16th Green

This summer has been long, hot and very challenging in many ways with different issues arising at various times, it wouldn't be summer if it wasn't, we have brought the greens, and the course in general through some pretty difficult and hot temperatures, overall we are pleased with course conditions to date, but it hasn't been without headaches and a few stressful moments none more so than the 16th green at present.


 The 16th green is struggling at the moment, a combination of factors have lead to its appearance of thin weak turf with small dead patches. This green is one of a few that does regularly concern us through summer.
This green has a history of poor performance dating back to its construction, many members often comment that the green has "never been right" and true when I first arrived after the summer of 2007 the green was half dead, the following summer it struggled to get through despite increased maintenance measures.
The cause was pretty obvious from the outset, poor nutrient, CEC, and moisture holding capacity lead to poor root growth resulting in weak thin turf surface with little tolerance to any stress or unfavourable conditions, any incidence of disease, insect pest or simply heat specially under heavy traffic would have far greater impact on this green than many others.

Not long after I commenced I initiated a modified management program tailored for this green with the objective of increasing beneficial organisms activity, increase Nutrient, CEC, and moisture holding capacity increasing root function and depth in order to create a stronger more resilient surface.
This program has been successful to date, with the last 3 seasons having little adverse effects, many commented the green was the best on course or the best it has ever been, albeit with careful management and nursing the green at times through summer.
Even with the present thin weak turf, it still is in much better condition than it would have been without the implementation of the program.
 


So why after the last three successful seasons is this green performing so poorly ?
The amount of amendments required will take some years to fully reach recommended levels, during the time it takes to accomplish this we are behind the 8 ball during periods of stress such as heat, heavy traffic, low mowing heights etc. The middle part of this summer has been very hot with consistent temperatures around 35 degrees, some unusually humid days hasn't helped the cause and combined with a few of the previously mentioned factors has lead to weak spots developing, but by no means the only reason for its present condition.
 
Even with its improved performance through summer the past few years, one aspect was still letting us down, not just with this green but many others on the course, the last few seasons have been terrible for Crab grass in our greens, old methods were not as effective as previous years in controlling this weed so this year we have been far more aggressive with our techniques with fantastic results so far, unfortunately it has effected the roots of the Bent grass, whist most greens have tolerated this with outstanding results the 16th has not been as tolerating as we had hoped and combined with a disease condition (Rhyzotonia Spp) effecting root function along with the above issues the green has developed the conditions we are now experiencing.
 
 The green is not on its death bed, it is struggling at the moment and we need to nurse it back to full health. I am modifying our management of this green and reducing the stress placed on the green I can control. Weather conditions, player behaviour and traffic along with disease and pest pressure are some I cannot.
The height of cut will be increased further on this green than others, mowing will be by walk behind not by triplex greens mowers, green speed should only be minimally affected, no herbicide control measures for weeds and increased nutrient and moisture management will be just some of the protective measures implemented.

This green may be slower than others as a result but will be alive !

In the week after the Ladies Summer Cup we may needle tine the green should it become necessary which will have little impact on ball roll but will go a long away to improving root health and surface conditions.

I will be doing all that is physically possible to nurse the green back and I am confident a full recovery will result.  

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