#12 @ Wild Horse

#12 @ Wild Horse

Monday, April 16, 2018

Course Tours

I have decided to do something new this year which is to give short course tours about once a month.  These will be about half hour in length and will include a short walking tour of a couple of holes.  It will be an informal discussion that will allow you to ask questions or point out some of our inefficiencies!  This will allow you the golfer to better understand what we are doing and hopefully better appreciate Wild Horse.  The topics will vary from month to month depending on the season so we will strive to make each session new and informative.  We will try to schedule these at various times and days so hopefully your schedule will allow you to attend one or all of these sessions.

The first of these tours will be April 30th at 4:00 PM which happens to be the start of greens aerification so some of the discussion will be about that necessary practice.  We will meet at the clubhouse and proceed from there.  Hope to see you there!

Burn and Snow

The burn went well last Tuesday.  We covered a lot of ground burning all of the interior rough.  Should make the rough more playable this year.

Luckily we didn't get the 6-10 inches of snow predicted because the 3 inches we did get piled up pretty high on the back of 12 green.  The black soot picked up by the winds can clearly be seen in these piles in the plum thickets.  Monday 16th will be no carts as we continue to clear cart paths.  Should be back to normal golf on Tuesday.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Spring update

A month ago I reported that it was starting to green up and that same report still applies!    We have mowed greens twice is all.  We had done that by March 12 last year.  Slow cold spring for sure!  Greens are in good shape though and should get better as we start mowing more consistently.

Today is prescribed burn day.  We will be burning the interior rough areas on the both the front and back nines.  Lots of area to cover but we look to have a great day to do it.

Aerification continues on fairways between the weather and mechanical breakdowns.  Only completed 4 holes thus far but hope to get much more done this week.  A reminder that greens surrounds aerification will be next Monday and Tuesday.  

Fairways and surrounds continue to slowly green up and the ice damage we talked about previously is becoming more apparent.  Most of those spots the damage is pretty superficial and just needs some time to green up.

Think WARM

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Masters Week

Masters week is here and that brings out the best players in the world and this guy has them down pat.  A little reprieve from boring turf stuff!
Always amazed at comedian's ability to do impressions-hope this gives you a chuckle.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Roundup trials

Here are a couple of pictures of our Roundup trials from last fall.  As you can see there is some thinning to the turf, but this strip is greener than the rest of the fairway around it.  So why is that?  The green turf left unscathed is the bluegrass that we want.  The dead stuff is ryegrass and poa, but why is that strip greener?  The bluegrass does green up quicker in the early spring and also the reduction in competition allows it to get whatever little bit of nitrogen fertility available now without having to share it (with the dead ryegrass).  Basically lower number of plants in that square vying for that same amount of fertility so it appears slightly greener.  Interestingly though the bluegrass greens up quicker now, but the ryegrass will strongly outgrow the bluegrass in the next month.

Read about what we have done with these test strips and what we were hoping to accomplish in this previous post. https://whgcturf.blogspot.com/2017/06/poa-control.html

So what have we figured out with this experiment over two years time?  Unfortunately it has not been as effective in eliminating poa annua as we had hoped.  Timing of the application is critical and there seems to be a window in the mid-September to mid-October period that seems to be most effective.  As we have increased rates the effectiveness increases but it also becomes too damaging to the ryegrass and bluegrass.  So while it hasn't been a total success it has shown some promise and we may still utilize this cheap alternative to poa control in certain situations. 

We will throw some seed into the thinnest areas but the beauty of bluegrass is its ability to spread through rhizomes (underground roots) so in most areas we will promote that through a bump in fertility.  As mentioned above though, the newer varieties of bluegrass definitely take their time to get growing in the spring so don't expect much until we get into mid-May and then recovery will be quick.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Ice damage

Just starting to green up and can begin to see some of the anticipated ice damage to ryegrass in our low areas on fairways.  Ryegrass is pretty susceptible to this kind of occurrence but we rarely have winters that contribute to it.  Last time we had much significant ice damage was probably 15 years ago.  Much of what we have this year is not very severe and may cause some thinning in most spots, but a couple hollows might get some seed to help recovery.
 Here is a large area on #17 that iced up as the snow was melting.  In the middle of this brown spot you can see the patches of green which is all bluegrass.  That occurred from the last icing event that killed the ryegrass in this area.  On our sandy soils the ryegrass actually thrives better in the lower hollows that hold more moisture, until we have ice and then it is vulnerable to winterkill.

Here is another example of a small depression that has had ice damage in previous years indicated by the predominance of bluegrass.  But you can see the patches of ryegrass that have started to regain a foothold here until this winter.  It's a bit early to tell if these patches will partly recover or not.  I am expecting that some plants will survive and the bluegrass will expand and many of these areas will be unnoticeable in a month.

It is interesting how each species finds its' sweet spot in the differing microenvironments.  On our exposed mounds bluegrass really dominates the sward as it can handle both the droughty soils and winter exposure better than ryegrass.  Cart path entries and exits are dominated by ryegrass that can withstand traffic better than the blue.  So there is a definite benefit to having a mix of species and varieties as each has its own strengths and weaknesses.  This is the time of year when you can see the varietal differences more so as they green up quicker or slower or growth habit is more easily detected.  Once they have greened up and begin growing the ryegrass and bluegrass are nearly indistinguishable resulting in a more uniform turf.

More on ice damage in this previous post:

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Spring Schdule

Wild Horse opened on March 9- a beautiful day to get back out on the course.  Since then the weather has been the usual March up and down but we know to expect that from Nebraska springs.

The spring maintenance schedule is very similar to year's past.  Irrigation charge-up and audit will keep us busy the next week as we will inspect each and every head and valve on the course to make sure they are working properly.  If not, we make needed repairs and identify needed adjustments to arc rotation, spacing, etc. to tackle later in the year.  Also we note yardage markers that are absent.  We had been lax in doing this in the past couple years because we figured most everyone used rangefinders for yardage.  We have learned that there are still many people (like myself) that rely on sprinkler yardages so last year we made an emphasis on updating those and will continue to look for missing yardages during this spring's irrigation audit.

Aerification then will begin in earnest in April.  As we have mentioned before April is the prep month where many of our agronomic practices are done to set up the course to perform later in the year.  Below is the aerification schedule for this spring:

April 2-13  Fairways-we will do one or two holes per day weather permitting.

April 16-17  Greens surrounds-back nine one day front the next

April 30-May 1--Greens-3/8" solid tine so no cores pulled and relatively small holes
May 2- Topdressing greens to fill up aeration holes.
Depending on weather, we expect greens to be nearly fully healed by May 12 and back to "normal" by May 19.

May 7- Tees

We appreciate your patience during these processes and try to work quickly to get out of your way and get the course back to normal.

Still pretty brown out there right now but we can see some green shoots starting to come on in the past couple days-won't be long now.