Friday, March 26, 2021

Course News, Good News, and Best News!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Friday, March 26th and it pleases me to bring you this brief update on and off the golf course.  I will touch on the recent greens aerification and recovery progress.  We'll talk about spring preemergent herbicide applications, mowing operations, and other tasks as we continue to ready the course for the upcoming season.  Then I'll share with you some good news, followed by an update containing the best news.  So let's get started.

Putting greens were aerified and topdressed back on the first and second.  This is the earliest we've performed spring aerfication and I know some folks were curious to the modification of the schedule.  Granted, in order to fully recover from spring aerification we need growing conditions and these are controlled more by soil temperatures than ambient air temperatures (this is why the course is never immediately in spring form when we get unseasonably warm temperatures in February or early March).  

So, why would I aerify greens when the soil temperatures are not in the optimum range you ask?  Great question and the answer is a couple of reasons actually.  One, our greens had been subjected to the most intense traffic in their history with record rounds played each month since the beginning of the pandemic last spring.  Not to mention, our last aerification took place in early June meaning the greens had endured nine consecutive months of heavy play without relief.  This in turn negatively impacted water infiltration rates causing puddling and ponding even after small rain events in spite of our wetting agent regime.  Two, the busiest month for golf last year was April.  That's right, more rounds of golf were played in April 2020 than any other month and that includes May, June, July, and August which all have more daylight hours.

So, when you're trying to ready the course to accommodate high demand in April, some compromises and adjustments are made.  We may have stumbled out of the starting blocks, but it certainly appears things are trending in the right direction for what we hope is a spectacular spring golf season at CGC.

March 26, 2021

March 26, 2021

Following the completion of greens aerification we managed to treat the entire course with preemergent herbicide for the management of crabgrass and goosegrass this coming year.  If you haven't treated your home lawns for crabgrass do not delay much longer.  Forsythia hasn't dropped its blooms yet across town but the clock is ticking.

All of our cool-season natural/native areas were mowed and cleaned up using our Super 600!  This removed both old and unwanted growth and permitted us to get a good application of our preemergent herbicide combination in those areas too.  The predominant warm-season areas will be mowed in early June.

As for the remainder of the golf course, we mowed all rough this week and again used our Super 600 to clean up the clippings.  The first mowing of rough is always at a lower height of cut than normal play to open the canopy and allow sunlight to penetrate and warm the soil (this is why you always see the tees, fairways, and approaches green up faster than the rough).  

Mowing Native

Preemergent Application

Mowing Rough
We had planned to make the first cut on fairways and approaches this morning but Mother Nature had other plans by dropping over 1.5 inches rain last night.  So you can expect to see these areas get trimmed and groomed next week when the course dries out.

In other news, I'm excited to announce Assistant Superintendent Matthew Rollyson was selected to join the Agronomy Volunteer Team at the upcoming Augusta National Women's Amateur.  Mr. Boilermaker will be heading down to Georgia on Sunday to help prepare the courses this coming week.  Rounds 1 and 2 are played at Champions Retreat on March 31st and April 1st.  The final round is played at Augusta National Golf Club on Saturday, April 3rd.  We are thrilled here at CGC Agronomy to have Matthew selected for this opportunity.

Mr. Boilermaker!
And, in the best news department, Darless beat cancer!  Yes, you heard correctly, following four long months of chemotherapy followed by surgery just one week ago today, she received a clean bill of health yesterday when we met with the surgical oncologist, Dr. Turk to get her pathology report!  We are thrilled to come through this arduous journey and we cannot thank everyone at Carolina Golf Club enough for your unending well wishes and support.

Dr. Joshi, Medical Oncology

Dr. Turk, Surgical Oncology

Flowers from CGC
Flowers from CWGA

That's all I have time for now, we're still tidying up the course in preparation for tomorrow's Donald Ross event.  Unfortunately I believe it will most likely be cart path only, but best of luck to both teams!

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG 

Friday, March 5, 2021

Aerification Recap, the Back of the Range, and the King!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper!  Today is Friday, March 5th and I want to bring you up to speed on the recent aerification to the putting greens and talk about what you will see happening on the course over the coming weeks.  With meteorological winter in the books there is much to accomplish before the arrival of mowing season.  So let's get started.

