We are going on 20 days of no real rain and from the forecast many more hot and dry days ahead. It is great for golf considering the spring but the hot dry weather has been quite challenging for me.
The golf course is in fine shape the greens have been rolling very well in the mid 11 to 12 feet range on most days. This week, I applied a wetting agent on the greens to help more water throughout the soil profile and help alleviate some of the dry areas on the greens. I water the greens heavily right after the application to move the wetting agent throughout the entire soil profile. Our greens are a bit interesting in that they dry out very fast and you really need to keep a close eye on them every day. Even after the heavy watering a few dry areas linger. The grey colored spot on the greens are not a disease but dry spots. You can see in the picture that the soil is very dry and needs to be watered. I check each green in the morning and then carefully watch them during the day. The last 6 days I have worked countless hours hand watering dry spots. The same is true for the rest of the golf course. You can start to see the limits of the irrigation system. There may be a dry spot in one area and a head right next to it. You may wonder as to why this can be but there are many answers to that question. One is that all the irrigation heads in the fairways and most rough areas areas run in pairs. Other reason may be excessive thatch, compacted soil, traffic, just to name a few. In the photo there are two heads running, there is a hill right next to a low area the other head is on a flat area. So the low area may be wetter then the hill and running the head to water the hill or dry spot the low spot will get to wet. The best way to water would be to have guys hand water the hill part and not run the head but that would but you would need resources that most clubs just do not have. I follow a gentleman on my twitter account that works for Oakmont and that is exactly what they do. There must be at least 8 guys hand watering all day. and night. I make every attempt to bridge the gap and water as efficiently as possible. Over the course of the next few weeks if this weather pattern continues the dry spots in the fairways and rough may go dormant and will come back when the weather breaks. In the meantime, I am applying wetting agents to these areas to help the water move into the soil and wet the turf as best as possible.
You may also have noticed the moss on the putting green is finally starting to transition out. In this photo you can see that there is a lot of bentgrass growing in the verticutting slits. I did plan on verticutting the green again this week but with the hot weather that will not be done until the weather breaks. I feel there is good progress and do not want to stress the bentgrass at this time. You may have also noticed that the putting green is slower now then the rest of the greens. I am mowing that greens higher then the rest to help encourage more lateral growth. The L-93 variety of bentgrass that we have on the greens does not grow sideways very well and a higher height of cut should help the turf fill in even more. In comparison the putting green is now mowed at .125 of an inch the rest of the greens are at the height of .100.
Many members have commented on the course setup this year. I hope that you are as happy as the majority of the members that I have spoken with. As you know I am the one that changes the cups daily. I do not have a sheet that I work off of and really don't go with the 6 hard, 6 easy, 6 medium. I do put a lot of thought into setup for you. I plan a few days ahead also in the setup, also, there is no bad days that would have me putting a pin in a tough spot either. What my goals are is that the course plays completely different from one day to the next and really think about the golf shot into the green and try to take in account of weather conditions. I really feel that the more shots you can play the more fun you can have throughout your round. It may even make you a better golfer thinking about how to attack the pin and use some of the banks to feed your ball on the green. but I always 'give' you a few holes after a few challenging pins.
I hope that you will be able to get in a few rounds this week. Neil