What’s happening on the course?
Looks like we have a beautiful weekend ahead though it may be a bit on the warm side. Temperatures are forecasted into the 90s with heat indexes well over 100°, please drink lots of fluids during any outdoor activity this weekend. What does that mean for the course?
It’s going to stress. And I’m OK with that; I actually want that.
I want to get the course dry, bouncy, fast, fun! Unfortunately the weather pattern this month (or year) has not allowed for that and will actually make it much more challenging to sustain dry healthy turf. When the grass can’t naturally wake up slowly, it immediately begins to stress and use its carbohydrate reserves to survive rather than grow stronger.
The high heat and humidity along with the rain has proved to be challenging when maintaining specific heights of cut. Rough has been growing much faster than we can cut it and green & fairway growth regulators have been increased to aid in keeping growth down. The course is still sitting wet and disease pressure is through the roof but we have remained fairly clean up to this point.
The property has flooded 10 times so far this year, 9 more times than I saw last year. Central Ohio is 8″ above average rainfall YTD, with localized areas well above 10″ over average. Local media claims that if we saw no more rain until the beginning of September, we would be back on track with averages. Let’s hope we see a little rain between now and then, but enough with the big storms already! Our property has seen 8.1″ of rain in the month of June alone.
As we gear up for the heat there’s a few extra items we are finishing to aid in our survival. One item completed this morning was spot spraying wetting agent on localized hot spots to help us maintain adequate moisture levels. Below is a picture of Rex watering his application on the center of 4 fairway.
We are also gearing up to vent greens, which I touched on in my last blog post. We finally got the stealth bayonet times in and will vent greens early next week. While I would have liked to hit them at the beginning of last week, it is now better to wait for the weekend rush to get through as well as some of the worst heat. If we vent in the middle of a high heat stretch we will likely struggle to keep adequate moisture and have to apply more water than we would like to.
A few other items happening on the course include mowing of fescue areas, linetrimming of hillsides, spraying weeds, and bunker details. These items all begin to set us up for our next steps. Below is a picture of one of our H2B employees, Jonathan Beck, mowing the fescue area between 5/6/7.
As we complete the mowing of these areas we will start spraying herbicides to remove the unwanted grasses and broadleaf weeds. The same goes for hillsides, as we complete the mowing they will be sprayed. We are very happy with the progress of these areas and hope to see the vision a little early than initially expected. There are still a lot of tweaks to be made on mowing lines and areas to add for more visual appeal.
I have had a few questions about what’s going on with the bunker sand? Why is our brand new white sand not so white anymore?
-As we began to address one of the biggest issues from last year we changed our bunker raking method used for daily play. Our first trouble in the new bunkers was that balls were getting stuck on the edge and not rolling far enough back to play a shot. The sand was still to soft under the club and it was too challenging to play even a ball in the middle. We decided to start compacting bunkers more frequently and removed the sandpro from the rotation as it seemed to fluff the sand too much. Now we just use a quick spring rake for the bottom and a squeegee on the edges. By not turning over the sand as frequently it is never getting a chance to dry out. Even though we don’t see standing water the sand profile is still saturated and “boiling” in the hot humid days. The dark appearance is algae growing within the sand, some of which presents very green and other areas more brown.
These issues will be addressed and remedied but not without sacrificing the current playing conditions. One other option we may look at aside from a deep stir, is a hydrogen peroxide application to bleach the algae back out of the sand (and hopefully not kill too much grass).
Hopefully we can all be happy that bunkers are playable, damn playable. AND… much more visually appealing than they have ever been. Can you imagine what the course would have been without this project? I can, and it’s not pretty. The month of June would not have allowed any bunker play as they all would have been under water and breeding mosquitoes. The details will continue to come together but greatness takes time to develop. We are refining our processes daily.
This weekend is the big Independence Day celebration at the club. Please pay close attention to parking areas as they have changed drastically over the past two years. We will no longer be parking alongside the front drive but rather in select areas on the Par 3 course. I will be laying out the parking lot today and tomorrow, please look past all of the flags and paint until Sunday.
Hope to see you Sunday for the fireworks! Sounds like it will be another great show at the club!
See you soon,
– J.R. Lynn, GCS