Thursday, January 26, 2012

True and smooth, not short and fast

Here is a couple videos of some tests we performed on the greens.  I first started thinking about this while stimping the greens and I was bothered when the balls did not end up in the same place.  If multiple balls are rolled in the exact same direction, each ball should go to the exact same place.  Simple enough, right?  That would be the definition of a 'true' green.

When you hit your line with the correct speed, you did your part and the green should do it's part by keeping the ball on path.  Too much thatch or puffiness or too many ball marks, old cups, and blemishes and the ball will get off line and a good putt is not rewarded with that wonderful sound at the bottom of the cup.  I love that sound.

It didn't take long to discover that the stimp meter wasn't the best apparatus to check the line of a putt.  Ours is a little old, and I think it's been dropped or thrown a few times.  The roll out is typically the same, but direction can vary by a few inches per ball.  We switched to a 2 inch PVC pipe that acts as our stimp meter's case.  This worked much better.

If we see too much bobble, wiggle, or misdirection caused by the surface of the green, then we know that a light topdress, grooming, or verticut needs to be put on the schedule.  The first video is of #14 green with a 15 foot putt.  Assistant Superintendent, Craig Heitman is dropping the balls down the chute with some sure hands.  I like how the last ball finishes with the logo up.  The second was much more difficult with less than perfect results, a 26 foot putt with a 5 foot break near the front of #15 green.  3 of these lipped out and 6 went in the hole.  We will probably be doing this again just for the fun of it, all in the name of science.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dry and Cold

January 17th and we still need the irrigation system.  Since July 1st (the start of the precipitation calendar) we've received 1.63 inches of rain.  This time of year, I'd normally be complaining about the persistent fog and cold, wet conditions.  Instead, we've been blessed with the best golfing weather the Central Valley could possibly hope for with clear sunny skies and temperatures near 60 degrees, day after day.

Today's frost delay had the course on hold until nearly 11:00.  Later in the  afternoon we had two guys hand watering because the turf is so thirsty.  Rain is coming on Thursday and the frost and irrigation will get a break and the mountains will get some much needed snow.  Cross your fingers, ready the windshield wipers, and dig out your umbrella.  We need some rain!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2011 Fungicide Review

After a long winter hiatus and a brief time without Internet (it was frightening) SGCC is back on the blog trail.  To start off a new year, it's always nice to look in the rear view mirror and take note of what went right and what did not.  One item we can be particularly proud of is our reduced use of fungicide.

We are always striving to make the grass stronger to resist disease, handle dry conditions, and withstand low mowing heights and aggressive maintenance practices.  The membership has been supportive allowing timely aerification, light topdressing, and greens flushing when necessary.  The result is stronger turf that does not need as many 'plant protectants' as it used to.

On December 20th, the greens received the 7th fungicide application of 2011 after waiting to see the smallest sign of snow mold.  The whole staff is trained to watch for any disease spots and having 12 sets of eyes out there sure beats one or two.  Occasionally, a ball mark or a scalped plug is mistaken for disease, but rather safe than sorry.

In spring of 2011, we applied two shots of fungicide designed as a preventative for fairy ring.  In late spring, waitea patch or brown ring patch popped up just before the Men's Invitational and required our third application.  At the beginning of July, we put down Insignia as we have done for the past three years.  Finally, at the tail end of summer, we needed two applications to rid the greens of some minor fairy ring problems.

7 applications is a big improvement from bi-weekly apps on a preventative basis.  However, that is needed in many instances where disease pressure is high.  Courses in the Midwest, Southeast, and pretty much any where east of the Mississippi will experience humidity levels that dictate a solid preventative fungicide plan.  Waiting until you see disease is waiting too long.  Stockton is blessed with a climate that allows a different strategy and employing it can make the turf stronger.

So far, ten 10 days in, we've applied zero fungicides in 2012.

Happy New Year to all the golfers out there!!  Thanks for giving me and my crew our jobs, we love them.  This sport needs a good year for the 2 million people it employs (directly and indirectly) and the $3.5 billion raised for charity (2005).  Do your part to make 2012 the turnaround year.

Check out more stats like these at  WE ARE GOLF.