Tuesday, June 22, 2010

#3 Green Update

Here are a few recent pictures of the new extension on #3. The extension is doing rather well considering the weather and temperatures. This past week we applied another heavy amount of sand and have been lowering the mowing heights. In a past posting, I said that we could have the green open in the middle of June. Well sometimes the weather does not cooperate and puts the progress of opening the green off for another few weeks. Now that we have consistent good growing weather predicted for the next week we should be able to open the green in two to three weeks.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


One our biggest goals this season concerning the golf course is "consistency". We are still learning and will continue to learn how fine fescue actually behaves in a high arid environment. I know of only one other golf course that is in almost exactly in the same environment as we are and that is Ballyneal Golf Club in Holyoke, Colorado. I have spoken with the golf course superintendent a few times and he has experienced the same challenges that we have. After discussing our similar situations, the conclusion is that fine fescue behaves much differently than if we were located in a coastal environment such as Bandon Dunes Resort. No matter what particular climate we are in, it is my job to make the necessary adjustments in order to provide high quality turf conditions day in and day out.

This season we are doing a few practices a bit differently than the past few seasons. The number one priority in our efforts to consistency are green speeds, firmness and color. We have started our efforts in our fertility plan in which we have chosen to use a line of products from Floratine. The Floratine company has a long history of providing quality turfgrass when using their products and programs. The plan we have implemented since the beginning of May is to provide the turfgrass with all of the necessary nutrients. The amount of nutrients that are applied come from soil samples that have been taken to measure how much of each nutrient is required for optimum turfgrass health.

We all know that nitrogen is the key component however in our case a very small amount of nitrogen is applied. The plan is based on giving the fine fescue all of the required nutrients minus nitrogen in order to create a health plant. The idea is to provide the necessary nutrients for healthy fine fescue from the bottom up. The bottom up idea is that the soil would provide the nutrients once the values have been met to the plant rather than us through spray applications. We will see how this plan works out when the weather becomes more suitable for plant growth. Along with our fertility plan we have added a growth regulator product to our plan to help control the top growth of the fine fescue so that putting speed and quality is consistent from morning to evening. Coupled with the decrease in top growth, the plant will grow more laterally thus increasing the density of the canopy. We are on application number one in a four month period and already I can see a difference.

The firmness of our greens will naturally become softer as they age. As more organic matter builds up in the greens they become softer. In our efforts to keeping the greens firm, we will rely on topdressing and water management. The addition of small amounts of sand through topdressing will continue to dilute the organic matter thus create a continuous soil profile as well as firmness of the greens. Our water management strategy will be to do more deep and infrequent irrigation cycles so that the surfaces of the greens remain "dry" thus firmer. So as we continue to topdress, irrigate and fertilize the greens, all of these components are key to creating the consistency in our green speeds.