There's a fifth season this year, sandwiched in between what's been dubbed the #WorstWinterEver and the Spring That Never Arrived: that season is "patience," and we are in the midst of it.
|April 15, 2014: The high this day was 32 degrees. Five days later,|
it was 71 degrees and you were playing golf with carts.
We were dealt a hard blow by winter this year. Half of our greens received winter injury either from the form of ice sheets that we could not melt, or from the crown hydration injury that followed. We remain confident saying we did all we could to mitigate the damage. When your putting surfaces are almost 95% poa annua, the most susceptible of all grasses to winter damage, every winter is a roll of the dice. This year we definitely got snake eyes.
We have done all we can do to speed up recovery. Covers have been purchased for all of the injured greens. These covers help insulate the turf and create a greenhouse effect during the day to speed up growth. Our irrigation system is fully functional, and we are frequently syringing our greens throughout the day to keep them from drying out. The greens have been slit-seeded with Alpha creeping bentgrass. We are mowing them with walk mowers every Monday and Thursday. We are fertilizing them once a week and protecting them against disease with fungicides. We have all the right tools and are using all the best products available.
We have done, and are doing, everything in our power to heal our greens and get them open for play. Now we need Mother Nature to cooperate. We need warm days and mild nights. Unfortunately, Mother Nature doesn't want to cooperate with us this spring. We have been told by climatologists to expect an abnormally cool spring, and while we have seen some stretches of warm weather, the cooler weather seems to dominate the forecast. Not a great golf forecast, and certainly not a great recovery forecast. We are seeing some improvement day by day, but slim gains right now. Even the healthy turf doesn't seem to know what month it is.
It will take time. You can't expect to experience the worst winter on record and bounce back in a couple weeks. Especially not with a cool spring forecast. Recovery will be a marathon and not a sprint this year. So as you wait at the finish line, I will say it again, we are in that "fifth season" right now.
|Using some of the best products on the market to boost recovery. We are applying light, frequent rates of fertility.|
|#7 Fairway after aerating, verticutting, and dragging. Seed and topdressing to follow.|
|Covers are removed from greens twice a week to allow for mowing and fertility programs. Mowing triggers a response in the turf, making it want to grow more. Areas will fill in faster with frequent mowing.|
|A peek under the cover on #5 Green showing the poa annua in recovery. There is also a lot of new bentgrass plants, but it will take time and warmer temperatures for this area to fill in.|