Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Aeration Recap, More Matts & the Course Reports!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Wednesday, June 19th and I want to give you the lowdown on the cultural practices performed during Aeration Week.  I'll share some of the posts from that week depicting the action and talk a little about how the course is recovering and what you can expect in terms of course conditions in the weeks ahead.  I'll also bring you up to speed on some newer developments within the Agronomy department, and then cap things off with a share of something I think some of you will really gravitate towards and appreciate.  Let's get started.

For the first time in my tenure the golf course was closed for five consecutive days to perform cultural practices to all playing surfaces.  We first began topdressing fairways in the summer of 2014 when we reused the old bunker sand that had been replaced the prior off-season.  That was also the first season we solid tined the fairways to prevent pulling the clay soil to the surface and mixing with the applied sand.  That resulted in a commitment from the club to topdress fairways regularly during the growing season and we have only solid tine aerated since.

This year we implemented a vertical mowing operation to fairways and approaches prior to the topdressing and solid tine aeration.  The primary purpose of vertical mowing is to remove thatch but our efforts are also focused on altering the overall texture of our bermudagrasses.  Notice the plural as our fairways consist mostly of 419 hybrid Tifway bermudagrass, plus Celebration bermudagrass, Common bermudagrass, Latitude 36 bermudagrass and mutated off-type bermudagrass (most likely related to 328 hybrid Tifgreen bermudagrass).  

This potpourri blend of grasses results in fine textured areas (419 and off-types) and others more coarsely textured (Common and Celebration) growing alongside each other.  By vertical mowing the playing surfaces we are cutting both stolons (above ground stems) and rhizomes (below ground stems) and hopefully creating more growing points closer together, which over time should help the plants increase leaf density and blend the grasses together more uniformly.  The end results the committee and I hope to achieve will not happen with just one vertical mowing, so this is a process that will continue going forward, and similar to the topdressing commitment, a noticeable difference should occur within a few years.

Following the removal of the vertical mowing debris we topdressed all the fairways and approaches with 300 tons of sand (about 10 tons per acre).  The fairways were then solid tine aerated with 3/4 inch tines and the sand dragged in.  The entire process took four plus days thanks to great weather (no rain and comfortable temperatures) and a dedicated team putting in extended hours (12-14 hours Mon-Thu).  When Friday arrived we only had one fairway remaining to be solid tine aerated and thankfully we completed that operation before the rain moved in.

After 26 consecutive dry days the golf course received over an inch of rain that Friday followed by another two inches combined late Saturday and nearly all day Sunday.  That three inches of rainfall was well timed and beneficial to the putting greens as we topdressed with nearly 60 tons of sand and SOLID tine aerated using 5/8 inch tines.  That is correct, we did not remove a core this time but chose instead to create large sand channels in the upper portion of the root zone to promote better water infiltration in advance of our normal summer thunderstorm season.  Other than some normal needle tine venting as needed along the way, this is the last planned putting green disruption for 2019.
As you can see from the photo in the tweet above just one week following our major course disruption things are coming back into form quite nicely.  Or as my friends across the pond would say, "the course is in good nick".

And speaking of, I'm happy to report we have more new faces in the Agronomy Department.  Please welcome Nick Corigliano and Shawn Winks to Team CGC!  Nick is originally from Rome, NY now residing in Huntersville while Shawn hails from Syracuse, NY and lives in Rock Hill, SC. 
L-R Nick Corigliano, Shawn Winks
In Action On No. 4
Must be something about New York as the two have quickly made a formidable pair mastering bunker preparation and I'm excited to get them trained to mow greens and tees next.

Also, I have two new assistants that have joined Team CGC.  Matt Miller is originally from Landis, NC outside Salisbury.  He previously worked at both Warrior Golf Club in China Grove and The Revival Course at the Crescent in Salisbury prior to entering Central Piedmont Community College to study Turfgrass Management Technology.  While enrolled at CPCC he worked at Quail Hollow Club, including the 2017 PGA Championship before jumping ship to Carolina Golf Club in February of last year.  Matt was an instrumental part of our team for the 2018 U.S. Mid-Am but after graduation last December he decided to give another aspect of our industry a try.  After deciding he missed the golf course he reached out a few weeks ago expressing a desire to return.    
L-R Matt Miller, Matt Rollyson
Matthew Cole Rollyson was born in Fredericksburg, VA and lived in Charlotte till 2011 before his family moved to Brownsburg, Indiana outside Indianapolis.  Matt R. recently graduated from Purdue University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in Turfgrass Management and Science.  He previously worked at both West Chase Golf Club in Brownsburg and Wolf Run Golf Club in Zionsville, IN before broadening his professional turfgrass horizons with a summer internship with the New York Red Bulls last year.  I met Matt Rollyson through my connection with Dr. Cale Bigelow of Purdue University and we are very excited to have him back in the Queen City.

Speaking of new assistants and guys named Matt, the arrival of Miller and Rollyson could not be better timed as it coincides with the departure of Senior Assistant, Matt Claunch.  Matt C had an amazing opportunity to return to Pine Tree Country Club in Boynton Beach, FL and considering he just proposed to his girlfriend (she said yes by the way) life has definitely accelerated for our young photo wizard.  

I'm very happy to report CGC is better for Matt Claunch having been here and I thank him for everything he did for the golf course and golf maintenance operation.  We all wish him the best in his future endeavors, I know he's going to do great things.  

Eric Sosnowski has been promoted to Senior Assistant.  Eric has been a dependable, loyal, trustworthy and hard working member of the Agronomy Department for almost six years and I am excited for him to have this opportunity.  You may recall Eric hails from State College, PA and is a 2013 graduate of Penn State University with a bachelor's degree in Turfgrass Science.  I guess with him and Rollyson (Purdue) being in the same office it will make for an interesting ACC/Big 10 Challenge come basketball season!  

In other news, Curtis Tyrell, CGCS, MG is hosting a podcast called The Course Reports. CLICK HERE  His aim is to speak with the superintendents that are hosting televised events in an effort to give the listener inside information about the turf and course conditions.  Sure, lots of us in the superintendent community are listening to hear and learn from our peers, but Curtis is really targeting you the golf fan to enhance your viewing experience.  So if you like podcasts, this one is worth checking out. 

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG