One of the more enjoyable aspects of my job is taking a brisk walk around the golf course just taking in all that I can observe. Besides tricking my body into exercise, it allows me to better look at things closer than I can driving around in a utility vehicle. Last week provided me with that first opportunity at Elcona. I liked what I saw, considering the harsh winter Mother Nature dolled out across the region. We have work to do, but I like our position compared to the other possibilities if we had not taken the measures we did.
|Close up of open aerification holes|
|8 green enjoying some sunlight|
The vast majority of the turf on greens is in great shape. Our snow and ice removal plans worked to eliminate toxic gases from suffocating the turf. The plants also were still hardy enough to survive the cold temperatures that came after removal. Finally, thanks to having such a wonderful, dedicated staff, we kept up in managing the melting water from re-freezing on the turf and creating crown hydration injury. The picture above right shows another reason why we were able to eliminate as much standing water on the greens. The late season aerification Greg and his staff performed left open holes in the soil profile for the water to drain into, once the ground thawed out a bit. A couple of low areas suffered some crown hydration injury, but samples pulled from those areas showed growth and recovery after warming up in the shop for a couple of days.
The picture of 5 green shows that we did have some superficial damage from our removal last month. In moving slush and water off of the green profile, there was a fair amount of sand mixed in with it. That sand worked like sandpaper on a piece of wood, and caused some bruising of leaf tissue due to its abrasive nature. All of the sample plugs I have pulled out of this area have recovered, after a couple of days of warmth. It may look bad right now, but there is a fair amount of green leaf tissue underneath and the crowns are healthy still.
|Front right of 9 green|
Another example of winter injury I have observed is desiccation, and the picture on the left shows some on 9 green. This is a high point on the golf course and historically gets wind burnt and especially dry as the winter goes. Once again, the sample I pulled from this area greened up and started growing within a day or two inside. Once again, it looks bad but no real worries here!
|Shovel marks on the front left of 10 green|
Finally, I have included a picture of area damage that we did in an effort to remove the thick ice that had accumulated on a couple greens. While it may look real bad, these will go away and fill in as the temperatures increase. We will be rolling a bit more in the next week, and lightly topdressing these areas to further smooth out and repair them. Some areas will need some plugs from our greens nursery to repair turf that was damaged by the snow removal equipment, and our staff will be acting on that quickly as well.
Over the next week, conditions will improve even more, and we will be able to begin our mowing and rolling routines on the golf course. Golf is near, and I could not be more excited to get the 2014 season started. I appreciate your patience and understanding while we get the golf course back into shape following the historic winter it experienced. In my mind, we experienced unprecedented conditions and had to take aggressive steps to prevent a more catastrophic result from happening.