Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Spring Cleaning!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper, today is Wednesday, February 16th. Growing up with my grandparents, I remember each spring we would spend several days taking down, cleaning, and putting away the winter drapes, clean all the windows and open them to air out the house, and wash all the plaster walls and heat registers with soap and water. Granted it might be a little too early for all that, but I think you see where I am going.

Although meteorological spring is still twelve days away, and astronomical spring doesn't arrive until March 20th, this is an ideal time to be getting a head start on spring golf course conditions. Earlier this week we began our annual applications of preemergent herbicide which helps us manage crabgrass and goosegrass across the more than 100 acres of bermudagrass tees, fairways, and rough. 

6.67 Acres at a Time
This is a time consuming process as it requires nearly 16 tanks to cover all the golf course, practice areas, and clubhouse grounds. But after enduring three consecutive years of above average rainfall and soggy winter conditions, it has been refreshing this week to get the sprayer on the course without issue or delay.

We also made spot applications of a post-emergent herbicide for annual bluegrass (poa annua) a couple weeks back to cleanup what little breakthrough from our fall preemergent applications occurred. Overall, I have been quite pleased with the cleanliness and presentation of the golf course surfaces this off-season.

Mowing of our native/natural areas is also underway! Each year we mow the old seed stalks and remove the clippings to clean up the areas and prepare them for preemergent applications. Our herbicide combo used in the natural/native areas is targeted against crabgrass and several species of broadleaf weeds. This will be applied once the mowing is complete in the coming weeks.

Super 600
And lastly, we are installing a plastic barrier adjacent to the newly refurbished sections of cart path in an attempt to prevent future damage from tree roots. You may recall last summer the intruding roots under the damaged sections of path were removed. We are using a trencher to cut about 18 inches deep adjacent to the path. This severs any lingering roots, then the plastic liner is installed vertically in the trench nearest the path, and backfilled. In the future as the tree roots begin to regrow, the liner will force them deeper preventing the heaving of asphalt which created the previous undesirable bumpy conditions.

A quick reminder that greens aerification is now less than three weeks away (March 7 and 8). We will once again perform a solid, deep-tine operation ahead of the core aerification and topdressing. We have adjusted our hollow-core tine size this spring, so hopefully the smaller holes will not linger too long. Spring aerification is always tricky because the grass will not grow until the climatic conditions are optimal, however when the weather warms you want to play so we are always striving to find the right balance and compromise. 

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG 

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

A Question About Sand!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper! Today is Tuesday, February 1st and I want to take a moment and provide some information based on a question received during last week's Annual Meeting. It was a great question, and knowing not everyone was able to log in to the virtual meeting I figured this would be a great way to spread the word.

The question was about our bunker sand, and more specifically the asker wanted to know was the sand installed in the recently renovated bunkers different from the sand in the other bunkers on the golf course? Great question, and the answer is both No and Yes. How is that possible you ask, let me explain.

Ready for Liner

Cap Con Liner
New G-Angle Sand

You may be surprised to learn the G-Angle sand from Golf Agronomics installed in the newly renovated bunkers last September is the same G-Angle sand installed in all the bunkers when we last renovated in 2013. Here is a link to a blog update from that project with some great photos detailing that work. 

So, we have established the new sand is the same sand, but it has been more than 8 years since that 2013 project. Yes, new sand is also added to the bunkers periodically, especially to those receiving the heaviest amount of play, but we are only talking about additions of an inch or so here and there. 

The difference comes from contamination originating from the clay subsoil underneath. With the lack of a lining system in the older bunkers, that sand has been exposed to years of weather including silt and clay particles which are smaller altering the texture, making the sand heavier, percolate slower, and play differently. 

The USGA says the useful life expectancy of bunker sand in Transition Zone climates is about 7 years, in bunkers without liners. Considering we recently endured three consecutive years (2018-2020) with extreme rainfall totals (58.50" average) it is easy to understand why our bunkers are in need of renovation, and in need of the liner. The new liner seals off the clay subsoil preserving and protecting the sand from contamination and prolonging its useful life. 

So, the new sand is different because it is fresh and does not contain any of the silt, clay, and other contaminant particles that's in the older bunkers.

Note Color Difference

I also mentioned last week how the new sand, although angular is not packed as tightly as the older sand containing smaller contaminant particles. We recently spent one of our Maintenance Mondays with two men dedicated to operating a vibratory plate tamp on all the newly renovated bunkers to help firm them up.

One other thing to note if you reviewed that 2013 post. The total number of bunkers on the property is now 81 with 79 on holes 1-18 and two practice bunkers. Two bunkers were added to the left side of Hole 7 in the fall of 2016. Click Here if you would like to revisit some photos from that project. 

That's all for now. Hard to believe February is already here! Two months down and only one to go until Spring. You may find it hard to believe with three snow events last month and the cold temperatures we've experienced most of January this winter is still trending nearly 4 degrees above average thanks to the record warmth experienced in December. Guess those days with the AC on in December canceled out those bitterly cold, snowy mornings recently endured.

Courtesy Brad Panovich, WCNC

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG