Opening day is still a few weeks away but its now within sight. As stated in the last post we have moved the annual opening date from March 1 to March 15. We did this because in most years the course really wasn't ready to open until later than March 1. We will always be assessing the situation and will open earlier if conditions (both turf and weather) warrant. As far as this year is concerned, it appears that the turf should be in relatively decent shape to handle some early traffic. So weather in the next couple weeks will be the determining factor in when we open. This is a way too early prediction but I would not be surprised to open on March 7, but stay tuned for the latest.
The past couple of years have really been great as far as turf conditions are concerned. Good winters and timely rains have definitely helped us out. Much of our routine will remain similar to years' prior, but a couple new tweaks will be tried to address some minor issues. 1) Goosegrass has become more and more prevalent, probably due to extended warmer, wetter summers so we will utilize a different preemergent in some areas to address this increased weed pressure. 2) Grub control has been a little sporadic the past couple years so we plan to use a different insecticide in some of the higher population areas. 3) We continue to expand the use of PGRs (plant growth regulators) both in areas covered and frequency of use. When Wild Horse opened we would treat only greens, but we have over time developed programs for surrounds and fairways to take advantage of the decreased shoot growth, density, and disease suppression that PGRs offer. All in all, turf under PGR is a better playing surface. 4) Continued emphasis on maintaining the "wooga" in a playable but healthy and dynamic prairie sward through burning and different mowing regimes. Look for weird mowing patterns or timing. You will probably say why did they mow it that way? but prairie management is at its best when it is random in intensity and timing. 5) We will be topdressing surrounds more regularly to create a surface more similar to the greens. The turf conversion from bent to blue/ryegrass has improved the bounce and feel of the surrounds but we hope to make it even better with a more consistent topdressing program. 6) Some treatments (last fall) to repel earthworms looked to be beneficial and we will continue to explore those this spring.
The spring aeration schedule is as follows:
Fairways- April 6-17 (1-3 holes/day)
Surrounds- April 20-21
Greens- April 27-28 (solid needle tines-same as last fall and last spring)
Tees- May 11-12