Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A New Season Begins - Greens Open

In just a few days meteorologic spring, or the Vernal Equinox, will occur and a new season will be upon us. As is suppose to happen, the sun is rising higher on the horizon (actually the earth tilts on it's axis), daytime temperatures are becoming mild, and nighttime temperatures are remaining above freezing. Overall, it's a beautiful thing! And as such, with ground conditions reasonably dry, and covers removed yesterday (warm temps can accelerate too much growth under covers), I see no reason to not take advantage of the nice weather opportunity and roll, set hole locations, put flagsticks in, and open greens for play!

 Covers being removed for first time in 2011

This may be a record for green opening but at least this one is a desirable record. We had a year of extreme records (or near records) last year, and a winter with near record snowfall, so we might as well keep the record streak going! Hopefully we don't have any severe weather records this summer! 

If you do get a chance to play during this mild weather break, keep in mind that with this very early opening, you will still see evidence of the aeration from late last fall. In addition, the greens will not be mowed just yet, as it's likely temperatures will drop again (after all we are in Chicagoland!) and I want to keep the little extra turf cover that we now have (from the covers protecting and warming), until night time temps are consistently above freezing.

     First rolling. This settles natural soil heaving that occurs in winter and smooths surface. 
Photo shows enhanced green-up from covers on practice green and number nine green in the distance. 
Another thing to remember in the days to come is that we are in our "Cover Shuffle" period and so greens may be recovered for a few days (all depending on temperature lows) then re-opened, and then this sequence may repeat until mild temperatures prevail. In doing this we retain the advantages of the covers (early spring green-up, root and shoot growth acceleration, aeration healing, and more) and yet control growth so as too not allow excessive shoot growth.

I have much more to comment on concerning current course conditions and varied maintenance activities in progress so look for more information to follow soon but for now...Happy Spring!

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