Now that the winter is winding down and the anticipation of returning to the course is on the rise, I'd like to take a moment to answer some questions regarding the course conditions coming out of the winter.
This winter was actually more difficult for us than last winter because we had consistent cold temperatures AND continuous snow cover. We can be productive on the course with tree work with frozen ground, but when there's a lot of snow, we're stuck in the maintenance facility working on refurbishing our course accessories.
You'll notice we're still working on the tee complex on 3. Now that the ground is thawed at times, we are able to continue the shaping and grading of the tee surfaces in preparation for drainage, irrigation, sod, sand, and seed. We will be Sodding the rough areas around the tees, but filling them with a sand base (similar to a USGA green), having them professionally laser leveled, and seeding them with Ryegrass. We have moved a lot of the excess soil from 3 tee to a new black tee for 8 but we are still waiting on more soil (that is available, but frozen still). If we're able to finalize the construction of this tee, it will be opened this year as well, however if we can't get to it, we'll seed the entire mound with a native mix to blend into the surrounding areas, then finish it in the fall.
With the ground frozen and covered with snow, we were unable to do the drainage project we were hoping to do on the 5th fairway. We have numerous projects to finish this spring, so I'm unsure if we'll be able to get to it before the summer, but it will be our number one priority after the season.
We will be focusing on completing all of our winter projects before we turn our attention to maintaining quality conditions on the course. You may notice we haven't raked the bunkers or rolled the greens at times. This is because we are dedicating our staff to the projects so they're finished before the flush of growth that comes once the weather warms up.
Our first aerification was completed on March 16, 17, 18. You will see the holes in the greens for a while because they're currently not growing. The most important thing to remember is that SOIL temperatures need to be 55 degrees for plant growth to begin. Last year, we didn't see those soil temperatures until mid-April and I expect much of the same this year. Currently, with the cold night temperatures, the greens are frozen until mid-day and we aren't able to do any work on them except for a couple short hours in the afternoon.