Friday, April 26, 2013

In Case You Missed It, Refresher and Don't Do That!

Hello and welcome to "The Greenkeeper"! Today is Friday, April 26, 2013 and it is still cold.  Okay, maybe not cold but considering May is just 5 days away it sure felt more like October this morning than late April.  I guess many of you must like the Rolling Stones because my last blog post shattered the record with 208 online views (the previous high was 152 back on October 5th).  Thanks for reading and I hope everyone got the "Paint It Black" reference.  It has been three weeks since my last post but now with The Masters behind us, the PGA Pre-Qualifying Tournament in the books and Men's Guest Day about complete now seemed like a good time to catch my breath and catch you up on a few things.

Although it doesn't feel like spring today, a couple of weeks ago the Yoshino cherry trees in the parking lot were in full bloom.  I snapped a couple of photos early one morning before anyone arrived to share in case you were not able to make it out to the club during that glorious period.

Special Blossoms!
Dawn of a Glorious Day!

My wife and I lived in Northern Virginia for 5 years after I completed graduate school and I remember each spring the local news in Washington D.C. would go crazy about the cherry trees surrounding the tidal basin and when the blossoms would be at their peak.  On this morning I thought our trees looked just as spectacular as those around the tidal basin in our nation's capital.  By the way, I am extremely happy to be in Charlotte and do not miss those days at all!

Moving on, last time I mentioned how everyone should utilize the range space provided and manage their divots by hitting balls placed at the back edge of the divot made from striking the previous ball.  I even shared the following public service announcement:

On the morning the range tee opened for use (April 11th) I took the liberty of hitting 20 balls from two adjacent stalls using the above methods and taking photos with my phone.  I used a 6 iron for each shot and primarily focused on taking a divot more so than striking the ball (funny how that seemed to create excellent contact).  Anyway, the results are below:

20 Balls Total
10 Balls Each Strip!

The long strips will heal more quickly as the turf grows in from both sides and I have left more turf for the next person.  The "shotgun blast" depicted on the right leaves less good turf for the next person and more closely resembles someone in need of a lesson.  Give this method a try, it not only will help the turf on the range tee but it may also improve your ball striking!

Before I wrap up I want to mention a few things about the course.  Despite the abnormally cool spring and lack of rainfall the past three weeks (0.59" total the past 21 days) the golf course is in excellent shape for the current conditions.  The fairways are firm and fast with lots of ball roll.  The greens are firm, yet receptive with smoothness and good speed.  The grasses in the natural/native areas are beginning to seed and overall the golf course is slowly waking from a long winter's nap and coming to life.  I know right now the forecast looks bleak for the qualifying tournament this coming Monday but my staff and I are still planning on presenting your golf course in it's best shape possible.  We will be working late Sunday evening with a full mowing scheduled as we prep the golf course for tournament conditions. 

One final note, be mindful of where you drive your golf cars as traffic is one of the biggest deterrents to bermudagrass green-up, growth and development.  If you don't believe me just pay attention next time to areas that were roped off most of the winter compared to others.  Also, please do not park your golf cars near teeing areas unless you are permitted as a flagged rider.  This person is providing an excellent example of something you should not do:

Don't Park Here!

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton
Golf Course Superintendent

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