Golf Course Behind the Scenes with Superintendent, Brandon Nolan
In the modern golf world, Superintendents all share one common objective; the course should be firm and fast. From aggressive watering strategies to mowing frequency and everything in between. We have made several amendments to our common practices over the past season as we begin 2023. The maintenance team looks to deliver superior conditions from tee to green.
As the saying goes the 5 things we care about most are: greens, greens, tees, fairways, and greens. Let's talk about what creates "fast greens". First and foremost, the main goal is always consistency over speed. When taking a Stimp reading of our greens I care more about all the balls coming to rest at the same point than how far they roll. Consistently fast greens are derived from having a consistent vigorously managed turf plant.
Many golfers often wonder, what's in the tank? As the sprayer drives across the golf course. Mainly our team is spraying preventative applications of various fungicides to prevent foliar fungal diseases and soil borne pathogens from forming on the plant. The difference maker in our program includes plant growth regulators, fertility rates, and wetting agents have given us great results as we continue to manipulate the chemistries on what works best for us and our turf quality.
Plant growth regulators have played a large role in the reduction of the leaf blade's size on our greens. A bonus of this includes our reduction in mowing frequencies. Clipping yields have vastly declined and thus we are cutting less. Meaning less stress on our turf from the cutting units and turning tires and saving labor hours.
Reduction to Nitrogen rates and increases to potassium rates has given us great turf quality again being able to manage a healthy turf plant without having a large aggressive leaf blade is the key to greens speed.
Wetting agents are the final component that allow us to manage a conservative watering plan as environmental impact is always at the forefront of our minds. With the use of turf soil surfactants and penetrants we have been able to reduce our water usage. These are products classified under the same category as laundry detergent or dish soap. Ah, the powers of dawn.
These products help water infiltrate the soil by breaking down bonds within the soil and loosening the soil structure, much like a detergent would do to clothing in a laundry machine. We manipulate the rates of these products as we see fit to forecasted precipitation, humidity, and temperature. With the goal of keeping the surface as dry as possible, which creates firm greens. With fast, comes firm.
This is also key to managing a healthy turf plant. The less time the leaf blade spends moist the less host time there is for fungal disease to develop. Keeping much of the moisture content within the 2-7" soil depth we are optimizing our root zone as we always look to develop healthy roots. Short, tight, and firm on the surface; vast fibrous, and long underground.
Our team continues to work our best to provide you all with the most enjoyable golfing experience possible. We hope to see you rolling it in from a distance in the near future!