Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Course Update

The recent warm-up has everyone thinking of spring and me wanting to forget the second half of winter.  February went down as the 2nd coldest month in Pittsburgh history, blessing us with periods of snow, ice and frigid temperatures.  The start of March brought an all-time record low followed by a weekend storm that dumped close to an inch of rain that changed over to inches of snow.  Last week's warmer temperatures allowed the snow to melt and time to access the golf course. 

The challenge was that day temps were aiding in the melting process but the cold nights was causing in standing water to freeze thus posing the chance of crown hydration on the greens from the freezing and thawing process.  With the greens being frozen, the water that accumulated from melting could only rely on surface runoff and manpower (staff with squeegees).

example of surface drainage on #2
Layers of ice discovered during the melt
The good news is that very limited winter injury has been discovered on the putting surfaces throughout the winter.  Samples were brought into the office last Thursday to monitor the recovery process of these spots in an controlled environment.  All samples within a week have shown new growth pushing through the injured canopy, which is encouraging as warmer temperatures are around the corner.  On Monday, we applied a light topdress of black to sand to serve as a reflector with the sun to aid in warming up the profile and jump starting plant growth as conditions become more favorable.
I'm planning on a second application over the weekend with the forecast as we prepare to aerify next week.  Overnight frost may hinder production but with the expected rain during the later part of the week, we are going to give it our best to complete greens with our limited staff numbers.  Like aerifications of past, we will be pulling a 5/8 inch core on 1.5 half spacing on all greens.  Following clean-up, we will apply our soil amendments to improve the soil profile and then finish up with a healthy dose of topdressing sand.  Check in next week for updates.
One repercussion of the recent weather patterns and state of the greens is that I have decided to place temporaries for the next couple of weeks to allow the greens to recover from the winter stress along with Aerification.  I apologize for any inconvenience, but decision was made towards ensuring that our greens will be ready to go for the start of the season that is just a couple of weeks away!
#3 Tee Tree Removal:
In conjunction with the construction project on the back tee of #3 last fall, the encroaching limbs of the two oaks framing the tee was addressed last week.
In addition to the limbing of the oaks by the tee, the two larger oaks that were located in the gulley were also removed to improve sight lines and shot angles for playing the hole.


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