Course Notes, 9/2/2018

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The hose handle has had enough this year!

The calendar has turned to September, and with it brings yet another stretch of hot, humid weather to Elcona.  The turf on the golf course continues to handle all that Mother Nature throws at it, thanks to the well-draining soils Mr. Sims blessed the club with, as well as a strong agronomic plan executed by our staff.  As the picture to the left shows, our hoses have been well used this year!

A friendly reminder tee aerification will be performed on Tuesday, September 4th weather permitting.  We will be pulling 5/8″ cores, cleaning, and dragging the soil back into the holes.  The golf course will be closed all day Tuesday.

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Small practice green repairs

The small practice green continues to heal from the traffic, disease, and mechanical stress it received during the year.  Much of the bentgrass seed that was planted germinated and filled in many of the smaller voids created.  However, we decided to sod and plug many of the larger voids to open the green back to play sooner.  We will be topdressing, feeding, and rolling it frequently over the next week, and my plan is that it is open and playable within the next week or so.  Thank you again for your cooperation in this regard.

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Divot on 10 green

Another repair we have had over the last week or so has been a couple divots out of the greens, like this one on #10.  At the heat of the season, the turf’s rooting is at its weakest point and it does not take much force to take a chunk of turf out.  Even if they are placed back immediately (like everyone does on the fairways), divots on greens are much less likely to survive and recover due to the more extreme maintenance a green receives daily compared to a tee or fairway.  Please use caution on the greens with your clubs and help keep the playing surfaces smooth and playable for your fellow members that play after you.

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Turfgrass nursery

Both of these repairs would be made more difficult without the large nursery of turfgrass I have at my disposal.  I am very thankful that my predecessors had the forward thinking to construct this area across CR 21 from the Maintenance Facility.  We have 2 greens height nurseries, one that is 90% bentgrass and the other that is more Poa annua than bent.  There is also a large fairway nursery, that we have used in recent construction projects like the widening of #14 fairway and construction of the forward tee on #2. All of these areas have different, newer varieties of bentgrass, which allows me the opportunity to gauge if one variety is more successful in our climate than the others.

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Healed damage from 2016

Another cool feature of this nursery is learning from weather events in the past and testing new ways of managing turfgrass to improve our program on the golf course.  Whenever possible, the damaged turf we remove from the course gets placed back into the nursery to gauge if it will ever recover from the damage.  The picture on the left shows a large area of the nursery that was from the Pythium Root Rot damage many greens suffered in 2016.  It took over 15 months, but over 90% of the bentgrass (and Poa) recovered and is now reusable if needed on the course.  This nursery also allows us to volunteer areas for researchers to test new treatment options to again better our agronomic programs.  Currently there is a new trial we are working on with Purdue, seen below.

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Current Purdue plots

 

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Damaged sod from the small practice green back in the nursery

Finally, I have observed much Monarch activity in our milkweed areas on the course.  I wanted to share a couple pictures, including one of a caterpillar beginning its metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly.  I have posted about the importance of increasing habitat for the monarch butterfly, and it is cool to see the fruits of our labor.

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Monarch caterpillar creating its cocoon

 

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Monarch caterpillar enjoying a meal

If you have any questions, please reach out at ryan@elconacc.com.  Have a great week and I hope to see you out on the golf course!

Ryan

 

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