Thursday, July 18, 2019

We hope everyone is enjoying the summer and for those of you that are here, you know the heat has finally set in and the humidity is now kicking in. We have been quite busy since our last blog update and wanted to let you know what has been taking place on the golf course.

The greens are holding up quite well with the heat and humidity. We have been slowing raising height of cut to help protect them as the difficult weather has begun. As the humidity, air, soil temperatures and dew points rise, the bentgrass will begin to go into a protective mode to combat the less than ideal environment for growth and health. The greens will be slower over the summer months compared to the speeds we enjoy during the fall, winter and spring. We will continue to strive to provide the best playing surfaces possible while protecting the health of the greens throughout the monsoon season.

You can now see that fans have been installed on #3, #15 and the putting and chipping greens. There is one more fan to be installed on #16. The installation has been delayed due to the fan being damaged in transport and the permitting process to run electricity into the golf course from the HOA to the west of #16 green. We hope to have this final fan operational by July 26th – August 1st. The fans help to circulate the air above the greens and give them relief during the high temperatures, humidity, and dew points of monsoon. These greens with fans were selected based on their location and lack of air movement due to surrounding walls, homes, etc. and the difficulties we have traditionally had on these greens during the summer. We will run the fans 24 hours a day during the monsoon season and remove them in September when the weather begins to cool. The base of the fan will be sodded over during the winter season. We changed the fans this year to a direct drive fan with a variable frequency drive (VFD). These fans are much quieter, and the speed of the fan can be controlled. They also are within the City of Scottsdale sound ordinances. 

The transition from our cool season rye grass to our summer bermudagrass turf has been very positive so far. The fairways, tees, and approaches look very good with only a few minor barer areas that will fill in over the next few weeks. With the humidity kicking up the remainder of the ryegrass will finally die off. Especially the remaining ryegrass in the green surrounds that has been protected by shade. As the ryegrass burns off there will be some challenges with transition around the green surrounds that will have to be addressed with sod, additional water and/or fertilizer to repair. The green surrounds are typically our most challenging areas due the ryegrass being maintained at higher height of cut in-season. The taller ryegrass overseed is much harder on the bermuda compared to the shorter areas of fairways and tees.

The bentgrass greens collars are doing well so far and are effectively serving as a solution to the troublesome buffer area between the bermuda grass and our bentgrass putting surfaces. You may have seen the discolored rings around the outside of the collars. We continue to use an herbicide that targets the bermuda grass to slow and stunt its growth and help control encroachment. The herbicide will turn the bermuda white and temporarily discolor the bentgrass. The bentgrass usually greens back up within a couple of days while the bermuda will take 2-3 weeks to recover and begin to grow again. We continuously spray every 2-3 weeks to maintain control of the encroachment. Not all the bermuda is visible on the surface and can grow under the bent. Eventually we will need to re-sod the outer portion of the collars. Typically, the outer portion may have to be re-sodded every 2-4 years. Being proactive with the herbicide treatments will continue to slow the encroachment and reduce the frequency of sodding.

In late April a new nursery green was constructed between #17 tees and #2 green. The nursery green was added to give us a better sod option for the greens in cases of repair. The other nursery green is located north of the tennis courts surrounded by two 8-foot walls and the employing parking lot. That particularly nursery green can struggle tremendously in the summer due to its boxed in surrounding and location. The new nursery is intended to provide healthier sod and more of it if necessary.

We began trimming trees with our in-house staff in May and continue work our way through the entire course. We have several holes remaining on the front nine to complete. The contract tree trimming began the 1st week of June and was completed during the 12-day closure of the golf course. 17 trees were removed this year as part of the tree plan developed by our Golf Course Architect and Arborist. The most noticeable trees will be around #8, #15, #17 greens. It was critical that we remove these trees to alleviate the shade and air circulation challenges on the greens. The golf course architect reviewed the entire plan for addition and removal in May before the work began. An additional 38 trees will be planted from the end of July to early September as part of this ongoing tree plan.

Earlier this year the Club adjusted the calendar to close the golf course for 12 days in July. This closure allowed for all the cultural practices of verticutting (dethatching), aerification, topdressing of all fairways, tees, approaches, and roughs to be performed all at once. The goal was to provide better golf course conditions through the week of July 4th while condensing these practices into a shorter time window rather than stretching them out over 6-8 weeks.  This allowed us to be better conditioned longer and recover more quickly following the closure thus reducing the impact to players. The golf course reopens July 19th with all practices complete. Players can expect the golf course to be cleaned up and ready for play but still a little “beat up” from these aggressive practices requiring another week or two to fully recover. Fairways, tees, and approaches will be sandy and a little shaggy. It will take this small recovery period for the grass to fill in and to get a quality cut from our mowers.

While these practices are disruptive, they are very beneficial to the health of the golf course and necessary to continue to provide the best possible playing conditions year-round. We sincerely appreciate the Memberships patience and support as we continue to strive to elevate the quality of the golf course today and in the future.

Best regards,

Your Green & Grounds Department

Ranger - Barry's Dog, has been hanging out with us

Shade on #17 Green

Shade on #8 Green

Shade on #17 Gree
Shade on #15 Green

New Nursery Greens Shaping

New Nursery Greens - Filling The Sand In

Contract Tree Trimming

Fransisco Aerifying Practice Green Area

Jesus Cleaning Plugs @ Practice Greens

Day 1 of Verticutting - The Pile Grew 4x

#18 Verticut

Jose Aerifying Tees

Victor Cleaning Behind Verticutting

Juan Topdressing Fairways