COURSE CARE
It Won't Be Long Now! February 27, 2015

It Won't Be Long Now!

By Darin Bevard, Senior Agronomist
February 19, 2008

It is hard to believe that when the next Web site update is posted it will be March! Overall winter conditions to date have been rather benign in most of our region. The exception may be in the northern tier of the region where snow and ice have been present much longer than the rest of the region. Most of the region has little or no snow cover.

 

 
Winter damage on greens can be severe. Evaluating a turf plug in your maintenance facility can prevent surprises as the grass greens-up in the spring and allow a recovery strategy to be developed early on.
As winter tasks are completed, superintendents are ramping up for the start of the growing season, which golfers seem to expect to come earlier each year. With the first few days of warm weather, golfers come to the course in high numbers with high expectations and any new gadgets they acquired during the off season. Very quickly, complaints of bumpy greens, slow greens, etc. emerge. As turf managers, you must take the opportunity to educate golfers on why maintenance inputs cannot immediately be at mid-season levels. After all, grass is now dormant or at best, semi dormant.

Most golf courses do not even have close to a full crew until early April, and in some instances, if H2B workers are not used, it may be mid-June, not to mention that early March weather conditions still do not exactly make the grass jump out of the ground. This can slow course preparation, even as the weather improves.

In the meantime, take advantage of the time the grass is not growing to cleanup the golf course. Picking up sticks and debris from what have been very frequent wind storms this winter is a good start. This can be done when the ground is still frozen to get a head start on the upcoming season.

Bring inside turf plugs from greens that experience winter damage on a regular basis to see if the grass is still alive. This will allow the opportunity to evaluate turfgrass health and report to course officials if potential damage is suspected so that a plan of recovery can be developed quickly.

Also remember that Green Section TAS invoices have been mailed out. If you have not received a mailing and would like one, please call our office. Finally, remember to mark your calendars for our two regional meetings, February 25 th in Monroeville, Pennsylvania and March 11 th at DuPont Country Club in Wilmington, Delaware.

The growing season will be here soon enough, but there are many issues that will need to be addressed before golf courses will be in mid-season form. Try to complete the tasks that can be completed before the grass greens-up and early season labor resources are limited. You will be glad you did when golfers are flocking to the course.

Always remember that the agronomists of the Mid-Atlantic region are part of your agronomic support team. If you have a question or concern give us a call or send us an e-mail. You may contact the agronomists of the Mid-Atlantic Region, Stan Zontek ( szontek@usga.org ) or Darin Bevard ( dbevard@usga.org ) at 610/ 558-9066 or Keith Happ ( khapp@usga.org ) at 412/ 341-5922.

 

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