July 2020 — Course Conditions Update

Brandon's Course Updates

July 17, 2020 —

All winter long, we report on snow coverages, winter turf health, and sub-30 temperatures with ice.

With the weather we’ve experienced so far in the 2020 season, it feels like eons since then. 

This summer has been a scorcher.

This heat and our increased volume of play has started to take its toll on the turf throughout our 225-acres of manicured turf. 

Now, this wear-and-tear isn’t noticeable to members and guests. The fairways are still healthy and the greens lusciously smooth. But when our maintenance fellas scan their expert eyes over the property, they observe the tired blades of T1 Alpha.

The biggest issue has been the heat. 

Typically, the heat really settles in around now (middle of July). This year, the heat settled in early June. This extra month of solid heat has been one of the most significant challenges of our 2020 season.

As a result, we needle tined our golf courses earlier than in any season in the history of our club. In season’s past, it’s a twice-per-summer task, however this season, we’ve employed this practice monthly. 

The great benefit of needle tining is that the grass roots receive air flow and moisture, as the soil and sand is compacted. All the while, our playing conditions remain largely unaffected and putts still roll pure.  

Usually we do this around the 4th of July, but this season we tined in early June.

Around that same time, those of you in the Midwest may remember the wind we experienced. 

This was the most impactful wind event we’ve seen in a decade. 

On June 8, we awoke to Dunes holes 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, 15, and 17 with significant sand loss covering fairways and greens. 

If you remember last July, it was a record hail event on our property. This year — record wind. Absolutely incredible. 

In total, it was 19-20 hours consecutively of straight, steady winds. Gusts were consistently 30-40 miles per hour, tipping out near 60.

Sand was being moved. One positive amidst the chaos was an early top-dress for these golf holes!

We’ve been impact watering trouble areas ever since (*cough* Dunes 12) to keep the sand in place. 

Remember, the wind formed these golf courses over thousands of years and it’s still trying to move them. 

In terms of product application, we have a consistent routine of crabgrass prevention, broadleaf prevention, and six applications of growth regulators to thwart any attempts poa annua grass may take at our golf course. 

You may ask: why spread poa on these sandy, beautiful golf courses? 

Answer: we don’t.

It comes in on the shoes and equipment of the golfers, interestingly enough.

Thankfully, our growth regulators do a phenomenal job and so long as we keep a strict eye on things, we should never have a poa problem. 

Otherwise, fairways are being mowed at .500” and greens .100”, the shortest lengths they’ll be mowed all season. 

Helps mowing with our brand new Toro Reelmaster 3555 mowers.

We mow religiously.

We also spend time leveling tees, as needed.

Finally, behind our 15th hole on the Dunes Course, we have a nursery. We use this nursery to replace any suspicious spots on our greens.

The antelope have been using it as their bedding this summer.

We’ll try to find a picture of it and share it.

Pretty cute.

Signing off!