Thursday, April 28, 2016

Blown Away and On The Way!

Hello and welcome to "The Greenkeeper"!  Today is Thursday, April 28th and it is time to bring everyone up to speed with what has been going on in my department and what will soon be going on as May arrives.  May is one of our busiest months at Carolina Golf Club with two major events just two weeks apart, not to mention other golf related activities about town!

When we last met here we were on the verge of spring putting green aeration.  That process took place March 14th and 15th without any hiccups this year from Mother Nature (2014 Aeration).  With cooperative spring weather the stars seemed to be aligning themselves for a speedy recovery, and I truly believe we definitely managed to get off the starting blocks quickly, but then something bizarre occurred.  Cool, northeasterly winds began to blow across the region and quite frankly, I didn't think they would ever stop.  For over a month you could have easily referred to Carolina Golf Club as the "little course on the windy hill".  
Now what does that have to do with putting green recovery you ask.  Quite simply the ever present winds continuously dried things out, stressing the turf and making it difficult for the holes to completely close over. This symptom occurred most noticeably on the interior of the golf course and along the ridge where greens 3, 15, 5 and 7 are positioned, but all greens with severe humps, bumps, and spines would show excellent recovery in the lower lying portions while those areas more exposed to the constant breeze lagged behind.  
April 9th, Green No. 4
April 9th, Green No. 11

Greens 11 and 12 healed up completely as much as ten full days before all others on the course simply because they are located in an area of the property sheltered from most breezes (this is why those greens have fans in the summer).  In the end everything turned out just fine as the greens have been back to normal for quite some time now, I even heard a rumor they were a little too quick for some's taste this past weekend.

With a new season upon us it means we have new staff members here to help beautify Carolina Golf Club for your enjoyment.  Once again we are hosting six young lads through the World International Student Exchange. This year's group is from Vietnam and they are all very pleasant, eager, hard working young men.  

Front row L-R is Minh Hau, Quang Hai, and Tien Manh.  Back row L-R is Van Loi, Huy Quang, and Van Tien. They are all agriculture majors back home.  They arrived March 21st and have now spent over a month getting acclimated to the course and their new surroundings.  Some of their English is still a work in progress in case you encounter one or more, but they are very friendly and very eager to please. I sincerely hope you will help me make them all feel welcome and appreciated over the course of this year as they are very far from home.  

Recently we removed the last few lingering dead trees from last season.  Monday we had all stumps ground and the staff spent a couple days earlier this week hauling away stump grindings, back filling holes with soil, compacting, and seeding.  With all the removed stumps located in natural/native areas it made the work easy to accomplish without disrupting play.  If your ball should encounter one of these recently seeded areas please take free relief from the Ground Under Repair.  While on the subject of trees, the large Oak located left of the path approaching No. 5 green is exhibiting some bizarre stress symptoms.  

You may recall it did something similar last year that lead to us selectively removing the effected wood.  Our consulting arborist was here to examine the tree this past Monday morning and a climbing inspection has been scheduled in order to get a closer look.  Please know we are working very hard to accurately diagnose and treat this specimen and making every attempt to preserve it.

Next week is the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club and that signifies May's arrival in the Queen City.  I'm sure most of you will head out to watch the best players on tour try to tame the Green Mile.  Course Superintendent Keith Wood and his team have the course in fabulous tournament condition, and I wish them all the best.  The following week we will host our annual Member-Guest (May 12-14) and then two weeks later it will be time for the annual Memorial Day Four-ball, our 54-hole Member-Member Championship concluding on Memorial Day!  We also have our first Dogfight of the season, our first 9 & Dine, and the OMEGA team is back in home course action in May.  Wow, I haven't even flipped the calendar and already next month is full of lots of activity.  And finally, the new championship tee for hole No. 10 received its first mowing today.  Tips players, don't be surprised if you find the markers placed there real soon.

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS