Summer Slow Time, Or Is It?

By Todd Lowe, Agronomist, Florida Region
August 11, 2010

Several Florida golf courses are evaluating “No-Till” Celebration regrassing for golf course fairways.

The sweltering heat and humidity of Florida summers can dissuade even the most ardent golfer; however, this is not the slow time for golf course maintenance. 

Active cultivation programs are conducted during the summer to ensure that a dense, healthy turf cover and high quality course conditions can be provided for the majority of the time, especially during the prime winter play season.  For example, significant annual organic matter accumulation is always a concern on putting greens, and active summer core aeration and sand topdressing are necessary to control and dilute this material.  In South Florida, putting greens need to be core aerated three to four times each summer.  Aeration begins in mid-May and continues through September.  Unfortunately, year-round golfers often feel slighted, as the putting greens are continually being messed up.  Ideally, these practices would be spread out over the entire year, but very slow recovery occurs during periods of low soil temperatures in the winter.  

Although there has been a major slowdown in new course construction and course renovation project work in Florida, there are several courses in the southern part of the state that are undergoing renovation and updating.  There also are courses evaluating no-till fairway regrassing with Celebration bermudagrass.  This method continues to be a viable option for converting to a better-adapted turfgrass cultivar at a reduced cost and with less disruption.  Other in-house projects include tee leveling/enlargement, bunker refurbishment, and drainage installations. 

It is encouraging to see such projects take place, and I am hopeful that it is a sign of economic recovery for the industry. 

Source:  Todd Lowe, tlowe@usga.org or 941-828-2625

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