Sunday, September 23, 2012

The River greens have finally started to grow again following the fertiliser early this week.  The weather is still not really warm enough for them to really recover from the winter as the soil temperatures need to get up for that to happen so at the moment the growth is induced if you like.  The shaded greens, in particular 4, 5, 12, 13, and 15 are still well behind the other greens and the maintenance of the River greens is pretty much governed by these greens.  If it was possible these greens would be mown at a different height to allow them a chance to grow but that is logistically impossible.  A good indicator of when the really warm growing weather has arrived is when the oversown tees start to dry out which generally doesn’t happen until late October.

Water is a major issue at the moment especially with just 17mm of rain in the past two months.  The irrigation water is sourced from the Banora Point sewerage treatment facility and I am able to pump about 1.4 megalitres in a 24 hour period from the plant.  I could pump more but the pipeline is over 30 years old and I don't want to put it under any great strain as without it we have nothing.  At the moment due to the lower overnight temperatures the course doesn't dry as fast as it does in summer so I am regularly changing the fairways that are being irrigated as they do tend to wet up quickly and a single row of sprinklers cannot really imitate rainfall.  Wind is also a major factor as the sprinklers can’t achieve even coverage in the wind and as we don’t really have a prevailing wind direction, it is hard to cater for.  Generally when it is windy I normally don’t irrigate fairways to conserve water and power.  At the moment I am pumping about 1.3 megalitres of water each night in an irrigation cycle that starts at 9.45pm and finishes at 4.45am.  The fairways receive about 1.1 million litres each night, the tees 140,000, the River greens 65,000 and the West greens 80,000.

I mentioned earlier in the week about the PGA Tour event this week at East Lake GC in Atlanta.  When I was in Atlanta in 1988 the area of East Lake was a no-go zone with a very high crime rate.  Indeed I read the following quote recently – “Though a few hardcore purists remained as members, those who braved a round at the course were as concerned about stray bullets as they were about stray tee shots”.  And from their website – “Located in Atlanta, Georgia, East Lake Golf Club is the home course of legendary golfer Bobby Jones and is the oldest golf course in the city of Atlanta. The Club is not only historic, but philanthropic as well. Proceeds from operations - more than $20 million to date – support the East Lake Foundation, which has helped transform one of the nation’s worst public housing projects into a thriving community”.

Back to the golf course and greens in the Atlanta area were predominantly couch (as Augusta National was) and in the early 1960’s East Lake was one of the first clubs to convert to bentgrass.  In 2008 they were one of the first clubs to convert to an ultradwarf couch variety known as Mini Verde and thus became one of the first courses on the PGA Tour outside of Florida to play a tournament on couch greens.

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