Friday, September 16, 2011

Dye's Valley Cultural Maintenance

As you may know, Dye's Valley plays host to the Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open presented by Planters from October 17th-23rd. This tournament is the last stop before the Nationwide Tour Championship at the Daniel Island Club in South Carolina. With 28 days and counting, preparations for the Jacksonville Open are in high gear for the Agronomy Team here at the TPC Sawgrass.

A very important component of this preparation is cultural management of grain in the bermudagrass greens, tees, approaches, and fairways. Grain is a familiar term these days with the golfing public, and we've all heard commentators discuss grain-y-ness of putting surfaces. Not only does grain affect ball speed and direction of ball roll on a putting green, but also playability at club head impact and ball-lie on other short grass surfaces. On Dye's Valley these short grass surfaces are comprised of 'Tifway 419', common bermudagrass, and other bermudagrass off-types. The nature of bermudagrass is to grow laterally and a constant mowing tends to encourage this lateral growth. During active growth, a periodic scalping or vertical mowing is required to get the turf surface back in 'check'. Aggressiveness is the key here. By removing a majority of the vegetative tissue above the crown, the turf plant now has the ability to fill in with upright density, ultimately reducing grain and providing a more consistent surface.

True, at times us agronomists need to make the surface look worse momentarily, but the end result is always a step in the right direction.......pristine conditions to be played on by some of the best golfers in the world.

Below are photos of the after effects from the scalping process:

#9 Fairway after three aggressive circle mowings

A close-up of #16 Fairway after three circle mowings