Friday, July 26, 2013

Practice Tee Plan

While droughts aren't great for golf course conditions, they at least allow us to control the water which is supplied to the turf--and that definitely hasn't been the case this summer.  The upper practice tee, which was much improved in 2012, and came into this spring as healthy as ever, has suffered due to the heat and unprecedented rainfall. 

Over the last couple of months, we have spent an extraordinary amount of time and effort in deep tine aerifying, seeding, and spraying this area...with poor results.  With plenty of heat, almost twelve inches of rain in June, and over nine inches so far in July, it appears that rice would have had a better chance of successful establishment than our cool season turf.

So, what's the answer?  Well, it would be easy to say that this summer's weather is just an anomaly, the upper tee was good in 2012, and we don't make any changes going forward.  However, it feels like record weather events are more the rule than the exception, so it seems prudent to plan for the worst, and hope for the best growing conditions.  Looking at the lower tee, it would appear that the answer to the upper tee's woes is right in front of us:  Bermudagrass.  Yes, the upper tee receives more care than almost any other area of the golf course, and is struggling, while the lower tee requires less attention than any area, and looks outstanding.

With that in mind, we have experimented with establishing some of the lower tee's Patriot Bermudagrass on the upper tee by spreading pieces of divots collected from the lower tee across a bare area of the upper tee.  As you can see in the photo, the Bermudagrass is thriving on the upper tee.  Earlier this week we aerified a portion of the lower tee and spread the plugs across the upper tee.  While this might not be the fastest way of introducing Bermudagrass to the upper tee, it will be interesting to see how much Bermuda takes hold in the next couple of months.

A patch of Bermudagrass on the upper tee.

Because the Bermudagrass is only growing aggressively about five months of the year in our climate, once established on the upper tee, it will be overseeded to allow use of the upper tee during the spring and fall.  By next summer, the upper tee will be ready for the heat.
The lower tee's  Bermudagrass is thriving.

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