Monday, March 28, 2011

While we wait for the golf season, let's talk about handwatering

Another day in the turf department, and yet another morning of minus double digit temperatures........

And while preparations are still being made to our turf equipment and golf course materials such as tee blocks, now is a great time to sit back and watch a video about a practice we implement quite regularly during the dead-heat of summer (does anyone remember what summer feels like anymore?).  Anyway, here is a quick video from the USGA on why we hand water turf.......

So as the video mentioned, there are several reasons why we need to hand water turf.  The most common reason for us to hand water at Sawmill Creek is due to our famous winds.  When that wind picks up off of Lake Huron, we can literally watch turf wither and wilt.  We do employ strategies such as the use of soil surfactants (which aid in the soils ability to retain moisture), however, with the undulation in some of our greens, we are generally in a situation where we must apply additional moisture.  The main problem areas here at Sawmill are both of our double greens: 2 and 4, as well as 10 and 14.  But at the end of the day, if the wind stays strong overnight, you can be sure that our precipitation rates are surely all over the map; hence the need to hand water.

And as for syringing, although many "treed" courses in the area implement this strategy, this is one step we can typically avoid here at Sawmill.  The sole reason for this goes back to our Cato bentgrass greens.  Although Cato can be a nuisance in the cool shoulder months of the season (April-May and October - November), Cato absolutely flourishes during the high heat and humidity of the summer months.  Cato was developed in Texas to withstand the high heat of a southern summer, and as such can handle everything Mother Nature throws at it in June, July and August.  Now its not to say that we've never syringed here at Sawmill, and probably will continue to do so when the mercury rises above 30 degrees, but it is certainly not done with the same urgency as courses with a lot of Poa in there greens.

Although some of you feel its a tease to talk about the heat of summer, I'm hoping it will put some positive energy out there, and force old-man winter away until 2012.  I feel it's time, how about you?


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