One of the wetter Junes in recent memory, which followed a wet May, has resulted in a golf course that, while green, does not offer optimal playability for the golfer. This is particularly true for Nemadji where drainage is less than optimal. Even so, we do what we can to make the golf course more enjoyable for the customer. One technical thing that we do in these sorts of years is utilize plant growth regulators (PGRs) on fairways. We have been using them on greens and tees since I came here to save on labor and enhance playability. These compounds, to put it most simply, cause turf to grow slower. They are invaluable tools when conditions get too wet for us to keep on the golf course with mowers and turf is actively growing. One interesting phenomenon that sometimes goes with PGRs is called bronzing.1N Fairway 7-1-2024

Note the freshly mowed fairway and the striping. This fairway had not been mowed since the previous Wednesday (5 days) due to excessive rains. No problem-aggressive regulation has allowed us to wait until the surface firms up enough before mowing. When we do mow there is much less mess, less labor, less fuel usage, and strain on equipment. An added benefit, at least to me, is that this contrast in color gives fairways at Nemadji much more definition. The contrast between rough and fairway is evident. I have, personally, been experimenting with these compounds since they came onto the market in the late 80’s/early 90’s and was fortunate to work with some trailblazing supers who were not afraid to experiment through trial and error, giving me the confidence and experience needed to use them properly. A nice tool for the golf course maintenance tool kit.

Today as I was on the golf course, I came across Monarch butterflies and am pleased to see it. We have done, and continue to do, some things to help make Nemadji a nice place for them to visit.

Monarch/Pollinator Habitat 7N 7-1-2024

We have seeded this area with Milkweed (though it has not taken off yet) and simply let it turn into whatever it turns into in order to enhance its ability to sustain pollinators like bees. In addition, we have planted trees in this area that are known to provide food for pollinators-red maples and catalpas. Please read the attached article to learn more and consider doing the same for your own properties. With the struggles that many insect pollinators are going through these days, it is important that we do what we can to make things better. Without them, many crops that we depend on for food will not be productive. The right thing to do.

Moving back to turf, in a wet year like this one, one problem that can surface, particularly on close mown putting greens, is moss. We have some at Nemadji, indeed we have had moss on 14W since I got here five years ago. Moss is, sporadically, on other, more poorly drained areas of other greens as well. The best defense against moss is to raise cutting heights and our cutting height at Nemadji is already a modest .145”. Mowing much tighter than that on these greens would be inviting widespread infestations without the extensive use of herbicides to get it under control. In lieu of that, we choose to keep heights where they are and plug out some of the worst areas as shown with the following pictures:

14W Green 6-26-2024 Silvery Thread Moss

Moss areas replaced by bentgrass plugs from our nursery 6-26-2024

I expect this process to be ongoing-especially if the year continues to be as wet as it has been. Either way, we are on it early and this is not a major issue, but more of an interesting topic. Different types of years pose different types of issues.
One issue that surfaces every year, especially when the mosquitos are bad, is this:

Mosquito Repellent Damage 15W Tee 6-21-2024

I understand that mosquitos can wreck the golfing experience and strongly encourage taking whatever measures needed to protect yourselves. Please just remember to stand on a cart path or other non-turf surface before spraying yourself for them. This damage will persist for weeks.

On a final, unrelated note, I have submitted, on behalf of Nemadji, the following picture for the annual golf course dog calendar.

Bentley on 15W 6-11-2024

This is a national publication and I have had the good fortune to have a former golf course dog of mine, Bob, make it onto the cover page. Dogs are nice to have around the golf course-both for the crew and the customers. A big part of why I continue to enjoy my work and I hope that you find some amusement from these entertainers as well.

See you on the golf course.