Friday, March 22, 2019

Waiting on Spring!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Friday, March 22nd and the Madness has begun.  Congrats to the Wofford Terriers on their First Round victory last night over Seton Hall.  The Southern Conference Champions haven't lost in months and were fun to watch.  I believe I need to schedule a nap sometime today if I'm going to see one second of my beloved Virginia Tech Hokies.  Thanks NCAA for playing the East Region in California (insert eye roll emoji).  Anyway, it seems all it took to put an end to six months of record rainfall was aerating the putting greens.    

Last time I shared some data and statistics on how much rain had fallen in the Queen City dating back to September. Click Here  Even the first ten days of March were wet with nearly three more inches.  Since then we've barely received over three-tenths and never more than eight-hundredths at any one time.  When you have freshly aerated greens, heavily topdressed with sand, the one thing you would appreciate from Mother Nature is a solid half-inch or more in one dose.  Murphy's Law I suppose.

But please don't misconstrue my words above, I'm not complaining.  I'm merely explaining why as the second post aeration weekend arrives the greens still look and putt very similar to last.  Growth and recovery has been hampered by the below average temperatures, and when you closely examine the most recent 10-day forecast below you'll notice several more mornings with low temperatures in the mid-30's.  

The good news is Spring has to arrive eventually.  We are three weeks deep into Meteorological Spring, Daylight Saving Time has been going for nearly two weeks, and Astrological Spring arrived day before yesterday.  In other words the temperatures eventually have to catch up with the season.

In other news I made a quick trip out to Lawrence, Kansas as a member of GCSAA's Membership Recruitment and Retention Task Group.  The past three years (2016-2018) I served on the Conference Education Task Group and my time with them had expired, so it was nice to be invited to serve in a new capacity.  
Great collection of superintendents from all across the U.S. and my good friend Andrew Morris from C.C. of Peoria was on the group so it was a thrill to be able to spend time with him.  Andy and I met the old fashioned way, sitting beside each other at a Golf Industry Show seminar in 2006.  We hit it off and have remained good friends since.  It's one of, if not the best things about this business, the Brotherhood. :)
Andy Morris
That's all for now, I'm headed out to cut cups and setup the golf course behind the roller as we prepare for your Friday enjoyment.  Good luck to everyone's teams today and the remainder of the weekend.  Not sure which is more maddening, the basketball or the weather. ;)

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Forging Ahead, Chicken Dinner and The King!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Thursday, March 7th.  I'm sure you're all familiar with the proverbial saying, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade."  I never dreamed the lemons in this case would be enough water to make over 139 million gallons of the tart, summertime elixir.  Let me explain.

If you've wondered recently if it has ever rained this much in Charlotte, the answer is NO.  The past six months have been record breaking, as in the all-time wettest September through February ever, and Charlotte weather records date back 141 years.  We recorded 41.07 inches rainfall at the golf course during this period.  The city of Charlotte receives about 40 inches rainfall annually, meaning we received one year's worth of rain in half the time!  
Now take into account the past six months are the six months of the year with the slowest plant growth (turf is either preparing for winter or dormant during winter) and you gain a better understanding of the existing course conditions.  And if that doesn't impress you, here are some other numbers about the recent wet weather that may give you a different perspective.  One acre foot of water (that's water twelve inches deep across an entire acre of surface area) is 325,851 gallons.  An acre is 43,560 square feet for those wondering.  If we convert our rainfall from inches to feet we get 41.07/12 = 3.4225 feet of rainfall.  If we multiply that by the total number of irrigated acres maintained on the golf course (125) we get 3.4225 x 125 = 427.8125 acre feet of water.  Multiply that by the number of gallons in one acre foot and we get 427.8125 x 325,851 = 139,403,130.9375 gallons of water fell on the golf course this fall and winter.

And how much water is 139 million gallons you ask.  It's more than the total amount applied to the golf course through the irrigation system since 2012!  That's right, we've only applied 131.7 million gallons combined the past seven years (2012-2018) for an average of 18.7 million gallons per season.  And it turns out it wasn't just the Queen City, as this past winter (December-February) was announced to be the all-time wettest in U.S. history.
Moving on, despite the wet conditions my team and I continue to forge ahead.  We managed to get started on spring pre-emergent applications yesterday as we identified the driest of holes and the process will continue again today.  This isn't the latest we've ever made these applications as each year can be different but considering Forsythia (indicator plant) bloomed early thanks to the warmer than average February, the saturated conditions were frustrating.  So take home message, if you haven't treated your home lawn for crabgrass it isn't too late, but don't delay.
Above Avg Temps
It's also time to clean up and prep our cool-season native areas.  We will be mowing and removing the cuttings in these areas like we do each spring.  This allows us to treat with pre-emergent products for crabgrass management and encourages new seedhead production which will flourish in May and turn golden brown in early June.  At this time I would like to sneak in a friendly reminder the golf course is scheduled to be closed this coming Monday and Tuesday (March 11 and 12) for greens aeration.  This will be a repeat of last year's process where we will both deep solid tine and core aerate the greens prior to topdressing.  Just hoping we don't repeat the temperatures from last year!
March Aeration 2018 - Brrrr!
Despite the wet conditions the 2019 golf season is upon us.  Congratulations to Brett Boner and Stephen Woodard on their victory in the Pine Needles Invitational Four-ball this past weekend!  The lads carded rounds of 64, 66, and 67 at Pine Needles, Mid-Pines, and Pine Needles respectively for a 197 total (-19) and a six shot victory!  Well played gentlemen.
Winner Winner!!
Always good to get that first win out of the way early.  We're so proud of you both, team CGC!  Here's the write up from our good friends at 

And don't forget golf fans today is Round 1 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, Florida.  I miss the King and I'm rooting for Justin Rose since he selected an awesome way to honor and pay tribute to Arnie with his twitter account this week.  Nice avatar Justin, I'm sure Arnold would approve with his signature thumb's up!

See you on the course... soon I hope,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG