Now that we are nearing the end of the fall golf season, we will begin putting the golf course to bed. This entails a number of important things to help the grass get ready for winter. First, we begin by fertilizing the entire golf course with a fertilizer that is high in potassium (7-0-30). The high potassium in the fertilizer strengthens the cell wall in the plants which helps it harden off for winter. Next, we raise the height of the turf on the closely mowed grass (fairways, tees, and greens) once we see nighttime temperatures begin to fall into the 30’s. This allows more leaf tissue to be exposed to sunlight which increases chlorophyll production. An increase in chlorophyll production means more carbohydrate storage (energy) to be used slowly over the winter and more importantly in the spring when coming out of dormancy. Finally, once we get through Thanksgiving, we begin watching temperatures again. We need the high temperature to consistently be in the 40’s in order to put the greens to bed. We begin by applying a fungicide to protect it from Snow Mold, and then a fertilizer to feed the plant throughout the winter and help is green up as it comes out of dormancy. Next, we apply an Anti-desiccant that protects the plant from the harsh winter. Finally, we bury the greens in sand to protect the crown of the plant (heart) throughout the winter. We do perform one last cultural practice and use the deep tine aerator to punch holes in the greens 1 inch in diameter and 10 inches deep. This allows room for the soil to fracture when it freezes. These fractures provide channels for roots to dive and water to move deep into the soil profile.
As we move into the late fall be prepared for frost delays. My staff and I need 1.5hrs - 2hrs of lead time to prepare the golf course for play. This includes cutting cups, mowing or rolling greens, blowing leaves off greens and out of bunkers, raking bunkers, moving tee balls, etc. I ask that everyone please understand that my staff cannot drive on the course until the frost has lifted. Once we can get on the golf course, that’s when the clock starts and the first tee time will be 1.5 – 2 hrs from then. At times we have decided to shotgun everyone sometime between 10am-11am which seems to work well.
We will let Mother Nature dictate our closing date for the golf course. I will be sending out emails letting you all know when we plan on burying the greens in sand for the winter.
I would once again ask that everyone repair their ballmark and one other while on the greens. I have had a number of members tell me they are fixing 8-10 ballmarks per green. A lot of these come from the outings, which is a price we have to pay, but I ask that everyone do their part to keep the greens in the best condition possible.