45 inches.  So, how did all this rain affect our status?  Here is a refresher of the map from December 18, 2012 depicting Mecklenburg County under severe drought status:

Mecklenburg County Under Severe Drought
Last week was the first time Mecklenburg County was depicted in a downgraded category of moderate drought (with some portions labeled abnormally dry) and you can tell from the current map released yesterday conditions have improved across the entire state:

Improved Conditions

According to my files this was the 4th consecutive year in which I presented a State of the Golf Course presentation at the Annual Member's Meeting.  I want to thank those individuals in attendance for your time and attention as I appreciate the opportunity given me by the Board of Governors and General Manager, Roger Wolfe to address the membership in that forum.  One of the items I mentioned in my annual presentation is an update on the new equipment we will be receiving as part of our lease package.  For those unfamiliar with the club's protocol with respect to turfgrass maintenance equipment, the club made the decision just prior to the course reopening following the restoration to lease the "meat and potatoes" of our turf equipment fleet.  In other words, if an item goes out the door on a daily basis (e.g., utility vehicles, greens mowers, tee mowers, fairway mowers, etc.) we lease it and if it is specialty equipment or equipment with a long "shelf life" (e.g., tractors, skid loaders, sprayers, aerators, etc.) we purchase those.  One of the benefits to the leasing program is every four years the older equipment is replaced with new making us able to take advantage of changing technology.  2013 is the year we replace all utility vehicles and walking greens mowers.  Toro has made some technological advancements to their walking greens mowers and utility vehicles in the past four years so it is exciting to both have new stuff and also know the new stuff is state of the art!

Mid-Duty Workman
Heavy-Duty Workman

Flex 2100 Walking Greens Mower

Last time I mentioned we would soon be topdressing fairways with the old bunker sand removed during our bunker renovation project.  I am happy to report just prior to Wednesday evening's storms we were able to start this project.  We spent the better part of Tuesday and Wednesday of this week applying sand topdressing to key portions of fairways where the soil structure needs the most improvement.

Topdressing 8th Fairway
The topdressing will help modify the soil characteristics over time transforming the red clay to more closely resemble a loamy soil which is ideal growing medium for turf (note: this will take years and tons of sand).  We topdressed either all or a portion of the following fairways: 4-11 and 13-18.  We will also topdress tees and soon reapply topdressing to the same fairways mentioned above.

And finally, next week I will be attending the 2013 Education Conference and Golf Industry Show of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) in San Diego.  I will be meeting with vendors and industry representatives learning about new products and technologies to help us grow better turf.  I will be attending accredited seminars and lectures on a variety of topics as well as viewing the largest collection of golf course maintenance needs on display at the Golf Industry Show.  My classes this year include "Management of Fine Fescues for Native Rough Areas of Golf Courses" and also "Greens Aerification and Water Management by the Numbers"...  I know, sounds absolutely riveting doesn't it!  I look forward to taking in all the show has to offer and learning new tips and techniques to apply to Carolina when I return.  Until then...

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton
Golf Course Superintendent

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