Welcome to my blog!
It is my intention to give the readers a better understanding of what we do to maintain The Farms Country Club's 18 hole championship golf course and grounds.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

USGA Northeast Regional Report

Should We Do It?

FEBRUARY 16, 2018
By Elliott Dowling, agronomist, Northeast Region

Excitement for the upcoming golf season begins to build during late winter. While some golf facilities in the Northeast close for winter, others continue to allow play depending on the weather. When the weather is favorable, allowing play usually is a fairly simple decision. However, the decision becomes much more difficult when the weather fluctuates between extremes. Mild and sunny days in February and March might be enticing to golfers, but lasting turfgrass damage can result when winter play is allowed under the wrong conditions.
Playing golf during highly variable winter weather can result in turf damage. During late winter, cold snaps often follow periods of warm temperatures. Under these conditions, turf is extremely vulnerable to injury from traffic. Play during a sudden thaw can be especially damaging because the upper 1 or 2 inches of soil can defrost while the underlying soil remains frozen. Traffic under these conditions can shear turf roots at the interface between the thawed and frozen layers. Such shearing can compromise turf health come spring.
Frozen soils also cannot drain. When precipitation occurs, the surface of frozen soils will remain saturated and prone to injury. Soils also dry slowly during late winter due to short day length and cool temperatures, so even unfrozen soils will be slow to dry and firm up after precipitation. Soft surfaces are more vulnerable to damage from foot traffic, ball marks, rutting and compaction.
It is important to remember, no matter how thawed or frozen the soil is, turf is unlikely to be growing during winter. Grass that isn’t growing cannot recover from damage until spring. Therefore, turf damage that occurs during winter can have a cumulative effect that lasts until warm weather arrives and the grass is able to recover.
Before allowing winter play ask, what is the purpose of winter play? All golf facilities welcome additional rounds, but sometimes allowing play during winter presents more costs than benefits. Keep in mind that winter play under the wrong conditions may result in a net loss due to the expense of repairs or slow spring greenup.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

USGA Article: When Trees And Grass Compete- Trees Win!

We continue to make excellent progress every season with our selective tree pruning, removals and root pruning. We will continue to reap the rewards!
Below is an article published by the USGA Green Section:

When Trees And Grass Compete, Trees Win

DECEMBER 15, 2017
By USGA Green Section

When trees compete with turf for resources, playing conditions often decline.
Every golf course has a finite amount of space, sunlight, nutrients and water to support plant life. Unfortunately, trees and turfgrass often compete for these resources, and they don’t always like to coexist. Remember, it is unusual to find trees in grassland prairies and we don’t often find turfgrass under forest canopies.
While trees can enhance a golf course, they also require continual management to prevent them from causing turf issues. Trees near putting greens require special attention because they can cause serious problems on these important playing surfaces. Consistent tree management helps limit competition between trees and turf for sunlight, water and nutrients.
Trees have an obvious height advantage over turf when it comes to capturing sunlight. Putting green turf is also at a major disadvantage in terms of leaf area available to capture sunlight. To compensate for limited leaf area, most high quality putting greens require full sun conditions throughout the day.
Trees also block air movement, negatively affecting the turfgrass growing environment. Insufficient air movement contributes to wet, soft playing surfaces that are slow to dry. Disease and turf loss are more common in areas that remain wet for extended periods. As such, it should come as no surprise that the most problematic putting greens on a golf course usually are the ones surrounded by trees. When problem trees are removed, these same putting greens often perform better.
Competition from tree roots is another issue. The majority of tree roots are quite shallow, often occupying the same space as turfgrass roots. This results in competition for water and nutrients, a battle that trees will usually win. Tree roots also frequently grow into putting greens, damaging drainage systems and in some cases even disrupting ball roll. For these reasons, root pruning is periodically needed around trees growing in close proximity to fine turf areas.
Furthermore, tree debris causes playability issues and can damage the blades of expensive mowers. Many valuable labor hours are required to remove tree debris from putting greens each year; labor hours that could have been allocated to other tasks. There are also some trees – such as hackberry, juniper, oak, sycamore and black walnut – that produce natural chemicals that can be toxic to other plants, including turfgrass.

Trees can be lovely to behold, but their location on a golf course must be carefully considered to avoid difficult and costly turf problems. Successful tree management requires routine monitoring, mapping and, when necessary, selective pruning and removal to maintain healthy turf.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Greens Being Prepared For Winter

We have been preparing our greens for winter. 

The Process:
1) Deep-tine or drill and fill aerification
2) Aerify again with 3/4 inch solid tines
3) Spray plant protectants to prevent snow mold diseases
4) Topdress heavily to provide "protective blanket" and fill aerifying holes

We do our best to extend the playing season as long as possible. Weather is the limiting factor. Frosty mornings and frozen ground or frozen sand limits our ability to perform these labor intensive tasks. Wet ground also makes it impossible to run the heavy equipment over green surfaces.

Team performing Drill & Fill on #11 green
The staff spread 40,000 pounds of sand yesterday!

Below: Staff drill & fill #12 green

Below: Topdressing Greens