We are happy to announce that the golf course will open this Saturday at 12 p.m.! Based on the latest forecast, there will be ample frost both weekend mornings, hence the noon start for tee times. The Practice Facility will open April 2, as there is still some frost in the ground in this area. This will give the turf some additional time to begin growing and recover from daily use. Course conditions will be evaluated on a day by day basis for its availability for play due to weather. It is highly recommended that you call the golf shop for the latest updates on course conditions and availability.
This week, we began prepping low cut surfaces for play. The frost is out of the ground (except in areas at the Practice Facility), and turf has wintered well with no large signs of disease or stress. As is normally the case this time of year, playing surfaces will be mowed or rolled as the weather and growth dictates. Other practices, such as raking bunkers, will be done on an as needed basis. Our seasonal employees will begin to return next week as well, but this return is based on historical dates that have been determined by weather as well as budgetary guidelines set for the year. As it has been the case over the years, we anticipate being fully staffed by Memorial Day.
Many of you over the years have asked why the putting surfaces look so mottled and some of the grass looks purple this time of year. The main reason is how the plant reacts to the transition to winter. When frosty or below freezing nights become a regular occurrence, the chlorophyll in the plant (green pigment) can denature in some bio-types of Poa annua, the main species of turf on Elcona’s greens. This denaturing leads to other pigments that may normally be hidden by the chlorophyll to be revealed, such as a red/purple pigment called anthocyanin. Anthocyanin is also the same pigment that gives Elcona’s trees such vibrant reds, oranges, and purples in the fall. When regular growing conditions arrive to our area, the plant will produce more chlorophyll and turn green again.
The staff has done a wonderful job with course clean up over the last 2 weeks. While this winter did not bring as much snow to our area as it normally would, we experienced several days where the winds were over 30 MPH sustained. As you can imagine, there was a higher amount of tree and leaf litter on the course than in a normal winter. We will finish this work up over the next week or so. We also have filled in all stump holes with top soil, and will sod or seed them when better growing conditions arrive to our area.
A few of you have asked about the removal of a large oak tree between holes 1 and 18, just past 1 tee. This tree began dropping leaves quite rapidly in August, which is not normal for any oak tree to do. This tree first succumbed to Oak Wilt, the same disease that affected the oak we removed in 2016 near 1 green, and I made the recommendation to remove the tree to prevent the disease from spreading to other oak trees in the area. When it was removed, we identified these large caterpillars, which are larvae of a wood boring beetle. These are an indicator of a diseased tree, and if left alone, could create a safety hazard.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to seeing you out on the golf course!