Wednesday, October 3, 2018

September at Swope

As September ends, so does summer...finally! Aside from a surprise week of 90's, the cooler September weather allows us to focus on other projects and knock off some tasks on the annual to-do list.

In early September, the greens underwent aerification; the process of pulling small cores out of the greens to allow better ventilation and promote new growth. Our current problem greens, Practice, 14, and 10, we went a step further and deep tine aerated the turf along with re-seeding. These greens have and will continue to be our main focus of repair.

Deep tining of 14.

In order to prepare for future green problems, fingers crossed, we created a new bent grass nursery. In two days, our crew along with help from our agronomist, tore out the old nursery and completely started over from square one. With some care and a bunch of water, we expect to have a full nursery by next season.

 Nursery, Day 1

One more annual task we tackled was the over-seeding of the entire course. After a busy and dry summer, many areas of the course attract more wear and tear than others. Areas like cart enter/exit paths, rough near cart paths, and our walking paths experience more damage and receive little attention. Our slit-seeder is pulled behind a tractor and creates small furrow and drops seed into the soil. 

Over-seeding of 15 walking path.

Let's hope that cooler weather keeps on coming for October!

Monday, August 27, 2018

August at Swope

August has finally brought us some relief from the high and dry conditions we've been battling with throughout the Midwest. Throughout the past three months our main focus has been hand watering greens and fixing irrigation leaks as they appear, and it seemed like they were appearing daily. With cooler temperatures and even some light rain, we were able to relax with hand-watering and turn our focus to other parts of the course.

Pictured above is Hole 18, this month was the first time since last season that we were able to get our fairways completely mowed out during the week. With more rain in the forecast and warmer temperatures expected for another week or so, it will still be a chore to keep them in ideal playing conditions. 

Here we are venting 7's green. The venting process uses a small diameter tine to punch a hole in almost every square inch of our green surface. This process relieves environmental stress by allowing fresh air to get to the roots and also allows new turf growth to fill in the holes created.

As always, we try to stay environmentally aware out here at Swope Memorial. Not only do our native grass areas help our course keep that natural Missouri look, they are also home to the Milkweed Plant, pictured above. These plants are one of the main sources of food for the Monarch butterflies during their migrations. According to the Mo. Dept. of Ag., mowing of native areas should be held off until the first frost, to maximize the Monarchs use of the weed until they have all moved on. Keeping these areas un-mowed until that frost date will be bad news for the ball hawks and rookie golfers, but will hopefully keep us in the good graces of Mother Nature.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Sod Work

We recently sodded half of 16 white and blue tees with Northbridge Bermuda again. Most of it did not survive the winter of 2017-18.  The National Weather Service said the month of April was one of the coldest on record in the KC area.  When the Bermuda grass was trying to wake up we experienced highs in the 30's.  This cultivar of Bermuda grass was designed to handle the cold winters that we experience in the transition zone but unfortunately it was too cold for too long.   We have been lucky enough to receive another free sample donated from Arrowhead Stadium and are giving it a go. However this time we will only sod half of the two tees. The main reason I like this turf  is because during the summer months it heals itself from divots much quicker than Zoysia and having such small tee boxes on our par 3 tees it makes a difference. Lets hope for a warmer winter!!

Monday, July 2, 2018

How Does Summer Heat Stress Affect My Game?

Article By USGA Green Section

Regardless of the weather, superintendents frequently are asked to push putting green turf to its limit to meet player expectations. Superintendents face a real dilemma during hot summer weather: continue pushing for fast green speeds and risk turf damage, or err on the side of safety by raising mowing heights and risk complaints about slower green speeds. Superintendents walk a fine line between these choices in an effort to provide quality summer playing conditions. However, when conditions dictate, they must be prepared to make adjustments that protect long-term health and playability of the putting greens.

One adjustment superintendents make to protect the putting greens during hot weather is raising the mowing height. Mowing at low heights is a common practice to achieve fast green speeds. Unfortunately, low mowing heights also leave very little leaf area available for photosynthesis. During periods of hot weather, turfgrass that is mown extremely low will struggle to produce enough energy and can quickly decline.
Furthermore, ultralow mowing heights during hot weather makes turf vulnerable to disease and reduces its ability to tolerate other stresses such as insects, traffic, drought, shade and poor drainage. As a result, there is a serious risk of turf loss, which can lead to bumpy playing conditions and lost revenue. At minimum, extra resources will be needed to maintain acceptable putting green quality when heat-stressed turf is mown extremely low.
Golfers can help keep putting greens healthy and smooth during hot weather by being patient with temporarily slower green speeds. A well-timed, conservative decision to raise the mowing height could be the difference between healthy and dead putting greens.
Next time you see a superintendent checking putting greens on an extremely hot afternoon, be sure to express interest and understanding in the steps that are being taken to protect the putting greens from summer heat stress. Working together is the best way to protect a golf course.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Repaired Cart Path

Several of the rough spots on the cart paths were repaired this month. The city contracted out an asphalt company to repair severely damaged areas and allow for a smoother ride.

Also, we have aerified greens, planted annual flowers, applied the rest of the pre-emergent and applied an insecticide to the green banks to prevent summer grub damage.  With the hot weather we have been having, we're also been busy hand watering greens.  Course is in great shape come on out and play!