Friday, October 15, 2010

Best laid plans

As often happens not everything went to plan this week thanks to the rains provided by Mother Nature with a bit of a juggling act being performed on the allocation of tasks.  The staff have done a great job restoring the bunkers for the second time in as many weeks and generally tidying the courses up but this does mean that a lot of other tasks have to be re-scheduled or abandoned completely.  We were able to achieve most of what was planned for the week with the main exception being the turfing on the practice green which will happen next Tuesday.  Everything is now geared up for the renovation next week so hopefully the weather will co operate.  The replacement of the sprayed out foreign grasses in the River greens has been completed and they will hopefully blend in with the greens following renovation.

7th River green patches plugged and turfed out
As part of the works on the 3rd and 15th River tees next week, we will be lifting the turf trials on the Nursery green area and using the sand as fill.  The trials have now run their course and as I wasn't blogging while we were doing them I will provide a quick rundown.  The trials were of some new "ultradwarf type" Couchgrasses that are expected to be the putting greens grass for warmer climates in the future.  They were conducted in conjunction with the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and we were one of seven trial sites at various locations in addition to the main plots at Redlands Research Facility in Brisbane.  We had the following grasses; Tifgreen 328, Tifeagle, Champion, Mini Verde, Mini Supreme and Floradwarf in our plots.  The plots were subjected to various maintenance regimes on our site with assessments conducted for disease resistance, thatch accumulation, putting surface quality / green speed, dormancy, pesticide tolerance, recovery from damage, mowing heights and general maintenance requirements.  Monthly observations were recorded and quarterly site visits by the Redlands team for independent assessment took place over two years.

Our results were generally totally different to all other locations and the grasses all performed differently at various times of the year.  There was little between our plots in term of appearance and quality although their leaf is much finer than that of the 328.  There is no doubt that the new grasses do thatch up a lot more than 328 and will require a lot more thatch management which on a course as busy as CTH would be difficult. Mini Verde was probably the pick of them on our site, however without subjecting them to the rigours of play it is difficult to recommend a stand out.

I have mentioned previously that the USA endured one of the hottest summers on record in most States and there were a large number of golf courses in climates such as ours whose Bentgrass greens melted out and were replaced with the ultradwarfs.  The ultradwarfs have been used in the States for quite a few years with regular Tour stop East Lake GC in Atlanta, host of the Tour Championship and Sawgrass GC, host of the Players Championship, both using Mini Verde.  I am fairly certain that the 2011 USPGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club will be the first Golfing Major to be played on Couchgrass greens since the 1987 PGA in Florida and it will certainly be the first on an ultradwarf which will be the Champion variety.

The predicted rain sounds like it is starting in earnest as I write this so here's hoping that there is not enough to disrupt tomorrows golf.

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