Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Aeration Recap, More Sod, The Anderson, & The US Open!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Tuesday, June 12th and so much has happened since I last posted.  We completed establishment of the two loads of sod we received in early May.  We conducted our annual Member-Member Championship over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, then we immediately core aerated and topdressed all the putting greens.  

Since June 1 we have been playing catch up with our regular mowing schedule.  We aerated tees on the fourth, have been applying growth regulator to fairways and approaches, mowed all the warm-season native areas and today we are installing one final load of new sod to complete repairs to the South Range Tee.  Also, Stephen and Brett won The Anderson at Winged Foot and it's U.S. Open week at Shinnecock Hills, so let's get started.
I referenced we have been playing catch up with mowing.  We had 3.74 inches total rainfall at Carolina Golf Club in May but only one-half inch of that total fell in the first 15 days.  The last two weeks of May saw over 3 inches rainfall in 9 measurable rain events, including during the Member-Member.

Considering the forecast during the event and the rain all around us we definitely caught a break being able to complete all play, including a thrilling 3-way playoff in one very competitive flight, without delays.  

With the Member-Member behind us it was time to aerate greens once again.  You'll recall last time I referenced how this aeration is the final aeration planned for 2018, so it felt good when we wrapped things up on the second day.  We still had some weather related challenges as 0.60" rain fell on the entire team in less than 20 minutes on the final green of day 1.  But when you think back to the weather challenges we encountered in March CLICK HERE I won't complain one bit.
With aeration in the rear view mirror the team was excited to focus on mowing and grooming our playing surfaces.  The first half of June has been mostly dry with only 0.60" total rainfall thus far enabling us to get multiple cuts on the approaches, fairways, and rough.  We are currently enjoying the benefits of a second growth regulator application to closely mowed Bermudagrass playing surfaces and the definition is really starting to come into form.
Spectacular Morning!
An Uncommon View of No. 7
I referenced earlier we aerated tees last week and we have mowed all the warm-season native areas with our bush hog.  This is done to remove the old growth from last season along with any unwanted weeds to make room for this season's new growth.  Right now our plan is to mow these areas one or two more times before the end of summer to ensure a thick, healthy stand heading into fall.  All cool-season (fescue) areas were mowed in early spring and those areas are just now beginning to come into peak form with their trademark seedheads turning golden brown.  Those areas will only be treated for weeds between now and the end of the year, no mowing until next spring.
Squared Tees Are Cool

Bush Hogging!
Before I move on to some other interesting notes, early this morning the final sod truck arrived with new turf to complete repairs to the South Range Tee.  The majority of this teeing area did not survive winter thanks in large part to the tall trees just across the property fence.  That comfortable shade you enjoy while practicing in the summer unfortunately created too cold a micro-climate this past winter.  We installed new turf on the front half about 4 weeks ago and treatments to the remainder were unsuccessful in stimulating new growth and recovery thus necessitating the installation of new turf. 

We'll also button up a few other areas on the course and that should wrap up winter injury repairs for this year.  We do have a few areas that we will continue to push with extra fertility and spot aerate soon to encourage full recovery, but based on my conversations with my superintendent peers in the region, we made out pretty good only needing three truck loads of sod this year.

Okay, so before I go I would be remiss if I didn't share some exciting news as Carolina Golf Club members Brett Boner and Stephen Woodard won the 82nd Anderson Memorial at famed Winged Foot Golf Club this past weekend.  The Anderson is a coveted best-ball invitational for top amateur players from across the country.  Their strong play last year got them into the championship match before falling short, but this year they brought home the trophy!  

Congratulations and well played guys, now time to qualify for the upcoming U.S. Mid-Am! No pressure ;)

Before I go I want to share one final thing with you.  It's U.S. Open week and the tournament this year is being contested at Shinnecock Hills for the first time since 2004.  Last night on Live From there was an excellent piece hosted by Matt Ginella of Golf Channel featuring course superintendent Jon Jennings, his team and USGA Championship Agronomist, Darin Bevard.  Darin is a dear friend I've had the pleasure of knowing for over twenty years, going back to my graduate school days and his early days as a regional agronomist in the Mid-Atlantic Section.  After the piece aired Jon and Darin joined Rich Lerner for some live Q&A.  This clip is a little lengthy (about twenty minutes) but it has some great information that shows just how far turfgrass science has come since the last time the U.S. Open was held on these iconic Long Island links.  CLICK HERE 

Hope you enjoyed that glimpse behind the scenes.  Good luck to Jon, his team, Darin, and the army of volunteers and I hope everyone enjoys this year's second major championship, the U.S. Open.

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG