Thursday, October 20, 2016

2016 Fall Update

The past several months have been very busy at Beavercreek Golf Club. Greens were aerated on August 24 and 25. The ideal weather conditions during and after aeration aided the staff in doing a great job and allowed for a quicker recover of the playing surfaces. Following greens aeration, the staff was able to transition into the last phase of the bunker renovation. The small greenside bunker on hole 8, fairway and greenside bunker on hole 14, and greenside bunker on hole 15 have been completely refurbished with new drainage and six inches of compacted bunker sand. The last bunker to renovate is the large greenside bunker on hole 8. This bunker will undergo major work as it is given a new shape, drainage, and sand. This bunker is currently over 4000 square feet in size, and will be roughly 1200 square feet when completed. When this bunker is completed in the coming weeks, it will mark the end of the project which was completed completely in-house over the last four years. All bunkers on the golf course received new drainage and sand, allowing them to perform better for the golfer and have become much easier to maintain for the staff.

In addition to the bunker renovation, the turf staff has been completing small projects on the golf course that have included landscape bed cleanup, irrigation repairs, and fairway aeration. Even as the weather begins to turn colder, the turf staff will remain very busy. Soon, the native areas will be mowed down, birdhouses will be cleaned, irrigation system shutdown, and tree removal will begin. Roughly 80 trees have been identified for removal, all of which are dead or in severe decline. These trees are predominantly Ash, along with a few cherry, elm, and locust. Fall is a wonderful time on the course for our staff because it allows for us to break away from routine maintenance and focus on improvement projects throughout the course.

Sunrise during greens aeration

Fairway aeration is underway!

Plate compacting the bunker sand ensures better playing conditions

A finished bunker on hole 8

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Greens Aeration August 24 and 25

Greens aeration is scheduled for Wednesday August 24 and Thursday August 25. Nine holes will be completed at a time by the turf management staff. Listed below are the four main benefits of greens aeration. 

1. Improve Playability - The minor disruption in the playing surface immediately following core aeration ultimately helps improve playability. Removing cores helps create a firmer and faster green with increased plant health and density. It also improves the smoothness of the greens in conjunction with sand topdressing.

2. Removal of Organic Matter - Removing organic matter, commonly known as thatch, is crucial to a healthy green. Too much organic matter buildup in fine turf restricts water infiltration causing wet conditions on top, and dry, hydrophobic conditions deeper in the soil. It also ties up valuable nutrients needed by the plant and can cause a "sponge-like" surface vulnerable to mechanical injury.

3. Increase Pore Space - Removing cores creates much more pore space for oxygen. Oxygen is essential to the root system of a putting green. Without a strong root system, putting greens will not be able to weather the hot and humid summers. As the cooler weather slows down the top growth of the grass plant, the root system goes into overdrive as it works to create a deep mass of roots for the next season.

4. Improve Water Infiltration - The channel created by the removal of a core allows for a higher percolation rate of water. This channel of fresh sand is free of organic matter and allows for much faster drainage. This creates a drier and more firm playing surface that protects from wear associated with saturated soil conditions.

The labor intensive process of core aerating greens is absolutely necessary for the health and great playability of golf course putting greens. The few days of disruption seems like a minor inconvenience when you are able to provide many months of great conditions afterwards. The desired putting green conditions of today's golfer are not achievable without core aeration. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Challenging Summer Weather

It's hard to believe that it is already the middle of August, and fall is right around the corner. So far it has been a great for golf at Beavercreek, as rounds are up.  Let's take a look at the weather over the last several months and see how it has impacted the golf course.

It has been a rather normal year in the Miami Valley for summer temperature. The warmest temperature recorded at the golf course so far this year has been 93 degrees. The average high temperatures for the months of June and July were 83.2 and 84.8 degrees respectively. August to date has been slightly warmer with an average high temperature of 86.9 degrees.

Up until the past several days, it has been a fairly dry year on the golf course. The months of April, May, June, and July, all recorded less than 4" of rain. August started out dry but over the last several days, the course has received an abundance of rain, causing for flooding and course closures. Through the spring and early summer, the lack of rain allowed for plenty of beautiful days to play golf as well as prime playing conditions. Any time we go through a drought situation, we must rely on our irrigation system for water. While this allows us to keep the course drier and more firm, it is easier to see where we have irrigation problems and inefficiencies. Our staff has worked hard to address these issues and with some rain and cooler evening temperatures, these areas will greatly improve.

The humidity has been higher than normal over the last several months. High humidity not only increases the heat index and makes being outside uncomfortable, but it also raises the disease pressure on fine turf. We have been experiencing very high humidity and dew point levels most of the summer, increasing the threat of turfgrass disease such as dollar spot, brown patch, and pythium. Preventative and curative applications of fungicides have been applied more frequently this summer due to the increased disease pressure.

Overall, the weather so far this season has been an improvement over the last two years. As we move closer to fall, we can expect the humidity level to significantly decrease, allowing for many beautiful days to get out on the golf course for a round of golf. As golf course maintenance professionals, we have seen many challenging weather patterns and have learned how to manage every curve ball Mother Nature may throw at us.