Course Update for September 11, 2015

There has been a lot of discussion lately about the greens and the state of them over the last week. I want everyone to remember that it’s been only 10 days since the greens received their first full aerification, and as I mentioned in my previous email, the greens will be mowed at a higher height and will play a bit slower during the recovery period. After raising the height of cut to help with recovery the humidity and heat made the greens grow excessively over the last week causing the turf to be a little sticky late in the day. But as you can see, the aerification holes are nonexistent and the ballmarks are starting to fill in.

I feel the recovery has been going very well, let’s remember the greens were aerated during the hottest stretch of weather we have received all season. Not only were we dealing with hot, humid weather the greens have been dealing with an extraordinary amount of play. Recovery will be slower than usual when you combine the rounds of play with aeration, high humidity, and existing wear. Trying to manage all these inputs and being as prepared as possible for any disease we still couldn’t stop Yellow Spot from getting into the less mature greens. This is a superficial disease, stressed induced during high heat from traffic, wear (mechanical, cultural, environmental) causing the leaf blades to turn yellow. In all it doesn’t affect the overall health of the plant to the degree of turf decline but will affect the overall look of the green by the yellowing. With the cool nights in the forecast the disease should dissipate over the next seven days.

Next week we will begin back nine starts on a more regular basis to spread the rounds of play over the entire course. During July and August the club did approximately 12,600 rounds on relatively immature greens. On average most clubs will do approximately 9000 rounds during the same time period. The club did almost three months of rounds in two. As I have mentioned since the day the project started, it takes into the second year for greens to mature to withstand ballmarks and wear, with the third year being the year they will play the way they are meant to. This is evident by comparing #11 green (2 years old), #15 green (1.5 years old) to the rest of the greens. Even though the front nine greens were seeded first, you can tell they have received significantly more rounds than the back nine and are maturing at a slower pace. Most of the wear issues are on the front nine greens, and the only significant difference is the number of rounds being played on each nine. It doesn’t matter how well a green is designed for play and traffic patterns, you don’t see the issues until the greens get played. This is evident by the walk off on #2 green. During construction the architect moved the left green side bunker back to open up a wider area for traffic, but what is still happening is most of the players walk along the collar edge to enter and exit the green. With the green being immature, the collar has not been able to withstand all the foot traffic. We will repair this over the next few weeks, and to help alleviate some traffic this winter, we will be installing a walk bridge towards the back deck on #3 to direct more traffic off the back of the green.

After a hot humid August the greens have done very well. You will notice over the next few weeks the structure of the putting surfaces maturing to become as healthy as possible going into the winter months.

Have a great weekend,

Ian McQueen, Course Superintendent