What a difference a few days make. We went from a pretty rotten May with unseasonably cold temperatures to a very warm first part of June. We were finally able to start implementing our plant growth regulator programs throughout the golf course this week which will alleviate the strain on our staff in trying to keep the golf course properly groomed for players-while at the same time, among other thing-preparing areas for and planting ornamentals as well as finishing projects by the clubhouse, 5, and the 9th tee. We also spend hundreds of man-hours throughout the season helping with hotel grounds. Like I said, a busy time.
Plant growth regulators are nothing new in the industry (some of the ones that I learned about in college 28 years ago are still in use today) and their proper use is much like an art form that considers weather, rates, timing, labor availability and financial pressures, fertility, and volume of play. I do not want to bore you with the science of gibberellin synthesis, but suffice it to say that regulated turf needs less water, less mowing, helps to discourage annual bluegrass, and makes for an overall better playing surface. The danger with turf regulation is that if you do not know what you are doing, serious turf injury can result. Any dummy can make something grow fast, look green, and require both mowing and aerifying two to three times more than necessary-which absorbs labor dollars unnecessarily and distracts/annoys players.
A special challenge this year, as was alluded to last month, was the winter damage throughout the golf course. This is finally on the mend with the arrival of good growing conditions-as the before and after pictures below show:
Now that conditions are favorable for growth, we will be touching up the remaining bare areas by overseeding the areas where recovery is lagging. These areas (which are, for the most part, restricted to the rough) should be back to their usual condition within the next month or so.
On a final and unrelated note, I had the chance to attend the Duluth Airshow last weekend and highly recommend it to anyone who appreciates aviation and the fantastic people who sacrifice many of their freedoms so that we may enjoy ours. I have included a picture I took of a B-52 flying over the airfield since it is, frankly, much cooler than pictures of grass.
See you on the golf course,