First of all, my apologies for the delay with my update. I'm in Florida for a family wedding. Although we've been seeing excessive rain for over a month, this week was the first time we've actually had events affected by cart restrictions. Most of the rains have been in the late evening allowing for longer drying time, and usually on weekends. This week's rains have arrived in the morning leaving the course saturated throughout the day forcing us to put cart restrictions into effect.
Please understand that cart restrictions are never made without a thorough inspection of the course and an understanding of the days' scheduled activities. Unfortunately there are times that no matter how many events or guests we have coming to play, the course is unable to handle carts. When we make these decisions, there are definitely going to be areas over the 140 acre property that are dry enough to drive on, and if you see my staff out working, they are aware of the places we can and cannot take carts. Our cart decisions are based on the routes golfers frequently take throughout their round.
Currently our fairways have many areas that have been saturated for so long that the soil structure has diminished to a point that they're unable to naturally drain. We would like to continue our venting and spiking practices, but its difficult to get solid footing in these areas, let alone safely running equipment over them. To get the structure back to an acceptable point, we now need an extended period of drying followed by aerification, topdressing, and seeding. As you can imagine, with physical soil properties this poor, the turf isn't doing too well in these areas as well. The roots need oxygen and gas exchange to operate properly but in this situation, the plants are drowning. Once they have dried, we will begin a recovery seeding program.
After these heavy rains we have seen, we also have a lot of work to do on the bunkers. When we have washouts to repair, it takes 4-5 employees all day to get them back to their optimal playing conditions. Our priority list has the playing surfaces being more important than the bunkers, so we need to focus on greens, tees, approaches, fairways, and roughs before beginning our work on the bunkers. Once we begin working on the bunkers, there are a few steps we take to perform the repairs properly. First, we need to scrape any contaminants from the bunkers. This includes any silt, soil, or gravel that has washed onto the sand. After that, we use machines, shovels, and rakes to move the sand back into the areas where it was washed from. The next step is to smooth the sand so you can't tell where we removed the excess washed out sand, and finally we rake the bunker. The quickest and most efficient way to repair the bunkers is to have certain staff members assigned to each specific step of the process. Sometimes the repair process can be spread over a few holes, so its possible you could end up in a bunker that is only partially completed but we hope you can understand we are doing our best to complete our work.
Ok, enough with the rain talk. Now on to weed control. Our fairways have a rapidly growing sedge called Kyllinga Sedge. Without controlling it early, it can fill in areas and become very unsightly. We did a test spray on our short game fairway to see how well it worked and to make sure it didn't adversely affect the desirable turf. The area in the short game fairway is a great example of what happens if its not controlled for a long period of time because there is a large dense plot of Kyllinga Sedge. The product we used was very effective and safe on the ryegrass. It needs to be sprayed a second time (10 days after initial treatment) but so far, I'm pleased with the results. We did our first application on the affected fairways (4,5,6,8,1) so you will begin seeing the browning of the invasive weed this week. Once we kill the weed, we will seed into the bare area. If you have any questions about our control, please feel free to email me.