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Dodge's Dirt

June 2016

Fires across Northern Minnesota this May were a pretty good indicator of just how dry conditions were throughout the entire month on the golf course. I do not recall irrigating as much in any other previous year and while many would think that this makes things tougher, the fact is most superintendents prefer this over the opposite-too much rain. We can always add more water but on this site it is not so easy to remove it. We like to be able to have control of conditions and with dry weather this control is much easier to achieve. Our production as a golf course staff this May has been outstanding as a result of dry conditions. I may say it too much but my staff makes me enjoy coming to work in the morning. They all share a commitment to the golf course that makes me proud.

One challenge that we have had this year is getting putting greens dialed in to the optimal height of cut and corresponding green speeds of a consistent 9 to 9.5 feet. In a normal winter-which means extreme cold-greens come out of the winter underneath our greens covers green in color but without excessive growth. This lack of excessive growth means we can bring the height of cut on greens down quicker and so achieve excellent putting quality as early as possible. This year was different.

The warm fall followed by an extremely mild winter led to excessive growth underneath the greens covers. We removed the covers as soon as we could this spring. While at first glance one might think that lots of grass under covers is a good thing, it really is not. Scalping greens down in order to establish our regular height of cut is not good for the greens, the equipment, or the operators. Other courses in the state have reported similar challenges this year due to the mild fall and winter. Even now, some of our greens are showing the stress of this kind of aggressive mowing to achieve playability. Looking at the close up picture below of 16 green (it has a southern exposure); you can see the old, scalped stems and leaves from the stress of low mowing.

New Picture 24
16 green 5-26-2016

This type of injury will go away in a few more weeks as we continue to have warmer temperatures and better growing conditions. Keep in mind two weeks ago we had snow on the ground. In addition, light topdressing and brushing will also help to bring greens to their normal condition. While this has not been a huge problem, it certainly has been an annoying one.

I thank you all for your interest in our facility and look forward to seeing you on the golf course.

Vincent Dodge

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