Course Conditions Update: October 2017

Brandon's Course Updates

October 23, 2017—

We have a method around here when it comes to our grass.

When managing 215-acres of turf spread throughout the rogue Nebraska prairie, it’s important that we systemize the way we treat our golf courses. On the latitude in which The Prairie Club sits, fall preparation for winter is the essential part of making sure the golf courses come into the spring in perfect shape.

Our club sits too far north to enjoy warm and mild winters. At the same time, we’re too far south to rely on thick snow cover to insulate the turf. The way we prepare for the winter is critical.

If we know anything, we know we don’t make our bacon in the spring and summer. It’s made in the fall. The time is now.

The weather this time of year can be very sporadic. This week (the week of October 23-29) is a standard-bearing example. While three days this week have highs in the 40s, Wednesday had a high of 79. It’s typical here in the middle of Nebraska, as the weather is trying to decide how to transition. Late October is a good time for weather with variety

But going into the winter, the turf looks fantastic. Here’s what Roger had to say about it.

“Our turf looks great, it’s a product of the turf we had all summer. Now it’s about caring for it. These weeks and months are tough, but they’re absolutely necessary. Our crew does a great job.”

For a month, we’re going to be aerifying every inch of the property. We aerify all tee boxes, every green, and every inch of fairway. This is a long and arduous process.

After we aerify, we top dress all of the punched areas with sand to help with their healing.

These are what we call “dark-to-dark days.” We start this process at the crack of dawn and don’t put the machines away until the sun sets.

After aerification, we’ll start throwing hay in the bunkers. Local farmers and ranchers come bail hay throughout our property (you’ve probably seen the bails littered throughout the prairie).

If we don’t put hay in our bunkers, we’ll have sand spread throughout the entire prairie. We want the sand in the bunkers. There’s plenty on the prairie already.

We’ll cover the greens for the winter sometime in late November, depending on temperatures. Covering the greens is dependent on a few things. We take the soil temperatures to make sure the soil is ready to be covered, then we factor in the ambient temperature and the upcoming forecast.

Typically, that time lands sometime around Thanksgiving.

“All of the work done now will pay off during the season next year,” said Roger. “This is the time of year where we do the nitty gritty work. It makes the summer time a bit less stressful.”

We’ll keep everyone posted on the conditions of the course throughout the winter.