Happy Labor Day! Hope you are able to enjoy some time with your family on this beautiful holiday. Weather should be great all day so if you weren’t able to enjoy a round of golf this morning hopefully you’re able to squeeze a few holes in this afternoon as it is the last day that the entire 18 holes are open.
Tomorrow we start the back nine renovation. We will try our best to minimize any disturbance to golf on the front. There will be a few changes this year as compared to last, one of the main changes is the contractors staging area. They will be located near the maintenance facility rather than in front of the clubhouse. This should help minimize the disturbance at the front entrance aswell as keep a bit more separation from contractors. Unfortunately, to help keep everything safe, we are closing the back entrance (fairway blvd) until the completion of the project. We will allow access out of back gate following dinner, but encourage traffic to use broad street when possible.
This means today is the last day to avoid the back nine seeded areas, but please continue to do so! Yesterday we pushed the limits a bit and allowed carts out on soft conditions and had some small damage in our seeded fairway expansions. It is imperitive at this time to keep out of these areas as the new seedlings are very sensitive and easily damaged. As seen in the photo above.
New growth looks great, we are making great progress and I think we will be looking at mowing late into this week or early next week.
There has been some question as to what’s happening with greens currently. The easiest explanation is our poor quality irrigation water is catching up with us. This is a symptom that has been seen on our greens in years past and is nothing to worry much about. You may notice a scummy smell on the course and that smell is coming from just below the green surface. Greens are still rolling smooth and true, just have an aesthetic problem at the moment.
My best explanation is because of the weather pattern we have experienced this summer. June was dry, but the wet July (over 10″ of rain) helped to erase some of the irrigation we had to apply. For the month of August we received a little under 1″ of rain and relied heavily on irrigation to help get us through the drier conditions.
As we know from soil and water tests, we have a poor water source. By pumping our irrigation water directly from Big Walnut Creek onto the course we are also pumping anything in that water onto the course. Within the water we have some suspended solids (silt) as well as bicarbonates and sulfates. All of these factors are contributing to the look and smell we are experiencing today.
As the month of August progressed we had areas on greens that would dry out quicker than the rest. This is why we would apply water early in the morning via hose to focus specifically on those areas. The black spots today are showing up in all of the same problem areas we had to apply additional water. As I looked deeper into the profile I found something very interesting, pictured below.
The first picture shows an area where work was done to 2 green last fall. As you can see the clean sand below is very evident and the older contaminated sand that was cut with the sod is much heavier and muddier looking. The second picture shows an area on 4 green that was not worked on but still shows a distinct line. The feeling of the top .25″ is very slimy and wet. This is a product of the silt being applied to greens while watering. The silt particles are much smaller than the sand and are able to fill the pores between sand particles. The bicarbonates will form a bond with any available nutrients and ultimately make them unavailable for the plant. We have been attacking this exact problem all year with products to help break the buildup down and flush it through the profile.
Aerification will help get rid of this look but before we make any drastic decisions and shoot from the hip we are going to see how Mother Nature will help. Yesterday morning greens flared up with the algae scum, as the sun shined and dried up the surface the look began to diminish.
Thanks for reading, as always feel free to comment or email with any questions or concerns!
– J.R. Lynn, GCS