By Superintendent Darren Little
It is hard to believe that we are in our last week of August and the summer has flown by. We have had a great season to date with mostly golfing friendly weather days which is setting up for another record of golf rounds this season. I have been fortunate to have another great staff in place this season which made getting the course ready every day and in the best possible condition much easier.
Again this season we experienced an interesting year, starting with a late opening due to Covid 19, record rounds of golf being played and now a drought where we have not seen a substantial rain fall for most of August. To that extent we adjust, on a daily basis, our maintenance on the course to provide you with the best and optimal playing conditions.
These last few weeks of oppressive temperatures and very little rainfall have made it extremely challenging. In order to combat the weather stresses and the adverse irrigation water effects due to its high salt content, we had to perform some cultural practices to prepare and maintain the putting greens for the high temperatures. Such practices are sand top-dressing on the greens, the application of fungicide and fertilizer sprays (which sticks to the plant and can make the putting greens a little sticky), accompanied with some large irrigation cycles to drive some moisture to the root system. Our maintenance plan is such that we try to provide the best possible course conditions while always avoiding catastrophic failure of any strand of turf. Greens must be judged day to day dependent on the largest influence of weather. For example, the greens will always be faster and firmer when the wind is blowing from the north – the perfect example was Championship weekend – as opposed to the steamy wet weather coming from the south which we are experiencing.
We encourage you to read these articles to help understand the challenges faced on a daily basis regarding green speeds;
Quickening Arms Race
To Post or Not to Post
We continue to adhere and follow standards set out by the USGA in what we do and why we do it and constantly monitor weather circumstances, taking into account different than normal playing conditions at the course. I can assure that we are doing everything possible to provide you with a premium level golf course by continually adapting to the diverse weather conditions.
As fall sets in over the next few weeks, we will begin preparing the course for its journey through winter, which sounds a little harsh to hear. These cultural practices will include increased sand topdressing, aeration and additional fertilization to aid the grass’s ability to increase its root mass. The healthier the grass goes into winter the better its survival through the toughest cold months.
As well, with Labour Day just around the corner, this sets many of our staff free and back to their studies, which hopefully will be in person this year. Our crew base will diminish by almost half within the next 2 weeks. The full time and the full time seasonal staff are always ready for the new challenges that lie ahead with getting the course ready on a day to day basis through the next 60 day or so.
I wish everyone a great remainder of the season and look forward to seeing you around the course!