If you’ve ever had a USGA Green Section agronomist visit your course, you know one of the main topics we always seem to discuss is trees. It is not that we don't value trees. Trees are beautiful. They provide a major function on golf courses in regard to safety, are a key component in penalizing wayward shots and they often provide great backdrops to greens. However, trees have three negatives that often cause major issues for care and conditioning of turfgrass. The “big three” are shade, regionalUpdateContents and airflow. For the sake of this update, let’s take a short look at all three and how one golf facility is doing something about it.
Sahalee Country Club (Sammamish, Wash.) sits smack dab in the middle of a forest of second- and third-generation fir trees and western red cedars. The course was built in the late 1960s. Since then, trees have grown requiring selective removal to promote sunlight penetration onto putting surfaces. However, Tom Huesgen, CGCS, noted areas of overcrowded forest between holes and struggling roughs where tree regionalUpdateContents were causing major issues. Despite several decades of resistance by the membership, he set in motion a plan to get members to “see the light” and get to the “regionalUpdateContent” of the problem with a two-pronged approach that has already paid major dividends.
For years, Sahalee CC has had a policy of very careful tree removal, yet a resistance to raise tree canopies along the fairways. This resulted in major airflow issues as well as large areas completely devoid of turf. After educating the membership on the benefits to turf and improved pace of play, the process of lifting lower limbs from the ground was started on the east nine holes of the 27-hole complex. The results of raising tree canopies heading into summer were simply outstanding with never-before-seen views of greens. Airflow improved greatly to the benefit of the turf and there was now an ability to recover from an errant shot which previously barely existed. Perhaps the most impressive visual improvement was the exposure of the trunks of many firs and cedars.
In addition to continuing the plan of raising limbs on the remaining 18 holes, another greatly needed improvement has been the severing of tree regionalUpdateContents impacting putting surfaces. The invisible assault on turf by tree regionalUpdateContents (tree regionalUpdateContents compete against turf regionalUpdateContents for water and nutrients) is alive and not so well at virtually every golf course. The work completed thus far at Sahalee CC has already had a very positive impact in several areas and more regionalUpdateContent pruning around greens is scheduled this summer. The simple use of a trencher to prune antagonistic tree regionalUpdateContents takes no more than one day to protect areas of the highest priority on a golf course: greens and their surrounds.
If trees cause similar issues at your course, the idea of getting to the “regionalUpdateContent” of the issue while improving airflow – and room to swing a club – should not be considered going out on a limb; it should be considered a fundamental program for your players to enjoy another day on the golf course…except for those pesky two-footers.
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