9 Green

9 Green

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Snow Mold

I got a chance to tour the course this week. I am very encouraged by what I have seen so far. All the exposed turf looks healthy. There is still some deep snow out there in the shade, but hopefully we will make some gains on melting these areas this week. One thing there is a lot of this year is snow mold disease. This is a cold weather disease brought on by extended snow cover and melting snow. Conditions have been perfect for snow mold over the last few weeks. The deep, prolonged snow cover, in February activated the disease. As the snow started to melt it creates moisture on the surface and allows the disease to develop. Here is a link to a fact sheet on snow mold if you are interested, Snow Mold Fact Sheet.

16 Fairway -- Treated vs Untreated
9 Fairway -- Treated vs Untreated

We have a strong fungicide program in place to protect our greens, tees and fairways. In a typical year we will see 100% control on greens and a 90% control on tees and fairways. The uncovered greens, as of now, are completely disease free. Our tees and fairways are relatively clean, with the fungicides providing around 85% control. As you can see in the pictures, there is a stark difference between the untreated rough and the treated fairways. We are seeing spots of breakthrough here and there, especially in low lying and heavy snow covered areas. Seeing pictures like this is a reminder of how important our winter fungicide application is. Luckily this disease looks worse than it actually is. With some warm weather and some fertility, these areas will bounce right back.

As for opening the golf course we are still a ways off. The long term forecast is unfortunately calling for this cold pattern to persist. It will not take much to tip the scales in our favor, but we need cooperation from mother nature. I will keep you posted on a potential opening date.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Big Melt

It's been a long winter, to say the least! Finally it seems there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Our sizable snow pack is slowly melting and some grass is starting to poke its head. I have had numerous people ask me over the past month how the course is doing with all this extreme weather. I thought I'd take minute to briefly update you.

It may come as a surprise to you, but this winter has been ideal for the course. If you think back to November and December, the weather got consistently colder and we lacked a lot of significant snow. This allowed for frost to setup in the ground, allow the grass to properly harden off and prepare itself for winter. As January progressed into February it got historically cold and snowy. Fortunately we had a 2.5 foot blanket of snow protecting the grass from the elements. Exposed grass in those conditions would not have been a good thing. Unlike last winter we have not experienced the extreme freeze and thaw events. These events are what spell trouble for turf and what caused the damage we saw last year. So far March as been kind. The snowpack has slowly begun to recede. A nice slow melt helps to prevent our creek from flooding and allows for water to dissipate slowly. Hopefully we can lose the rest of this snow in the same manner before the spring rains arrive. The 10 day forecast looks promising in that regard, with no large storms on the horizon.

So where does this leave us moving forward? I have been looking at some long range forecasts and all signs are pointing towards a spring similar to 2014. Temperatures, on average, are forecasted to be below normal with near normal precipitation. Below is a 45 day temperature outlook and a post from a local meteorologist. The blues and greens represent cold air where the reds indicate warm. As you can see the green has parked itself in our neighborhood.


Not at all surprisingly, the CFS model has an overall chilly look to it in the Northeast next 45 days....

Unfortunately this same forecast model has predicted, with a high degree of accuracy, the weather we have seen this winter. All we can do is hope a drastic pattern shift is in our future!

As for the course I am confident we will come out of this winter in great shape. Once the snow melts some more I will have a chance to get on the course an inspect things further. I had the chance to dig down and see the grass on the putting green last week. Everything looked great and that should be the case for the rest of the course. We still have around 8 inches of snow left to melt, so we are not completely out of the woods yet. Lucky we are so late in the winter season. If any ice or standing water forms, the likelihood of damage is small. I will keep you updated as the melt progresses.  

Think spring and warm temperatures, we will be golfing before you know it!