Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Course Update

Summer has finally arrived!  The past week temperatures have increased, putting the wet weather from spring and early summer as a past memory.  Looking at the forecast ahead, a consistent trend of hot weather will offer a great opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy some golf.  Of course with this great weather, challenges lie ahead in maintaining the golf course.  The abundance of early season rains have lead to shallow root zones and compacted soils.  These conditions create an environment where grass can go under wilt stress very quickly during full sun, wind and low humidity.  One key to manage this, is to lightly syringe with water in the afternoon when humidity is low.  Small amounts of water can cool the turf canopy allowing  it to have a positive response without creating soaked conditions.  You will see us on the golf course over the next several weeks hand watering greens and hot spots throughout the course.  On a larger scale we will run short syringe cycles on our fairways and areas of need.  Since there is no perfect opportunity to water at high heat stress times, these syringe cycles will happen while you are out there playing the golf course.  The key thing to keep in mind, "and stay dry" is the sprinklers always move from the green down the fairway to the tee, and are on for approximately 5 minutes each.  There are as well rough areas on the golf course that are not irrigated, which will rebound with the help of Mother Nature.

Maintaining the golf course for play, consumes the bulk of our time through the summer but we always manage to fit a few improvement projects along the way.  Over the past month one of the most significant improvements was to address sand levels, and improving some of the deficiencies in our greens side bunkers.  Most significantly was removing the sand and fixing the drainage on the front of hole 14, where the drainage gravel became mixed into the playable sand.  * New bunker sand can play penal for the first few weeks, but over time the sand compacts eliminating most "fried egg lies".  A few photos from hole #14

Old sand removed
Installing bunker drainage
New bunker sand
All done!
Another challenge we face year to year at the start of July is the Japanese Beetle.  This pest is mostly attracted to our Little Leaf Lindens and Rose bushes, but can be seen foraging on the leaves of other trees on the property. When the beetles are hungry they are not very picky on their food source.  You may have noticed mass amounts of the dime sized beetles on the ground almost resembling a swarm of bees at first glance.  It has been difficult pest to control this year, as many of the effective insecticides have restricted use on flowers and flowering trees.  The restriction is due to harmful effects on the honey bee population.  Although we did treat the beetles with a more selective insecticide, it had minimal effect.  The positive about our Lindens and Roses is their resilience to rebound from extreme leaf damage by these pests.

Group of Beetles feeding on leaf tissue
Defoliation of a Little Leaf Linden #16