Friday, June 24, 2011

Venting....just a little.

I'd call it a perfect storm, primed for massive failure!  We've just weathered an unbelievable eight day stretch of rainy weather.  You know by now we were unable to prepare putting surfaces for the on coming stress of summer when aerification was cancelled due to excessively high winds, very dry air and temperatures in the mid 90's.  Toss in the fact that our golf course has been subjected to the abuse that comes with five golf outings in seven days suffice it to say our putting greens are a little stressed at the moment.  With all this rain, we would normally cancel most mowing operations until playing surfaces were dry enough to support people and equipment to reduce the stress on turfgrass plants, but not this time around.  And if that wasn't enough, one very cold and wet spring greatly compromised root development and placed us behind the eight ball heading into summer. 

Turfgrass 101 teaches you that turf roots need oxygen to develop and grow. Persistent wet periods has filled soil pore space with water challenging root development in hugely negative fashion.  Plant roots when submerged in water will die back to crown.  Shortened root systems are of little value in keeping the plant alive when the temperature's soar into the 90's and summer like weather returns.

To mitigate the soils loss of oxygen we will be "venting" our greens with solid bayonet tines as early as next week.  These tines are slightly more aggressive than the "needle tines" I've used in the past.  Tine breakage and cost favor bayonet tines over needle tines.  The holes are small enough to not effect ball roll and the process will not require course closure.  Some lifting and tearing of turf is anticipated however greens will be rolled immediately after venting to insure you are getting a smooth putt.  We will be completing as many holes per day as play permits and will take as many days as required to complete the project.  Once done depending on weather conditions and how much stress the greens are under we may decided to "vent"on a monthly basis.  (As no soil core is removed this type of aerification does not reduce organic matter in the soil profile and is not a substitute for hollow tine cultivation.)

Saturday, June 18, 2011


An Empty Parking Lot.

Shop windows covered up.

Cars parked in the woods.
It can only mean one thing!

Equipment Demo Days.

With our shop only 272 yards from the tee we've had windows shattered by the flat bellies that can hit the ball a country mile.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Better Late than Never?

As I was mowing the eighth green this morning I noticed not one but two flocks of geese flying north! It's the fourteenth of June for Pete's sake!

Speaking of better late than never, tomorrow June 15th, 2011 will be the latest arrival of a crew member bringing my crew size to full capacity! Then one day later I loose one for sixteen days as he works for Dick Clark Productions staging paint ball tournaments around the country. We continue to limp by.

Speaking of timing, we applied Japanese Beetle controls to all fairways, roughs, tees and green banks Monday and Tuesday of this week. This is the second most expensive pesticide application we make each season. Second only to our snow mold application.  The timing of this application is made now, not to control this years adults, but to control the grubs that will come as a result of the egg laid by this years hatch.  Control of next seasons grubs is necessary to mitigate turf damage caused by skunks, opossums, raccoons digging for a tasty meal.


Friday, June 3, 2011


"Point two-six-eight!" (.268")  That was the value of evapotranspiration (ET) in moisture lost Wednesday June 1st, 2011.  That is the highest value I can remember to have ever been recorded by our on course weather station.  We lost better than a quarter of an inch of moisture.  I have seen higher recorded values reported by the UW Ag station in Hancock Wisconsin but not here on the course.  The winds were a steady 15 MPH with gusts over 30 MPH.
And what a week it was with air temperatures topping 90 degrees today and I remind you it was one week ago that we had frost the Friday the start of Memorial Day Weekend.  No wonder nothing wants to grow.

Speaking of "not growing."  The cold wet spring has greatly impacted recovery on our winter damaged putting green surfaces.  Those damaged areas have been interseeded for the second time on June 2nd.  While progress isn't as quick as I would like I would like to point out progress is being made.
"Bullet Holes" filled with bentgrass waiting to "pop!"
Even the worse looking sod is showing signs of recovery.

Everything starts with one!  One small leaf blade emerging off the tip of the screw driver found in the barest of areas.
 Damaged fairway sections have been double seeded for the second time this year as well.  We'll keep pounding the seed and fertilizer every two weeks until we declare recovery is complete.

Remember Greens Aerification starts Monday June 6th.  Looks like the weather is cooperating albeit a little on the warm side.  Severely damaged greens will not be aerified as I know they would not hold up to the mechanical activity losing large sections of mat in the process.  _Mk.