Grounds Maintenance Update - April 2021
SPRING HAS SPRUNG!
We’re excited to have everyone back this weekend and on the golf course. The course is waking up slowly and steadily as we come out of this winter. The staff has been hard at it for the last two weeks in prep for this season, and while we have been patient with the grass, it has been nice to use the space to get some large, critical projects done.
First things first, the weather. It was extremely difficult to get on the golf course with roughly 2 ½ months of consistent snow cover, but our boys got it done this winter. We accomplished our goals of resetting each greens drainage exit, and are monitoring the discharge very closely to great results. Early spring has been extremely dry, both in lack of rain and in air quality, which has been great for the golf course in terms of firming things up. Spring rains can be inconvenient for golf, and for us to get large equipment out, but it does wonders for the grass. We haven't gotten any significant rainfall yet, but we are forcing growth through our irrigation system. We are seeing average daily temperatures of around 60 degrees, and nights fluctuating between high 20’s and low 40’s. A slight increase in nighttime temperatures will really get things going in the next few weeks.
How we are tending to the greens after winter
Next, the greens. They have been on everyone's mind since August and is without a doubt our highest priority. The consistent snow cover this winter was very beneficial for the greens. They were able to stay very insulated throughout a cold winter, and no turf on the greens saw any winterkill. Some slight discoloration from our tarps, which were put down for added insulation, but that is very normal and will even out shortly. They snapped out of dormancy very quickly and are gaining color by the day. We have been aggressive in our cultural practices to start the season. The toughest part now, is patience. We’ve gotten a couple mows on them, a vertical cut to firm things up, a heavy topdressing, and seed is in the ground. We will continue these processes through the spring.
We have seen the effects of the aggressive aerifications we completed last fall almost immediately this season. No, grass has not blown out of the ground quite yet, our soil temps have not quite reached germination level. But the metrics we use to track how greens are performing underneath, where it counts, are very promising. All the deep drilling and material removal have left us with a very consistent root zone. Something we worked very hard to improve on in the last year. Moisture levels are very consistent across the each green, which is where many of our problems started. Continued infiltration of the root zone is our main goal long-term.
For this first weekend, please pardon our appearance on #15 Tee. We took each tree down that was inside the cart path on that tee complex, which opens up room for much needed sunlight on those tees. We removed those trees very late in the winter, because of safety concerns with a lot of snow on the ground. The stumps will be ground and removed very shortly, but our priority right now is in playable areas.
On the topic of seeding, we will begin our hydroseeding process, mainly in the rough, starting next week as well. We are going after areas that had a tough time with traffic last year, or that are contaminated with bentgrass. Bentrgass (the shortgrass on tees, greens, and fairways) becomes a huge issue once established in the rough. In the spring it may be unnoticeable, but once the weather ramps up on us, those areas in the rough will be the first to die. Seeding through them now while we are in seeding season will put is in a much better position this summer.
Much more to cover, but you’re busy getting your swing ready and we’re busy getting the golf course going. A couple new faces will be out there mowing grass this year, but for the most part our staff is the same as last year. It’s amazing what one year at BNGC has done for all of our understanding of this property.
Brian Bruso, AGCS, is the man in charge of staff operations on the golf course, and Spray Tech Steve Lemieux is making all of our applications this year. These guys had a massive winter solving greens drainage issues and are tackling nagging problems on the golf course that will benefit greatly going forward. They are top notch Assistants, and are going to be better Supers.
Thank you for your patience as the golf course comes together this spring. There are plans in place for all of our concerns and things are improving by the day. Can you feel the love in the air? I’ve heard there is a real nice place to get married not too far from the 18th green....
See you out there,
Jake Ronchi, GCS BNGC