Friday, November 9, 2018

Too Tough!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Friday, November 9th and Tough Day has been rescheduled again due to inclement weather!  :(  If anyone wants to play a little golf today they are welcome to do so, just be sure and bundle up as a cold, wet day is waiting to greet you.  We'll try again for Tough Day on November 30th.  If you're looking for a silver lining to the wet, gray skies outside, hole locations for Tough Day are already selected and marked, so maybe you can find them and get in a little practice between now and November 30th.  ;)

After a warmer than average October, the pattern has changed and we are now on what seems like the constant receiving end of moisture traveling along the southern portion of the jet stream.  Since the beginning of November we've had measurable rainfall 7 times totaling over 1.6 inches and as a result the fairways have become saturated restricting golf car access.  If it seems to you Cart Path Only restrictions are more frequent and/or last longer this time of year you're not imagining.  Yes, the golf course does drain well but when soil temperatures drop water infiltration rates slow.  Also, the shorter day length and lower sun angle this time of year greatly reduce the rate of evaporation compared to summer.  Now add the fact bermudagrass growth is slowing (uses less water) as the plant continues preparation for winter dormancy and you begin to better understand how one inch of rain can limit fairway access for a few days this time of year compared to summer.
Unfortunately, this could possibly just be a sign of things to come this winter.  Long-range forecasts are arriving and it looks like a weak El Nino is setting up in the equatorial Pacific.  What does that mean for us you ask, well typically El Nino winters contain above average precipitation in the southeast.
And if the recent wet weather isn't enough, believe it or not we are expected to receive our first true cold air of the season (I'm talking winter like temperatures) next week.  In fact, we may have our first FREEZE as early as Sunday morning, and take a close look at Wednesday and Thursday of next week in the 10-Day Forecast depicted below.
Brad Panovich, WCNC
I'm thinking it's a safe bet the bermudagrass will be dormant brown by next weekend.  If you're looking for some good news, I am hearing there should be a return to milder temperatures sometime within the last 10 days of November before winter locks in for good, so we will still have some opportunity to enjoy fall golf at Carolina.

Recent course work includes a needle tine venting of greens and a fertilizer application (18-9-18) to boost root growth and development as we head into winter.  Plant protectant applications for the prevention and management of Spring Dead Spot have been made to all bermudagrass tees and fairways, with necessary follow-up apps scheduled for the week after Thanksgiving.  You may recall CLICK HERE we already wrapped up fall preemergent applications for the prevention and management of poa annua on all bermudagrass areas.  Our collars and immediate surrounds require a follow-up application and that is scheduled for next week.

Also happening next week is the 56th Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association Conference and Show.  Held annually at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, the show consists of our annual golf championship, two days of accredited education and the largest regional trade show in the golf industry.  Senior Assistant Matt Claunch will accompany me for three days while we leave the crew in the capable hands of Assistants Eris Sosnowski and Hunter Patterson.  Based on the forecast above looks like the team will be busy with leaf removal and course cleanup.  It is that time of year.  As Vice-President of Carolinas GCSA, I am nominated to become the 46th President of the association during the annual business meeting on Wednesday, November 14th.  It is a huge honor to be trusted by my peers, but it's an even bigger honor to represent Carolina Golf Club.  

Before I go, I would be remiss if I failed to mention on this very day the one thing that is most important to me on this very special day!  Happy 22nd Anniversary Mrs. Greenkeeper!  Thank you for all your love and support, you're the greatest!  
Bonus points awarded to those that correctly name the two courses in the collage above.  Double points if you know the holes.  Hint: they share the same hole number.  Leave in the comments below.

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG