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What winter looks like....

Bravo

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Aug 27, 2004
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1) Sunup at 6:15
2 - 4) Range and practice green area
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OP
Bravo

Bravo

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The tenth a 160 - 210 yard par 3

A tough way to start the back
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OP
Bravo

Bravo

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#13

This is a picture from early December....the ninth. A short Par 4 with double green. Back position is small and hard to get your shot to hold here.
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OP
Bravo

Bravo

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And #13 green in a picture from December 7th. Fairways still a bit green but going dormant from first frost...
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Slingblade61

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I had forgotten southern courses have grass that turns to straw in the winter.

Nice pics.
 
OP
Bravo

Bravo

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Slingblade61 said:
I had forgotten southern courses have grass that turns to straw in the winter.

Nice pics.

Yeah, we have winter...and when I say that people from colder climates usually laugh...

That's why I posted the pics. I figured there was a perception that it's green year round.

This brings up a discussion of The Master's. Augusta is on a virtually identical latitude as here. Therefore the courses over there look just the same right now.

Except....

Augusta National - which is perfectly lush and green right now - because they use Winter Rye grass on the course. The members do this to insure that the course is in ideal shape when the tournament is played. In contrast, in mid April - at this latitude - courses with warm season grasses have fairways that are in decent shape (but not great). The fairways here in mid-April are mostly green but not in mid-season condition yet. Just 2-3 weeks away. But not quite pro tournament condition...

So what's the point?

The most prominent point is that Augusta National members sacrifice their golf course from mid-June through October so that the Master's can be played in optimal conditions. The course closes in mid-June because the Winter Rye dies as soon as the hot temperatures hit. In mid-Summer, when courses all over the country look their best, Augusta National is a shit brown color (except the greens).

A bit of trivia....
 

The master

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Oct 24, 2004
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Are courses are super duper green all year around this photo was taken last month, may I add I'm going to get more tommorow know that I know how to work the camera better.

Your course still looks great ares looks like that sometimes in the summer when it gets a little burnt but in winter it is always fine.

Here there is a little frost and this green slopes like a mo fo.
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Silver

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Dec 5, 2004
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Interesting pics Bravo. Neat to see how different it is than up here (SUPER green in winter and a bit brown in summer due to drier weather)
 

Rockford35

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Ya, nice pics, B.

See, around these parts, the fairways and greens are in good shape from May 1st to October 1st. Then they go brown, then white for 5 months, and then brown again.

Maybe sometime this week I'll go take some pics of one of the muni's here. Well, if you close your eyes and imagine hard enough, you'll see lots of white and trees with no leaves. That's basically what it looks like.

I find grass types so interesting. When I played in Florida, they had such a "tight growing" grass on those courses. It basically lied flat, didn't grow "up" in the true sense of the word. It sorta just laid flat.

Around these parts, we have very thick grasses, some rough is considered impossible by PGA standards. What I played in Florida as "rough" was just one day worth of growth on our fairways.

Different grass types play a big part on how a course plays.

Do the greens hold well in the Fall, Bravo? I mean, are they harder? Do they water the course during these months if the grass is dormant?

R35
 
OP
Bravo

Bravo

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Rock:

Your questions are spot on...

The greens you see in the photos are bentgrass - which is a cool season grass native to the upper midwest and Northeast US.

It is funny when we look on the USGA website and they talk about "turfgrass research". The good news for us here, it is that research that allows us to play in the winter.

Until the 1980's our greens were bermudagrass, which goes dormant when it freezes. Therefore, if we played in the winter - we played on temporary greens which were carved on the fairway. As you can imagine, it sucked.

In the early 80's Penn State University, in conjunction with the USGA, introduced a bentgrass that was "heat tolerant". During the next 10 years, courses in this area were converted to bentgrass for the first time. This is what gives us the opportunity to play some pretty good golf in the winter.

(Augusta National did not convert to bentgrass greens until the early 90s - trivia...)

Bentgrass will not grow in sandy soil and you will never see it in Florida. Similarly, they have different fairway grasses there due to the sandy soil. In Florida though (except the panhandle) they do not get sub-freezing temps and their greens and fairways are OK year round.

The conditions of bentgrass greens in this part of the country vary considerably according to season:

1) Summer. The greens (despite the advanced technology strain) require much maintenance to survive the heat. You will see fans in some of my pictures. These are ominpresent in this part of the US on courses that have bentgrass greens. Excessive heat is death to them - fast death - like you can lose them in 2-3 hours.

In addition to the fans, the greens are hand watered during the day to keep their temps down.

For these reasons, the greens are slowest in the summer because the supers keep them cut higher and wetter. The ball will stop and drop in the summer. (I dont play golf in the summer after Noon. It is too hot).

2) Fall. In late September - off go the fans and the cool, dry season begins. The greens are rolled by the supers and get very firm. And because of the cooler temps between late September and late-November - they cut the greens way down. They are very fast and very hard. Bring your shotmaking skills....This is Prime Time for golf. Fairways are still green, greens are fast and thriving and the temperatures are between 65 and 80. (18 to 27C)

3) In the Winter and Spring, the greens are generally fast. We get a good bit of rain in the winter and they are slower after a rain but pretty fast when it is sunny....
 

