A disappointing end weather wise to my first week back after some glorious winter weather earlier in the week although it was nice to return to some cooler temperatures. I was expecting Florida to be hot on my trip to the USA but the north eastern States caught me by surprise. As we flew in to land in Washington I sighted a golf course obviously set up for a PGA tournament and that course turned out to be the site of last week's PGA Tour event - TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm. I did some research and found that the course had been completely remodeled and the entire golf course, apart from roughs, was Bentgrass. The 3 days spent in Washington consisted of 35+ degree days with extreme humidity and that continued up to and during the event. Not the sort of recipe you want for a tournament with wall to wall Bentgrass, but the course stood up well and although the greens looked a little baked they putted great. A great effort by the crew under trying conditions to produce great turf.
One of my contacts in the USA was volunteering for this week Greenbrier Classic on the PGA Tour and I had forgotten about last years washout at the same venue. A similar weather event to our April clash with ex Cyclone Debbie occurred and the golf course was nearly washed away just two weeks out from the tournament in 2016. That tournament was duly cancelled and what has occurred in 12 months since is simply amazing and a credit to all those involved and it was great to see the course maintenance staff acknowledged during the tournament.
|No 14 in May 2017|
|No 14 just before tourney week|
Preparations at CTH for the front 9 West greens conversion to TifEagle have commenced in earnest with orders being placed for irrigation components, sand and amendments and turf. The temporary greens will be sown down next week and there will be a little more Couchgrass left in them this year as we may need to occasionally use them once the new greens are in play. Being the front 9 doesn't give us the chance to carry out some of the necessary maintenance practices in front of play that are required when the greens are developing so there may be times the temporaries are still used.
The trip to Florida to see some courses with TifEagle was certainly an eye opener but also confirmed a lot of what is already being done here at Cool Tweed. All the courses were under renovation which was just what I wanted to see but they have the luxury of closing for 2 weeks to renovate. Yes that's right - 2 weeks!! That is in addition to being closed every Monday year round and then closing periodically throughout the summer as well. So they are able to go a lot harder with their renovation and the player numbers drop considerably through summer allowing for a lot more work to be done.
I visited 8 courses all up with TifEagle greens ranging from 12 months to 18 years old with one club replacing their old greens with TifEagle utilising a very similar method to that employed at Cool tweed as shown in the photo below.
|Green being rebuilt in same method as CTH|
Encroachment of foreign grasses in to the greens is a major issue and is a battle that can't be won as it will eventually get in to the greens according to every Super I spoke to. Most clubs were edging continuously and virtually all were replacing the contaminated collars at least every two years which is a lot easier to do when the course is closed to play and there are few if any golfers throughout summer. Indeed one course lifts all mowing heights up across the course except for the greens because no one plays the course in summer. The greens are still fully maintained but all else is let go.
|This course controls encroachment by doing this every year.|