Monday, June 1, 2015

The Month of May and a Tearful Goodbye!

Hello and welcome to "The Greenkeeper"!  Today is Monday, June 1st and an extremely busy day on your golf course.  It's been just over a month since my last post and believe me I never would have guessed after the deluge that was April (7th wettest April in Charlotte history) May would be so dry (3rd driest May in Charlotte history).  Important to note these weather records for the city of Charlotte go back 136 years!  Here at Carolina Golf Club we received 5.89 inches of rain in April (12 recorded events) and only 0.11" in May (2 recorded events).  In fact, May ended up being the single driest month in my tenure (previous was October 2013 with 0.50").  But enough about the weather let's talk about the golf course.

When last we got together bermudagrass was struggling from the prolonged winter and many areas of the course were unacceptable (CLICK HERE FOR LAST POST).  I met with the Greens Committee the first week of May and explained to them the two main issues at play.  One, prior to May the weather (sorry) had not been conducive for bermudagrass growth and development.  The colder than average temperatures were limiting the turf and making it impossible to accurately predict what areas may or may not fully recover.  Two, we had a very busy month of golf activity scheduled with Member-Guest, Member-Member, and several lucrative outings. Based on these factors I believed our best course of action was to be patient and allow warmer temperatures an opportunity to give the bermudagrass a fighting chance.  Also, from a playability perspective the winter injured turf areas were more playable than new sod roped off and kept wet.  Thus the decision to wait until the completion of the May tourney schedule was agreed to.  

Good news is the Month of May was above average temperature wise.  The warm conditions made a huge improvement in encouraging bermudagrass regrowth in slow to recover areas.  Unfortunately the lack of rain has meant we've had to rely solely on our irrigation source as bermudagrass needs water in addition to warmer temperatures in order to grow and spread laterally.  As you can see from the photos below each of the most severely affected areas have demonstrated great recovery (some more than others).  We can now accurately predict what does and does not need replacing.
Rt Side #1 Fairway (5/24)
Rt Side #1 Fairway (Opposite View 5/24)

Rt Side #10 Fairway (5/11)
Rt Side #10 Fairway (Opposite View 5/11)

Left Side #18 Fairway (6/1)
Left Side #18 Fairway (Opposite View 6/1)

With tournament golf now in our rear view mirror we can begin to encourage these areas over the next several weeks even more with a little aeration, topdressing, and fertility.  Areas like those depicted above on holes 10 and 18 will continue to improve with little turf replacement necessary.  As for number one, the task of replacing dead bermudagrass turf from winter kill commenced today.  Earlier we began to strip and remove dead turf from the right side of number one fairway.  Sod has been ordered and we are expecting delivery later this afternoon.

And finally some sad news as we said goodbye last week to Equipment Manager JR Bailey.  JR had been a very loyal member of my team since 2008 and he was one of the most talented turf equipment technicians I have ever encountered. 

JR Inspecting Mowing Quality 2014 NC Amateur

JR decided to pursue other interests in the field of manufacturing, but he left an indelible mark on this course and my department, he will be missed.  We wish JR the absolute best in his future endeavors. My search for his replacement received some good news just a short while ago when Bob Hall of Skybrook Golf Club accepted my offer to become Carolina Golf Club's next Equipment Manager.  I hope to have more information to share about Bob Hall in a future edition of The Greenkeeper.

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS

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