DaveE

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Aug 31, 2004
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Bravo, your course looks very to similar to here this time of year. Green tee boxes and greens with brown fairways.

Some courses here get brown in the summer because of the heat, but ours stays green because of the water supply. Our neighborhood has a lake surrounding it on three sides and we get our water from there. We pay for it but it's very cheap.

Nice pics. I'm starting to get the hang of the new digital and will try to post some pics soon.
 

Rockford35

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Thanks for the info, Bravo. When you think of a golf course, it's not often that you think of the type of grass for the greens, fairways and tee boxes being different all around the continent.

That's where the learning curve for me will come in. I mean, i'm so used to playing on thick, lush, green blades of sticky grass that can really hang your club up in the heavy rough. My home course keeps the high rough cut at about 5" all year round, intermediate at about 3" and the fairways are tight. So, mistakes off the beaten path can really put a dent in your approaches. It's really not uncommon to see guys try and hit low stingers into greens with more club because of the influence of the grasses. It can really come up and bite you.

Our greens are very, very good here as long as the water is put to them. They hold water very well, but if you leave them for over a week, they can burn easily. They can have loads of rain on them and they still roll relatively true. But if you let them bake for a day over 80*, it will brown them up and make them so fast that you'd have a hard time holding them with a wedge. This year was somewhat of an anomoly where we had more rain over the summer than the previous 3 combined. That was fantastic for the greens, where you could stick a 3 wood from 230 and the ball would end up only 5 feet from the ball mark.

Conversely though, when it does rain like that, the fairways play extremely long. Drives that would normally get 30-40 yards of roll would stick a foot from where it landed. So, you take the good with the bad. You get 240 yard drives, but the 5 iron you're bringing in down wind will hold like a mofo.

Hopefully we get a better summer this year. From April to September, even if it was 90* out, it was still like throwing darts.

R35
 
OP
Bravo

Bravo

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Rock: Good God ...5 inch rough....How do you find your ball? 3 inch intermediate....that is brutal. We'd never finish the round bc everyone would be looking for their balls....

I must honestly say I've never played in anything like that. You must hit a very straight tee ball.

Dave: We had a very bad drought about 6 years ago. At that time - our water source was the municipal system. We had a huge water bill in July and August - I think something like $40,000 - just trying to keep the course alive...

Then, the water restrictions kicked in and the average homeowner would be fined if they watered their lawn more than once per week. We were lucky at the golf course that only a couple of weeks later - it started to rain again - or we would have lost all of the greens and most of the fairways....

At that time, we had a major course renovation on the verge of commencement. (Rebuilding greens, resurfacing cart paths, increasing overall course length).

Well after we got the big municipal water bill - we decided it was time to create our own water supply. So we asked the architect to design a pond in the middle of the course. A creek runs through the property which is fed by a small spring - but most of the creekwater is runoff from rains. The entire course is one big slope on the side of a hill - so after a big rain, the runoff will flow pretty well for about 36 hours after the rain has stopped.

So out came the bulldozers as they dug a big hole in an unused area between 6,7 and 8. Created a pond with the usual stuff...dam/spillway, relief valve etc.

None of us are suprised that we have Not had a drought since then - so the investment in the pond has not "broken even" from a financial standpoint.

On the other hand, our fairways are in the best shape ever, because if we go even a week without rain - they'll open the sprinklers like crazy - because we don't pay a dime for water any more....

Here's more trivia - did you know rainwater is higher in nitrogen than municipal water and consequently greens the grass faster??
 

DaveE

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Aug 31, 2004
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Bravo, our course made a similar investment a few years back. We had several years of drought in the late 90s and there was rumor that the lake water was going to become unaffordable.

Our board decided to make a deal to buy treated water from the nearby sewer facility. Man does that stuff smell. Anyway, last year the lake authority comes back with a deal that makes the lake water cheaper the more you use. So basically, they have to try to use enough. Last summer they seeded and watered the rough just to bring the price of the water down.

I think our course spent $50,000.00 just to run the (sewer) water line to the course and now it's almost never used. I guess it's there if we ever need it.
 
OP
Bravo

Bravo

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I think that is the key...you have a backup source of supply when and if you need it and eventually you will need it - just don't know when....

I know that sewer water is smelly but I'll bet your course is absolutely lush green...

Also I like the fact that you were able to plant grass in the rough. This to me is a hallmark of a good course. When you get out of the fairway - you are not on hardpan....

Before our renovation, we had a single water line running down the middle of each fairway. While the fairways got good water coverage, the rough did not. So our rough was in spotty shape with a decent amount of hardpan where the water did not reach it.

Part of the renovation was to run two parallel water lines along the edges of the fairway. This way the rough gets good water coverage and in the past several years, the super has steadily planted quite a bit of sod which will grow pretty well.

The other thing we learned from him is about airflow. If there is stagnant air over the grass it retards the grass. So, he went around to all trees that are located within 15 feet of the edge of the fairway and pruned back any all limbs that are below 10 above the ground. This, combined with the additional water has elminated hardpan for the most part.

It's a little item but we appreciate it...
 

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