The end of a busy work week draws to a close with some much needed rain showers. Last week's cold nights, with lows in the mid to low 30's have really stunted the growth of most turf on the golf course. While the turf itself was not damaged by the frosty conditions, its growth rate decreased to almost nothing. Fortunately, the damaged areas of fairways did not see this same decrease in growth due to the covers. The covers have retained enough heat to allow the underlying turf to grow. The golf course maintenance staff spent over 100 labor hours removing the covers on the Red Nine and mowing the turf beneath. Due to the moisture from the weekend rains, the gradual rise in temperatures this week, and the accelerated rate of growth due to the maturation of the turf plants, I anticipate removing many of the covers from both the Red and White Nines. In some cases, the area of coverage may be reduced allowing the course to be played as normal. In other areas, such as 7 White, the turf has not sufficiently matured to allow for the removal of the covers. The golf course maintenance staff will continue to tweak and address the damaged areas to encourage rapid recovery. As is usually the case, some warm weather and timely rains will be our biggest asset as we look to full recovery in these areas.
In addition to mowing beneath the covers, the golf course maintenance staff continues with regularly scheduled spring maintenance. Adjusting and troubleshooting the irrigation system to ensure proper operation is critical for future turf health. The irrigation system was pressurized in late March, the earliest day in course history. Since that point, the golf course staff has been busy verifying that each sprinkler head is fully functional and operating properly. Sprinkler heads that are not turning on, not rotating, leaking, or have clogged nozzles will lead to inconsistent turf conditions in the summer. Additionally, an inefficient irrigation system leads to wasted water, a precious natural resource. The golf course maintenance staff spends many hours each spring fine tuning the system to ensure proper function and distribution uniformity.