February 27--The weather will prevent the course from opening on March 1. Looking at the forecast leads me to believe it might be March 7 or 8 weekend. Stay tuned for an update. The cold weather we have had recently is definitely not ideal for turf. I don't mind 6 below in January nearly as much as March 1st but still think our turf is doing better than last year. Now it is wait and see once spring arrives.
I just returned from the Golf Industry Show in San Antonio put on by the Golf Course Superintendents of America and the National Golf Course Owners Association. It is a good sized trade show ranking 75th in size of all trades shows with about 17,000 attendees. It includes educational sessions and a product trade show that illustrate how large and worldly the golf industry is. I was particularly pleased with my education sessions this year that included information ranging from the business of golf to turf fertility to cutting unit performance and more. There is a great breadth of seminars available that encompass all facets of golf operations. It is always exciting and thought provoking to attend such conferences and really motivates me for the upcoming season.
Technology was present everywhere you went on the show floor from gps controlled sprayers to apps that track your maintenance inputs. I have to admit I am not much of a techie but I always evaluate advances that might help us be more efficient. The key is adopting technology that produces a significant effect and returns on our investment.
For example our new irrigation software definitely is able to put water where and when we want it better than before. Also we are utilizing moisture meters to monitor soil conditions more than ever so we irrigate only as needed. We have always tried to irrigate efficiently but these technological advances have helped us do it better.
Many technological features are apps, data logging, or gps driven platforms (software), but there are still some old fashioned advances (hardware) that are exciting. Cutting units continue to be fine-tuned to achieve a better quality cut at lower heights. When I say low height of cut that means .1 of an inch or lower. Don't try that at home! You must be thinking "it's just mowing how complicated can it be"? It is amazing how much design and setup considerations are accounted for to achieve great cutting quality. The number of blades on a reel, the speed of the reel, ground speed of the mower, the angle of the blade and bedknife, the centerline of the reel in relationship to the bedknife, the metallurgy of the reel, the roller orientation to the reel, and how the cutting unit is carried on the mower are just a few things that influence our mowing. Most of those things I mentioned don't mean anything to you but I relay them just so you can realize how technical "just mowing" is to us grass guys. There continues to be advances in mowers that will help us cut better at the low heights necessary, and I am excited to get new greensmowers in a couple years that will highlight these advances.
Just like any industry golf course management continues to evolve and we try to keep up to maintain Wild Horse at a high level. It was a great conference and show that has me excited for the golf season to arrive!