Golf Course Maintenance is an exciting and challenging journey. This blog attempts to give the reader some insight and appreciation for the individuals closest to the front lines of battle. Join us as we defend quality golf conditions from the evil forces that attempt to prevent them.
It is more of the disrespect that drivers show for the golf course. This picture shows that the cart that did the damge is not a club car or typical golf cart, it has slimmer tires and a wider wheel base. It is almost the end of August, I just keep thinking ahead to aerification and fall fertilization when we can recover from all the turf stresses. Please drive carts with care, avoid high speed turns, and do not let children drive unattended. You can check the club directory for the current policies of golf carts and usage. Go speedracer!, Turf
One of the things that helps the turf recover in the fall is the return of cool nights. The plants are active doing some dark phase photosynthesis (no, I'm not making this up), and respiration. Cooler nights help the plant utilize available water better, and quite frankly give it a little break. Our problem from yesterday was a 110 volt line inside a transformer that was arcing to the transformer cover. Problem solved, now we have to address the localized dry spots (LDS). LDS is a neat soil problem, unless you are the one trying to manage it. What happens is that small areas (foot or so in diameter) become hydrophobic, or water-scared. These areas will appear in the middle of a well irrigated, even wet area, and will be extreamely dry. Looks like a great day! See you on the tee, Turf P.S. The opposite of hydrophobic is..........wait for it.........hydrophyllic, which is water loving.
Ever wonder why plants look so much better after rain? We can irrigate and irrigate, but things just seem to be staying alive, instead of thriving. Irrigation water lacks several properties of rain water that contribute to this phenomenon. One of the first things you have to consider is the source of the irrigation water and any of the inputs that enter that source. Some sources are better than others, and some are downright nasty. We sit somewhere in the middle, however we still treat our water with the system in the photo to adjust the pH. I will refrain from boring you with details about bicarbonates, calcium ratios, and dissolved solids. I will say that quite simply, that certain qualities of water make it easier for the plant to utilize it. It goes back to the simple concept of osmosis and is why eating a large amount of salt can kill you. We began to notice some areas of localized dry spots in fairways (see other photo), we felt that something was wrong, and we should have better soil moisture. Upon further inspection, our acid injection system was (is) experiencing technical difficulties. Kinda like the gall stone of the irrigation world. We are working on solving this, right now we think it may be an electrical issue from the utility company. Wish us luck, Turf
As if it wasn't hard enough to manage fine turf this year. We have seen it all and then some. There are several patches of grass that appear to be stressed, and die back from a small circle, upon closer examination we found that buried in the turf is a small ball like the one in the photo. My best guess is that these little guys fell from the sky during fireworks celebrations. I don't know what it is, except it is metallic purple, and grass doesn't like it. If you see such a small object feel free to take it home with you, compliments of me, I have a large enough collection in my cart now. Tired and cranky, Turf
We had just enough rain overnight to send the mosquitoes into a frenzy. Not enough to go cart paths only, just enough to soak the crew as we thought the showers were past us. Remember, insect repellent kills turf, please apply in non turf areas. The summer stress has taken it's toll on turf (not to mention other things), so, the skunks, raccoons, apossum, and the like are out searching for the fall delicacy of grubs. Whether the grubs are there or not, these rascals like to dig in brown and stressed areas. Relief from these areas are covered under the rules of golf. 2010 also brought another pest to the world of turf, gall stones. Not exactly a good time, but the staff at Community took good care of me. As my nurse put it "gall stones can make you feel like you want to be dead, but a problem with your heart can make you dead," reassurement that I was doing the right thing getting checked out. What a year, Turf
Well, the heat took it's toll on some fairway turf yesterday. We are seeing cart traffic marks in several areas. It is important that carts avoid stressed areas during August and late July. Mounds are especially sensitive to damage because of the nature of slopes and water holding. You will also notice areas on the perimeter of the fairways that are damaged, several factors come into play here and our single row irrigation system is just one of them. Please be mindful of the high stress on the turf right now, avoid mounds and low areas, and observe the 90 degree rule, which reduces the amount of traffic in the fairways. Another way to reduce the traffic on the fairway is to crossover the fairway to your ball and continue on to the rough. Whichever way you choose, please refrain from driving in the fairway when possible. Hydrate, Turf
Most of the areas of the course have managed to survive the extreame wetness as of late, with the exception of the green expansion areas. It was optimistic, but not realistic that these areas would all heal and be 100 percent in one year. We knew though, that eventually, if we stuck with the program, they would heal and add some great hole locations to the course. We have a couple of management tricks up our sleeves to help, and the weather should turn soon to aid in their recovery. We are drying out, for a day at least, Turf
Thankfully we have a reprieve from the muggy nights, last night even smelled like summer on the course. The humidity has meant headaches not only for superintendents, but allergy victims as well. Low areas remain wet and waterlogged, the turf in these areas are stressing out and we are out slicing as many of these areas as we can. I am certain that we will see turf loss in these areas. The cool night temps will help, but we will have to see how the next forecasted weather pattern plays out. I can tell you this much, turfgrass seed sales are up. See you soon, Turf
The stress of 2010 continues for turf on golf courses throughout the midwest. Waterlogged soils and high soil temperatures stress turfgrass root systems and comprise the overall health of the plant. We continue to be optimistic that our past cultural practices such as topdressing and aerification will help us through this difficult weather pattern. The USGA has a good article posted on their website, you can view it here. The above photo is actually from the article. It is rarely a good thing when a photo of your golf course is included in an article by the USGA (7 red fairway was shown in one several years ago.) We still have some standing water in a couple of fairways and we continue to push that water to drains. Turf that remains under water for several hours usually dies. We will watch the turf closely over the next 7 days and have had to raise mowing heights in response to the environmental conditions. Hopefully this will pass and we will have a good three weeks in August for great golf.
So far, we are hanging in there,