Enjoy your happier fairways. | TheUnion.com

Enjoy your happier fairways.

William F Hamilton, CGCS
Director of Agronomy


The only thing constant around here is change. You have to be adaptable and embrace it. School has started. Unit 4 drainage has started. Mornings are cooler and leaves are beginning to drop. No wait, leaves never stop falling around here.
All of the golfers have seen the big four-foot plastic pipes going into the ground on hole #15. These pipes are replacing the rotting metal pipes that were installed many years ago. The pipe run will follow the rough line to just past the empty lot. Once there, the pipeline will take a 45-degree left turn toward Ringtail and head through the development.
Based upon their progress to date, I am estimating that the construction crew will be off of the golf course by Friday, Aug. 25. Remember that we will soon have to move the tee blocks forward to protect the crew from errant duck hooks.
Turfwise, we will continue to aerate bad spots on the greens to get bentgrass seed established. The greens in general are breathing a collective sigh of relief from the extreme heat. Fairways and roughs are getting progressively thicker after a good dose of fertilizer.
You can expect to see the aerification season begin with the August coring of the tees. We’ll begin aeration of the tee boxes next week and do three to four per day. This will not significantly affect your play as we can shuffle the markers around.
When the tees are “opened up,” we’ll be overseeding with perennial ryegrass which will give the tees some winter color.
It is said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results each time. So true, so stop doing it! We had a revelation earlier this summer as we were trying to get over our grub flu. Year over year there exists the same old hard, dry spots in the same old fairways. We changed nozzles, lifted sprinklers up, and definitely overwatered to alleviate these pesky thin areas. I have visited other golf courses in the area and to varying extent, they suffered the same dry spot syndrome. The sprinklers we use on our course are designed and placed to throw 65 feet. Each head throws water to the next one, and so on, and so on. You’d think the coverage would be perfect, but there is something missing. That something is Distribution Uniformity; the measure of of how evenly water is applied across a field during irrigation. If natural rainfall is around 100%, our irrigation system rating is in the low 80% range. The revelation was to put in a mega-sprinkler that throws water 90 feet! Badda bing! Dry spots be gone thanks to improved DU. Our two poster children are fairways #7 and #13. There is some of that tough red clay on those holes which previously made for many dry spots and thin turf. A couple of mega sprinklers on each hole and they are now virtually spot free and uniformly green. That’s great, but the downside is these steroidal heads are very expensive. I think we have a sustainable solution, but it may take awhile to get in the number of heads we need. There’s that budget thing too. Enjoy your happier fairways.

Speaking of coming attractions, you might want to schedule your “away” games soon. The golf course will be closed to play on Sept. 12–14 for fairway and greens aeration.

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