Thursday, October 11, 2018


Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Thursday, October 11th and the sound of heavy rains from Tropical Storm Michael echo off the roof top of the Turf Care Center.  It has been less than four weeks since Florence dropped over seven inches rain on Carolina Golf Club and caused severe flash flooding in other parts of the Queen City, not to mention the devastation she imparted on the North Carolina coast and places east.  Michael made landfall early yesterday afternoon as a Category 4 Major Hurricane wreaking havoc along the Florida Panhandle.  My heart aches for all those in its path.
Hurricane Michael
Similar to Florence, we've known about Michael and his projected path across the southeast and through the Carolinas for several days as indicated below by this tweet from Brad Panovich this past Monday.
And we've been preparing the golf course for his arrival to the best of our abilities.  It's just this time the end goal is slightly different.  Florence was arriving prior to us co-hosting a national championship and there were certain parameters we needed to meet for our friends with the USGA (mowing heights, green speeds, surface firmness, etc.)  In case you've forgotten CLICK HERE for the link to my post on the morning she arrived.  

In this case we are in a transition as we are attempting to ready the course for the coming winter and subsequent dormant season for our bermudagrass tees, fairways, and rough.  Now don't get me wrong, tomorrow is Men's Guest Day and Fall Member-Guest is next week and we are still striving to produce the best conditions possible for you and your guest's enjoyment, but considering we are nearly six weeks into meteorological fall it's almost past time to prepare warm-season turf for hibernation.  Yesterday we mowed all closely mowed areas and wrapped up a single mow on the rough for this week.
Assuming the golf course is playable tomorrow barring damage from wind and/or debris it will most likely be Cart Path Only for our Guest Day event.  It will also most likely be the first of next week before some areas of the golf course (I'm referring to tees, fairways, and rough) see a mower again.  Thus we will use these several days in between to raise mowing heights on tees and fairways as we do each and every autumn to assist with plant health as we approach winter dormancy.  

That's right, every year the height of cut (HOC) is raised on tees and fairways as we exit summer and enter into the fall golf season.  By increasing the HOC we have more leaf material for photosynthesis which in turn means the plant can produce more food for storage prior to hibernation.  Most year's we begin this process immediately following the Club Championship usually contested around Labor Day, but this year we were required to maintain those lower HOC's through the U.S. Mid-Am and with the unseasonable warm temperatures lingering right up until now, we are just managing to find this opportunity to make the transition.  We have managed to recently complete our annual fall pre-emergent herbicide treatments to all bermudagrass areas for the prevention of unwanted poa annua this winter and next up is preventative fungicide treatments to tees and fairways for Spring Dead Spot control, but the soil temperatures are still too warm to initiate treatment as a result of the unseasonable warm temperatures we've endured lately.

Did you know that September 2018 was the third warmest September in Charlotte and warmest since way back in the 1920's!
Also, the unseasonable warm temperatures continued right into October as we managed to reach at least 90 degrees on October 4th and 5th bringing our total for this year up to 74!
Needless to say, the team and I, and the turf eagerly await the arrival of seasonable temperatures.  It's been a long, warm season this year and I believe everyone is ready for a cool down - and lower humidity.  It appears once we escort Michael through town today Autumn is ready to knock on the door.  Everyone please stay safe, pray the power stays on, and I look forward to seeing each of you again soon.

Brad Panovich

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG

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