Wednesday, March 30, 2022

March Recap!

Hello and welcome to The Greenkeeper, today is Wednesday, March 30th and although there is still one more day to go this month, I wanted to provide you with a recap. Several years ago I stated how I believe March to be the least attractive month for the golf course March Madness, and I still feel that way. Having said that, I do believe this might be the best the course has looked this time of year, and I'm hopeful that is a sign of more good things to come this season.

We only received 10.22 inches rainfall during meteorological winter (Dec-Feb) but we have already received more than half that amount (5.24 inches) just in March alone! Despite the soggy start to meteorological spring, the spreader truck driver expressed Monday we were the driest golf course he had experienced across the southeast so far as we made our annual application of slow release fertilizer that will feed our tees, fairways, and primary rough for the majority of the season. 

Also, the week after putting green aerification I traveled to Raleigh for a GCSAA chapter meeting. The Southeast Regional Conference had not been held since March 2019 due to the Covid pandemic, so it was good to finally get out and see some of my fellow superintendents from across North and South Carolina. Traveling along I85 and I40 I quickly realized how far ahead the growing season is in Charlotte compared to the areas around Greensboro and Raleigh/Durham. 

In fact, I mentioned to several of my peers I thought our tees and fairways were in need of their first mowing before I traveled, but we were unable due to the excessive wet conditions as 2.81 inches rain fell in the first three days post aerification. Also, considering temperatures were forecast to plummet to as low as 20 degrees F on the morning of March 13, it was probably best to not mow right away.

Sure enough, upon my return the frigid freezing temperatures had created a great deal of leaf burn turning our early green fairways brown again. 

March 8th
March 16th

But our playing surfaces have shown amazing resilience and quickly bounced back. We mowed all tees, fairways, approaches and closely mowed surrounds on the 22nd and 23rd removing the burnt tissue and revealing a golf course greener than usual for this time of year. 
Close Up View of Leaf Burn

March 22nd 
We now turn our attention to mowing the rough for the first time this year. Our initial mowing is at a lower than normal playing height in order to remove as much dormant material possible and open the canopy to sunlight penetration. As a result this operation is always slow and generates a lot of material that must be removed from the playing surface, so thank you in advance for your patience. With March almost in the rear view that means The Masters is almost here! Always the most exciting time of year!

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG