Saturday, July 8, 2017

75 Days Left of Summer

The Summer of 2017 started off with an intense heatwave here at Granite Bay. The six days between June 28th and July 2nd we averaged 106 degrees for a high. This is the type of heat that will leave a mark on the cool season turf that comprises most of the playing surfaces here at Granite Bay. We did experience a reprieve as the heatwave was thankfully followed by some much kinder weather ushered in by the beloved delta breezes, but the intense heat did leave behind some isolated damage and we have another similar heatwave predicted for this week. Below are a series of pictures that chronicle some of the issues the golf course is currently dealing with along with what the golf course maintenance department is doing to mitigate the damage.

From afar the golf course looks good, has many areas of dense turf and really good color.

However up close in some areas you can see typical heat related issues. Above picture depicts a disease called Southern Blight that we treat proactively for. Obviously our proactive treatments were not enough for this specific patch of Fairway turf on #16.

The heat also plays havoc with cart paths in some areas. Cart path buckling here is caused by soil expansion underneath. The above picture depicts the area directly after the forward tees on #5. There is another raised area on #9. The soil on #5, #8, #9 is somewhat different then the rest of the course in that it has a higher clay content then decomposed granite. The three paths on these three holes are the only paths we have experienced this type of heat related lifting. We will repair by using a concrete saw and remove a 3" section of concrete creating an expansion joint. 

Putting surfaces took a hit from the intense heat as well and are now starting to exhibit the stress from root loss particularly the poa annua patches. The past few summers we have not experienced the type of heatwave we experienced the beginning of July and the poa on our greens fared pretty well. But as I said, 106 average highs temps for 6 days will leave a mark. Above Miguel is hand spiking and seeding weak areas with bentgrass seed on the practice green. In fact we closed the practice green on Friday 7/7/17 as much of the high side of it is thinning. Tilleys practice green is still open.

#7 green has thinned out at the back of the green as well. All of the greens have been spiked to improve air exchange in the root zone and this one has received additional spiking  and seeding as well as placing GUR ropes around the weakest area at the back.

Additionally we have put out the portable fan to help with surface air movement on this troublesome green and have tree trimmers scheduled to thin the Live Oaks behind the green creating more air movement. The past few summers #7 has been pretty good and we thought we might have turned the corner with it. However the heatwave we experienced has highlighted our vulnerabilities and proved there is more work to do. 
The #3 green is at least for now proving to be a success story. Tree thinning allowing for substantially more air movement in the area has really paid dividends on this chronically bad green in the summer months. However if you look really close even in this picture you can see a yellowing of the poa annua patches which is all related to root loss and heat stress.
#3 fan up and running during the summer months contributing to the greens success story.

Many tee boxes on the course were the first visual casualties of the heatwave. The perfect storm of intense heat and traffic took it toll on several tee levels. Picture above depicts the granite level on #1 at the conclusion of the heatwave. 

GCM re-surfacing. We also took the opportunity to expand this level and have plans to expand the level below in the hopefully near future. 

#1 granite level growing in. Hopefully it will be ready for some use in a few weeks.

The granite and club levels on #5 took a hit from the heatwave as well. The hole will play short for you granite and club players while we re-surface.

These tee boxes needed to be leveled and expanded as well. We will finish the expanding and leveling process next week and install the sod.

Your GCM staff will continue the good fight and battle to mitigate further setbacks as we not only deal with issues from the early July heatwave but future heat that the next 75 days of  summer (as of 7/8/17) is bound to bring. Summers are hard on turfgrass in the west and particularly hard on cool season golf course turf.  We cant control the weather but we can manage the irrigation, prevent disease and insect damage as much as we can, re sod areas when able and live with some damage when we have to. 

It's Only 75 Days !

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