This week, I would like to provide an in-depth look at the course. Hopefully this information will help you understand each area from where we are now and our plans for improvement moving forward.
This week started off with a bang on the greens. I noticed Monday morning that we had a disease called Pythium on No. 7 green. For many that remember the dreaded Pythium word from the Bentgrass days, it can be as detrimental to Bermuda Grass.
Luckily for us, it does not move as fast on Bermuda. Pythium can spread over a green in less than 24 hours via water, air or mechanical. It also feeds off plants that are high in nitrogen and being pushed to grow.
Last Thursday, after reviewing many of the greens, I decided we needed to push No. 7 green a little harder due to some thinner areas on the green. After irrigating the greens this weekend, the disease became prevalent. As I noticed it on Monday morning, we acted swiftly and made a fungicide application of Terrazole. This product works fast to stop the disease in its tracks.
We have removed No. 7 green from our regular mowing schedule and normal summer height of cut of .100. We have designated a mower set at .150 that will only mow this green while we nurture it back to health. Once I feel comfortable that the green has turned the corner, we will begin to work it down to normal mowing heights. Click here for more information on Pythium blight.
As we move into this week, I originally had a granular fertility application scheduled to promote some more growth and fill in many areas on greens like No. 3, 4, 7 and 18. These greens are perfectly healthy, but the canopy could benefit from some more topical growth. However, after seeing the result of last week's application on No. 7, I have postponed this app until next week so I can ensure the disease pressure is under control.
I plan to make another preventative fungicide application this Thursday with a product called Segway. We will repeat these applications every 14 days for a total of 4 applications. I am confident this will keep the disease from showing up again.
I also plan to needle tine the greens on Monday, June 20th. This is not an aerification, but does allow oxygen to enter the root zone. This will help the plant breath as well as dry out the top 3 inches of the green. We will follow with a light sand topdressing and roll. The greens will be back into great condition on Tuesday morning.
As of this week, our tees are being mowed at .375 inches. Many of the tees look great, but we still see some thin areas on par 3 tees. We plan to remove half on the back tee on No. 8 on Monday and re-sod this tee with Meyer Zoysia already cut at tee height. This will allow a much greater transition and faster recovery to the teeing ground. We will only do half at a time due to limited teeing space on this hole.
I have been extremely happy with the results of the new sodded tees on No. 5. We are working the heights down every few days and plan to have these two tees back in play within two weeks. You can expect some light topdressing on these tees for the next several weeks to ensure the tees are level.
As of today, we will no longer hit off the mats on the South End of the practice facility. We feel comfortable that we have received enough growing weather and will continue to be able to heal the old divots. We appreciate your cooperation during this past month and appreciate your patience.
The fairways have come along great this year. We were able to make our second foliar fertility application of the year this week. This application also has Primo Maxx included that will aid in reduced clippings. Our fairways are mowed at .375 of an inch but will be raised back to .425 after this week. We will continue to make these applications each month.
We do allow our fairways to dry down each summer. This causes some areas to discolor. We try and limit the irrigation cycles that saturate other areas of the course. More information on our watering practices will be sent out via email as well as uploaded to The Community soon.
All of the bunkers on the course have been edged as of this week. We have started probing the sand depths again ensuring each bunker has adequate sand for play. We were able to use the mechanical rake this week to scarify the bottoms that have compacted from rainfall and excessive hand raking. We do not use this machine every day as it will begin to cause damage to the edges of the bunkers. We will incorporate this into our program each month. We have also added more bunker rakes to many of the bunkers throughout the course.
Our rough is FINALLY growing. We have pushed many high traffic areas over the last month with aerification and fertility, and it is now responding. Several areas throughout the course, we decided to go ahead and re-grass. We will continue re-grassing some areas over the next few weeks and look forward to having them back in play very soon. Thanks for your patience as we are finally getting some cooperation from mother nature.
If you have any questions about any of these topics are care to know more always feel free to contact me. I will be glad to discuss any concerns or answer any questions you may have. Thanks for being a member.
Scott J. Newman
Golf Course Superintendent