It´s tough times at the maintenance house trying to get the greens to grow. We´ve had a plan in place since we started work at the beginning of March to help get these greens into excellent shape as soon as possible, but the weather has been holding us back. April and the first half of May have been unseasonably cold which makes it very difficult to grow grass. Daytime highs are barely reaching 8C and night time lows can be as cold as -5C. Despite these cold temperatures we are making daily adjustments to our master plan to help the grass along once the weather begins to co-operate with us.
Just because the weather hasn´t been working in our favour does not mean that we haven´t been busy. All greens have been fertilized with a spring fertilizer to make sure the grass has something to feed on once it starts growing. Also, this past week we overseeded all of the Sea Course greens with brown top bentgrass. This is a much heartier and winter tolerant variety of bentgrass which is better suited to our cold climate. A number of particularly weak areas on greens have also been covered with tarps to help keep the seed warm and germinate faster. We appologize for this inconvenience, but these few areas have been hand selected for a little extra care as they have usually been trouble areas for us.
Because the grass hasn´t been growing terribly quickly this has given us the opportunity to make little improvments on other areas of the golf course. We have been able to raise and adjust sprinkler heads, overseed weak areas on fairways, re-shaping and making certain tees bigger, and in the coming weeks we hope to add some extra drainage to various wet areas of the golf course.
But there has been improvement! Last week we performed a Brix test on some grass clippings. A Brix test measures the amount of sugar in the plant, and the sugar content is an indicator on how much energy the plant has at its disposal to grow. In the past when we performed this test the highest result we achieved was 9 out of 14, and last week it was 12! Still not perfect, but that is a good indicator that the plant has quite a bit of energy it is ready to use once the temperature warms up.
The most popular question we hear from golfers now-a-days is “when are the greens going to be in excellent shape,” and they want to hear a specific date. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control (the weather), we cannot make any promises at this time as to when the greens will be in good shape. What we can promise though, is that we are doing everything in our power to trick the grass into growing and that once spring finally arrives at EGCC we will have everything done in advance to get the greens good as soon as possible.