Thursday, November 7, 2013

USGA Turf Advisory Service On-Site Visit Report

Visit Date:         October 21, 2013           2nd Half of Full Day Split Visit 

Present: Gary Wilson, Director of Maintenance
Ron DeLaney, General Manager
Craig Loving, GCS, Cowan Creek
Regan Olson, GCS, Legacy Hills
Jonathan Ayers, GCS, White Wing
Bud White, Director, USGA Green Section, Mid-Continent Region 

United States Golf Association
Bud White, Director | Green Section  |   Mid-Continent Region
2801 N Umberland Dr | Lewisville, TX 75056 | Phone: 972.899.2462 | Fax: 972.899.2463 |
USGA Green Section Mission: The USGA Green Section are leaders in developing and disseminating agronomically, environmentally, and economically sustainable management practices. We help golf facilities maintain better playing conditions for better golf through science-based and practical solutions. 

Turf Advisory Service Report                

I must say that overall, the golf courses were in excellent condition. I am very glad to see you have had such a good and productive summer for turf growth and surface development. We looked at a few areas of concern on all three courses and I would like to detail each of these below.
The new putting green nursery construction on the White Wing Course will certainly be a critical upgrade to your maintenance operations by having a readily available source of TifEagle and MiniVerde grown and maintained exactly like your putting surfaces. Sod from your own nursery is always a superior patch material versus sod from a sod producer because of how much quicker it can be established in a green in addition to better surface uniformity.
Soil cores indicated a slightly shallow rhizome development than ideal but should not be a problem through winter. As greens age, the organic zone tightens as it builds and this must be counteracted with aeration, vertical mowing and topdressing on an increased basis. Your aeration program is already adequate but increased deep vertical mowing and topdressing is needed. An increase in topdressing is only about 10% which is unnoticeable to the golfer but adds to the dilution rate of the organic.
I hope the renovation of the practice area on White Wing can be accomplished in the near future as this would be a great addition to your facilities and meet the golf practicing demands of today.
The disease outbreak on #6 green on the Cowan Creek course was a common outbreak this month in many locations around Austin/Georgetown. Weather conditions were just right after the rain with warmth and humidity. This is Bipolaris Leaf Blotch and it can be a significant problem if left unchecked, especially in late fall. The Daconil® or Fore® are excellent materials for control of this disease problem if you see it develop in the future.
Examination of soil cores on Cowan Creek as well as Legacy Hills did show better rhizome development, but as discussed for White Wing, I would still suggest you slightly increase the rate of topdressing during your regular topdressing operations next year to provide further dilution of the organic accumulation. As ultradwarf greens mature and age, the increase in topdressing and the amount of organic removal needs to be increased. The deep vertical mowing at aeration done one to two times per year is an excellent way to do this without increasing the number of disruptions or the time of disruption for golfers. It is also critical to make certain that every aeration operation penetrates completely through the organic zone to maximize the benefits of air and water movement through the soil.
The purchase of the new AerWay® for slicing the fairways and immediate roughs is certainly a needed tool for course operations and for management of your irrigation water and level of salts. Your plans to slice and apply gypsum next year with a flushing operation will be most beneficial overall. I suggest that the first one be done as early in the spring as possible to maximize the growing season of the bermudagrass. I realize this will have to be coordinated with having enough bermudagrass growth for quick recovery of the scars. Gypsum rates should be 750 lbs/ac next year. Make sure the AerWay penetrates the organic zone on the Cowan Creek sand cap.
I want to reiterate the need to consider all the early start times on the golf course in relation to golf operations and the length of time each morning that the crew has in order to accomplish operations before play. Closed days, of course, are a must on a regular basis, but single tee instead of double tee starts on a regular basis is most important to allow improved, unrestricted maintenance operations on the course ahead of play. I hope management will consider this impact and always have at least nine holes closed on a rotating basis for the needed maintenance operations. These operations include anything from cultural programs to aeration operations to spraying and fertilization.
I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of your agronomic programs at Sun City Georgetown Community Association, and I hope you will always feel free to call on me anytime I can be of help. I look forward to our visitations next year, and I hope the fall and winter are very productive for you. 

Charles B. White, CPAg
Director, Mid-Continent Region