Dear Local Tour Players and Members,
As spring approaches we wanted to take this opportunity to update you on course conditions. As you are aware this winter has been extremely cold. Fall had above average rainfall and was abnormally overcast. November and December, which have the shortest day lengths, were combined with morning marine layers that gave us disease challenges even though we follow an aggressive antibiotic program. This year’s cold has been record setting. January, February, and March are currently 8, 6, and 11 degrees Fahrenheit below the average mean temperature.
The poor weather conditions did not allow us to recover from the heavy foot traffic. We covered the greens 31 times to aid in heat absorption and frost protection. This covering of greens was a fifteen fold increase over prior years. Although we covered greens at night, there were numerous occasions where the temperatures never climbed above 39 degrees Fahrenheit and we still had to prepare the course for play.
The result of this poor weather is: 1) weak greens on 13, 17, and resort chipping. All other greens are similar to past years. 2) We are higher in compaction on our greens based on the International Sports Turf Research Center Analysis. 3) Resort tees and dormant rough surrounds have been worn thin. 4) Approaches and collars that are walkways to the greens are compacted and wearing thin. 5) Bunker faces are thin because of sand buildup and foot traffic up the faces. 6) Landscape material has been severely frost damaged. We have pruned back $40,000 worth of landscape material.
We have laid the ground work to have a successful spring season and PLAYERS. We have installed a heater that hooks into our sub air system on 13 green to aid in recovery. We have closed the resort chipping green to remove wear and tear to the surface. Fertility on these weak greens and areas has increased with a dark organic product to attract heat. We have used bayonet tines on the greens to relieve compaction. Fertility has been increased with extra potassium on thin and worn tees and approaches to aid in recovery. Bunker faces are being washed of sand and rebuilt. Two semi-loads of landscape material are being delivered March 17th to replace frost damaged material.
The program is in place. The weather needs to cooperate. In the past, average temperatures required a full three week closure period to allow the course to heal from winter play. This extreme winter will test the three week closure.