On Monday and Tuesday we aerified all 22 putting greens with 12 mm diameter solid tines at a depth of nine inches.  This was done using our Toro SR70-S attached to our John Deere tractor.  You may or may not have seen a tweet on Thursday of last week when we made a practice run across the nursery green.

Following the deep tine process was the immediate coring using two Toro 648 aerifiers equipped with hollow tines measuring 0.41 inch at the inside diameter.  This was the first core removal since spring aerification last year on March 9th and 10th.  

We did receive three-tenths inch of rain on Monday in the form of off-and-on showers and drizzle during the first half of the day.  Although I could keep going with the deep tine machine, it did delay the walk behind units a couple hours and more importantly delayed the cleanup and removal of the cores as only eight greens were completed before darkness.

Day Two started with core removal and cleanup of the fourteen remaining greens.  All greens were then topdressed with sand, brushed to incorporate sand into the aerification holes, and rolled two times.  The temperature dropped as the day progressed and just when we wrapped up our last green we were treated to a beautiful sunset.  I shared the photo with my granddaughter and told her I also see God's glory at night, not just in the mornings.

Nothing improves greenkeeper morale like wrapping up putting green aerification.  The drive home was loud and a celebratory toast warmed my cold bones.

Speaking of cold, if you were wondering why you couldn't seem to shake a chill this winter, well, it's because we just experienced the coldest winter in the Queen City since 2015!  Of course, nothing makes the cold feel colder than rain and we had thirteen inches fall on the golf course during meteorological winter this season.  That makes the third consecutive winter with more than one foot of rain!

Courtesy of Brad Panovich, WCNC

The good news is there isn't any rain in the forecast and we are slowly beginning to dry out.  You may have already noticed a greener tinge to the fairways following last weekend's spectacular spring-like days where the temperature climbed to 73 degrees!  Forsythia is beginning to bloom about town meaning it is time to make preemergent herbicide applications for the prevention of crabgrass and goosegrass.

We will be treating the golf course all next week, 100 acres of bermudagrass tees, fairways and rough plus the practice range and more.  In case you're wondering, yes, it is also time to treat your home lawns too!  Now is also the time to mow the fine-fescue and make preemergent herbicide applications to those natural areas.  You will see the Super 600 in action next week and the team will mow other areas by hand where the terrain is too steep for our piece of kit.

Wednesday I met with with the 2021 Green Committee.  We have four new members this year and a new chairman.  Brett Boner has served on the committee since 2011 and will chair the group this year as former chairman Ed Oden now serves as Club President.  One topic discussed was drainage, and the group was happy to learn my team and I have identified several areas we will be installing additional drainage once we wrap up the natural area mowing and preemergent applications.  

Well, there it is, a recap of aerification and a game plan for the next few weeks.  As you anxiously wait for the greens to recover and heal from their long overdue break I found something you might enjoy.  If you're into podcasts you can check out Brett Boner on The Back of the Range Podcast hosted by Ben Adelberg CLICK HERE.  Seems Brett and Ben were talking on the same day Tiger Woods wrecked his courtesy car.  Did you know Brett and Tiger were paired together for two rounds as juniors?  Neither did I until I listened to this interview.  If you like amateur golf, and stories from the mini tours you'll enjoy this episode.

And finally, its Arnold Palmer Invitational week on the PGA Tour.  Early yesterday morning Golf Today asked people to share stories about meeting Mr. Palmer on Twitter.  I posted a quick reply about my one and only encounter with the King.  A few hours later I received the photo below in a text from Eric Mauntel. 

Well, what do you know.  Thanks Golf Channel for sharing our story.  Chris Anderson (pictured far right) also saw it from his home in Florida and texted all the group with the caption, "We're famous!"  LOL, thanks Arnold!

Before I go I was excited to see the announcement yesterday from the Golf Professional Staff announcing Ryan Parker and Jason Rossetti recently qualified for the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball to be played later this year at Chambers Bay!  Way to go guys and looking forward to seeing the CGC represented in the PNW!

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG