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Welcome to the 2020 golf season!

Jake Ronchi

Blackstone National Golf Club

Grounds Maintenance Update

March 2020

That was it? That was the big bad New England winter you have all been warning me about? With under 5 feet of snow since November and more sun-filled days than not, we are very pleased with where we are at in prep for the 2020 golf season. While we are not out of the woods yet, all signs are pointing towards a quick green up this spring. However, with how gentle mother nature has been on us, you just know there is a foot of snow waiting for us in April.

I am half joking and fully optimistic. We should be good to go for golf by the middle of the month. Full cart access to follow shortly after. At this point, it is difficult to judge just how accessible the golf course will be for the first weeks of the season. There is still some, although considerably small amounts of frost in the ground. With fluctuations in temperature and sunlight from day to day, freezing and thawing is still occurring in the soil. Thawing, in combination with early spring rains, can result in a very wet golf course throughout March and April. We want you to access each part of the golf course as efficiently as possible, but we also want to conserve as much turf as we can to start the season. It can also result in frost delays of varying times. I know how annoying that can be to plan a tee time around, but please bear with us.

This time of year, the most important thing we can do is watch the weather. Until we are able to bank on consistent weather patterns, or “Grass Growing Weather”, we will be extremely specific in how we maintain the golf course. Throughout all of March and most of April, our maintenance practices are geared toward turf health. Focusing on the health of the plants now is critical to their success in the stressful summer months. Foliar spray applications, granular applications, irrigation cycles, and mowing repetitions will all be completed with considerations of many factors. Weather, available sunlight, soil moisture, and growth rate are critical indicators. Starting the season too aggressively can damage the agronomic functions of the golf course, and limit turf potential later in the season.

Once the turf is consistently growing, we will shift to a more playability-based approach. Rollers will follow greens mowers to increase speeds and firmness. Pins will be rotated daily to provide strategic variety and turf relief. Mowing heights will drop to influence more ball roll and to take advantage of the natural land movement of the golf course. The golf course will open in broader sense and we will manage traffic more specifically.

Our long-term projects are still in place and will continue. We are still trying to create every opportunity for greens to succeed through drainage and sunlight. Our staff has been set with great people and all are eager to get started. Lets just hope that foot of snow in April misses us...

Jake Ronchi

GCS Blackstone National

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