Native Grass Update

The Native grass area below the putting green has grown in well over the past two years.

 

 

What a difference a year makes.  Last year at this time, we had recorded over 50-inches of rain from October 1st through the middle of April.  So far this season we are currently at 25-inches.  The relatively dry winter combined with a December and January that had most mornings in the low 30’s prevented many of our native grass areas to germinate and begin their regrowth.  Last season these areas began germinating in January and were well established by the end of March.  This season it seems as they are about 2-months behind schedule as some of the specific species have only just begun their regrowth.  With the late season April rains and warm weather, most areas have quickly rejuvenated and are well on their way to filling in.  It is expected that most of the native areas will look like a full meadow from a distance, yet be spotty to create better a chance for a player to find their ball.  The individual bunch-type grasses compose the blend that initiates growth during the rainy-season, then goes dormant as the soils dry out in mid-summer.

Several of the native areas are just beginning to germinate with the recent warm weather and timely rains.

A Whole New Light

Notice the patches of shade created by the thick overgrowth on the cypress trees.

 

Extensive pruning this winter has created a dramatic new look to the golf course and ultimately better growing conditions for the grass.

 

This past winter the maintenance crew has focused on in-house tree pruning projects.  The relatively dry winter allowed the crew to complete a considerable amount of work over the past several months.  The results are visually apparent and have made the golf course aesthetically more appealing.  Removal of three large cypress trees behind the first green was a top priority as the amount of shade it created on the back of the green created undesirable growing conditions during the winter months.  The #1 green has been the weakest green on the course in regards to health and it should perform much better due to having sunlight all day long.  Clicking on the above pictures to “zoom-in” enhances the difference that the pruning has created.  Results will lead to improved growing conditions in the rough along with increased sunlight and better air movement.

 

View of the first green following removal of three cypress trees on the right side of the green.

 

View of the 1st green from 2009 and prior to tree work.

Hollins House Landscape Project Begins

The long anticiapted landscape project around the Hollins House has begun. The first phase of this major project was scheduled to begin during aeration week as the traffic throughout the course and buildings is slower, thus offering an ideal opportunity to remove the outdated look and feel of the surrounding landscape. The goal will be to create a look that is more classical in nature and more reminiscent of the 1920’s. This new landscape will help to showcase the famous building and create a better ambiance for the numerous events and weddings that the facility hosts each year.

 

Previous look of the Hollins House Landscape.

 

Following removal of plants. New landscape will create a look common during the 1920's era.

 

 

Sunny Delight

Last December we recorded nearly 16-inches of rainfall. While that was beneficial for getting our native grasses to germinate and grow, it didn’t provide for optimal playing conditions. December 2011 is another story, we have recorded a measly 0.10″ of rain and the extended forecast has sunshine and mild temperatures through the end of this year. What a difference a year makes…and the playability of the course is reflective of the current weather pattern.

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Venting Greens

Wednesday we “vented” the greens, which is another way of saying we used a small solid tine aerification to give the greens a little mid-summer breather. At this point in the season our native soil push-up greens tend to get a little “tired” and stressed with the drought season in combination with all of the traffic they receive. By venting the greens we are able to provide much needed oxygen to the root zone which makes the grass plant healthier, while minimizing the impact on the putting conditions. The process included sand top dressing, solid tine arefication with 1/4″ tines, brushing, rolling, and watering in that order. When we were finished with a green you could barely tell anything had been done.

Mowing and Rolling

Over the past several months we have been using some very interesting research that is being done by Dr. Rob Golembiewski at Oregon State University to manage our green speeds. For those of you that don’t know Pasatiempo has some of the most severely sloping/undulated greens in the U.S. (original Alister MacKenzie design), and we are simply unable to manage the greens for daily play at anything faster than 10.5 on the Stimp meter and still maintain fair hole locations.

Dr. Golembiewski’s research, which is a replication of similar trials that were done at Michigan State University on bentgrass, has shown that you can attain viable green speeds while mowing less often and at a slightly higher cutting height than what was previously thought. Currently we are mowing four days per week (at a cutting height of .120″) and rolling seven days, while targeting the higher volume play days to mow and roll in combination. By keeping this schedule we’ve seen improved consistency from day-to-day with speeds ranging between 10′ and 10.5′ most days, and slightly higher on the days when we mow roll in combination. As the summer progresses, we also expect to see all of the obvious benefits of mowing at a higher cutting height (i.e. reduced damage from our local nematode, reduced disease and water use, better wear tolerance, improved density, etc…).

#3 Cartpath Update

After a week of hard work by the maintenance staff, the cartpath on #3 will finally be open. Although the concrete was poured on Tuesday morning, it took several days for the concrete to “cure”, and be ready for regular cart traffic. During the past week we had several of our guys out there making sure all of the shaping and sod work was done to our standards. The finished product looks great, and should improved the look and playability of the hole substantially