Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My Saturated Apologies, The US Open, What Did He Say and The NC Amateur!

Hello and welcome to "The Greenkeeper"! Today is Tuesday, June 11th and I am sincerely sorry so much time has past since my last post.  Of course I could describe in detail multiple reasons why but the reality is I just didn't realize it had been so long.  Webster's defines saturated as "full of moisture, thoroughly wet".  I would say that is pretty accurate right now.  On June 3rd the golf course took on nearly 2.5 inches rain overnight.  Prior to that event we had managed to keep things firm and dry so the golf course soaked that rain up like a sponge.  After a few spotty showers Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday kept things moist at the surface we took over an inch of rain Friday (June 7th), 1.35" to be exact.  Unfortunately prior to sunrise Saturday morning we were hit by another thunderstorm dropping 0.75" rain.  Yesterday brought us off-and-on showers before a final storm hit just before 4:00 pm and left us with another 0.8" in our gauges. 

I know, I lost you at spotty showers...to summarize the golf course has received 5.5" rain in the past 8 days!  That is nearly two month's worth and the golf course has gone from a lean, mean fighting machine to lush, tropical oasis. 

Of course most of the rain that fell on us moved northeastward and lots of it found its way to Ardmore, Pennsylvania and Merion Golf Club, site of this week's 113th United States Open Championship. 

Our own Webb Simpson is the defending champion and I am looking forward to watching the best players in the world take on the challenge of such a classic and highly regarded course.  My heart goes out to Matt Schaffer and his staff as I know they are disappointed the rains have softened their baby and took some of the bite out of the layout.  Here's hoping we don't see another 2011 and the course can begin to dry out and firm up before the conclusion of play...#hopingfor18holeplayoff.

We aerated the putting greens two weeks ago (after the conclusion of the Member-Member).  Despite a slow start out of the gate this spring I firmly believe the putting surfaces were the best they have ever been for our spring tournament season!  I am happy to report they have healed nicely from the small aeration and we are transitioning from our tournament maintenance regime towards our summer survival practices.  I am referring to mowing heights are raised in the humid summer months, we replace grooved rollers on the walk-behind mowers with smooth rollers and we closely monitor the soil and canopy temperatures.  We also closely monitor soil moisture levels and desperately try to keep the greens as dry as possible (water conducts heat and wet soils elevate soil temperatures to lethal levels for bentgrass roots) by hand watering and hand syringing when and where appropriate... #pleasebepatientwhenwesyringe.   

Speaking of aeration we aerated the tees last week and just yesterday we aerated the collars.  Next up are the fairways and roughs!  That's right our annual aeration of fairways and roughs is this coming Monday and Tuesday (June 17th and 18th).  Please consider this announcement as your friendly reminder the course will be completely closed both days and yes this process is dirty!  The course will take on a stained appearance for a few days (maybe more depending on weather) and you can help us by scheduling your golf accordingly.  It is the early morning tee times typically causing issues with tracking of dirt and mud.  Because of this carts will be restricted to the paths each day until noon to give the turf adequate time to dry from the morning dew... #wearoldgolfshoes.

The 53rd North Carolina Amateur tees off Thursday at Forsyth Country Club.  You may or may not recall Carolina is slated to host the 54th North Carolina Amateur June 5-8, 2014.  I will be travelling to Forsyth CC tomorrow to meet with my good friend, course superintendent Chris DeVane.  Chris and I spoke for a little bit this past Friday and I am looking forward to seeing what he has in store for the competitors this year and making a few notes so we present Carolina in the best condition possible next year.


See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton
Golf Course Superintendent

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