Do you have a question or comment about the Golf Course?
Please email Golf Course Superintendent,
Chris Harriman, or call 410.489.9178.


 

Finishing up with Fall Restoration

 Posted 8/26/2016
 


For most of us turf managers, late summer is the worst time of year.  Grass roots are at their shortest thanks to a miserable summer and as fall weather starts to appear, humidity drops and demands that more water be used to keep the Golf Course alive.  All we want to do is poke holes, encourage roots to grow and get back to mowing healthy turf.  Thanks to a variety of pests (annual bluegrass weevil, nematodes, gray leaf spot, brown patch, pythium, poa trivialis, cart traffic, the sun, golfers not fixing ballmarks, etc.) we have plenty of bumps and bruises through the rough, fairwaysand greens.  As the days grow shorter, the turf will recover and shape back up nicely.


The decision was made last week to postpone pulling cores from the greens and it was a good one.  The weather this week was more conducive for aeration and it took us the better part of the week to get the tees and approaches cleaned up.  Once the aerators pull their 4 inch deep cores, the edges are blown clean and the area is ready for the sweeper.


There are a few tees that the sweeper can not get on but for the most part tee cleanup goes quickly with this machine.  When full, it dumps out into another heavy duty vehicle and the plugs are hauled back to the shop.


Topdressing is applied at the heaviest rate possible.  The sand dries quickly and is brushed into the holes.  Over the years our tees and approaches have become increasingly firm and have held up better to the stresses of summer.  Root depth on our tees this year has been outstanding and handwatering has been kept to a minimum thanks to our recurring aeration practices.


The new area of bermudagrass on the range tee was also topdressed heavily with sand.  We are trying to fill up the thatch layer so that it too will firm up and provide a solid hitting surface.  We also applied a very light topdressing tot he greens this week to help smooth them out a bit and encourage some ballmarks to fill in quicker.


With some cooler nights early in the week, some seed in our divots is starting to pop again.  Next week we will be going hard after divots and you may see us syringing some fairways in the afternoon to try and keep the divot sand and seed moist so that they will continue filling in.  We will also be fertilizing the fairways and rough next week in order to push things along and get the Golf Course tightened up for some great fall golf.

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Can summer be over yet?

 Posted 8/19/2016
 


Hot and wet is what it has been over the past two weeks.  When people ask if the rain is helpful, it is to a point, but with high nighttime temperatures, the plant is under a ton of stress.  Pictured above is a disease called dollar spot.  The fungus mycelium is visible in the morning and you can see it damaging the plant.  On low mowed bentgrass, the disease looks like a silver dollar thus the name.  We use fungicides to prevent dollar spot as well as other fungus from growing in high traffic areas but the disease pressure has been immense lately.  We are looking towards next week and some cooler temperatures which will help the rough grow out of any infected disease.


On Monday we poked small holes in the greens with solid tines.  Overall the greens are in good shape, although soft from the rain.  At this point in the season it is important to utilize the proper aeration practice.  Solid tines will help us exchange air and dry out the greens.  If we were to pull cores, we would be putting a lot of unnecessary stress on the greens as well as the collars and 1 cuts around the greens.  We want the greens to have a chance to catch their breath a bit before going after some true thatch removal.  Next week with the cooler weather the tees and approaches will be ready for core aeration so we will move forward with that plan.  More than likely on September 6th we will pull small 1/4" cores out of the greens and then be set for the year.


Also on Monday we did some work on our pump for the stream on 13.  A lot of silt had washed into our pool down to the right of 13 and the pump was running out of water a few times a day.  We pulled the pump out and cleaned out the hole which should hopefully get us through to the winter.  This winter we will have build something a little more substantial to hold the walls up here and ensure the pump has water for years to come.


We saw 3 more inches of rain come down this week, with a little over half of that coming from a thunderstorm Wednesday night.  The bunkers washed enough where we had to take 6 people around to get the edges repaired.


The range tee has seen some decent wear this year.  As part of the AJGA agreement, they gave us $1,000 towards sod replacement on the range tee.  This year, the bermudagrass that we planted 3 years ago, and that was absent from existence last year, has come back.  All of the light green grass that has dew on it in this picture is bermudagrass.  The bermuda has superior recovery ability which makes it great for the range tee.  On Wednesday we cut up the area where the bermuda has not really come back and prepped it for some new bermuda.


For some reason, the color blind sod grower decided to mow the bermuda sod lower just before they brought it to us which turned it off color.  The bermuda will start to root down this weekend and should be looking good in a week or so.  We will stay on the mats this weekend and then get back into our normal rotation on the grass next week.


Also on the truck load of sod was 3 pallets of 007 bentgrass for our nursery green.  Over the past 5 years we have used the nursery green for a variety of repairs and it was time to get some nice 007 bent on it.  We floated the green out and tossed the sod down.  By next spring the green will be ready for service as needed on the course.

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Wow it is hot!

 Posted 8/11/2016
 


It was 94 in the shade on Thursday.  We are seeing surface temperatures on the greens, tees and fairways upwards of 120 degrees which is really staggering.  When you hear temperatures on the radio or look on the internet, those are ambient temps taken at 5-6 feet above the ground.  The canopy temperatures of our bentgrass mowed between a tenth of an inch and four tenths is significantly higher.  Our plants our still functioning despite the crazy temps and they are using a lot of water throughout the day to cool themselves off.  Our evapotranspiration rates are above two tenths of an inch of water a day.  This means we have to run just about every single one of our 700 sprinkler heads for 15 minutes just to replenish 75% of water lost the day prior.  When the sun is out burning for 14 hours it makes a long day for the turf.


On Monday we had some decent cloud cover and decided to give the greens a very light dusting of sand.  We have kept the rollers off the greens in the heat so the light topdressing should help smooth the surface a bit.


A big reason we wanted to get a light topdressing out was to help with all the ballmarks on the greens.  Yes the greens are softer than normal and there isn't much more we can do about that at the moment in the middle of summer.  We posted these signs on 1, 2 and 10 tees in hopes that people can work on their technique.  It really does not matter how bad a mark is, they can all be fixed without exposing soil.  Every ballmark that you can see on our greens was fixed incorrectly.  We fix unrepaired marks before we mow in the mornings but there is not much we can do about incorrectly fixed marks.


We found a bit of time on Wednesday to run back through the bunekrs again and smooth them out with the wide head rakes.  We again tried to identify any liner that was sticking up and make sure sand levels were of.


One crop of turf that does enjoy the summer heat and moisture is the blue stem between 1 and 9.  We remained diligent with weed control this year and the bluestem is doing extremely well.  This fall these natives areas will look spectacular.




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3600 Cattail Creek Dr. Glenwood, MD 21738 Phone: 410.489.4653 Fax: 410.489.5228