Blog Post By: Craig McKinley, Golf Course Superintendent
Spring has officially arrived and the Bucks Run Team has been hard at work to get the golf course and our operations ready for your enjoyment. This has been an exceptionally warm spring up until last week’s cold snap, and the turf has really enjoyed this great root-building weather.
There are a few of topics I would like to cover this time of year before we get into the full swing of the golf season. These topics are to help not only us, but any golf course you play, remain in great shape. Plus, we could all use the helpful reminder every now and again.
1. The Importance of Fixing Ball Marks
Please be sure to repair your ball marks on our greens. Not only does it make the course more playable for the rounds behind you, but actually helps us keep out an undesirable species of grass on our putting greens. Despite our greens being creeping bentgrass, there is always annual blue grass (Poa Annua) seed in the soil. Poa is one of the most widely distributed plants on the planet and can adapt and seed under conditions that most plants could not. So, seed is inevitably spread by golf spikes and many other avenues into greens. I say this because when a ball strikes a green and is not repaired, it gives a pocket into the green that will give the Poa seed an opportunity to germinate and compete with our bentgrass. Below is a photo of how to properly repair a ball mark:
2. Replacing your Divots
The next topic is that we ask for divots taken on fairways to be replaced, instead of using sand. Not only does this make the fairways more playable for future rounds, but it also helps us provide a better-quality cut on fairways. Divots that are improperly filled with sand often result in sand being pushed through the mowers reels. This will reduce the quality of cut for the rest of the mow, and the same can be said for unreplaced divots that are laying on the fairway.
3. Use the Driving Range Properly
The final topic that I will touch on is proper driving range usage. We have all seen tour pros on a Sunday morning making craters on driving range tees, and that is something I would like to address. By placing your next shot and shots after on the back edge of a previous divot (in a linear fashion), you will affect far less space, while keeping the actual feel of the shot the same. When your line is complete start a new line about 6 inches running parallel with the first. This will maximize the space for rounds later in the day and help us a great deal in healing the tee. If a large space is devoted to crater fashion, it can only heal by being grown in from seed. Whereas, if there is space in between the area, it will heal from not only seed, but the lateral growth of the surrounding turf.
By following these steps, you will not only be a great example of golf etiquette, but also a favorite of Golf Course Superintendents everywhere! We hope to see you out on the course soon, and look forward to a great season with all of our guests.
An Additional Tip for Homeowners...
Keep in mind that this warm spring weather will push ahead your crabgrass pre-emergent application on your lawn. Crabgrass germination is right around the corner! Check out www.gddtracker.net to monitor your area for the proper timing of your crabgrass pre-emergent, as well as White Grub lawn applications. Also, remember that even though your mower doesn’t run that often, it still needs to be serviced like any other motor. Blades need to be sharpened for a clean cut, that will not be detrimental to the plant.