Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Catching Up!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Tuesday, August 25th and for the first time in months the team and I are beginning to feel like we are catching up!  Between record heat and drought, projects, and recent heavy rainfall, at times it felt like we were running in place.  I think this past Friday was the first time I found myself breathing a sigh of relief as the last pieces of new sod went on the ground to button up a few undesirable areas.  Here's a look back at the work helping usher in fall. Yes, September 1st, the start of meteorological fall is only one week away.  ;)

At the first of this month we were still in the grips of a heat wave with unbearable humidity and elevated nighttime temperatures.  As a result, we battled some fungal pathogens on our creeping bentgrass greens that called for treatment.  The right combination of curative plant protectant applications in conjunction with our fans, including the portable used at hole 9 made a tremendous impact and we successfully turned things around.

Portable Fan Hole 9
Now obviously we didn't place the fan in front of the green during play, but we did take advantage of a closed course on Maintenance Mondays to reposition and get better airflow to the far side.  Our recent reprieve from the intense heat allowed us to remove the fan temporarily but you will most likely see it returned tomorrow as temperatures are expected once again to rise into the 90's and remain through this coming weekend.

Prior to August 15th the golf course had only received about 3/4 inch total rainfall this month.  Then the tropical downpours hit that same Saturday afternoon dropping over two inches!  In fact, since the 15th we've had eight measurable rain events totaling 4.6 inches and bringing our monthly total up to 5.39 inches.  That is more than June and July combined (5.21 inches).  

With the recent wet period it sure is nice having the new SubAir unit on Hole 12 operational!  Big thanks to the folks at SubAir/TurfBreeze for all their assistance in getting us squared away on our most challenging microclimate.  The vault is behind the green in the native area.  We wrapped up this project by topdressing with compost and reseeding with Spence Blend fine fescue.  The unit has been quickly put through its paces as noted by the rainfall just in the past ten days.

Top of Vault

Ready for Seed

Looking Better Each Day

With that off our plate we focused on wrapping up the final fairway topdressing for this season.  Between August 10th and 12th we spread 300 tons of utility sand across our 30 acres of tees, fairways, and approaches.  This application brought our grand total since inception in 2015 up to 3900 tons or 130 tons per acre.  Thankfully we had dry weather while spreading and the plentiful rainfall since has sufficiently helped work all the sand into the canopy.

You may recall last time I referenced how we changed grass types on the back tee of hole 13.  We selected Zorro Zoysiagrass for the enhanced shade tolerance as that tee abuts the southeastern property boundary.  This was the same turf used for the newly installed "lawn space" adjacent to the swimming pool.  The new sod rooted in quickly and the tee markers were returned and the tee reopened for play twelve days ago.
In other news we vented greens (needle tines) on August 17th following the Saturday deluge.  It was one of the final tasks our summer intern, Jarrett Price completed last week before heading back to West Lafayette, Indiana for the start of fall classes at Purdue University.  JP was a big part of our team's success this summer and we wish him all the best as he continues his studies.  And hopefully he decides to return next year so we can continue his Jedi training.  :)

Well, that's about all for now.  Dustin Johnson destroyed the field in the first FedEx Cup tournament winning by eleven strokes!  The tour heads to Olympia Fields this week for the BMW Championship then next week they head to Atlanta and East Lake Golf Club for the Tour Championship!  Following a week off after the Tour Championship we get the US Open at Winged Foot!  I don't know about you, but I think it's an exciting time for professional golf!

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG

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