Fall Season

I cannot believe it has been almost a month since the last post. September has flown by or maybe blown by as the latest storm is upon us as I write this. We have had our share of massive storms this season luckily down south and not up here but our thoughts and prayers should be for those affected. The Caribbean has been devastated and parts of this country have had their issues as well. We are no stranger to wind, rain, and tide damage on MV but hopefully these big storms do not add up to much more than the typical Nor Easters we get.

I went through my phone camera for some of the highlights of the last month:

4th tee before thunderstorm shut us down
almost finished

The trees had started to creep in on both sides of the 4th tees. From the back tee it was becoming a shoot only a PGA Tour player could get through without clipping a branch. Our tree company was going to be at a neighbor's house so we scheduled to sneak them in with the lift to open this area back up.

Every year the trees grow taller and wider. We need to keep in mind that the playability of the course should be our priority. If allowed, the forest would close in and take over. Trees need to be pruned and even removed to keep the course design and integrity intact. This includes shrubs planted as distance markers that now have become full size trees and may be a hindrance to play. They certainly have no distance function anymore as everyone has some electronic device to tell them distance, wind speed, elevation, temperature of the water coming out of the fountains etc.

Fun with fescue mowing
I started to mow some tall grass areas in preparation of the Bass Ackwards. Chris Morse was playing and mouthed to me "can't you leave some?" as he walked by. I too like the definition the tall grass areas give the course but as I posted here mid-summer, this year it is so thick it is unplayable. I started mowing a labyrinth pattern and probably should have left it for a couple of weeks. I found an irrigation leak on the hill so became distracted and decided to mow it all before we fixed the leak. 
Tall grass leak, Bert supervising Murph's glue job.
break at the test head. no thrust block on original. Bag of cement this time

Rotted nipple on 3 and end of a wire spool
The bad luck of irrigation breaks came in 3's with the last being on the 3rd hole. Luckily we caught this one before it was a major blow out. It certainly was ready. We discovered a massive amount of extra wire in the ground. Our guess was they were at the end of the spool so simply hooked it up and buried it. This is never a good idea since while digging up the head it is hard enough to avoid hitting the regular amount of wires in the ground. We cut it out when making the repair. Every hole is an adventure. 
Lastly, I had the pleasure of playing golf with the President of GCSAA Bill Maynard, CGCS. He was invited to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of Cape Cod. We were originally slated to host the Sept meeting but it became the perfect month to have this celebration and New Seabury volunteered. We do not have the facilities and as luck would have it I heard they were the first location 50 years ago. It was a perfect day and the current board did a great job with lots of memorabilia, a slide show of historic pictures, 50th pin presentations and great gifts. The foursome pictured is Bill, Brian Smoot, President GCSACC, Paul Doherty, Past Pres. GCSACC, and me Way past president GCSACC.
GCSACC.org turns 50

Change of Schedule - Aerification

As the club changes so to must our cultural practices. We have aerified greens the day after Labor Day for as long as I can remember. There used to be a two week gap before the busy Fall tournament schedule commenced. Well, per my suggestion, the club has moved the championship out of the summer season and so the gap is gone this year. My thoughts were that the majority of people playing in this event are here in the Fall and maybe we could get it back to a 3-day event if it was out of the high-season. What this means is we will not aerify greens in the normal fashion until October 10th. We will do the tees sometime before that. Greens may get a smaller tine aerification such as we did in August. This is much less disruptive and heals very quickly. As with everything we do this new schedule will be evaluated and we will adjust if needed. This is the first year trying the championship in the Fall so who knows how that will be received?

Greens aerification on 10/10 this Fall.

We have had a great season so far and the long range forecast is for a warm Fall so we should continue to have a great year. We all know that Fall is the best season on Martha's Vineyard and the weather is perfect for golf. It would appear that we had a much cooler and wetter year compared to 2016 so I did a bit of comparison and it is interesting to see the difference.

personal rain totals
Rainfall is not that far off from average in most months. It would appear we are in for a few dry months if we are to stay "average".

2016 weather station data

2017 weather station data. note: thru 8/28

The rainfall totals include the storm this week whereas the weather station data does not. I uploaded the weather station on 8/28 and we received 1.15" on 8/29. The interesting columns for me to look at are the mean temps, total rainfall and rain days. For what appeared to be a hot dry year it is not far off from this year which appeared to be cold and wet. Amazing what a couple of degrees can do I guess.

sunrise gazebo

Temperature Changes & Great Sunrises

We have been on a roller coaster this year with a few warm days then a few cold. Great for growing cool season grasses. The normal pattern is for the weather to break from summer oppression by the third week of August. The days are shrinking and the nights get a little cooler and the humidity seems to drop a bit.  This is already noticeable when it comes to day length. We have been starting at 5 am for months with hosing off the dew and putting ice in the coolers first thing. We are now in complete darkness when starting this procedure. The dew is not done forming and settles back on the grass after we finish and at times it is foggy in the morning which makes for a great scene.

4th hole misty sunrise
This morning was just such a day. Spectacular while hosing and then while spraying fairways. I stopped to take a picture on 4 then again on 5 as the dragonflies were going nuts in the tall grass in front of 6 tee.


 Every month brings a change and new challenges which keep the monotony of course maintenance fresh and new. We have seen very small acorns falling off the oaks which is a premonition of the season to come.

I mentioned our son Josh in the last post. He grew up here at Mink and many of you enjoyed watching him grow. Many members had a strong influence on him as well. One of my favorite memories is of Mandred Henry, former leader of the MV NAACP talking to Josh and one of his classmates about their Black History month reports. Josh's was on Langston Hughes and Mandred was thrilled to tell the boys everything he knew about their subjects. He was a large man in many ways and I can still see his massive hand dwarfing the ones of these school children as he shook their hands (and mine for that matter). Josh has not been on MV much in the last few years so it was great for many of you to catch up with him while he was here. I am often asked "what is he up to now?" It is still the same for the last 18 months. He is traveling around the West seeing as much of the National and State Parks systems as he can. Where he gets the adventurous spirit I cannot imagine since I rarely leave this corner of the island.
Here is a clip from one of his stops in Montana. He knows I love history and drive everyone crazy when I stop to read every historical sign on the side of the road. That he gets from me so he takes pictures of many in his travels. I love the one with the Montana cattle brands. We follow him with "find my friends" on his iPhone and I often take screen shots which is the top right map picture.

Communications with our son Josh

The recent rains and cooler weather have been great for the course and it is in as good a shape as ever for August. Our programs of low chemical use on fairways and roughs really shows up during the hot months. The fairways can get slimy from the salt water intrusion which makes them vulnerable to mechanical wear such as cart traffic. I have seen a few tire skids out there so hopefully we get a few more natural rain events, at night of course, to flush the salts and firm up the surface. Until then be extra careful with cart traffic please.