My sincere hope is that this May is finding everyone in good health and enjoying their time visiting us here at Nemadji. The story this month has been, up until the last few days, the cool temperatures that have made driving turf growth a little slower this spring than we would like. That being said, overall course conditioning shows promise for a great summer season.
As was alluded to in the previous newsletter, we did have some minor winter damage on the golf course due to conditions specific to this site in March. While I know that there can be a tendency for some to think that we should be out sodding or plugging these areas immediately, I have had better luck over the years first waiting for good growing conditions to arrive and then observing just how much of this sort of work is required. More often than not, many of these areas recover on their own with a little persuasion and seeding, and the areas that do not fully recover shrink in size to make the actual repairs we will perform less extensive and less disruptive. Patience is needed in these situations as is a good source of clean, greens grade sod.
Towards that end, we began construction on a turf nursery last fall. We finish graded and seeded the nursery on April 29th.
Nursery April 29, 2021 immediately after seeding.
Cold weather delayed germination for the first few days but as of today, the nursery looks like this:
Nursery May 13, 2021-Note thicker seedlings on low area that stays damp.
Two weeks later we have a pretty solid seed catch which should accelerate in its establishment over the next several weeks. We will likely be mowing this area in 3 to 4 weeks and a few months after that have clean, usable bentgrass sod grown in a sandy medium. This will be particularly useful for making future repairs at all times of the season. In the past at Nemadji and at many other golf courses, repairs are made from practice greens or other areas where the turf is not clean bentgrass but usually a mixture of annual bluegrass and bentgrass. This repair looks good initially but because of annual bluegrass populations in the sod these areas tend to have issues in the future. An example of this is a small area on 9 East green where we had some winter damage.
9 East Green Annual Bluegrass hex plugs
The shape of the area shows that this spot has been an issue in the past-the hex plug shape is visible even now after a few years. Note the lime green color of the turf where it was hex plugged-this is annual bluegrass-a weaker species that took a beating from crown hydration this past March. This nursery is an investment in making more enduring repairs in the future and hopefully, reduce the frequency with which we will need to do the work. Everything we do at Nemadji we do with an eye towards the future.
Another unit we recently invested in that should pay dividends in the future is the Wiedenmann fairway aerifier which should work wonders in opening up these fairways. This unit laughs at the heavy clay at Nemadji and is introducing oxygen to soils that have not seen any for decades. This is a minimally disruptive procedure as the video shows and will be ongoing throughout the entire season. This is a process that we can perform throughout the season and overtime should help to alleviate the severe compaction issues that are present here at Nemadji. We can also switch over to a different tine alignment and use this unit on putting greens in the future. The tractor, with its turf tires, has a very soft footprint. The goal moving forward is to have this unit complement our conventional core aerating and in so doing allow us to perhaps progress to core aerating once every two years instead of every year. This is good news indeed for us as a crew and our customers who will enjoy less disrupted playing surfaces in the future.
On a final note, many of you have likely noticed that we have begun to add accessories like benches and bunker rakes to the golf course as we move, albeit slowly, towards normalcy after the Covid-19 situation. What a relief. We also just recently added ball washers to the first tees, 10th tees, and par 3’s on the golf course. The remaining ball washers that we have are in very poor, unusable condition-we had to piece the ones we have on the course now together from the best parts that we had. Decades of wear and tear had taken their toll.
Thank you for your patronage and we hope to see you on the golf course.