Thursday, June 23, 2011

Welcomed Rain

I can't believe I am saying this, but the rain we've had the last couple days has been a welcome sight and very timely.  We were finally able to get out and get some fertilizer on tees and fairways for the first time this season and, although I've been irrigating, nothing gets it going quite like a good rainfall.

I'm also hoping the showers give the rough a bit of a kick so it can start covering up the brown seed stalks from the poa annua seeding earlier this month. It can really detract from the overall appearance of the course.

There is a fair amount of concern in the region that turfgrass managers may see a fair amount of turf loss if we hit an extended hot dry spell this summer.  As explained in the previous post, I like to firm the course up and let the turf roots chase the water down through the soil profile and it was just this past week that I was able to do this for the season.  The fear is that it may have been too little, too late as the roots were already too shallow this late into the season.  This can be counteracted with more frequent irrigation and hand watering, but this also leads to more compacted soils, potential anaerobic conditions, and a dramatic increase in fungal activity, which leads to an increase in pesticide use.  But for now we'll just have to wait and see what the summer brings.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Little Firm

Every year as we get our first dry spell I like to let the course dry out to let the turf roots chase the water down through the soil profile in an effort to make the course a little more stress resistant during the summer.

Most seasons this is done in May before we get too much play and bothers too many golfers, but due to this season's wet spring, we haven't had a chance to do it until just now. It is an inconvenience and overly firm at the moment, but will be appreciated later on when our turf is toughing it out during the hot, dry weather of July and August.

We will be back to normal before you know it.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Stewart Cink on Twitter yesterday:

USOpen set up at Congressional is very tough. Even the Port-a-johns are on the edges of the slopes.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ties to the US Open at Congressional

As the 2011 US Open starts tomorrow I will be watching even more intently than normal. We have a link to Congressional Country Club in former intern James Hayes. James worked five years at Chautauqua while earning degrees both at JCC and then at SUNY Delhi where he earned his Bachelors in Turfgrass Management.

After his time here at Chautauqua, James did an internship with Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Virginia and, after graduation, on to the crew at Congressional where he has become an Assistant Superintendent.

We are all very proud of Jim and wish him and the rest of the crew at Congressional a wonderful week followed by a week of much needed rest.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Upcoming Maintenance Schedule

With a few days of good weather and lower temperatures coming at us this week, we'll be taking advantage and performing some maintenance practices that have fallen behind due to this spring's weather.

Monday we will be paving the paths on #9 Lake and #18 Hill to eliminate our severe washout problem. Between that and the large 8am shotgun start on the Hill Course, that will pretty much do it or the day.

On the other days we will be topdressing and verticutting greens, applying fertilizer to all areas, venting greens with needle tines on the aerifier, repairing cart paths, etc.

The greens venting will not interfere with putting quality but is greatly needed following the intense rolling and mowing last week during the NJCAA Championships. The venting opens up the soil to allow water and air to do their thing for plant health using 1/4 inch solid tines.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

NJCAA Championship

The course has firmed up nicely for the NJCAA Championship this week. Hard to believe considering all the water we have had this year. Everything has firmed into mid season form and the greens are quick and true providing a nice test for all competitors.

We had around an inch of rain on Tuesday morning, but with some fast and furious work by my crew the course was once again in competition form with only a two hour delay. We got lucky again this morning when a certain strong thunderstorm broke up before it reached Chautauqua County.

A big Thank You goes out to my entire staff for all their hard work in the last two weeks.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Nice Weather

Yesterday was a great drying day and today will be just as good. With the dry weather comes much improved playing conditions. By the end of the day we will have been able to get everything mowed at least once and most of it several times.

We are on our second cutting of the week on rough, even getting over areas that haven't seen a mower in weeks. Fairways have been mown every day this week and look good, with the exception of a small amount of damage from mowers and golf carts. I expect this damage to heal quickly with the heavy turf growth we are currently experiencing.

The greens have been lowered for this morning's mowing. At this point in the season they are usually down to where they will be for the season, but with the greens being as soft as they were I was afraid of mower scalping and losing grass unnecessarily. The wet conditions have also prevented us from doing our spring aerification and applying topdressing on a regular basis and the old push-up greens are a little bumpier than I would like to see them today. With some extra rolling I would expect them to be rolling great for the weekend.

Also with the drier weather, assistant Bill Peterson has been able to address the cart paths by getting some good bank run gravel in the low sloppy areas. This will make a good base for further improvements later this month.

The weather forecast looks great and I hope to see everyone out this weekend.