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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.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Winter Weather Arrives Early!

We have all been following the nightly national news about the arctic blast(s) that are overcoming the country. Low temperature records are falling daily and the country-wide, record snowfall events.
We, in the southern sections of Connecticut, have been spared some of the outrageous variations from the norm but are still experiencing unusually low temperatures forcing our hand to have temporary greens this weekend.
Our program to prepare greens for winter has been completed except for the heavy sand topdressing we apply when the greens are finally "Put To Bed".
I am hoping to have several small "weather" windows of opportunity to apply the near 60 tons of sand that finalize our winter protection of greens. Our goal is to give you the greens as long as possible!
Deep-Tine aerification has been completed and plant protectants applied. The last step is to time our topdressing. Heavily topdressing the greens with sand has enormous benefit because it creates a blanket protecting the Crown (heart) of the turfgrass plant. It also provides us the benefit of smooth greens immediately when we open the greens in the spring. A time of year when high soil moisture would prevent us from traversing the greens with heavy, sand laden equipment.

Think about these things affecting fall sand application:

  1. Stockpiled sand cannot be frozen or it impossible to spread
    • Near 60 tons of sand will be applied
      • We have covered our sand supply in an effort to reduce moisture content and reduce freezing. The tarp also holds some heat in.
  2. Greens cannot be frozen when we make sand applications because we damage delicate green turf with heavy equipment traffic. Hence the fact you are not even allowed to walk on them when frozen.
    • Weather dictates our ability to make the sand applications
      • Obviously below freezing "night-time" temperatures cause ground freezing. It takes time for ground to thaw even when daytime highs reach into the 40's. We are hoping to get the opportunity of a 3 hour window to apply sand between 12 noon and 3pm in the coming week(s). That 3 hour window allows us to apply sand to a few greens.
      • Sunset today is 4:32pm and the soil will not thaw. The low angle of the sun at this time of year dictates how much thawing can take place during a day. A good example is #5 green. While it receives early sunlight, the temperatures are still below freezing. When the temperature rises above freezing it is more than 50% covered in shade so most of it does not thaw. This green is just one example.
We will constantly monitor the weather and long range forecast so we can walk that fine line of keeping the greens open without sacrificing turf health. Our goal is always to give our members the finest playing conditions, for the longest period of time, without sacrificing our ability to provide you premium conditions during the true prime part of the golfing season. We will not sacrifice the turf health to accommodate the few at the expense of the majority.
I hope this sheds some light on the end of season maintenance that is critical to next seasons success.