As the summer ramps up, so does the on-course operations and the need for certain practices. In this Agronomy Weekly, we hope to provide you with a look at many things from aerification, a look into our irrigation system and practices, as well as agronomic practices that affect the course.
As we expected, we saw a response from the fertility application made to the greens last week. Many of the thin areas on the greens are starting to heal accordingly. As the plant grew, we saw a decrease in speeds as the day progressed. This is a normal response anytime a fertilizer application is made.
As a result, we began spraying the growth regulator twice a week this week. Primo Maxx inhibits gibberlic acid in a plant. This acid is a hormone inside the plant that pushes topical growth. We also incorporated mid-day rolling to maximize the efforts to keep speeds similar in the afternoons as they are when posted at 10 AM. We will continue this practice until we feel the speeds stay fairly steady throughout the day or the greens are sealing off because of the added roll.
We also lowered the mowing height this week to .090 inches. Many may notice the greens have a slight whiteness to them. This happens when the greens are actively growing, yet we are removing quite a bit of grass each day. As the Primo begins to work properly and the plant becomes accustomed to the new heights, we will see speeds gradually increase.
As we do each year, we will once again aerify the greens the Monday and Tuesday following July 4th. Please view this post on The Community for a more in-depth look into our aerification proces and what you can expect after its completion.
The fairways have begun to dry out and play much firmer now that the weather has become dry and extremely hot. We have made adjustments to our mowing schedules to lessen the stress added by mowing. As you will notice, the fairways are a little taller than normal. This is only temporary until we are able to recover after a good rainfall.
We have also roped off several areas to minimize cart traffic, which can play a huge roll in a stressed plant. Please keep this in mind. When you can, avoid any areas that seem to be under extreme stress.
Unforunately, we have only received an inch of total rainfall in June. Many of the surrounding areas very close to SCR have been lucky enough to receive several good rains. However, we have not seen a substantial rainfall event since June 3rd.
As we continue through a drought period, you will see areas brown out. The link below provides a better explanation from myself and USGA Senior Agronomist Chris Hartwiger, as well as an inside look at our irrigation system and practices.
This week, we were able to allow play from the teeing grounds on No. 5. These tees were re-sodded several weeks ago and have healed in greatly. We are expecting great results from the removal of many trees to provide ample sunlight to these tees.
We were also able to re-grass No. 8 Bravo and Black Duke tees. We used grass from several larger tees on No. 6 so that we could re-introduce these tees into play much sooner than use untrained grass from a sod farm. The sod on No. 6 was replaced and will be grown in as the summer continues. We look forward to re-opening No. 8 tee the week of July 25th.
Other Newly Sodded Areas
We have been able to lay over 40 pallets of grass in the past several weeks. Many of the areas, we felt would take too long to heal in and affect playability. Obviously we cannot make this happen to every area that has a weak spot, but we continue to make improvements each week.
An area that has continued to give us issues is the approach on No. 6. We have re-sodded this area several times and added a soil blend to the sand-capping. Still, the results are not as we would wish. Next week, we will re-grass this area using Meyer Zoysia sod from another area on the course. We have noticed that transplanting sod from our existing fairways and tees has resulted in quicker growth patterns than transplanting sod from a farm. Most noticeably, these results can be seen by the quickness of the tees on #8 (taken from #6 tee), in comparison to the Carson tee on #1 (sod from a farm).
Also, this area seems to dry out because of its location in front of the green. We have always tried to keep our run up areas as dry as possible to achieve accessibility to front hole locations. However, you will notice No. 6 approach area playing wet until we can fully heal this area in.
The palisades rough at SC has exploded as we knew it would. We took a very aggressive approach this spring to push weaker areas by using excessive fertilization, and we are now seeing its effects. The rough is mowed at 2.5 inches each week. By the weekend, we are seeing it grow to 4 inches or more.
Because of its size and time it takes to mow our 90 acres of rough, we have started trying to mow several loops around each fairway in the later part of the week to not penalize shots just missing the fairway. We will continue to aerify and push areas that are still weak over the next several weeks.
We started this week by using our mechanical rake to scarify the bottoms of the bunkers. During periods of excessive rainfall or heavy irrigation cycles, the bunker bottoms will stay wet. This procedure allows us to loosen the sand and give it a better chance of drying out. We follow it with our normal hand raking.
We have also begun edging bunkers this week. We plan to have this process completed by the middle of next week.
As always, if you have any questions regarding this information or any other course conditions, please feel free to contact me at (901) 201-0320 or firstname.lastname@example.org.