The weather was once again the biggest challenge over the past month. The month of June brought over ten inches of rain to Stowe Country Club. In May, we battled the extreme lack of rain and now June was the complete opposite with record setting rain totals. This "new normal" of extreme weather patterns is reality and how we prepare to overcome these challenges is the difference between success and failure. The heavy rains were a good test for the new fairway and bunker drainage. These new drainage projects performed very good and we will continue to address other wet areas by installing more drainage.
|Squeegeeing greens before Kirkwood Tournament|
Kirkwood week was a challenge due to the rain. The days leading up to the event brought significant rainfall. The crew spent all day Wednesday before the tournament squeegeeing water off greens. Our sixth and final round of pushing water came as the sun went down. These efforts allowed for firmer greens for the first three days of the event. While Sunday ended in a rain-out, I am very proud of our crew's effort in preparing for the tournament.
The winterkill spots have grown in very well. The repair would have been much quicker if it was not for the excessive rain in June. These areas were damaged in the winter due to the fact that they puddle with water and then freeze. The nature of these areas to puddle made it difficult for the seed to establish because of being submerged under water and being constantly washed away. As the Kirkwood tournament approached the excessive squeegeeing damaged some of the seedlings setting the recovery back even farther. Mark Finch, golf course superintendent, did a superb job with the re-establishment of these areas. Mark worked diligently on a day to day and hour by hour basis for two months to get these damaged areas back to full turf coverage. Growing in turf on established golf greens is very difficult due to the ongoing maintenance of the surrounding turf and golfer traffic.
|Root pruning at 15 tee|
There were some recent changes to the fifteenth tee. The granite tee marker and bench were moved to make room for a root pruning operation. The close proximity of this tee box to the row of white pines negatively impacts the turf quality due to shade, needle shed, and root intrusion. The shallow rooting of white pines steals water and nutrients that is needed by the turf. Root pruning cuts the tree roots before they intrude into the teeing ground. We use the drainage trencher that was purchased last year to shear the roots. This process is an annual maintenance activity that will help the fifteenth tee recover faster from divoting and wear.
The big push on fairways has been to achieve one hundred percent full turf coverage. The crew has been diligently seeding and sodding thin areas. Most of the damage is from poor drainage. Low areas on three, five, and twelve have had chronic thin areas. This is unacceptable for myself and staff. We will continue to sod and reseed until we reach full turf coverage in fairways.
|Construction of cart path on 4th hole. Notice old path routing |
to the left of new mounding.
The revitalization of the fourth hole is nearly complete. Multiple issues impacting the quality of this par three have been addressed. The over planting of trees on the left and right side of the hole blocked the view of the entire green complex and limited the use of the teeing ground due to blocked shots. A dozen trees were removed over the past two winters opening up the view of the green with surrounding mountain ridge line and providing full use of the tee. The fescue grasses that existed under the trees have come back to life and now provide a stunning framework to this hole. The cart path running along the right side was damaged in multiple sections, was too narrow for maintenance vehicles, and was positioned in a way that impacted the look of the hole. The path was repositioned and is now hidden from view. Slight mounding was added to aid in blocking the view of the cart path. Fescue was then planted along the new path to add additional screening of the path. As the fescue grass matures on both sides of the hole it will provide a stunning look to this great par three. The path is scheduled to be paved this week. Finally, the bunkers have been aggressively edged to bring back the original shape and add a better visual from the tee box. New sand was then added to provide consistent shot making.