Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Course Update!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Tuesday, June 30th and I can't believe July starts tomorrow!  My goodness this year is flying past.  Considering everything that has happened thus far this year, maybe that's not a bad thing. ;)  

Since my last update Mother Nature has cranked up the warmth along with the humidity!  Those are the two things Bermudagrass loves the most and the result is a golf course some of you may describe as lush, or even juicy.  The tees have recovered nicely from their core aeration and the fairways are more than 90% recovered from the deep verticutting and topdressing.  

As a result, some of you may have noticed a little more grass under your ball as we made our first fairway height of cut adjustment of the growing season.  We always start the year lower and creep up as necessary to meet growth during the season.  The same is true for the rough.  Our current HOC in the rough is 1.75 inches and it's typically during mid to late July when we creep even closer to two inches so don't say you haven't been warned. ;)

This week my team is treating all tees, fairways, approaches, closely mowed surrounds, bunker faces, and even pond banks with a plant growth regulator.  The purpose of this application is to tighten the canopy, but more importantly slow the rate of vertical growth resulting in fewer clippings.  Clipping management is always a struggle during the most humid periods of summer.

One last note about June before we turn the calendar, we only saw 1.65 inches of total rainfall this month!  In an average June our irrigation lake would be down two to three feet with less than two inches rain, but considering the over abundance of soil moisture thanks to the spring rains of April and May (14.98 inches combined) our lake is only a few inches below full pond.

You may recall last time I referenced other course related projects on the horizon.  We're about halfway complete as all fans have been in place and operating continuously for several weeks and the native mowing has only two areas remaining (right of hole 3 and right of hole 10).  I'm guessing next week will be the pool landscape install as that renovation is nearing the finish line.  
The SubAir install on hole 12 is in a holding pattern as repairs are made to our electric service panel in that corner of the property.  We recently discovered damage to the post supporting the existing service, plus the service is being increased to allow for the addition (existing service powers fans on holes 11 and 12).  Hopefully this will be a brief snag.  

Before I go I wanted to share the post below for the photograph.  We've received numerous comments about the presentation of the bunkers with this new method and I think this pic captured it best.  Thank you all for the support, the team really appreciates it!
And here's hoping we see many more Fridays like this, as well as the other days of the week as summer continues! :)

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Aeration Week Recap!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Wednesday, June 10th and much has happened in the three weeks since my last update!  For starters, it rained the next four days following the last post totaling 3.70 inches.  Five days later Tropical Storm Bertha passed over the Queen City dropping another 1.91 inches on the golf course.  When May finally came to a close we had received 7.74 inches rainfall for the month, topping the 7.24 inches that fell in April.  

Needless to say the course was anything but firm and fast!  But since June arrived the skies have dried long enough for us to complete a long list of cultural practices aimed to improve growing conditions over the coming summer months.  On June 1 and 2 we completed our last planned aerification to the putting greens.  This was the same solid-tine procedure we performed at this time last year.  The greens were topdressed with 50 tons sand prior to the operation followed by hand brooming the sand into the holes.  
Poking Holes
Tight Spacing
The following day we lightly verticut the greens to further aid moving the topdressing sand into the holes.  We applied some needed soil amendments, treated with wetting agent and irrigated thoroughly prior to the resumption of play on Wednesday, June 3rd.    

While all that was going on, we simultaneously tackled the deep fairway verticutting and topdressing.  You may recall last year the course was closed five consecutive days to allow all these agronomic practices to be completed without interruption.  With club operations still not fully back to pre-coronavirus levels it was decided to only close two days this year resulting in us continuing to peck away at the processes around play Wednesday and Thursday of last week.

In fact, when Maintenance Monday arrived we still needed to verticut the 13th, 17th and 18th fairways plus topdress the 1st, 2nd, 10th and 11th fairways too.  We managed to complete that work two days ago while core aerifying and topdressing all tees.  To be honest, we technically didn't finish fairway topdressing till yesterday, again working around play.  Thank you all for your patience and understanding!  
I also want to thank Mother Nature for turning the spigot off long enough for us to complete our work without delay, and please feel free to turn it back on and help the course recover. ;)  We actually did receive one-quarter inch rain overnight, the first measurable rainfall since May 30.

Next up on our list is the installation of fans, mowing of all warm-season natural/native areas, and when the pool renovation is complete we will install new landscape material around the perimeter.  You may also recall a club email from early March that referenced the decision to install SubAir at the 12th green.  Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak we had hoped that project would be completed last month.  Obviously, we have been dealing with delays but the good folks at SubAir/TurfBreeze are optimistic we will have everything installed and operational before the end of this month, so stay tuned for more updates!

That's all for now, time to get the team mowing as the Bermudgrass thrives in these warm, humid conditions.  Feels more like July than June, but then again summer in the Carolinas is always toasty.  You can almost hear the rough getting thicker. ;) 

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG