Friday, February 23, 2018

Back to reality and a wet and much cooler end to the week.  From all reports of the heatwave experienced while I was away I am glad we have TifEagle greens which coped with the conditions quite comfortably.  The new front nine greens continue to power along and continually improve.  One of the clubs visited in the USA had quite new TifEagle greens and Cool Tweed's newest front 9 compare very favourably which was heartening given the resources available at that course.
The conference and trade show that I attended in San Antonio was quite successful despite the bleak weather experienced there.  You would never complain about Melbourne's weather again though as after 27 degrees on the Sunday it struggled to get above 6 degrees for the rest of the week.  The seminar on Ultradwarf couchgrasses (of which TifEagle is one) that I did was a little disappointing as there was not much new research available but it did become a very good open discussion session with all sorts of methods and ideas for getting the best result with the Ultradwarfs thrown around.  A couple of other educational sessions on "understanding turf fungicides" and "how much shade is too much shade" rounded out the educational side of the week with some good ideas and processes discussed.  These types of sessions are great for jogging your mind and giving some ideas and I always come back refreshed and generally positive about what we achieve here on the courses at Cool Tweed.
The trade show had numerous new product launches but a lot of them take time to get to Australia.  A few that caught my eye included a new soil moisture probe that also reads surface temperature and soil salinity and greens can be GPS mapped to fully paint a picture of soil moisture health.  GPS guided sprayer systems have been developing for a while particularly in agriculture but there has been a big move in the turf industry recently with several systems on show.  The GPS systems lead to cost savings and benefits for the environment and accurate application leads to better results and ultimately improved playing surfaces.  A smaller self propelled spray unit and a new style of hand bunker rake also raised my interest as did a robotic greens mower although you still need a person to set the mowing area up and transport it from green to green.  Might not be long though!!
After the show it was off to Florida with two fellow Course Supers to tour some courses with TifEagle greens in their winter conditions although 25 degrees was barely winter!!  One of the courses is very "high end" with a joining fee of US$350,000.... that's right - 350K.  Another was a resort where the cheapest room for the time we were there was US$4,000 a night and then we played at a private men only club that had the newish TifEagle greens and only 320 members.  Despite the massive resources available at these venues they still experienced much the same problems as us and we were treated to some openly honest and frank discussion with our hosts.  Product application rates and machinery adaptation ideas are always good take away's with all 3 of us feverishly taking notes and comparing our impressions after leaving.  One of their big advantages over us apart from their staffing levels is first daily tee off times of 7.30am and being closed every Monday for "maintenance Monday".  If only!!
Just a couple of photos below showing a similar problem with edging that we have; a different type of edging implement;  a tee that was 150 yards long and lunch at the seminar which seated some 1200 people at the same time which was quite a feat....and a tasty lunch!! 
Ball sitting down in the grooved green edge.

"Stick edgers" as they call them.

Front half of the long tee.

Back half of the long tee.

Lunch break at the seminar.
Back to Cool Tweed and quite a busy week with growth regulator and fertiliser applied to all fairways and greens and although winter may seem a long way off some extra fertiliser was applied to the weaker tees to get them in the best condition possible entering the cooler months.  10W green also had a large amount of plugging out of encroaching Blue Couch done and it makes you wonder how so much has gotten in to this green in comparison to the others.  
Staff rain gear got a good workout today!!