Blowing Air

The excessive amount of rain we have received has lead to less than favorable ground conditions. We have several greens with signs of stress due to saturated soil conditions, extreme heat and humidity. Below is a picture of the 6th green taken earlier today. We have done everything in our arsenal to combat the environmental stress. We will see recovery in the next few weeks as the days begin to get shorter and hopefully the nasty weather is behind us.

IMG_2010

As we approach the end of July, we have tallied 15 days that reached 90 degrees or more, while night time temperatures remained in the 70s – a tell tale sign of significant humid conditions.

IMG_1997b

Today and over the next week, we are utilizing newer aerification technology for oxygen exchange to benefit the roots. The machine above is call the Air2G2. More information on the machine is available at http://www.air2g2.com/. Pictured on the left is Second Assistant,Charlie Lonergan and Equipment Manager, John Lermond.

IMG_2001

This machine will poke holes every few feet and deliver two blasts of air into the sub-surface at varying depths. For the greens process, we are injecting air at 4″ and again at 12″ deep. Below is a video of the injection process. In the video below, you can see the three valve rods injecting into the green surface. If you closely at the round, black turf hold-downs, you will notice the surface of the green lifting as the air is injected and subsequently fracturing the soil, allowing cavities for the roots to grow and breathe. The operator of the Air2G2 is our Intern, Joe Roth.

If you could not see the turf move in the video above, below is a close-up view of the process.

Defense (clap, clap) Defense!

Just like a battle cry for your favorite sports team defending their end-zone, this cheer will be our motto over the next 15 days for the health of the turf on the course, especially the greens. We have taken precautionary measures against the extreme heat and humidity that has started to build in our region as early as this morning.

IMG_1955

We began the week with a change in the set-up of our greens mowers. In the picture above, the front roller has been switched to a smooth roller, as opposed to a grooved roller in the picture below. This change will mark the first time in twelve years that we will use smooth rollers on the greens for an extended period of time.

IMG_1957

The smooth roller is less abrasive to the turf, but the drawback is that smooth rollers tend to soften the surface, leading to slower green speeds. Once we are through the hot weather, we will switch out the rollers back to grooved set-up.

IMG_1953b

You will notice debris blowers set around the greens during the course of your golf round. This will help with air movement which is very critical for the health of the turf. Above, is the upper left corner of the big putting green (BPG).

This picture of the BPG was taken about 9 AM this morning. Morning sunlight for bentgrass is the most important sunlight of the day. This is very evident on this green. About 3/4 of the green does not see the sun until 8:30 AM for a majority of the calendar year. Since this green needs to be prepped early in the day, it is usually mowed and rolled while it is in the shade.

To quote agronomist Steve McDonald of Turfgrass Disease Solutions, “Turf growing in the AM shade wilts quicker in the afternoon and grows significantly slower than full sun,” resulting in a less dense canopy.

IMG_1970

We continue to syringe tees and greens by hand and will use the in-ground irrigation system for the fairways.

IMG_1972

The weather pattern that has been forecasted for the next 15 days will be the most diabolical time period according to the twelve years of weather data we have on-hand in our office files.

Greens Maintenance

With a break in the extreme heat and humidity, our staff began some necessary maintenance practices to prepare the greens for the next heat wave that will begin as early as the coming weekend.

IMG_1936

At 4 AM this morning, we began solid or needle tining the greens for oxygen exchange and root development.

IMG_1923

The greens are punched, then rolled. In the picture above on the left in blue is Gaudencio (Lencho) Rodriguez manning the aerifier and Zane Ruarke on the Salsco Roller.

IMG_1925

The picture above is representative of the putting surface prior to rolling. Below is the same area just after rolling.

IMG_1927

With the holes on the greens, it is necessary to apply wetting agents to help move water through the soil profile.

IMG_1919

In the picture above is Intern Joe Roth on the left and hose-man, Maicol Duran. The application of wetting agents will help alleviate moist conditions which occur during times with excessive humidity levels. After the application, it is necessary to turn on the irrigation to move the material into the soil profile.

This will be a busy week for our sprayers as we continue preventive measures in anticipation of nasty weather.