Monday, July 28, 2014


Golf Course Superintendent
Wahconah CC

Thursday, July 24, 2014

From the USGA: Bentgrass establishment

Many courses are still in the process of opening their greens for play following last winter’s catastrophic injury. One positive for courses that sustained winter injury is that many now have considerably more bentgrass in their greens than they did in the past. However, cutting heights are still elevated at many courses that suffered significant winter injury; therefore, playability will not reach the levels attained in recent, past seasons. Keeping cutting heights elevated for the season will help immature, new bentgrass survive. For courses that have significantly higher bentgrass populations, management programs should now be adjusted to promote and sustain healthy bentgrass through the summer.
If your course falls into this category, consider the following:
  • Tree work will be needed around many of the greens that now have higher bentgrass populations. The environment that sustained a bent/poa turf may not have enough light for bentgrass to be competitive. Bentgrass has a high light requirement and light penetration must be maximized at all times of year for it to have a fighting chance against annual bluegrass.
  • Rethink your cultivation program. Remember that annual bluegrass is a winter annual and aerating or performing surface cultivation during the window of germination will promote annual bluegrass at the expense of newly established bentgrass.
  • Creeping bentgrass got its name for a reason, it “creeps.” Using solid rollers, even at lower cutting heights, helps promote lateral growth. Periodic verticutting in the spring and early summer months also can promote more gains in bentgrass, but avoid frequent, aggressive treatments that cause constant wear injury. Constant wear injury tends to favor annual bluegrass.
  • Keep wear injury in mind, particularly in lower light environments. Annual bluegrass is more wear-tolerant than bentgrass, and a high-wear program (e.g., frequent double cutting combined with frequent rolling) will likely do more harm to bentgrass than annual bluegrass.
  • At many courses annual bluegrass remains the primary turf species on putting greens. This is largely a result of our ability to keep the weaker grass alive. Greens that are predominantly annual bluegrass require lots of inputs. If the specie composition of your turf has changed dramatically as a result of winter injury, rethink your management strategies. Many of our fungicide applications are targeted at diseases of annual bluegrass such as summer patch and anthracnose. If bentgrass populations are high enough, these diseases can control the grass you want to get rid of.
  • Depending on how much new bentgrass you now have in your greens, other options to consider include annual bluegrass-suppressing growth regulator treatments this year and possibly forgoing seedhead suppression treatments next spring. Suppressing seed heads is good for playability, but it also makes annual bluegrass stronger which may not be in your best interest going forward.
The winter injury many courses sustained has been painful, but it also provided many with an opportunity to establish bentgrass in greens that formerly had very little. However, getting the bentgrass established is only step number one. Now management programs need to be adjusted to favor bentgrass, which could mean not working as hard to keep annual bluegrass alive or perhaps actively trying to suppress it.


In what really seems like a weekly event for us, we received another 1.75" of hard rain last night. Several cart path and bunker washouts are the result. We are repairing those this morning. We will be letting carts out, but just be careful in the traditional wet areas.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Storm damage

One small piece of storm damage from last nights wind. This is the right side of 15 at about 125 yards. 

Golf Course Superintendent
Wahconah CC

Monday, June 30, 2014

Are Your Soft Spikes Best For Golf Or Soccer?

