Greens Recovery Update June 20
Golf Members & Property Owners,
A couple of weeks ago, we had a great follow up consultation with our greens’ contractor and an area agronomist. After finally having some warm nights, it was easier to see the extent of the damage from the December storm. After a thorough examination of all putting surfaces, we had what we felt was both good and bad news.
The good news was that we confirmed we did not have any permanent damage to the greens. The root system, as before, was intact and fairly healthy, while soil fertility rates were within acceptable parameters. The lack of recovery on several of the greens, though, was proffered to be mostly attributable to the cool spring temperatures, significant algae growth, and in a few rare cases, a presence of harmful nematodes. These last two issues were a catch 22 effect of the lack of leaf blade on top. The best description of a nematode is a subterranean, microscopic worm. Like cholesterol, there are both beneficial nematodes and harmful ones. The harmful kind feeds on the root system, causing a wasting of leaf blade on top. A couple of greens tested positive for a couple of varieties of predatory nematodes. This was easily corrected. A nematicide was applied to the greens in question about 10 days ago.
The bad news was the estimated time of recovery in full for all the greens from the December storm damage. The putting surfaces in the worst shape were estimated to be a good 10 to 12 weeks before we would see 90% coverage. Thus, we were looking at early September.
This extended estimate of recovery time was obviously concerning. First, while the rest of the course is in excellent condition, the player experience is too compromised for too long with several of the putting surfaces. Second, the estimated timeframe put us in jeopardy of still having some significant bare areas as the growing season concluded. This would put those greens at greater risk heading into winter.
With this information in hand, we discussed the possibility of sprigging the worst greens. Our greens contractor offered that with current growing conditions, sprigged greens could be back up and running in 4 to 5 weeks. Additionally, almost no prep work would be needed. Thus, we would only be looking at the cost of the sprigs themselves, plus freight. With this information, we performed a triage assessment of the greens and calculated the number of greens that would benefit from this process and the respective square footage. A firm quote was then produced, and a timeline created.
A recommendation was then presented to the HLRA Board of Directors. Using a total of $18,000 from the Golf Course Reserves Fund, we could sprig a total of 33,500 square feet of putting surface on eight greens and speed up our recovery of those greens by six to eight weeks. After considering all the pertinent information, the Board voted to accept this recommendation and utilize the Golf Course Reserves for this project.
Starting Wednesday morning, June 21, we will be sprigging the practice putting green, plus holes 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 14, and 15. While these greens are sprigged and grown in, we will obviously have to play temporary greens on these holes. While that is undesirable, it is much better than the alternative, putting on bumpy greens for 10 to 12 weeks as they recover on their own.
I am both thankful and excited for the Board’s approval of this plan. It is the right decision. I know this has been a rough spring and early summer. Please remember, though, that this damage was not caused by lack of action or ineptness. This was simply a severe blow dealt by nature, followed by challenging recovery conditions. I would kindly ask that you extend grace and patience to our golf course crew as they work tirelessly to amend these conditions brought about by nature.
Director of Golf