The comments that are being received about the condition of the courses are very satisfying and a lot of the credit goes to my staff who have done a great job again over the summer. The irrigation system is operating at its full potential and considering the age of some of the piping and sprinklers it does an incredible job although barely a day goes by without some repair work being required. There are some dry areas on some of the fairways but these are generally related to the condition of the soil profile in the area.
The West greens are really under pressure now although the shorter daylight hours of recent times do help them. The lack of rain as highlighted in last weeks post has not helped the situation with the greens needing to survive virtually solely on the treated irrigation water. Whilst this water is a godsend it is not without its problems with high salt levels that are usually diluted or flushed away from the root zone by the normally regular summer rains. That hasn't been the case this year and the greens are showing the effects with a very poor root structure and depth. That is fairly usual for this time of year as Bentgrass roots start dying when the soil temperature reaches 25 degrees. On 17 West green today the surface temperature was 33 degrees and the soil temperature 31. The ambient temperature will stay at around 22 degrees over night and the irrigation water that will be applied is sitting at about 27 degrees meaning that there will be no significant cooling of the surface or root zone. This has been the case since early December so it is easy to see why the greens are stressed. At the moment most of the roots are sitting in the thatch layer in the top inch or so of the surface and that is why the greens are so soft at the moment as the roots can only draw water close to the surface. Bring on some cooler autumn weather and dare I say it some rain.
The dry summer unfortunately claimed a local victim by forcing Club Banora to close 9 holes. It is never good when you hear of any sporting venue having such luck with staff losing their jobs and players there favourite pastime. Interesting figures out of the USA this week that one golf course is closing every two weeks with most being public facilities. The other interesting figure is that there are the same number of private clubs now as there was in 1929.
And on a lighter note under the heading "only in America";
A game called foot golf, which combines soccer (or football, as it's known outside of the U.S.) and golf, is growing to 39 courses in the U.S. this spring. Foot golf courses are adjacent to traditional, existing golf courses so that 18, 21-inch-wide holes can be played in about the same time as a traditional nine-hole round of golf.
What will they think of next??