September 2018: Happy Fall!

On behalf of the grounds crew I would like to say thank you to the membership for all your kind words and support, it has really helped us get through what was for me one of the toughest seasons to grow grass I have ever had.  Mother Nature has thrown us curve balls all summer. We have seen diseases that don’t typically happen in our region and prolonged insect damage to key areas of the golf course. The only people who are happy with this year are the university plant pathologist and entomologist as it has given them a new base of data to  research on, in fact they are calling New England the new “transition zone”.

As the days get shorter and the nights get cooler our landscape transforms.  The trees turn colors giving us amazing shows of yellow, reds and orange. The native flowers along the brook give off their last bits of energy and bloom fully.  This marks one of my favorite times of the year. People often say to me, John you must be starting to slow down at work. This is not the case; in fact the fall is a very busy time for us.  The cool temperatures allow us to take a break from watering and focus on course recovery. This year was exceptionally brutal; the intense heat and humidity mixed with constant rain fall has done a number on the course.  I always say it’s not what you lost on the course, but how you come back from it is what can make or break your season as a superintendent.

At the middle of the month we aerated greens successfully, I can already see the new growth popping up through the aeration holes.  We laid approximately 7,050 square feet of sod on the approaches where I did not feel full recovery could be achieved from seeding. We also fixed some grading issues where large puddles would appear after rain events.  The fairway over seeding introduced a new cultivar of bent grass that I hope will take over. This is a practice that we will repeat year after year. As I like to say, germination is a process and it takes time. In addition to slice seeding we will also be aerating the fairways.  This will relieve compaction and open the soil for even more seeding, please be patient with us. I know it is not ideal to see a big green tractor coming at you when you are lining up your shot. It is also very stressful for the operator as it is not easy to stop and move when aerating.  If you do have a situation where you come in contact with us while we are aerating please simply move to the left or right or just wait for us to pass as stopping and moving for us will only prolong the time we are in the way.

The season is not over yet, there is still plenty of time to get out there and play.  Like every year we will keep the course open until it either freezes or gets covered in snow.