Getting Our Ducks In A Row

By Todd Lowe, senior agronomist, Florida Region
October 2, 2013

With winter golfers beginning their migration south course preparations are in high gear with bunkers and greens receiving a lot of attention.

On a recent on-site visit to a golf facility, I asked several course officials how it was going for the club and their response was, "We're getting our ducks in a row at this point." What they meant was that summertime renovations and cultivation practices on playing surfaces had been completed and the entire golf course is now being fine-tuned for the peak winter play season. 

Playing surfaces like greens, tees and fairways may still be recovering over the next month, but aggressive cultivation efforts are generally suspended until next May. Light verticutting and sand topdressing will take place as needed, depending on weather. Many cosmetic practices are now taking place including bunker refurbishing, landscaping, applying fresh mulch and pruning trees and shrubs. 

This summer has seen torrential rainfall in many areas of Florida, with some golf facilities reporting 10 to 20 inches above normal totals for this season. For those with sandy soils, the additional rain has washed many of the soil nutrients out of the rootzones and extra fertilizer applications will be needed for the rest of the year make up for the lack of nutrients. 

The extended periods of cloudy weather are stressful for putting greens and it is necessary to raise mowing heights until they receive more sunlight. It may be necessary to apply plant protectants preventatively at this time to reduce disease infection and maintain good turf quality as well. 

Source:  Todd Lowe, (

Information on the USGA’s Turf Advisory Service

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