Course Maintenance: Behind the Scenes at WBCC

As another school year wraps up and summer approaches, it is time to elevate our course maintenance efforts to ensure the golf course remains in prime condition. June marks a crucial period for our Grounds and Greens Staff as we prepare for the summer season. Here is an inside look at some new advancements, current project and our key maintenance practices and why they are essential for the course’s upkeep.

Technological Advancements in Turf Care

One significant addition to our maintenance toolkit is the new Husqvarna Ceora robotic mower. This cutting-edge technology has transformed our turf care practices, handling areas like the Driving Range Tees, the Driving Range, and the Putting Green with remarkable efficiency. As we enter our first season with the Ceora, we are already witnessing its potential to revolutionize golf course maintenance and beyond. This will be fun to see how this technology unfolds as we move forward.

Restoration Project – Hole 6

In the coming weeks, our focus will be on completing the restoration project on hole six, which includes about 5,000 square feet of sod and seeding the areas out of play. These out of play areas will be a mix of rough and Native Fescue depending on the area. I do kindly ask you to avoid these areas during play, to allow for the turf to fill and root in. Your cooperation is crucial in preserving the integrity of this work.

Mowing and Turf Management

In June, the growth rate of turfgrass peaks, necessitating increased mowing frequency to maintain optimal playing conditions and aesthetics. Here is a breakdown of our mowing practices:

  • Greens: Mowed daily for a smooth, fast surface, with daily rolling. During tournaments, we may double roll to enhance green speed and consistency. Different grooming methods, such as using turf Trainer mats, spiking, or vertical mowing, are employed to keep the bentgrass upright.
  • Tee, Fairway, and Approaches: Mowed two to four times a week, depending on growth. Grooming is done as needed to improve surfaces and ensure consistent playing conditions.
  • Rough: With over 130 acres of rough, maintaining the height of the turf is a significant task. We aim to mow all rough areas at least twice a week, weather permitting. This year’s consistent rain has increased the frequency to sometimes three times a week.

Irrigation Management

Effective irrigation management is vital in June due to variable weather, ranging from heavy rainfall to dry spells. Our approach includes:

  • Soil Moisture Monitoring: Using soil moisture sensors, moisture probes, AI, forecast models, and visual inspections to tailor irrigation schedules.
  • Irrigation System: Running the system overnight based on daily data, while addressing areas with localized dry spots (LDS) as needed.
  • Hand Watering: Primarily on greens and tees to provide precise water application and avoid over-saturation, crucial for preventing LDS and supporting shallow rooting Poa annua.

 Aeration and Topdressing

Aeration and topdressing are essential for alleviating soil compaction and promoting healthy root growth:

  • Ventilation Aeration: Using small-diameter tines to aerate greens with minimal disruption, enhancing air and water movement through the soil.
  • Light Topdressing: Applying a thin layer of sand to greens to smooth the surface and dilute organic matter. This season, we are pausing topdressing due to high magnesium levels in our current sand source, which can hinder water infiltration and affect turf health. This pause only temporary pause so I can have more time to research the next step. 

Bunker and Hazard Maintenance

Well-maintained bunkers and hazards are crucial for both aesthetic appeal and playability:

  • Raking Bunkers: A daily task to ensure they are free from debris and ready for play.
  • Edging and Weeding: Keeping bunker edges clean from encroaching grass and weeds, with edging typically done once a season and maintained every two to three weeks.

June is a month of intensive maintenance at WBCC, with increased mowing, precise irrigation, strategic aeration, and thorough weed management. These efforts not only enhance the beauty and playability of the course but also contribute to the long-term health and sustainability of the turfgrass. We appreciate your continued support and cooperation as we strive to provide an unparalleled golfing experience. 

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