August 20, 2015

The Last Four Years

I stepped foot on the Grand Forks County Club for my first day of work on April 11th, 2011.  Within 5 days, the river crested at just under 50', I was boating to the maintenance shop, sleeping in the clubhouse at night filling up pumps on the dike, and wondering what I had got myself into.  Fortunately, the river has mostly behaved since then, and we've been able to make a lot of progress on the course.

It has been a pleasure being the Superintendent here, the GFCC has been a great "project" course for me.  When I arrived it was very evident from day one that this was a great golf course, just needed some serious attention and some updates to start bringing it back to life.  We made a lot of progress on the course since then, but there is still obviously a lot of work left to do.

I think I have taken over 5,000 pictures of the course since I have been here, so I will finish off this blog with some of my favorites.  This has been a great communication tool for me to help all of you really understand the amount of hard work and dedication the grounds crew puts into making this course what it is.  It's Collin's now, so be sure to look for some of his updates on the course this fall.

August 5, 2015

What's Wrong With 6 Green?

That's a great question, and to be completely honest, I don't exactly know.  6 green has always been a struggle, I found out within my first month here in 2011 that 6 green didn't react or grow like any of the rest of the greens.

Last fall you may all remember that we did some extensive work to the green by heavily seeding it with bentgrass and very gently coaxing the bad areas on it back to health.  We also went along the left side of the green last fall with a trencher and cut all of the cottonwood roots that were growing up under the green and sucking all the water and nutrients out of it.

This spring 6 green was in great shape, almost amazingly good shape considering how bad some of the other greens looked.  At that point I was convinced that all the work we had done last fall had worked.  I started to notice however in May that a lot of the new bentgrass seedlings started to choke out and a lot more Poa annua was starting to come back in.  Then, by about the beginning of June the same areas on the green started declining again.

Everywhere on 6 green where we are seeing areas die are all Poa annua.  We starting cutting way back on the growth regulator on it, whereas the rest of the greens we kept on our growth regulator program that is helping us keep the Poa annua in check.  To be completely honest, I really don't know why the Poa annua in 6 green keeps dying, when it just turns a little yellow and sunken on the rest of the greens.

This is the area on the left side of the green that we roped off and heavily seeded last fall.  As you can see, there is
a lot of bentgrass in there, but all of the Poa areas die amazingly fast here for some reason.

This is an area on the front of the green where we put the last of the bentgrass sod from our nursery in last fall.  The Poa
annua surrounding this area is still alive, but definitely not doing too well.

Last fall I took soil samples from all of the bad areas on this green and had them tested for salinity, nutrient availability, and soil structure.  All tests came back just fine.

At this point, based on the fact that we are seeing all of the bentgrass not only survive, but thrive in this green, the only logical solution I can come up with is to just keep sodding out all of the dead or dying areas on the green with sod from our nursery when it becomes available next spring.  The rest of the summer and fall we will continue to baby the bad spots on the green with some extra water and fertilizer, and less frequent mowing and rolling, and see if we can get some decent recovery.