Great news from the government this last Friday about the lessening restrictions and the our ability to open in a limited capacity. If the weather cooperates we should have the course open by mid may in a reasonable shape. Up until now we have been running with a light crew. Aside from me and Mike our Mechanic working full time, we had also had Assistant Superintendent Lincoln and Lead Operator Vaughn working part time. Obviously the uncertainty of the opening and trying to maintain social distance had left us in a state of limbo so the nod from the government came a good time. On Monday of next week we will be bringing more staff in and, with some certainty, continue to prep the course for play this summer.
Since the my last post early April, the temperatures have been slow to rise. By comparison the weather was actually better in late April last year then this year. However with less damage, its clear that conditions certainly be miles ahead of 2019.
As far as the greens conditions its looks like 11, 12 and 13 took the brunt of the damage from the winter. There are some other areas on the greens that have suffered but the most wide spread were the North facing greens where the snow and ice didn’t melt completely. In anticipation of some ice damage we purchased some special seeding heads that attach to our 3250 Toro Triplex. Here is a video of its simplicity.
These units poke holes and seed at the same time, replacing the less efficient and time consuming method we used last year. As of today we have seeded roughly 30,000 square feet on the greens.
The soil temperatures are approaching the growth potential and the hope is that the weather improves this weekend to start the physiological process of germination. The above photos show the difference of the temperatures at a six inch depth, 0.3 degrees Celsius and at the surface, 20 degrees Celsius. These photos were taken on Monday and since then the six inch depth has increased to roughly 7 degrees. The soil is a great insulator so as the subsurface temps rise they generally don’t fluctuate too much in a short period and retain what ever gains they have made. As we get warmer days the soil temps will continue to rise and the turf will begin to function.
After getting the seed out we want to protect it from the elements. The next step is top dressing heavily to cover the seed. Here’s a video of that process. The video is a bit short as blogger would only let me upload so much, but you get the idea. This is 13 green.
The last item we need at this point is water. This has been a very dry cold April. Very little precipitation as compared to the historical average. On Monday we charged the irrigation system to water the greens, which were in the dire need of moisture. Lincoln and I pressurized the system and are happy to report we had very little issue with it. There was a leak on 12 green but we new some thing was leaking there last year and it finally let go with the initial pressurization.
We have also began repairs on the fairways, aerating and seeding the worst ones first. Mike the Mechanic chipped in and drove the aerator on 18, our worst hit fairway.
Similar to the process on the greens, we aerate, seed and break up the cores to cover the seed. As the soil temps rise and the rain starts the seed will begin to germinate as well.
We have also been busy repairing the damage that occurred when removing the snow on the greens. Lincoln replaced the damaged areas on the greens with plugs from the Nursery.
In a few weeks when the growth really begins these will be hardly noticeable.
We also took advantage of the dry weather to improve some drainage areas on the course. Number 12 is a problem area as all the water drains from the wood on the right side of the hole out into the fairway during the winter. This open drain will capture the surface water and in the future we will add stone and pipe to complete the project.
When the turf is actively growing and has the strength to withstand play we will open the golf course. There will be some differences in regards to way that the game is played but we intend to present the best conditions possible. Please bare with the regulations as we are very fortunate to be able to continue to play while other sports are on hold. Stay tuned!