Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Waiting for Spring!!!

I am still waiting for spring to get here.  This cold snap is making it difficult to tell to what extent the harsh winter damaged our greens.  There is no doubt that we will have some turf loss.  As soon as the weather warms up we will be spiking, aerating and seeding damaged areas.  We will be adding a spring fertilizer application and mowing them slightly higher.  Green speeds will certainly suffer but we will do everything possible to provide the conditions you are used to.

We should be receiving sod the first part of April to finish our tees. 

Fill that we received over the winter has started to be shaped in to mounding that will be seeded with a wild flower mix.  If in the future we need material for a project we will be taking it from this area.  Hopefully spring arrives soon and gives us some good growing days.

2 green still showing signs of a harsh winter

shaping up fill to be seeded with wild flowers.

18 tee ready for sod. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Recent USGA Video:

Interested in learning a little more about winter conditions and ice damage?  Adam Moeller from the USGA did a 12 minute video regarding ice and winter injury on putting greens.  Thought this might interest a few of you. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

This Winter just does not want to go away.

Today it started to snow and more is expected this afternoon and evening. It is a good thing bad thing. The snow will keep tender young plants moist. That is important because we do not have our irrigation system in operation at this time. However, the cold temperatures will keep the grass from growing.

Conditions are still day to day. Looking at the greens yesterday they seem to be coming along all be it, very slowly. Even with the bad weather we continue to keep busy. We are making new tee markers out of concrete and vermiculite (so there not so heavy) they should fit our "Rockland Motif". We will work on them as time allows. Our full staff is budgeted to return the first week in April. At the same time we should be able to get sod and finish our tees. Keep checking back, conditions and plans can change fast this time of year. Mother Nature still holds all the cards. We had a new addition to the Greens and Grounds crew. Sophia Hunter was born this past January to our assistant Peter Hunter. Peter and His wife Lenka live above our maintenance facility. Everyone is doing fine.

Pete with Sophia

Spring is slow to arrive .

Friday, March 18, 2011

USGA Report

A Painful Start To Spring By Adam Moeller,  USGA agronomist, Northeast Region

March 16, 2011


Winter injury has been observed at many golf courses in the region. Keeping the greens closed during the seeding and establishment process is essential for a speedy and successful recovery.

Many golf courses in the region have lost their snow pack recently and discovered moderate to severe winter damage on putting greens. Adding to the frustration is the fact that March is often suggested to be the most damaging month for winter injury because of the frequent freeze/thaw events and rainfall. With luck, Mother Nature won’t throw any more challenges our way.

Regardless of damage severity, winter injury is always a painful start to spring. Recovery from winter damage starts with communication. The sooner that course decision-makers and golfers are aware of the damage the better. The following are key steps to promote recovery from winter injury on greens.

  • Close the greens and install temporary surfaces on the approaches or fairways! This plays the biggest role in successfully recovering from winter injury. If golfer traffic is not restricted, the duration to get the greens healed and back to normal will be dramatically longer and will predispose these areas to major setbacks during the summer.  
  • Charge the irrigation system and begin light and frequent irrigation during the day to prevent drying out of weakened turf that may appear to be dead.  
  • Remove trees that shade greens. Greens with limited sunlight will always take longer to recovery than those with ample sunlight.  
  • Warm the putting green soils with clear plastic covers, permeable covers, or black topdressing sand.  
  • Create a seedbed with spiking, shallow core aeration, slice seeding, or verticutting. Combinations of these practices will maximize seed/soil contact and should be considered. However, weak turf may not tolerate aggressive cultivation, so err on the conservative side.  
  • Consider utilizing preplant fertilizer to improve seedling establishment and vigor.  
  • Seed the damaged areas with creeping bentgrass.  
  • Use permeable covers or black topdressing sand to aid in soil warming and seed germination. Clear plastic covers will also help, but they will need to be removed frequently to irrigate the turf. Note: warm weather and sunny skies, combined with moist soils under covers, will be ideal for turf pathogens so monitor temperatures frequently under the covers.  
  • Once germination occurs, initiate a grow-in fertility regime to promote turf vigor and growth.  
  • Mow these areas as needed with a walk-behind mower set to a conservative mowing height (0.160” +) and utilize a solid front roller.  
  • Keep the greens closed until the newly established turf has rooted adequately and can tolerate traffic.



Winter injury is a very complex problem, and information about the subject has been written about in the Green Section Record since the 1930’s. Significant progress has been made through research, but winter injury continues to be a major concern for golf courses in northern climates. Feel free to contact our office for more specific information about winter injury and recovery, or review the links below that discusses the subject matter in more detail.




Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Keeping My fingers Crossed

We opened the front side today with pins in greens and carts scattering.  (only the front side)   I am still concerned with a few of the greens on the backside.  10 looks a little better but 12 is very slow to green up.  There is only one way to determine the extent of damage.  You have to bring in a plug from a damaged area and see if it grows inside once exposed to warmer temperatures.  The plug pictured is from 12 green.  It was brought inside on Sunday March 13.   So it has only been a few days.  We need to give it a few more days.  I brought a plug in from 10 green a week ago and it is starting to grow.   Hopefully we will not have any permanent damage but at the very least we are going to have to "baby" or greens untill they fully recover. 

Because of the age of our course, we do have a few different types of grasses. Bent grass is much more resistant to ice damage and I think that grass will do just fine.  However the Poa grass on our greens is much more susceptible to damage, and we will have to wait and see.  I'll keep you posted on what happens.  We may play a few temporary greens till we see exactly the extent of damage. 

plug from 12 green  

12 green

Friday, March 11, 2011

Course Update:

Because of yesterdays rains (3.25 inches) and the severe winter:

This weekend we will continue to use Temporary greens on the winter Course.(Holes 1-9, and 10,11,and 18)  Only walking, No carts due to the soft conditions.   I want to give the greens a chance to green up and grow to make sure we don't have any permanent damage due to the ice cover.  thanks for your patience, Hopefully we will not have any permanent damage heading into the season.

back left of 2 green showing signs of the tough winter.