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.