In early March we rented a skid steer with a snow blower attachment to clear the snow from the greens. The goal, as it is every year, is to expose the ice on the greens but not expose the bare turf. Usually the process take about two days as most of the greens only have ice in the low points. This year was much different. It took me close to six days to expose all the ice. Every single green had three to four inches of ice. Here’s a link to a video I took during that process.
As you can see there was complete coverage of ice all the way around the green, which meant trouble.
Right around Christmas time there was period of three or four days where the snow melted and reduced down to puddles on any low lying areas on the course. Because the ground was frozen the water remained at the surface it eventually formed thick layers of ice. That followed by some rain events in early January and we end up in a situation of complete ice coverage. The damage associated with ice is usually dependent on the duration of coverage, and from Christmas to April it was just too much for the turf.
The bleached areas are the places where the ice had sat and choked out the turf.
There damage was pretty wide spread, with only 18, 9, 10, the chipping green, 1 and 2 with minimal damage. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14 had sever damage and the rest moderate damage. By mid April we were planning the recovery process.
The first step was to remove the rest of the ice, we did so with black sand. It absorbed the heat from the sun and melted the ice with out damaging the turf. Once all the ice was gone we assessed the damage and planned out route for action.
The steps were as follows;
Here’s a link to a video of some of those things.
By April 28 we had all of the problem areas seeded and were waiting to germination to happen. Unfortunately, temperatures just weren’t there. The germination has been sporadic and thin. While the tarps help elevate the day time temperature the nights are just too cold. The pictures below show some germination but not enough to back fill the voids.
We have made some progress, here’s 14 green over the last two weeks
Mother Nature is simply not helping us out. As of today we have put the tarps back on and they will remain there until Tuesday, although the forecast doesn’t look great. I’ve taken some comparison photos to see the different and will share the results when the tarps are removed. Here are this weeks.
This has been a difficult spring for myself, the staff and our clients. While we would like to have the course open as soon as possible, its clear that we still have some distance to go. To be responsible to the golfers and the course, its necessary to keep play off of the course to get some establishment in place prior to stressing the plants. I will be updating this blog often so you can follow our progress, if you have any questions pleas feel free to comment, or contact me directly. I will also post frequently on Twitter at @WestHillsSuper. Stay Tuned!