Friday, July 17, 2015

Course Update, Junior Campers, Staff Update, and The Open!

Hello and welcome to "The Greenkeeper"!  Today is Friday, July 17th and second round of the 144th playing of The Open Championship at St. Andrews is back underway after a lengthy weather delay this morning.  But before we talk about The Open I want to bring everyone up to speed on recent course projects, our irrigation water supply, a fun experience I recently had, and introduce you to our new Equipment Manager.

Over the past two weeks my team and I have topdressed all fairways and approaches with 10 tons per acre of sand.  This is just the first of many applications over the coming years.  It is our intention to only make these applications during the active growing season for bermudagrass (June-August) with the goal to apply a minimum of 30 tons per acre annually.  
Over time the sand will accumulate making a well drained layer sustaining our fairways and other closely mowed areas.  Another benefit with regular topdressing is the smoothing of the surface as minor dips and other imperfections are slowly smoothed out with sand topdressing making for a tighter, firmer playing surface.

During the same time span we core aerated all tees and collars.  We removed the cores, fertilized, and topdressed with sand.  The removal of cores is to alleviate the compaction from these high traffic areas in an effort to promote new growth and deeper rooting.  These cultural practices are key components to building stronger, healthier turf in advance of next winter.

It doesn't take a meteorologist to figure out we haven't received much rainfall in recent months.  One needs only to look at your neighbor's lawn, I know mine looks like toast!  Since the end of April we have received less than 3 inches rain here at Carolina.  Considering the warm temperatures we have been experiencing this summer, it is no surprise to see the lower irrigation pond level.  
Cove Right of Number 2
The cove running along the right side of number 2 fairway is actually shallow (about 5 to 6 feet).  The bulk of our water supply lies in the main body where depths range from 12 to 20 feet deep.  As of today we have used approximately 14 million gallons water irrigating the golf course year-to-date.  To put things in perspective we only used 18 million gallons total in 2014!  
Current Water Level at Spillway
If you were not present during the construction and grow-in during 2007 and 2008 it would be easy to be alarmed by the current water level.  My team and I have been and continue to be very conscious water users as we have been implementing conservation methods all season (hand watering, reduced run times, wetting agents, etc.).  The reality is there is more water remaining in the lake than used to this point and although it may be less attractive, the purpose of constructing this lake was to supply water to the golf course when needed.  The good news is my sources indicate a significant change to our current weather pattern could be in store by the first of next month trimming temperatures and increasing our chances of some beneficial rainfall.
Last week the Golf Professional Staff conducted the second of this summer's three Junior All Sports Camps.  I want to thank the Golf Professional Staff, and especially Steve Stahl for inviting me to address last week's participants.  
It was truly a thrill for me to have the opportunity to speak to the campers and provide a little "show-and-tell" with some of the tools of greenkeeping.  Hope to do it again someday!

You may recall I announced on June 1st Bob Hall, formerly of Skybrook Golf Club had accepted the offer to become Equipment Manager of Carolina Golf Club.  Bob originally hails from Andes, New York (in the Upstate) and is a 1995 graduate of SUNY, Delhi with a degree in Turf Management.  Prior to moving south Bob worked at both SUNY Delhi Golf Course and Ouleout Creek Golf Course.  He and his wife Maria relocated to the Greater Charlotte area in May 2001 when he started with Skybrook Golf Club.  
Placing Fairway Unit on the Lift

Checking Height of Cut and Sharpness
They reside in Kannapolis and have a 5-year old daughter named Abby.  When not ensuring our fleet is in top condition Bob enjoys Abby's baseball games and is a devoted family man!   

In the beginning I mentioned a significant weather delay at this year's Open Championship.  In case you were not yet awake here is a highlight.
As an avid golf historian I am pulling for Jordan Spieth to do something that has only been done once before (Ben Hogan, 1953) but there are many great players in the mix and regardless of who wins I am certain the conclusion to this most cherished championship will be thrilling.  I sincerely hope each of you enjoys The Open!

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS

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