Friday, November 10, 2017

Seasons Change!

Hello and welcome to "The Greenkeeper"!  Today is Friday, November 10th and much has changed since my last update.  We wrapped up a warm and mostly dry (3.76 inches rainfall) October with a fabulous Fall Member-Guest and Tough Day.  We encountered our first "official" frost on Monday, October 30th but only in the rough as closely mowed areas remained frost free that morning due to soil temperatures.  The frost did manage to initiate the dormancy process in the rough and over several days things began to change.  
Each year as the color begins to fade in the rough I receive a few comments and questions.  The color contrast creates a unique look to the course that many find appealing, albeit none of us wish it looked that way year round.  I'm also asked why it turns brown in such an irregular pattern.  The short answer is convection, but rather than attempt to explain that phenomenon I thought I would link a one page article that will satisfy your curiosity better than I can. CLICK HERE to learn why the rough looks like "Tiger Stripes" each year after the first frost.

Pretty cool huh, I keep thinking our good friend Brad Panovich is going to feature the frost/convection/tiger stripes phenomenon on the news one evening, definitely a good science nerdy segment just waiting to happen.  Could even use some cool footage of Carolina and the Charlotte skyline, just saying.

Last weekend closed the books on the 2017 Tournament Season with a thrilling sudden death playoff finish to the annual Carolina Invitational.  Our winners this year were the team of Joe Jaspers and Jim "Bubba" Aughtry with a winning score of -13.  
Jim Aughtry and Joe Jaspers
They defeated River Run's Steve Harwell and Greensboro's Justin Tereshko when Jaspers calmly sank a short but breaking putt for birdie on No. 18 moments after Harwell's relatively short birdie bid stayed out.  This was the third Invitational title for the team of Jaspers and Aughtry having previously won in 2009 and 2012.  If you're thinking the name Tereshko sounds familiar it's because earlier this year he won the North Carolina Amateur contested at River Run CC after previously finishing runner-up each of the past two years.   

The golf course definitely held it's own with the strong field only playing to a stroke average of 70.71 in round 1 and 69.89 in round 2.  Tough hole locations were definitely the talk of the competitors but Mother Nature didn't make it any easier with a back-door cold front bringing cooler temperatures on the heels of near record highs earlier in the week.  Saturday morning was also a bit breezy as the front arrived making it difficult on the players.  Our own Stephen Woodard and Brett Boner finished 5th after a brilliant final round 64, unfortunately the defending champions got off to a slow start on day 1 that left them too far back.
Keeping on the subject of change, one other is the recent time change.  The end of Daylight Saving Time each year signals a change to our range usage procedures.  For those unfamiliar with our "off-season" policies we close access to the Back Tee (far end of practice range) and all participation at the Primary Tee is limited to mats only Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.  We overseeded the Primary Tee and will open the grass for use Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays weather permitting.  This has worked well the past few years enabling folks to enjoy hitting from natural turf through the winter months while protecting and preserving turf for use come winters end.  In other words, our tee simply isn't large enough to accommodate daily use throughout the winter when turf isn't growing and recovering.  Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Before I go, I have one more change to announce, and it's a big one.  I have a new assistant because former Senior Assistant Ben Albrecht is now the golf course superintendent at Birkdale Golf Club in Huntersville.  Ben served as Senior Assistant since December 2014 and had been a member of my staff dating back to 2008.   I want to thank Ben for his tireless effort the past nine years and wish him the very best as he embarks on this next chapter of his career.  I'm very happy to announce Matt Claunch has been promoted to Senior Assistant.  You may recall I introduced all of you to Matt (CLICK HEREwhen he joined our staff in late May.  Eric Sosnowski has been promoted to Assistant Superintendent.  Eric has worked tirelessly as our Assistant-In-Training since joining the team in September 2013.  
Eric Sosnowski
Originally from State College, PA he is a 2013 graduate of Penn State University with a B.S. degree in Turfgrass Science.  He loves NASCAR, the Philadelphia Eagles and has even been known to wow the patrons at the Hickory Tavern in Steele Creek on Friday nights with his karaoke talents.

Well, that's all for now.  With tournament season in the rear-view it's time for refreshers and seminars as conference season kicks off next week.  Matt and I are headed to Myrtle Beach for the annual Carolinas GCSA Conference and Show.  We're looking forward to representing Carolina Golf Club as we learn about the latest trends and emerging technologies in golf course management, all in an effort to make Carolina even better next year.  

The coldest air of this fall season arrives in town tonight, so don't be surprised if we have a brief frost delay tomorrow and possibly Sunday morning this weekend! CLICK HERE for a brief video courtesy of the United States Golf Association explaining the importance of why starting times are delayed when frost is present on the golf course. Thank you for your patience!

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG

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