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Dodge's Dirt

April 2016

Much has changed since our last newsletter and I am pleased to report that the golf course came through the winter in outstanding condition-thanks to a mild winter and our proven methods of protecting the property from winter turf diseases.  The photo below is a great example of just how effective our techniques are for ensuring consistent, quality conditions for our customers on a steady basis year after year.  Sometimes turf loss is inevitable after the worst of winters, but this year was not one of those years.

Hole 16 March 14, 2016-Note snow mold in untreated rough between fairways

The tan/bleached areas of the rough where snow mold (a fungal pathogen that is active during the winter) was not preventatively treated for will eventually grow out of the damage and by the end of May these areas will hardly be noticeable. This sort of disease damage on fairways, greens, and tees, however, takes a little longer for a complete recovery and requires us to fertilize more in the spring to encourage the turf to grow out of the damage. This extra fertilization leads to us ultimately having to mow, aerify, and dethatch more leading to more expense in both supply and labor and an inconvenience to the player. Playability of an excessively lush turf is inferior to that of a firm and lean surface-at least to most players. The ramifications of coming out of winter with dead and/or severely damaged turf are, as you can see, a little more complicated than just thinking “we need to water more to make the grass grow.” The key to successful golf turf management-especially in this day of tight budgets-is to manage the property with as few inputs as possible but without jeopardizing the service to the customer. Playability trumps aesthetics. Any dummy can make grass green all the time-all it takes is the consistent application of money.

I look forward to seeing you all after opening,

Vince

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