This site is intended to share information relating to the management of the golf course conditioning and quality of Northmoor Country Club and the art, the science, and the factors that influence those conditions. Please visit as often as possible.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Winterkills - What Golfers Need To Know

Three Things All Golfers Should Know About Winterkill   


Winterkill is an easy problem to define but difficult to fully understand. Simply put, winterkill occurs when turf dies during winter. However, understanding the mechanisms that cause winterkill, creating effective prevention strategies and formulating effective recovery programs is complex.

What causes winterkill?

Winterkill is a catch-all term describing winter injury to turfgrass that occurs through a variety of mechanisms such as ice suffocation, crown hydration, low-temperature injury and desiccation. Identifying the exact cause of winterkill is difficult because  winterkill may be caused by one mechanism or could result from a combination of mechanisms that act simultaneously or occur at multiple times during winter. Additionally, turfgrass species have different tolerances to winter injury. For example, creeping bentgrass is much less susceptible to winter injury than Poa annua.

Can winterkill be prevented?

Scientists have not been able to find a silver bullet that prevents winterkill. However, great strides have been made breeding turf varieties that have a better tolerance of winterkill mechanisms. For example, USGA-funded research has resulted in the release of cold-hardy bermudagrasses such as Latitude 36™, Northbridge™ and Patriot.

Golf course superintendents are not able to prevent winterkill, but they can implement a variety of programs that give turfgrass playing surfaces the best chance of surviving winter. Common strategies in northern climates include converting to cold-tolerant turf varieties, implementing proper fall fertilization, raising mowing heights during fall, reducing shade, improving drainage and covering putting greens during winter.

What are the most effective recovery programs?

Winterkill damage can range from minor to severe, and golf course superintendents use a variety of methods to repair the damage. Weak areas of turf may recover with fertilization and traffic restrictions, but dead areas must be re-established with seed or sod. Repairing an area that has been severely damaged by winterkill is an opportunity to make improvements that may help avoid future damage. Correcting shade, drainage or traffic issues will improve turf conditions during the golf season and winter hardiness. Re-establishing a severely damaged area also provides an opportunity to use cold-tolerant turf varieties that will be less vulnerable to winterkill in the future.

Winterkill is a seasonal visitor that no golf course wants to see. It often arrives quickly, but the impact on playing conditions can last for weeks or months. Golfers can take comfort in the knowledge that golf course superintendents and scientists are working hard to understand and overcome the age-old problem of winterkill. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tu - Dog Park & Geese

We are about 7 months into our training and relationship with Tu.  While she does not possess the verbal and hand signals and commands of a $4,000-$5,000 highly trained border collie, she does chase geese and that is what the club wanted.  There are only a few times of the year when geese are an issue for us.  

No matter the training level and skills of a border collie, they command a significant amount of time.  They are not your normal house dogs that will sleep all day.  They are high energy and need to have lengthy exercise sessions each day to expend their energy.  

Tu has definitely influenced and affected my daily life and schedules.  I wasn't planning on having to care for her 24-7.   We didn't plan for her to live in our home.   I didn't plan for her to wake me up every morning at 3:45 - 4:15 am ready to go to the course.   But that is where we are.  She has come such a long way in 7 months and we still have miles to go.   As her caretaker, I am obligated to help her and train her to be the best she can be.  The  abuse and  neglect she suffered during her first 3 years of life are not displaced easily.  And for all the frustration and inconvenience she has added to my and Lorrie's lives, I know she was brought into my life for a reason.  I was told that I was her last chance to live.  No matter the time, the trials and attention that she needs, she has a forever home with me and Lorrie.  It is just what you do.  It is the right thing to do.

Below you can see how she enjoys the dog park.   Much better than a humane shelter cage for sure.