Thursday, February 22, 2018

Spring Fever, Sally Field, & Special Gift!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Thursday, February 22nd and spring is in the air all around the Queen City!  Cherry blossoms are blooming, trees are budding, it's crazy when you think we are setting record highs and 3 weeks ago my last post mentioned how cold winter had been.  Such is life in the Transition Zone.
Since returning from the Golf Industry Show on the 9th the average high temperature in Charlotte has been 67 degrees with 5 days reaching at least 70 degrees or more, including a record smashing 82 degrees this past Friday (Feb 16)!
And we even hit 80 degrees yesterday to establish another record!  You may be wondering what impact, if any this early warm-up may have on our bermudagrass tees and fairways.  Surely we all remember from our high school biology class that plants produce their own energy via photosynthesis, but what about a plant that's been in hibernation.  There isn't any photosynthesis taking place on the biscuit brown canopy of dormant turf.  Bermudagrass relies on stored energy in the form of carbohydrates to assist with the process of breaking dormancy and producing new shoots and leaves.  Once the plant fully exits dormancy will it be able to resume production of its own energy.

As you can imagine, if the plant wakes from dormancy too early using its carbohydrate reserves in the process, what will happen if the plant is once again subjected to freezing cold temperatures sending it back into a dormant state.  Such is life in the Transition Zone.

We've seen this scenario play out several times before, to the point I'm beginning to think it's the "new normal".  Each year a portion of winter is too warm and just when everyone is fully smitten with spring fever, Old Man Winter reminds us that March, and even April can have its fair share of cold.  I wish I could tell you this warmth is here to stay, but unfortunately there already is talk about a potential change in the pattern for early March.  Until then, I suggest you dust off those clubs and enjoy the course.  I know that's what Matt Claunch and I plan to do today as we have scheduled our first "course inspection" of 2018 for later this afternoon.  

Earlier I mentioned my return from the Golf Industry Show.  This year's conference was a whirlwind of education and activities.  It was a treat to witness Ernie Els receive the Old Tom Morris Award from GCSAA and I collected my own little piece of hardware when I picked up the Kaminski Award from the good folks at Golf Course Industry and Aquatrols.  Thank you all for your kind congratulatory words, it was an honor to both represent Carolina Golf Club at GIS and accept this recognition knowing it's all because of how we communicate.
You Like Me!

Upon returning from GIS I immediately walked the course to inspect conditions and assess where things stood considering the cold pattern we had endured.  Overall I was very pleased and shared my observations in a string of tweets linked below.  

Since that time we've been busy applying all our pre-emergent herbicide to the tees, fairways, and rough for management of unwanted crabgrass and goosegrass.  
The team has also been in the process of tidying up mulched areas on the golf course, ensuring we have a fresh edge and smooth transition from turf to mulch under our hardwood trees and pine straw underneath the conifers.  Of course if this warmer weather continues much longer we might have to think about mowing bermudagrass turf, I can't believe I just typed that in February.  Such is life in the Transition Zone.

One final closing note, yesterday I received a message from a former employee.  Hernee Gift Palabrica was one of our International Interns from Philippines and worked here the entire 2015 season.  Since returning home to Philippines he has been working at Iloilo Golf and Country Club, the oldest golf course in Philippines built by English and Scottish expatriates in 1907!  
Hernee Gift Palabrica (L) and Joeven Guilaran (R)
Outstanding Contributions!

Seems Gift has ascended to the role of Assistant Ground Supervisor and received some accolades of his own from the club.  I'm extremely happy and proud of him for the accomplishment, but even more happy he maintains our connection and shared his good fortune with me and the team.  Well done Gift!

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG

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