May 15, 2023
I wanted to communicate to everyone our findings and our plan of action regarding our greens for the next several weeks.
Our greens, like many others across north Texas, suffered severe setbacks from the December freeze. While temps have been that low before, the difference this time was the grass on the greens was not completely dormant yet. Dormancy is natures best insulator. Coupled with the unseasonably cool spring, this created extremely challenging growing conditions and the ability to quickly recover from the freeze. That being said, our greens are not dead. Soil samples show no alarming deficiencies in nutrients. In fact, the samples taken showed a healthy root system. In short, we could do nothing and all the grass will eventually grow back on its own. The problem is none of us has the stomach for how long that will take. Thus, we need a detailed program to kick these things into high gear.
We have been in communication with our grass contractor, Champion Turf Farms, and other courses and superintendents with similar greens grass across north Texas. Together, we have tailored a course of action to implement immediately that should help speed up the recovery process. Below is a list of procedures on which we will focus:
• Frequent verti-cutting
• Application of algaecides
• Hand syringing of greens
• Application of grow-in strength fertilizers and nutrients
• Limited mowing; increased rolling
• Plugging of large bare areas
• Hand-picking of poa annua plants
The items listed above are to both combat conditions that are deterring growth in the thin areas and to energize the plants in the better areas. With a severe lack of leaf blade on much of the greens’ surfaces, we have conditions that are ripe for algae growth. This can further inhibit new leaf blade growth. The frequent vert-cutting and application of algaecides will help to amend this. Somewhat dichotomously, our greens still need an abundance of water to improve. Thus, we will be hand syringing the greens as much as possible to ensure even distribution of water without promoting conditions for continued algae growth.
The application of fertilizers and nutrients, coupled with the verti-cutting and limited mowing, will help to stimulate the plant. On some of the greens, there is so little leaf blade left that we are essentially starting from scratch. The stolons and roots are firmly established, however. We just need to promote new leaf blade growth. These processes will help that.
Finally, to ensure better putting conditions while we recover, we will roll greens more often, plug large bare areas and hand pick the poa annua. With limited mowing, we need to roll the greens more often to ensure a smooth surface. The hand picking of poa annua goes to the same ends.
I understand everyone’s frustration level with the conditions. My frustration level is right there with you. I want to make sure everyone understands, though, that nobody did anything wrong to create these conditions. As I said in the Board meeting the other night, in the golf course business, you are constantly at war with nature. And sometimes, nature wins. Please know we are working hard to win back the battle.