Golf Course Maintenance
This summer had its challenges presented from Mother Nature in the form of 33.7” of Rain in just June and July! An average rainfall total for June and July normally consist of approximately 9” of rain. This made things very challenging to do any kind of regular maintenance, and keep the course ready for golf but as the famous saying goes “where there is a will there is a way”.
In between rain events, we still managed to do our yearly aeration practices. This year on the greens we used two machines called Dry-Jects that literally inject sand channels into the greens’ root-zone using water pressure and a vacuum effect pulling the sand into the profile. If you’ve never seen or heard of this process it is worth a quick YouTube video. The Dry-Ject machine allows us to incorporate a lot more sand into the root-zone with less disruption to the putting surface. During this process we injected close to 25 Tons of kiln dried sand into the greens. In order to achieve injecting all of the sand we literally have to hand carry that 25 Tons of sand bucket by bucket dumped into the hopper on each machine.
We also performed our typical aeration practices on all of the Tees, Approaches and Fairways to remove organic matter and alleviate soil compaction. This year you may have noticed the Fairways being a much cleaner product immediately following us performing the process. I even had one unnamed member ask me on hole #16 “Jim, how were you able to aerate all of the fairways in just one day? They look great.” Well at that time we had actually only completed the Front 9 holes. The finished product was so much cleaner and better because we were able reduce the size tine or hole from a ¾” down to ½”. Although that may not sound like much difference it is a huge difference when the material you are pulling out of the ground is SOLID Clay and we have to bust up all of the cores, and drag all of the material into the holes/ turf canopy. Anyway, I anticipate that we will be able to continue with the 1/2” core going forward on the fairways because of all the work we have been doing playing catchup the past several years aggressively aerating.
Soon to come are some of the ever important fall applications with the first being fall fertilizer for the entire golf course. This will be applied on September 7th with a complete analysis fertilizer (Fertilizer that contains Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium) based on our triannual soil tests. As a general rule of thumb you shouldn’t be applying more than .5 lb. of Nitrogen/ 1,000 sqft. in fall and you should apply approximately 1 lb. of Potassium/ 1,000 sqft. for fall applications. Remember you do not want to apply too much nitrogen at this time in your own yard as it will only increase the chances of diseases such as Spring Dead Spot on bermudagrass lawns and Large Patch on Zoysia Lawns. The potassium will improve the plants’ stress tolerances such as cold hardiness.
Last but certainly not least, we will be applying our fall pre-emergent either late October or early November this year. This is a daunting task as every sqft. of the entire golf course needs to be sprayed. This is a vital application to prevent weeds from germinating and help kill the ones that may have already germinated before the application. We are using a combination of products with several modes of action so we do not build up chemical resistance. This will increase our chances of having better control throughout the wet and warm winters that we typically have.
Thanks for hanging in there with me to the end, and learning a little bit about the behind the scenes of annual golf course practices. Thank you for belonging to Inverness Country Club, I look forward to seeing everyone out on the golf course.
Golf Course Superintendent