Dr. Brian Horgan, Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, sent out a press release regarding the condition of Minnesota golf courses winter damage/spring recovery.
Friday, June 24
I had a bad feeling driving up to the Clubhouse from the shop Tuesday morning at 5:30. The first thing I see is a 30 ft Ash tree across laying across Burl Oaks Dr. We received 50 mph wind gusts and 1" of rain that night and it showed. The typical low spots had standing water and the course was saturated to say the least. Greens, Fairways and some rough areas were holding water. Everyone on the Turf staff was sent out to clean up all the fallen tree branches, sticks and leaves before normal maintenance was started. Anytime we receive quick down pours or large amounts of water, the bunkers wash out and fill with water. It typically takes 2 guys and a few hours to pump out bunkers. Repairing bunkers can sometimes take all day. We continued to see rain and sprinkles from Tuesday till Thursday.
The week of the member/guest Shillelagh was a busy one for the staff. Most of us worked double shifts and extra hours to ensure the course was in great shape. Most hours were spent double cutting and rolling greens, mowing fairways, raking bunkers and mowing green perimeters. New flags, tee towels and tee markers were used for the event. Mr. Nelson and Mr. Heinemann spent their own time building new custom tee markers. The course was becoming firm and fast until we received almost 2" of rain early in the week. I'm told the course played great even though it was a little soft.
Monday, June 13
Over the last few weeks I've been asked when I'm going to update the Turf blog. I know it's been a LONG time since my last post, so I will try to update everyone on the course conditions.
I think the first concern would be the putting surfaces, with number 1,10, and 8 being the worst. With several attempts and a variety of cultural practices the three greens are still slow to recover. Number 1 green was opened for play on Wednesday the 8th, although not perfect, its playable. We will continue to sand topdress and spoon feed nutrients as needed.
Number 10 is a different story, after three core aerifications, numerous topdressings, grooming and verticuting, the green has seen little to no seed germination. The last time it was aerified we seeded the green with Penncross, an old school Bentgrass. We are told this seed will germinate faster in wet, cool conditions, faster than the Dominate Extreme Bentgrass seed we have been using over the past four years.
The months of April and May brought cool wet weather, not what we needed to get the course back in shape. April was a very cool month, with an average of 50 degrees and over 3 inches of rain.. May was no different avg of 56 with nearly 5 inches of rain, the course never had a chance to dry out and brought out the worst of our aging drainage system. Over the last few years we have been updating our drainage lines that are broken and clogged. Drainage repair/replacement is a very labor intensive tedious process that is never ending.
Now that the rain has come to a halt, you will notice areas of the golf course beginning to dry out and discolor. Most members are not aware that we do not have irrigation in almost all of the rough areas on the course. So when the heat gets turned on, there is not much we can do to keep the rough areas watered. I personally think we need to start going in the direction of less water, firm and fast turf. Read this article by the USGA and let me know what you think...
The 1 green / 11 tee project started last fall with 80 small tree's being removed. Last week we rented a large backhoe to remove tree roots, stumps and trees that have fallen on the creek bank. Early this week the Turf staff will add top soil, level and sod the #1 green side. Left of the tees on #11 will require much more work than expected, the crew will continue to prep this area for sod all week. On a side note, I think to the back and right of #11 blue tee would be a perfect spot for a new longer blue tee. About 220 yards to the green and almost all carry, we could build the tee with the soil where all the trees were removed and it would enlarge the pond. Just an idea......
Here are some upcoming summer projects:
Topdress verticut groom greens
Core aerify: tees, fairways and approaches
Cart path level/rebuilds
#9 green sod repair