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Dodge's Dirt

October 2017

The golf course closed for play for the year on Sunday, October 8.  Our experience has shown over the years that remaining open really does nothing except lose money since the few players we get after the first week of October are not enough to cover the extra costs of staying open.  We are truly a destination resort-the area simply does not support a population large enough to give us the kind of volume of play to stay open. 

Perhaps more importantly, the three week window after we close (forecast is for 3-5” snow October 27 with temperatures dipping to 20 degrees F in next few days) gives us the opportunity to perform disruptive work on putting greens (and other areas) at a time of the year that does not affect playability-and allows us to forgo the traditional spring/fall aerification that bothers players so much.  After the application of winter plant protectants for winter diseases and desiccation on greens (done on October 16, 17, and 18), we perform the following:

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October 18, 2017
Topdressing 5 green-Olaf Walkky

A diligent topdressing program on turf is beneficial in many ways. Topdressing on a regular basis combined with a conservative fertility program results in turf that requires less, if any, core aerification-the messy process we all love. Topdressing in season also has the effect of smoothing the putting surface. Going into our harsh winter months, a heavier layer of topdressing sand also has the added benefit of offering an extra layer of protection from the ravages of winter.

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October 18, 2017
Solid Deep Tine Aerification 5 Green-Trevor Rintala

Pictured is a deep tine aerifier that makes holes to a depth of 8-10” without pulling out a core. This machine does an outstanding job of relieving soil compaction caused by mowing and foot traffic. The reason for doing this job after topdressing is to minimize the tracking from the before-pictured topdresser on the softer putting surface that this machine creates.

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October 18, 2017
Rolling 1 Green-Lyn Ellingson

No doubt about it, this process is disruptive to the putting surface. After the aerification, greens are then rolled three times in differing directions to both smooth and firm the putting surface before covering. The roller can also help in working topdressing sand into the turf canopy.

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October 18, 2017
Surface Ready for Covering

Most of the sand has been worked in pretty well with the rollers-we will also use a backpack blower to disperse heavier concentrations of sand as needed. There is no need to fill these holes with sand since modifying the soil is not our goal with this process-the greens are already growing on a 100% sand medium. Open holes can be a concern-particularly on sand-based greens. Greens in this condition can be vulnerable to winter desiccation i.e. “drying out” in years with minimal snow cover. In most years, we have adequate snow cover where this is not a concern. To protect for years when there is a lack of snow cover, we apply an anti-desiccant (similar to what Christmas tree producers may use after harvest) to help mitigate this risk. We also apply turf covers.

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October 18, 2017
Covering Putting Green-Crew of 2017

Pictured is the crew covering one of the nineteen greens and one practice tee that we typically cover. This year we were fortunate to have conditions that were not rotten for the process. These are the same covers that we have been using since golf course grow-in in 2003. This is a labor intensive process but this veteran crew is able to cover all greens in 16 hours.
There has been much discussion in the industry of late about the need for covers at all. In many instances, I would agree that a cover is not necessary and, in fact, can be a detriment. With our aerification process and greens construction, however, I think that the use of covers as an extra level of protection is a good idea.
This all may seem like a lot of work and indeed it is, but this extra labor allows us to present a better, less disrupted putting surface during the golf season. For our short golf season, we have found that this process has been a winner.

Thank you all for your patronage and I look forward to seeing you all in the spring.

Vincent Dodge

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