Greens Maintenance for March
With the prolonged freezing temperatures and snow covering not seen since 1896 (researched on the national weather data system) and with the soil samples I have been taking, I want to update everyone on the slight change in maintenance plans and some issues I have seen.
First, the ice layer is cloudy, a big plus because that means that oxygen is exchanging in the turf layer. The issue is the frost layer is not as deep as it should be, with 3 inches being the maximum depth I have found. This means the root zone is extremely wet.
As soon as I have warm enough weather and start to see green, I will be needle tinning all the greens. The next step then is to roll, roll, roll the greens. In essence, wringing out the turf. After which I will be applying a thin layer of topdressing with the seed spreader and as soon as temps hit 45, applying an overseed of bentgrass. This, hopefully, will take place the first or second week of March.
After this, a slow release nitrogen and potassium granular will be applied to handle any winter kill due to the extreme cold and low frost layer. During this recovery, greens will not be mowed until the 2nd or 3rd week in March. I need a week to have the greens recover before mowing and the overseed to start germinating. By the official opening day, the greens will be ready for competitive play. The first foliar spray will go as planned and only the early morning (5am to 7am) golfers will be impacted by this.
Maintenance will begin to staff mid-March with Rusty being the first brought in. Due the amount of Saturday tournaments scheduled, I will also be hiring a person who is able to work and help me with set-up, maintenance, and clean-up on the weekends as the current projected staff does not work weekends. They will help with set-up, pin placements, range picking, garbage pickup, readying carts and typical things required for tournaments usually done with a full crew during the week.
Unfortunately, we still have this nasty bug floating around and is impacting life as we once remembered it way back in 2019. With the safety of the members in mind I, with discussion with the course committee, have concluded that protocols should be put in place and enforced. These Protocols will be:
No water coolers will be placed on the course. Emphasize this to golfers and bring or buy your own water.
Trash cans will be lined with bags and placed on holes 2,4,5, and 8. These holes always have the most garbage all the time.
Ball washers will be limited to the par 3’s (actually they will be just after the par 3’s because the ball is not dirty until after the play. I personally would like to eliminate them all together. There will also be one on hole 8 and 9 as these hole tend to run on the wet side. It would be nice if we could sell ball washers inside the clubhouse for carts. (need a pro shop John).
Non-member carts will continue to be sanitized before and after each use and parked during the day near the putting green. They will be placed in the cart barn at the end of each day. I would suggest that the course invest in our own carts, 1 a year at the least, so that when we rent carts, profit is returned to the clubhouse and not an outside source. We lose money every day a cart goes unused. The maintenance of the carts will fall on the maintenance department, but this will not add any extra burden already on our department as repairs and maintenance of equipment for the course will dramatically drop since only a select few will operate equipment at this point.
Divot sand boxes will only be on par 3’s. Maintenance will take over repairing divots as this will eliminate extra seed usage and waste and any additional touch points.
Flagsticks may still be handled as normal. They will be wiped down in the mornings and throughout the day.
I need range balls. I will also be turning the range balls back over to the clubhouse since I have had almost 4000 balls disappear. The club cannot afford to replace this large number of balls yearly. The maintenance staff cannot spent 3 hours each time we pick, 2 to 3 times a day, picking the range on a daily basis because there are no balls left. This is just not cost effective and is extremely frustrating as it takes away from regular maintenance and also eats into my limited time off.
The well pump will need to be fixed as it still isn’t pumping to the pond, Darin, I will need the people who installed to help me with this in March if you could send me the information as my memory does not work that well. The fountain will be put out around mid-March after threat of heavy frost disappears.
Any course closures will be forwarded to the new clubhouse manager and MY number given out so members can contact me directly. I will change my greeting on phone daily when necessary to either course open, course closed, cart path only, etc. Blocking cart paths does no good as I have had people drive around the closure signs or blockades.
That is all for now, but I will be adding updates as the weeks warm up and I can see the entire green. Winter will be creeping out in the next 2 weeks with warm weather coming fast. If I am working on a hole, either aerating, topdressing or overseeding, please allow me the room to complete the task by either playing to the green and picking up or allowing me to finish before playing the hole. Everything I will be doing in March to prepare the course for opening day is time sensitive and a very tight window of opportunity to complete the tasks.
GCSAA Class A
Washington Golf & Country Club
Washington, Iowa, 52353