The weather over the last couple weeks has helped the turf begin to grow through the winter desiccation. The roughs are finally starting to bounce back and the minor winter damage has almost all disappeared. Fairways and tees are filling in nicely and the greens are rounding into shape for a great season ahead. The greens are starting to mature, becoming denser and firmer, but I would like to remind everyone one of the key practices to minimize poa encroachment is to repair your ballmark. By repairing your ballmark you eliminate a void for the poa to establish, this is just one of many ways to keep the greens as poa free as possible. For those of you who are new to the club, and a reminder to everyone else, please use the divot bottles in the fairway only, not in the rough. The seed in the bottles is bentgrass and is meant to be seeded in the fairways only. The roughs are seeded with Kentucky bluegrass which is a completely different grass.
Over the last couple weeks the team has also wrapped up numerous small projects that were started last fall. The drain lines installed on #14 & #15 have now been sodded along with some sod around #1 tee and the clubhouse. We have installed a new catch basin at the back of #10 green to control some of the erosion to the back right of the green. Next week we will sod along the new curb that was installed to control the water, making it easier for the pullcarts to get over. We are in the final stages of tree stump cleanup and seeding and will finish some minor sod work over the next week. The cart path going up the hill from #11 to #12 tee has been paved and the bank will be hydroseeded on Saturday, weather permitting.
During the next few weeks I will switch our focus to cultural practices to provide better playing conditions for the immediate and long term health of the turf. Topdressing of fairways, tees and approaches that began last season will continue. This will provide a firmer and tighter surface to play from. It will also help in the long term with worm castings. The greens will continue to get weekly light topdressings and brushing to smooth out the surface for truer ball roll. All these cultural practices have a short term and long term benefit to providing superior playing conditions.
Have a great weekend!
Ian McQueen, Course Superintendent