August has arrived and the heat and humidity are in full effect here at Pinnacle Peak. This is by far the most stressful time of year for our greens, as soil temperatures spike and the humidity makes it difficult for the greens to transpire. Despite the struggles this time of year can bring, the greens continue to perform well and are in good shape for taking on the remainder of what Summer has to offer.
One area we’d like to address is our collars. While we have seen some collars hold up exceptionally well, others have thinned and melted out substantially. During grow-in, we seeded with a combination of bentgrass as a base and ryegrass as a filler; a common practice for courses in our area. What we’re seeing through this summer is areas that were majority bentgrass have held on well, while areas that are primarily ryegrass have not been able to handle the tough summertime weather. While we are disappointed that the collars aren’t as good as we’d like them, the fortunate thing is that our collars were designed and installed last summer to be sprayed out and re-seeded every fall during overseed. Remember, the collars also serve as our primary buffer in keeping bermudagrass out of the putting surface.
Our plan moving forward this fall will be to re-seed with only bentgrass seed and if needed, a lighter rate of ryegrass to act as a filler. As winter and spring progress, we will be interseeding small rates of bentgrass into our collars monthly with the intention of creating a strong, primarily bentgrass collar which should stand up to summertime heat and stress far better than the rye has this year.
In other news, the majority of our summer cultural practices have been completed. Fairway aerification and topdressing wrapped up last week, and quality of cut should get better within the next 7-10 days as the fairways heal and sand settles. As we’ve mentioned before, while somewhat invasive, these practices are by far and away the best thing we can do to promote a healthier, firmer playing surface year round.
Andy’s tree service continues to work on property during Monday closures, and should be completed with their trimming contract within the next 2-3 weeks. Rick Phelp’s, the architect that assisted with the greens renovation last year, has been working with our department this summer to create and implement a long-term tree inventory and management program.
Earlier this year, we had Bartlett’s Tree Service come out and GPS inventory every tree on property, which is now in a mapping program that helps track maintenance and provide a health assessment of each and every tree. Using that in conjunction with several on-site visits, Mr. Phelps is creating a year by year plan which the membership and our department will refer to in order to determine which trees to remove, add, trim, fertilize, back plant and protect. This plan will be invaluable moving forward for the long-term management of one of our clubs most valuable and cherished assets.
Looking forward into August, our department’s primary objectives are to get surfaces smoothed and healed, deserts cleaned and begin working on drainage additions throughout the golf course.