Thursday, August 6, 2015

Letter to Scottsdale Country Club DC Ranch Golfers

Dear Scottsdale Country Club DC Ranch Golfers,

It is important to inform you of our Scottsdale country club course conditions and playing surfaces as we move through the summer months: Please be reminded our base grass year-round is named 419 Bermuda grass.  This Bermuda is what Scottsdale country club overseeds each fall with Rye grass, so the playing surfaces are very good when we drop seed in September through the early spring.  The Bermuda is a warm season grass and typically goes dormant (to sleep) when the colder temperatures arrive in November.

It turns golden beige and doesn’t green up until sometime around March, however, Bermuda doesn’t actually start to grow until the combination of warmer temperatures, humidity and dew point arrive around the 4th of July continuing through the end of September and the first few weeks of October.

Because Scottsdale country club does over seed beginning in September, the Bermuda time frame to grow is only 75 days and our Agronomy consultant would prefer at least 100 days for the Bermuda recovery period. Scottsdale country club’s goal is to reopen the course around the third week in October when the weather has cooled down.

Some might observe and say the Scottsdale country club course is “just getting in great shape ‘when you close it to overseed.  Scottsdale golf club understands this, but we need to factor many variables as the best dates to optimize the best overseed and Rye “catch” as we say.   If we overseed too early while the Bermuda is flourishing, the Rye will struggle with the warm temperatures as it is a cool season grass, and if it is too late such as in November, it eliminates the chance to play when the weather is great for golf.

When Scottsdale golf club overseeds with a high rate of seed (800-1000 lbs. of Rye per acre), it crowds out the Bermuda, and thus it will decline at about 15% per year throughout the entire course.   If you carry it too long in the spring and perhaps into the summer months, the Bermuda decline could be more extensive, above the 15% mentioned.   At these rates it won’t be many years before you have to replace or repair a great deal of turf whether in the fairways, rough or tees.

Ok, so we see the problem with the decline on the course, but what are the corrective measures, knowing that overseeding is here to stay? 
  1. We overseed at a slightly lower rate in the fall at about 450 lbs. per acre and at a time for a more successful result.  We maintain the height of rough cut under 2” in the primary rough, 1 ½” in the intermediate rough and fairways at ½ “ from October through February, and when the temperatures start to warm up in mid -February, we lower all heights by about ½ “ to take advantage of the warmth and sunlight.  When we get to the May time frame, it is time to expose as much Bermuda as possible by eradicating the Rye until the fall.
  2. Also, aerifications, top-dressing, verti-cutting, slicing, fertilizing and appropriate watering schedules are very important during this time period when we cannot get them done in-season with the significant amount of Members we have enjoying their golf.

At this time we see and calculate how much Bermuda decline has occurred since September with a plan to re-sod these thin areas with the belief that the humidity in the next weeks and months will knit the Bermuda together for as much coverage as the healing months will allow.

The Scottsdale golf club goal is to have as much grass as possible year round, be it Bermuda or Rye. We fully understand how important Scottsdale golf club pristine playing surfaces are to all players, especially with the extensive tournament and play schedule we have each year and it is  also necessary to communicate the programming it takes to get there.

In a perfect world, a Scottsdale golf club in this area would never overseed for the health of the turf and avoid the conflict of cool season grasses versus warm season grasses having a priority, but golfers prefer to play on green grass year-round and we will do our best to make this happen.

Please see the Scottsdale golf club pictures enclosed for your viewing pleasure.  As you will see most of the Bermuda decline and damage are in the high-traffic areas, on and off each hole as well as around bunkers.

We were fortunate this summer to be able to get the entire course aerified, top-dressed and verticut within a four (4) day period.

We hope this explains what happens and why, and the challenges all agronomists face each year, and should you have any questions, please ask us.

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