By Adam Moeller, agronomist, Northeast Region
June 25, 2014

Surface smoothness no longer exists near this hole location thanks to aggressive soft spikes and a lack of player etiquette.
Several common topics have dominated the discussions during Course Consulting Service visits over the past few weeks. Moderate weather has been welcomed by many superintendents in the region and excellent playing conditions are being maintained at many facilities. Unfortunately, the moderate weather has also contributed to slow recovery from winter injury. Temporary putting greens remain at many golf courses, frustrating golf course superintendents and golfers alike. Although temporary greens are never popular, they should not be abandoned until the putting greens are fully healed. Watch the USGA Green Section webcast Assessing Winter Injury and Promoting Turf Recovery in the Northeast Region for information regarding best management practices for promoting rapid, sustainable recovery from winter injury on putting greens. The Green Section Record article Winter Damage is an excellent reference for information on why putting greens experience winter injury and how to best limit the potential for future problems.
Aggressive, soft spike golf shoes have also been a hot topic in recent weeks. Aggressive soft spikes can be very damaging to surface smoothness, especially when golfers drag their feet or twist while standing on putting greens. Damage from aggressive soft spikes has been particularly severe on young creeping bentgrass turf at golf courses recovering from winter injury. In some cases turf has actually been ripped out of the soil by golfers wearing soft spike golf shoes. Many superintendents are suggesting that modern shoes with aggressive soft spikes are more damaging than the old metal spikes that were commonplace 20-30 years ago. Golfer etiquette certainly plays a role in this discussion, but the aggressiveness of some soft spikes is overkill on certain shoes.
The cool weather coupled with ample rainfall this spring has made the rough challenging for mid- and high-handicap golfers at many courses. Increased mowing frequency and even plant growth regulators have been used to combat the rapid growth of rough. Lowering the mowing height may offer some relief, but this adjustment will also increase the turf’s susceptibility to drought stress so caution is advised.
Annual bluegrass weevil and anthracnose disease damage has been observed recently at courses throughout the region. Careful scouting for annual bluegrass weevils is very important to ensure insecticide applications are made when and where necessary. Golf course superintendents battling anthracnose disease should review the Golf Course Management article Best Management Practices for Anthracnose on Annual Bluegrass Greens and make adjustments to their management program as necessary. Increasing the mowing height, applying 0.1–0.125 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet every seven days, and light, frequent sand topdressing combined with regular fungicide applications are often the most impactful changes to combat an anthracnose outbreak.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Just a bit of minor flooding this morning. We recieved about 2.5" of rain last night. There are no carts today and the back is temporarily closed. I do expect the back to be passable by noon time if not earlier. 

Golf Course Superintendent
Wahconah CC

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Easy Does It

By James Skorulski, senior agronomist, Northeast Region
May 28, 2014

Young turf plants are most vulnerable to traffic, especially that caused by aggressive shoe patterns. Keeping severely damaged greens closed to play is never popular and sometimes not possible, but keeping greens closed continues to be the best strategy to obtain the most rapid recovery.
What a difference a week with mild temperatures and some rain can make. Grass does actually grow in New England during the spring. Actually, I was getting a little worried but, sure enough, roughs are thick and lush, Poa annua is seeding, and we have real growth in areas that were damaged this winter. Growth rates between annual bluegrass, creeping bentgrass and perennial ryegrass are not yet uniform but that too will come as soil and air temperatures become more stable.
Those attempting to re-establish turf areas lost during the winter have experienced pretty good seed germination from initial seeding attempts. Areas that did not establish well have been reseeded or, in some cases, plugged out or patched with sod. Recovery is progressing but is never fast enough. This time of year is always a difficult period during the recovery process because golfers begin to tire of playing temporary greens, expenses are up while revenues are down, and severely damaged greens look just about good enough to open when viewing from the 150-yard markers. The pressure to open damaged greens builds regardless of whether the surfaces are ready for play. Unfortunately, opening greens dominated by young, tender, seedling plants will negatively impact the growth of those plants and ultimately hinder recovery. Greens with widespread damage will be impacted the most by premature play. Eventually, the surfaces will fill in but will be dominated by annual bluegrass. Recovery time will be longer if greens are opened too soon and, in some cases, recovery may not even be complete by season’s end.
Stay strong and do the right thing for the grass if you can. Manage conservatively for the purpose of promoting new grass plants and obtaining turf cover as fast as possible. However, if you must open damaged greens, keep play away from the areas that are still recovering by using ropes and signs to direct golfers. This might make for some interesting hole locations, but it will promote turf recovery in damaged areas. Communicate the important role golfer cooperation plays in the recovery process.
Additionally, be careful topdressing young turf that is subjected to play. Topdressing should be done but do so selectively, perhaps when damaged areas are interseeded. Restrict regular, light topdressing applications to areas that have fully recovered. Furthermore, increase mowing height, utilize smooth rollers, spoon-feed with soluble fertilizers, and only use growth regulators on areas that have near complete turf cover to expedite recovery. Damaged greens that are prematurely opened to play will likely require more persistent interseeding to offset the damage caused by traffic.
Annual Bluegrass Weevil
The emergence of adult annual bluegrass weevils has been impacted by cold spring temperatures. Adults were observed on several central New England golf courses last week, while third- and fourth-instar larvae are feeding in other parts of the region. Dr. Pat Vittum, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, indicated that now is the time to apply insecticides targeting ABW larvae in areas where the common rhododendron is blooming. The 2014 season has the makings of another challenging management season, especially if ABWs are resistant to pyrethroid insecticides.
Source:  Jim Skorulski (