Friday, April 23, 2010


I know that this is no news to any of you in the industry, but what a spring! Spring is typically a busy time of year with all of the pre summer prep with pre-emergent herbicide applications, spring fertlization, aerification, irrigation mobilization and servicing, verticutting, rain delays, preventitive fungicide applications. This list could go on and on, but I degress. Let me shed some light on these topics reltaing to what we have been up to since I have not posted here for nearly 6 weeks.

As I said staff has been busy. At Dairy Creek, we are finally emptying out our storage areas that were full of pre-ordered fertilizers to help produce quality surfaces for the entire course. We applied a product called Polyon that will help feed our fairways, approaches, and immediate roughs with roughly a 1/10th of a pound of nitrogen through September. I have had great results with this product in other areas of the country and we are trying it here as well. This should help us reach our goal of consistency and save money at the same time since we will not have a need to fertilize again until our late fall fertilization. We will be making an application every 6 weeks or so on our tees boxes and green surround roughs. The GREAT thing about all of these fertlizers is that they are slow release fertilizers similar to the newer varieties that your local home and garden stores are beginning to carry. In the golf course industry we have been using these types of fertilizers for years because we want to save money (labor and material) and also because we want to be good stewards of the environment. If we apply products that do not last long and are not completely used up at the end and leave a long term residual we are wasting money and hurting the environment we intend to protect! It is my intent and that of my staffs to protect our water ways, water sources, and the fantastic wildlife that helps make our courses so inviting. I think you would find those sentiments coming from nearly every golf superintendent in the world! Aerification will take place the 4th of May.

Morro Bay just finished an aerification and we are nearly healed. We are in the process of repairing our aerifier so that we can fininsh aerifying the collars and move onto Dairy Creek at the beginning of May as stated above. We verticutt our fairways this spring instead of performing this task in June/July. Our intent was to get ahead of the Kikuyu grass and not to be in the way of the tourists and regular golfers during the peak of the season. We will be using a plant growth regulator this year to help control the thatchiness of this turf species as well in our effort to maintain efficiency. This thatch reduction will hopefully have the ancillary effect of reducing water inputs due to having to water enough to get through the thatch and into the soil where it will have a better result, not to mention that it will eliminate all of those whispy white seed heads that show up late in the day after mowing. We have expanded some of our habitat corridors to increase our wildlife populations. I understand that this may result in a few lost balls! For this I apologize, but we will continue to monitor these areas and make adjustments accordingly with the game of golf and you the golfer in mind. Again we want to exist in harmony with the environment and its inhabitants reaching the goals and missions of the Audubon program in which we are certified.

Chalk Mountain is in great shape as it usually is during the spring, fall, and winter. Not to say that the course is rough during the summer, but with the soils and water we are encountering on that course the summer presents more struggles. So from a turf managers standpoint we don't look bad, but staffs have to work much harder. Chalk is in the process of verticutting greens to remove excess leaf material and thatch in preparation for aerification. The irrigation upgrade has been helping to decrease water usage by improving coverage and efficiency and the course conditions are showing the results of these improvements. Since the renovation, irrigation programs have been tweaked and we will continue to tweak these systems in our attempt to provide consistency to all playing surfaces.

The rains this year have really hampered the amount of play that we have experienced at the three golf courses; however the water has flushed the soils and provided great playing conditions, so grab your bag and head to the course!

"When you get those dudes thinking, they're in trouble"
~Pete Dye, the course architect, on desiging PGA venues

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