We hope everyone is enjoying their holiday season. A happy belated Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas form the Agronomy Department.
The weather is finally cooling after a prolonged warm fall with above average temperatures into December. The prolonged warmer temperatures have presented challenges to the ryegrass overseed and have helped the Bermuda substantially recover and compete with the ryegrass. Due to the competition, the overseeded ryegrass has had challenging time establishing a mature root and does not allow the ryegrass to tiller out multiple leaf blades. (see picture below) The ryegrass can be crowded and choked, reducing its ability to survive. To promote the ryegrass ability to out compete the Bermuda we keep the golf course on the wetter side with increased irrigation. The ryegrass is very susceptible to drying out because of the shallow roots and deceased leaf production due to the Bermuda competition. We understand the increased irrigation does not help present the best playing conditions. Fortunately, now that the temperatures have dropped we will be able to reduce the irrigation and help dry the golf course down to a better moisture level.
The bermuda competition also has the potential to turn the golf course off color during the frost season of December and January. Once we reach frost temperatures the Bermuda under the overseed can turn yellow and enter dormancy during these cold months. We have been anticipating these onditions and have been applying foliar and granular fertilizer applications to help the ryegrass excel in growth and reduce this effect.
Pinnacle Peak is not the only club dealing with the challenge of the prolonged warm temperatures.. We have spoken with several of our neighbor courses and have found that this has been a consistent condition around the valley. We are constantly managing our daily operations of mowing, watering, and fertility to help produce the best conditions for our members and guests.
Once we have a couple of frosts you can expect the non-overseeded roughs and bunkers to go off color into a dormant yellow or brown color. To produce a consistent dormant look, we will spray a product that will take all of the green color out of the leaves of the Bermuda grass and help create a consistent golden yellow look. This application will give a stark contrast against the overseed areas. We do ask that players DO NOT fill the divots in the Bermuda rough through the winter season. Please fill divots in the overseeded areas only.
Now that the greens have had a year of maturing we are starting to see a much higher density in the turf. This has helped to keep the greens at faster and more consistent speeds. We have been able to keep the stimp reading between 11-12 daily. While the performance of the greens continues to improve, the greens are still very young and have not yet developed a mature mat layer below the green leaf tissue. This mat layer is the layer of living stems and leaf tissue that creates the padding between the leaf tissue and the sand the greens are built on. This is also the layer that helps absorb the impact of a golf ball and reduce the severity of the ball mark. This layer will continue to improve over time and will continue to firm and strengthen our young greens. This layer will eventually turn to what is known as thatch or the layer of dead leaf and stems tissue. Too much thatch and not enough thatch both impact performance of the green in terms of ball marks, firmness and speed. Over time it is our challenge to manage the greens to a “happy medium” to consistently produce the best playing surfaces for our members.
We have recently introduced an additonal practice to help improve the ball marks. You may have noticed green sand in the ball marks. We have been sending several staff members out daily to repair ball marks and use a “micro top dresser” with green painted USGA sand mixed with a bentgrass seed. The top dresser is being used on larger ball marks either poorly fixed or where the turf is too damaged to recover on its own. The small top-dress also help to level the ball mark to improve putting conditions.We appreciate everyone's help in diligently repairing their ball marks.
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!!!