Passage of time

Every month it seems the time just flies by since the last blog post. The last was an update on aerification season. We still have not done the greens but managed tees, some multiple times because we had a disease outbreak, collars and some approaches. The rain seems to have returned and with that some improvement in turf quality. We still have some dormant turf from the dry summer but with each storm the grass wakes back up. The weather roller coaster continues however. Is it a shorts day or long johns? Talk about drastic swings.

Practice Bunker
Speaking of aerating. It is near impossible to get a machine on the face of a bunker so it is hard to repair a weak face. Usually they will be re-sodded. I tried to seed the face of the practice bunker earlier this year and the seeds germinated but were quickly buried in new sand blasted up from the constant use. We tried again only this time used an old greens cover to protect it and close the bunker. It worked so well we decided to try it again on the course. Please be aware these areas are ground under repair and should be kept off of to ensure the best chance for this area to recover.

Little Soldiers on a collar
Tee and collar aerification and over seeding worked very well and we saw lots of seed germination. this will help fill in weaker areas and also get newer grass varieties introduced into our turf. Newer varieties will have better disease resistance due to breeding for current issues.

Big Boy 7 tees

Big Girl in the parking lot

Fog is on Fire
Enjoy the Fall days and be sure to join in on the last few tournaments we have on the schedule.

Aerification season

Long view or short view? 

I often get asked why are you aerating, the turf was perfect? The answer is simple: how do you think it got to be perfect? Worrying about how the greens will putt for a few days is short view thinking. Every tournament you see on TV has spent many months if not years preparing the course for a weeks worth of play. Think about that for a minute. Extra aerifications, rebuilding of tees, bunkers etc all in preparation for a weeks worth of play. You might be thinking OK Matt but that's for Professionals. Right but grass is grass. It needs certain things to be healthy.
The long view is that as we get into the fall and better growing weather it is important to give the turf the stuff it needs to recover from summer. We are growing cool season grasses. That means it is under a lot of stress when the weather is closer to warm season locations. A good example of the difference is crabgrass is a warm season plant and loves a summer like this one. One of the things we can do to help turf recover is poke holes in the ground to relieve compaction and give the roots a void to grow into. Turf is not unlike any other growing plant it needs a strong root system to be healthy and aerification is our best method to promoting a healthy root system. 

If we did not have to aerate we certainly would not go through the arduous task just to upset golfers and get complaints. It is a necessary part to having healthy turf.

We did a small tine aeration on greens this week. Some greens came out a bit bumpy but they will smooth out soon. We will do bigger holes with a heavy topdressing in October. We will begin doing tees and collars next week assuming the weather cooperates.

So as you play the course over the next few weeks, or any course for that matter, don't get caught up in the short view of how the turf might be playing but instead think about how good that turf will be after the process. 

Quite a stretch

That was one of the most brutal stretches of weather we have all seen here on MV. Dog days for sure. I have heard more times than I can remember "we never needed air conditioning on MV" or "we only get a few days of really hot weather". That stretch broke all time records for Providence, RI. It was unbearably humid for roughly 6 weeks straight. We may not have had peak high temps but it was really hot and just unpleasant for man, or beast and especially cool season turf. The disease pressure was through the roof and we saw active fungus many times. The picture below shows the tee which is sprayed conventionally holding up nicely. The rough at the beginning of the fairway which gets sprayed with the Bioject (natural bacteria that we brew and spray instead of synthetic fungicides) also doing well. And in between a swath of unprotected rough that looks as if it has an inch of snow on it. The white mycelium of the Dollar Spot fungus means it is active and spreading. After the mycelium goes away it leaves a bleached lesion on the leaf. if enough damage is done the grass will take on a tan hue. hopefully that will be the end of that weather and we can continue into cooler nights and the turf can begin to recover from all the damage. Maybe we can all turn off our air conditioners too.

active disease

Disease lesions

Speaking of damage. Our salt water intrusion was high again this summer and it shows by how slimy the soils are. Think of a pile of ice melt spilled on the driveway or the salt in your shaker. The salt builds up and then pulls moisture out of the air keeping the surface moist and soft. This means it is easier to take a divot and in some areas the turf will simply peel up from any aggressive cart traffic. Please use caution with carts and try to avoid excessive turning and driving around until we can flush the salts from the surface. I will apply a gypsum application which will help with the flush.

Small Tire skid

Large Tire skid
cart damage 8 fairway
The fairways may be soft making it easy to take divots. I can handle a few extra divots there. What tests my patience at the end of a tough summer is divots on greens. There is simply no reason to take a divot on a green. We had three in about a weeks time. Same person? There is no way of knowing who the culprit is unless someone tells us. Obviously they suck at putting and have anger management issues or simply have no clue how to play the game. I often say the etiquette of the game is gone. These episodes only reinforce that thinking. If you play with someone who does this please tell them how bad it is and let us know who they are so we can reinforce the message.

divot 5 green

divot 6 green
With the change to our schedule moving the club championship to september we lose the ability to do our normal greens aerification the day after Labor Day. We will however try to do a needle tine aerification a couple of times this fall. We may even vertical mow and topdress the greens so keep an eye on the schedule for some minor disruptions to the tee sheet over the next few weeks.

Pretty clouds