Thursday, August 11, 2016

Golf Course Maintenance Weekly 8/11/16

Summer is Almost Over

We are 42 days away from the fall equinox which marks the beginning of the rejuvenating season of fall and the departure of summer. This is important time for the turf at Granite Bay because the majority of turf types we maintain on the course are what are known as cool season varieties of turf. Cool Season Turfgrass Varieties do much better in the cooler times of the year and thrive in temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees. The 95 days of summer between late June and late September do not have many days that the daytime high temperatures are in the mid 70's to mid 80's so it is not hard to understand why the turf on the course often struggles during the summer particularly when temperatures exceed 100 degrees.

The lack of heat tolerance inherent in  these cool season varieties of turf combined with the fact that much of it is growing on very dense, non draining decomposed granite soil completes the picture of our summer struggles with the cool season turf.

#16 Fairway typically gives us troubles  during the summer months. It's still one of those holes that can go south very quickly as we adjust irrigation between too wet or too dry. It's had its moments this year but has remained fairly stable.
We can say the same thing about #9 as described above of #16. We still have to fight the wet and the dry.

This picture is a great illustration of some of the challenges we have always faced here at Granite Bay. This was a sprinkler that was leaking in the #8 fairway that we repaired just this morning. You can see the brownish soil towards the bottom of the hole that is decomposed granite. Its hard as a rock (granite) and dry as a bone. Directly above it is a gray layer of clay that is moist but dense and does not allow the free lateral movement of water. Directly above that is the fairway sod that easily peels away from the heavy soil beneath it.

This picture continues the illustration of wet conditions we experience in many areas. The turf layer above the dense clay or decomposed granite holds onto moisture that has no place to go. Its not as simple as just turning off the sprinklers as the same sprinkler that irrigates a wet area inevitably waters an area that is dry as well.  We mitigate with hand watering but we can't hand water the entire 80 acres of turf. 

The Good News

Fortunately Granite Bay did receive some added resources to the golf course maintenance budget that did make a difference this summer season. We got extra funding for disease prevention as well as fertility, topdressing sand and manpower. Extra manpower hours were primarily spent on hand watering and detail work. Combined with the lack of any real drought restrictions this year and fruition of capital spending on the irrigation control system which delivered more individual sprinkler head coverage, these resources by all accounts have lead to some of the best late summer conditions at Granite Bay in recent memory.

#3 Green in a healthy state into August

We can't say that we are perfect. There are still  wet spots and dry spots that we are constantly adjusting irrigation to mitigate. However the greens are good, green surrounds are good and  absent any real turf losses, fairways are better than most seasons at this point and the rough has many areas that have allot of real good grass. Bottom line there is allot more viable turf going into fall that will spring back when the weather changes and we will not have as much recovery to do at a time of the year that golf activity really starts to pick up.  However our battles are not over yet. We still have 42 days.

Installing a "French" drain in one of these soft spots in #4 recently. French drains are relatively shallow and use gravel and perforated pipe. the herringbone pattern pictured above carried both surface water and accumulated soil moisture typically to a tie in to our subsurface drainage system. This is a good way to deal with these nagging soft areas on the golf course.

Another french drain we completed in July in that chronic wet area in #8 adjacent to the cart path. This area is in pretty good condition today and the turf around it is much better as we are able to irrigate adequately for the dry without making the fairway wet.


  1. If you have ever tried to maintain such an area, you know that without water, all the hard work and planning in the world won't allow anything to grow. sprinkler system service

  2. You actually make it look so easy with your performance but I find this matter to be actually something which I think I would never comprehend. It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me. I'm looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it! Grumpy Gopher