Well, looks like the five days of actual summer we had this year are finally over. Boy was it ever rough. The overall feel at this point is that we are now getting into the fall season and the forecast seems to bear this out. Having worked at other golf courses in a different climate, normally this time of the year is the toughest of the year. Summer had been dragging on for a few months and the hot temperatures would start to get old. Here, what gets old is waiting for a summer that never really arrives and when it does it is over in a few days. Pretty lame but on a positive note the weather at the moment is San Diego-like beautiful. Guess I should stop whining.
After a few weeks of frost free weather combined with 300 pounds of grass seed and a thorough aerfication, the areas punished by winter are now finally getting back into expected condition. This has been, for the most part, a terrible spring and early summer for renovation/establishment. Nothing new in this part of the world. When the rest of the country is dealing with record highs, we seem to remain stuck with unseasonably cool weather. Summer never really happens here but rather we have a 5 month long spring, a month of fall, and six months of winter. Pretty sad-makes me wish for a little global warming to come our way.
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.
The biggest challenge faced in the management of turf in a cold climate such as ours is the possibility of winter damage. Sometimes with all the best preventative measures, factors beyond our control can cause us to come out of the long winter with some damage to turf. This was the case this year on a few of our putting greens. A late December thaw with rain followed by a cold January which in turn was followed by a mid-February thaw with heavy rain followed by a cold early part of March created thick layers of ice on parts of putting greens that caused some isolated damage. Damage was most prevalent on the putting green, 2, 7, 8, and 16 greens. Normally this sort of damage grows out and is for the most part recovered by the time that we open, but cold weather and snow throughout the month of April/May delayed the process. Cold temperatures and snow are not what you want when driving growth. When we opened, all areas were for the most part recovered with the exception of the 7th green.
I am pleased to report that the golf course endured the winter season quite well. We had some staff on hand to remove covers from putting greens and found, as usual, that the turf underneath was not dead. It was, in fact, very green and healthy.