On April 6th and 7th we
aerified all the greens on the golf course. As is typical for the spring
aerification, we dodged raindrops almost the entire process but were able to
get everything accomplished in the two days. The finished product turned
out very well and set us up for a quick recovery of the holes.
These pictures were taken from the same spot at the bottom of the approach on hole #18. The picture on top is the southern facing approach, while the one on the bottom is further back toward the tee by 50 yards. That slope faces north and does not receive the direct heating from the suns rays as the southern slope does.
The TifSport bermudagrass that we have at Hasentree is very unique to us. There is only one other course in the Raleigh area (Garner) that has it and beyond that you would need to head toward Pinehurst to find another one. The major difference between TifSport and the more typical 419 bermudagrass at most other local clubs is the fact that it is 2-3 weeks slower to green up. While some of the 419 courses (Brier Creek and Wakefield for example) are almost completely green, we are still seeing areas that appear more dormant than not.
There is a dramatic color difference throughout the golf course just from late last week to this morning. I fully expect that greening trend to continue as the soil temperatures climb in the areas that still appear to be dormant.
There has also been a tremendous explosion of poa annua in our fairways this past winter and early spring. This is not surprising to me as poa thrives in cold wet conditions and we are not alone as many other local clubs are fighting the same issues. Typically our pre-emergent spray in January would eliminate any of these winter weeds that pop up as we include glyphosate in the mix since the bermudagrass is still dormant. This year was difficult as most of January and early February there was snow and ice on much of the course. This was then followed by cold wet rains that continue to hinder us today. Because our spray was delayed, I feel that the poa had germinated (thus being unaffected by the pre-emergent) but was still not visible at the top of the turf canopy (therefore being untouched by the glyphosate).
We have purchased products to spray out the poa annua populations and should be getting that out soon, weather dependent. The spray must dry on the plant in order to work, therefore rain will delay these applications.
There has been much talk about the range tee and why it wasn't overseeded and whether or not the bermudagrass is coming back there as well.
The bermudagrass is in the same situation as the grass throughout the golf course, it needs warmth and some good dry sunny days. There is green tissue in most of the areas that I inspected this morning. We fertilized the tee last week and plan to do so again early next week to continue to push growth and green-up.
As for overseeding, we have not overseeded the range tee in 5 years. There are many reasons that I feel overseeding is not the right practice for The Hasentree Club.
Overseeding delays the green-up of the bermudagrass in the spring. The overseeded ryegrass shades the bermudagrass in the spring and inhibits it from being warmed by the suns rays. We have seen that, on average at Hasentree, that the tee greens up several weeks sooner than it used to when it was overseeded.
In order to overseed, the range tee would need to be closed down for 2-3 weeks in September in order to allow the ryegrass to germinate and establish. At this point in the year, the golf course is at its busiest and the bermudagrass range tee is still actively growing and thriving.
The process of removing the ryegrass in the spring, after the bermudagrass begins to grow, is detrimental to the bermudagrass as well. TifSport is sensitive to herbicide applications and would be tinged off color during the transition.
During the late fall and winter months, the overseeded tee would require us to shut the tee down for frost delays. Without being overseeded, we are able to let members and their guests out of the range tee to hit balls earlier while the frost burns off the rest of the course.
We are beginning to map out areas where the collars around the greens didn't fare so well through the winter. These are not new issues that we face on the collars and we have had to do sod work every year since Hasentree opened. It is a common ailment of courses in the southeast that have bentgrass greens and bermudagrass surrounds.
Over the past few years we have been able to reduce the areas that were affected by the winter cold, through a variety of management practices aimed at keeping the traffic off the collars once they go dormant. In the fall we typically implement a greens mowing/rolling plan to take some of the wear and traffic off of the collars. We stop having our rollers go through the collar but rather have them stop on the green to begin their next pass. We also reduce the number of mowings to avoid having the mowers turning on the collars.
I am afraid that due to severity of the cold temperatures, frozen precipitation and the lack of warm weather this spring, that we will be looking to replace/re-sod more areas this year than the past 2-3. When we begin resodding some of these collars it will most likely start in mid-May. We must wait for the collars that are going to grow out of winter to become strong enough for us to work on the areas that need replacing. If we start too early we risk damaging more areas than we need to.
As always, please reach out to me if I have not addressed your concerns or questions. I would be more than happy to add additional information. I will also be updating this site more frequently as we transition out of dormancy. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.