Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Fall 2016 Greens Grow In

Well it's been far too long since I sat down to update what's going on around the course. October hit with 80 hour weeks and racing soil temperatures and rain to get as much seed down before winter set in. We didn't slow down till Thanksgiving and had completed 13 holes, with the 14th completed after Thanksgiving.

Were all but shut down now, Albanese and Lutzke's construction crew has gone home for the winter and the staff here is just doing final leaf clean up at The Inn at Perry Cabin. We're hoping to get rolling on the last 4 holes (18, 1, 2, and 5), two putting greens and the driving range late February weather dependent.

My plan for the next few weeks is to showcase the work we completed this fall in stages, starting with the greens grow in.

Sand being put in on top of gravel base on 12 green
We seeded the first 6 greens on October 20 with A1/A4 Bentgrass. We were a little behind with seeding them as we had to wait for soil tests to come back and amendment recommendations. The reason for this was that in true PB Dye style our greens are straight sand. We still have drainage and a gravel base (Choker layer) but rather than put in a 80/20 or 90/10 mix we have sand with less than 0.03% organic matter.
Gravel being added into 16 green drain lines 

Because of this we had to put a lot of amendments down to give the seed something to grab onto when it germinated. The delay in seeding came because we had to put the amendments down, incorporate them into the top couple inches, let them sit there a week, then send a soil sample off to see if we needed to adjust our rates. It was a worth while wait since we found out we had to double some of our rates to encourage growth.
Drain lines being cut into 17 green
Those first 6 greens (6-11) germinated in about 6 days, 7 days post germination we put our first ammonium sulfate fertilizer app down and started watching them grow.

Water on 17 green
The next greens to be seeded were 12-15 and 17 on November 2nd. 16 green wasn't built yet as it sits out on the lake for 17 and they were still putting the railroad ties in at the time. Those greens took about 2 weeks to germinate due to the lower soil temperatures. We were able to get a couple shots of Fertilizer on them before the December 1st cut off. Greens 3 and 4 were seeded on November 19 and 16 green was seeded was seeded on December 6th. Those last 3 have yet to germinate and I'm not expecting them to till the soil warms up in the spring.

Scar left from pump fault
We ran into a couple of issues with the grow in of the greens. The first was having deer and foxes walk across the greens and in some cases dig in the sand. We ended up putting construction fencing around all the greens to remedy this. The second is that we have done the entire grow in this fall off of 2 wells which generate about 200 gallons per minute. It was tricky scheduling irrigation to keep the seed wet and spread across the course. The pumps would fault if we surpassed 200 gpm and one we came in to find the pumps had faulted and left "trenches" in some of the greens. That ended any nighttime watering. The third and more problematic was the pathogen known as "Take All Patch" that popped up after we stopped applying ammonium sulfate due to the Dec 1 cutoff. We got some granular fungicide down and the greens affected are slowly bouncing back.

Left to right- 3 weeks, 5 weeks, 7 weeks
I tracked root growth more than shoot growth this fall as I wanted to make sure we had adequate roots to make it through the winter. 3 weeks post germination greens 6-11 had approx 1.5" roots. I reduced irrigation and gave them one final shot of fertilizer and 10 days later we had 3" roots. I reduced watering again and 2 weeks after that the same greens had 3.5" roots but the root mass had nearly doubled.

We gave greens 6-11 there first cut on December 13th at 0.3500, 7 weeks post germination. 6 days later you could see the greens start to grow together and I could no longer pull out individual plants, when you tugged on the leaf tissue you would pull out about a 6" strip.

Knitting together

First cut 

The greens that were seeded later (12-15 and 17) are lagging behind that schedule but coming in nicely. They have about 1.5" of roots but there hasn't been much activity in the last 2-3 weeks due to the temperature and the fact we haven't been able to apply and Fertilizer. We covered all the greens with permeable covers last Friday. I'm looking forward to getting the greens rolled out smooth next spring and hoping the covers help everything fill in during early spring. 

Cover up 

Covers on 16 and 17 green