Monday, April 29, 2019

April Showers bring May Flowers... & Wet Fairways

Spring is in full effect in Kansas City, Missouri. We've had days at 50-70 degrees, rain showers weekly, and wind that just doesn't seem to stop throughout the month of April. Trees are starting to get leaves and our grass is starting to get striped. With the onset of nice weather, we've been giving our course turf the attention it's needed since winter. 

The majority of turf on our course is breaking out of winter dormancy. With the grass growing and taking in nutrients now, it is a perfect time to spray the turf with fungicides, fertilizers, and selective herbicides. Our zoysia fairways, tee tops, greens, and fairway rough surrounds were all treated this month. 

(Sam spraying 12 green)

It's easy to talk about big projects we take on here at Swope, however, there are many small daily tasks that people may not know about. Each day we mow or roll our greens and cut new cups. Cutting the cups can make or break the hole. A cup placement too close to a slope or on an uneven surface can make for some unappealing circle 10's on the scorecard. We have 3 different pin positions: pin position 1 would be the cup in the front area of the green, 2 in the middle, and 3 being furthest away from the tee box in the back of the green. Changing these locations each day help spread out play on our greens, eliminate isolated wear areas, and change up how the hole is approached. After the new cup is cut, the cup and flag are placed into the new hole, and the turf plug is then placed in the old location.

(New cup, flag, and flag-stick along with hole set-up tools on 11 green.)

Weekly rain in the springtime is to be expected and we do look forward to it. However, sometimes the ground becomes so saturated that additional rain just adds puddles and problem areas around the course. From constant snow coverage all winter to transitioning into a wetter spring, many spots on the course haven't seen a dry day for too long. For example, 17's top fairway is roped off to eliminate any extra stress caused by carts so that it has the best chance it can to grow through the wet areas. Swope is a very up and down course and with so many fairway undulations almost any amount of rain can cause puddles and sloppy wet rough conditions. Cart path only is not a phrase golfers nor course workers want to hear, however, it's the best way to allow these areas to dry out and be safe for cart path/mower travel. Golfers and the maintenance crew alike must follow the cart path only rule to protect the integrity and aesthetics of the course as a whole. 

(Wet conditions on 17 fairway.)

With more rain in the forecast, we hope golfers will bear with us through the wet conditions and continue to enjoy Swope Memorial Golf Course. As always, remember to fix your divots and watch out for puddles!