It has been an intense start to the 2023 golf season as it relates to the weather. The past week we experienced relentless winds and extreme heat. This is very early in the golf season for weather stresses on the turf to this magnitude. Generally, we are working to grow grass, keep stresses off and set the stage for the summer stresses ahead. When these scenarios arise we have no option other than to protect the turf. This means a reduction in mowing, a reduction in rolling, and an increase in water management. On a daily basis, we will make the best decision for the property both for the long term and short term.
- Are now at summer heights. We are still in the month of May and have hit an excellent stride on these surfaces well in advance of the prime 90 playing days at Niakwa expected from June 15th to September 15th. As we move towards the middle of June we will look to increase the frequency of mowing, rolling, and consistency from day to day. This provided Mother Nature cooperates.
- We have a lot of dandelions throughout the property. We have sprayed a significant amount of area already. We are aware that the volume is beyond the threshold currently and will work to spray more when we can. We are behind on spraying key playing areas such as greens and fairways with the week lost to winds. We also need to be cognisant of the bee program and spray on cloudy days when the flowers are not out with the dandelions.
- We had a hydraulic break on one of the rough mowers. You will see some oil lines on hole 16. We are hopeful the oil did not kill the turf and will monitor if repairs are required.
- We made many turf repairs to prime play areas on the property in the first couple weeks of the season. There are many remaining that we want to attend too. With the course in full summer maintenance mode these now take a back seat to daily course preparations. We will continue to address these when time allows.
- We have been battling elm seeds on playing surfaces with the winds this past week. They create issues with heights of cut and cleanliness. We are hopeful that we are almost through battling this annual problem.
- Pace of play in the morning continues to be a challenge for the turfcare team. We start our programs at 6am sometimes earlier. We generally require 4.5 to 5 hours to complete all tasks and prepare the course for all of the membership. Tee times begin 1.5 hours after we start maintenance. If the early groups can keep the pace to 3.5 hours or more we can be more efficient in our preparations and ensure that all members playing that day will have all items looked after on course. When the property is under stress such as this past week losing any amount of time is negative. This time could simply be required for additional irrigation to run. Our goal is to provide and present a great golf course and we require cooperation and understanding for this to happen.
- We have increased the amount of work in bunkers this year. We are doing a full rake for play 4 to 5 days a week. We are still finding bunkers that are not being raked by members and guests. Please ensure you rake a bunker if you have played in it.
- Ball mark repair on greens is critical to protecting the clubs investment in bentgrass. We are still finding many pitch marks not repaired. We are seeing an aggressive invasion of poa in these areas.
- Cart travel and traffic patterns can also improve. Please acknowledge the clubs cart policy of keeping carts in fairways. Please keep all carts away from greens sites and tee sites. Please follow any traffic control in place.
We are in a good spot as we make the turn into June for some excellent golfing conditions this summer. Have a great week ahead and we hope you enjoy your rounds of golf!
Shawn Major, AGS
Golf Course Superintendent