Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Mowing of greens, post aerification, has commenced and putting will significantly improve starting now. In past years we had begun mowing greens the 3rd day after aerifying. This has always resulted in significant sand being picked up by the mowers. This causes damage to the cutting blades, resulting in damage to the grass plant which in turn, causes a decline in turf recovery and an increase in disease infection. The USGA now recommends not mowing for 5 to7 days to prevent these problems. We all know this resulted in very hairy, shaggy and slow greens over the last 7 days. I have, however seen a definite improvement in overall plant health and rooting. This short term pain for long term gain is conditioning the turf for the stresses of summer that lie just ahead. Thank you all for being patient with us during the week. You will have better greens this summer as a result. Recently I came across a video produced by the USGA that does an excellent job of explaining why all golf courses aerate. This 3 minute video is worth watching twice. Please click on the link to view, and then share it with your golfing friends. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=863Ix8czcoY

Approaching mid-May, we are beginning to catch up on many jobs that have been neglected this spring due to the demands made by clubhouse and practice facility openings and the overall development project at hand. Over the next few weeks we will be getting all staff, whether they be veterans or rookies, into a routine on all jobs that meet the quality standards we strive for. It is common early in each season for members to feel some jobs are getting neglected. Training new staff is very labour intensive and the productivity while this is happening is usually low as it ties up experienced staff who are helping with the training, and who ultimately should be tackling other jobs. This spring I’ve also felt like my productivity has ground to a slow crawl. Projects like the cart barn demolition, clubhouse landscaping, entrance road rebuild, staff training, and maintaining a tight hand on inventory and budget keeps me challenged for enough hours in the day. Despite those challenges we will soon be installing irrigation to the clubhouse surrounds and new 1st tees. So it does not surprise me when members ask me when are we ever going to get to some jobs they see as high priority. One thing we all need to be clear on is we are budget driven and have limited man power. I am responsible for seeing to it we stay within the approved operating budget. I would love to call a few contractors to come in and get some of the many jobs we have on our list taken care of, but this would be expensive and drive us over budget. So this means some jobs must wait, while we complete staff training and the day to day regular jobs until we can get to those other tasks.

One of the biggest jobs we will be starting this week is re-sodding dead areas on collars and approaches. All these dead areas have a couple of things in common. They were all Poa annua areas that succumbed to the harsh elements over the winter. These areas were outside the regions covered by our tarps, and having tarps in place on all of our greens was very beneficial this winter. Most of the apron dead areas are on slopes. These areas had little or no snow cover resulting in wind desiccation.

This is the 5th green and collar/approach the day we removed the tarp. It is painfully clear how beat up the Poa is that did not have the insulating protection of the tarp.
Here is 9 green last week, and it is also clear where the tarp was in place on the right, but not covering the left. Some of the older tarps do not cover 100% of the green surfaces. As we move forward some of these tarps are at the end of their life expectancy and when replaced will be replaced with ones large enough to cover the entire putting surface. 
We did get a good start sodding the collar/approach down on 5, but did not have enough time to finish with all the other tasks at hand. The area has rooted well, is on the mend and we anticipate these other areas will soon follow. This is an issue that is not isolated to our golf club. Several clubs in the Golden Horseshoe have invested millions of dollars in their greens because of years of issues with dead Poa. St. Georges, Islington, Angus Glen, Deer Ridge, Lambton, and Donalda have all completely rebuilt greens from the drain tile up, to USGA specifications because of problems they experienced due to Poa year after year. We will continue to do what is feasible for us to reduce Poa areas and enhance our growing bent grass population. The preparation of these areas and the sod installation will most likely continue into next week.

In some low lying fairway spots Poa was again killed while the bent grass was un-scathed.
                   As dead as this area is, there is plenty of bent plants that were unaffected.
We are currently working on aerifying these spots and adding soil to level them out which will greatly decrease the likelihood of them holding water in the future. We will then seed them with strong, new bent grass.
These areas are obviously GUR and a free lift if you do hit into them. Bent grass takes 7 to10 days to germinate so it will be mid-June before these areas are grown in enough that we are able to pull the stakes and have them back in play.

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