Greetings from the Superintendent, Nov. 15, 2017!
The cold weather is upon us, the flagsticks are in the shop, the irrigation is winterized and the mowers are being serviced and shut down for the winter. We have closed the books on another successful season at Elkhorn Ridge, yet our work continues through the year in planning, prepping and sharpening for the season to come. People often ask me, “so…what do you do in the winter?” Well, I just listed a few things, but let me go into some details!
First, every piece of equipment gets serviced, worn parts are repaired, and mowers are sharpened and ground to (near) perfection. In all, we have over 30 individual mower reels that are disassembled, sharpened, repaired, greased and tightened. Work continues around the course, as long as the snow holds off and the ground doesn’t freeze too deep. Fall is a good time of year to get a jump on any major irrigation or landscaping projects. It’s also the best time of year to trim and prune trees, and we have several of those here! There’s plenty of work to do in the office, as well. Budget reviews, fertilization programs, education and training conferences and project planning are a big part of our winter months. We can’t forget about snow removal, either! It has been known to dump a few inches now and then, so our crew keeps the roadways, entrances and driveways clear on our properties and residences around the Frawley Ranch.
The other noticeable practice you might have seen at our and other golf courses is the application of a heavy sand-topdress prior to the winter months. Although we topdress all through the growing season, those applications are light and frequent so as to dilute the accumulation of thatch and keep the putting surface true and firm. The fall topdress, however, serves another purpose. The short-cut bentgrass turf is highly susceptible to winter damage, especially if they remain exposed for any significant length of time in freezing temps. The part of the plant most susceptible is the “crown”, or the location in between the roots and the leaf blades from where both originate. By applying a heavy layer of sand and brushing it down into the turf, we can create a “blanket” effect around the crowns, protecting them from high winds and freezing temps. When the temps begin to warm up in the spring, that sand will serve as a heat-trap and warm up the root zone. Once the turf begins to grow, we simply brush the sand in to serve as our first topdressing of the year.
This practice, along with a few others, are keys to ensure that the course survives the winter and is primed for growth as soon as the sun warms the ground in the spring.
On that note, we wish you all a happy holiday season, and hope to see you all back out on the course next year! And don’t forget, season-passes make great gifts!
Thanks for playing,