Ninety-three, 95, 95, 98, 99, 97? These are not your grades from your senior year in high school. We hope they are not your golf scores, either. No, these are high temperatures in Birmingham, AL for May 29 – June 3. Although summer does not arrive on the calendar until June 21, the summer of 2011 is picking up right where the summer of 2010 left off, hot and dry. These conditions leave golf course superintendents managing creeping bentgrass putting greens with a big challenge. Because every decision on a golf course involves agronomics, economics, and politics, dealing with difficult summer weather conditions requires a multi-faceted approach. Below are a few ideas and resources to assist you.
To put it another way, the optimum soil temperature range for creeping bentgrass is 55-65 degrees F. In 2010, soil temperatures in the region reached the low 100’s F. The link below leads you to a narrated webcast on the summer of 2010 for bentgrass putting greens. It reviews the basics behind why high temperatures are difficult for bentgrass and how infrastructure and management play a role in turf survival, too. We hope this is a good communication tool for you: http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs003/1103157499740/archive/1103631998989.html
The advent of another difficult summer puts superintendents with bentgrass putting greens in a precarious position. We believe the best philosophy for bentgrass putting green management in the Southeast Region is contained in the old adage, “live to fight another day.” In bentgrass terms, stay back away from the edge of failure as long as possible. This requires taking a view that a successful summer is one that ends with full turf coverage. When this occurs, a transition back to seeking higher performance from the grass can occur quickly in more favorable weather.
Now is the time to meet with other vital people at your facility, including golf professional, general manager, course officials, etc. Everyone needs to get on the same page and hold the course for the months of June, July, and August.
This article speaks to this idea: /content/dam/usga/pdf/imported/course-care/bevard-philosophy-4-1-11.pdf .
Scheduling a USGA Turf Advisory Service visit is another way to assist in both communication and managing expectations. Collectively, we have almost 50 years of experience conducting Turf Advisory Service visits and would be honored to assist you.
Links on the USGA Turf Advisory Service:
Southeast Region Summer Survival Techniques: http://www.usga.org/course_care/regional_updates/regional_reports/southeast/Here-Comes-Another-Summer---March-2010/
When will 93, 95, 95, 98, 99, 97 turn into 81, 79, 84, 82, 81, 80? It’s anyone’s guess, but keep one thing in mind. The USGA has resources available to you and we want to help in any way we can. Give us a call or email any time.