Happy New Year!
Happy New year! I hope 2023 is gotten off to a great start for all of you. The Crest is experiencing a warm and wet winter so far. Typically, the beginning of January is the coldest of the year. This year it was so warm we reopened the greens for a week around new years. Weather is a big guiding force in our winter maintenance practices. The staff has been focusing on brush work, drainage, equipment maintenance and shop improvements.
Brush and Tree work
The team has cleaned up many of the edges around the crest. Clearing out underbrush, pruning and removing small trees. We have worked on left of 1, left of 5 tee, behind 7 green and between 9 and 10. Working on these wood-lines improves the overall presentation of the golf course, the playing conditions, and enhances the agronomic environment of the surrounding turf, by increased sunlight and air movement. With any luck the ground will freeze in the next few weeks allowing us to get to our tree list. This years list is mostly ash trees. The ash trees in our region are being decimated by the ash bore, we have nearly 50 dead ash trees that need to be removed this winter.
Shop and Equipment Maintenance
Every winter all of the equipment, including the golf carts, get serviced and repaired for the upcoming season. Mike our mechanic keeps detailed records and spends several hours changing engine oil, flushing hydraulic systems, greasing, sharpening and repairing the over a million dollar of golf course equipment at the Crest. This winter he has been added by the new reel grinding equipment, THANK YOU!!! Around the shop the staff is servicing all the on course accessories, and has replaced the lighting system in the cold storage part of the shop.
The winter off season is still a very busy time for the maintenance team. We are grateful to have this time to step back and make some improvement to the course and our facility when the focus is not the daily conditioning of the playing surfaces. This warm winter has many of us thinking about the start of the season, hopefully it will be right around the corner. Thank you for all the support, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
Course Update November
The golf season is sadly coming to an end. The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting colder. We have had some great weather over the past few weeks and the course has been in great shape. The agronomy team is balancing continuing with daily conditions while starting our end of season punch list.
Tees and Approaches
The tees and approaches continue to perform better and better every year. A big part of their health has been the commitment of the agronomy team to multiple core aeration events. The team has begun the late fall aeration on the tees and approaches. With the warm dry weather we experienced early this week, the process is going very smoothly. These playing surfaces will be ready to go next spring.
The warm and dry fall has helped the greens to continue to grow, while providing excellent playing conditions. We will be completing our late fall greens core aeration next week to correlate with the last day that scores can be recorded. In an effort to minimize the disturbance of winter and early spring golf we are making several changes to our aeration process. We have moved the date up two weeks, smaller diameter coring tine will be used and we will be covering the greens with a darker organic topdressing to promote heat and microbial activity over the winter. We understand that any aeration is a cause for disappointment from our golfers. Balance the needs of the turf, with the needs of the golfers is one of our primary goals.
The fairways have had a great season. The core aeration in August set up for a wonderful fall for the 25 acres of pristine bentgrass. I received a few questions last week after the rain about some of the soil visible on a few of the fairways, most notably #4. This soil was actually worm casting from worms coming to the surface during the extended saturation. While worm castings are not ideal we will continue to monitor them. At the end of the month we will start to deep solid tine aerate the fairways. This process helps with soil infiltration and drainage, by fracturing the deeper layers of soil and creating new pore space for roots and air.
Fescue and Rough
The rough seeding completed in September and early October has payed off nicely. Seedlings are popping and filling in thin areas all over the course. Almost all the fescue areas have been cut down, and selective herbicides have been applied to keep the weed population down for next season.
Finally some Rain
The crest is very very very wet now! It feels like we have gotten all the rain we missed this summer in the matter of just a few days this fall. The remains of hurricane Ian brought slow and soaking rain over a five day period. This moisture will help the overall health of the turf, but unfortunately keep carts on the paths and have us a few days behind on our mowing practices. Please bare with us as we get back on track and get the course dried out again.
Bentgrass playing surfaces
The greens, tees, and fairways are all in good shape. The cool season bentgrass loves these warm sunny fall days with cool nights. Currently, we do not see any large areas for repair this winter, but will continue with our planned normal winter/spring agronomic practices.
Before the rain, we spent days aerovating and seeding many areas of rough. The timing of the rain already has some of the seed germinating. Fall is the best time to seed, and we will continue to work to incorporate a wider variety of turf species in our rough. This will improve it's resiliency through bio-diversity. Some large areas of summer decline will be sodded in the very near future.
The fall plantings are in around the clubhouse, and the mums and other flowers are looking very festive. This fall we are going to be redoing the perennial landscaping around the golf house, it was starting to get a little overgrown and we would like to give that area a fresh look.
I hope the wet weather has cleared out and we will get some great dry, firm, and crisp fall condensations. Please feel free to contact me with any question or concerns.
Early September Update
We are starting to feel the first signs of fall in the past few days. Cool nights and low humidity have the Crest bouncing back from our August aeration quickly. The team has been busy making sod repairs to areas that did not yet fully recover from the summer heat, and they have worked hard to keep up on watering to expedite healing from aeration. We cannot wait for cool crisp fall mornings with a firm and fast golf course.
The greens are very close to 100% healed from the aeration. We are now beginning to groom the playing surfaces into shape for the upcoming slew of events. If the current weather patterns hold, we should have the greens firm and fast by mid-September.
Tees and Approaches
Tee boxes and approaches are completely healed. Both playing areas are healthy and ready for a busy fall, filled with golf.
The fairways were the last and largest area that we core aerated two weeks ago. They have begun healing nicely, but are in general a few days behind the other playing surfaces. The first fairway responded the most poorly to the aeration. We had significant issues with the machine dislodging areas of roots. The team added seed and soil to all the effected areas, and this past week we sodded the worst spots. Thank you for your patience as we keep cart traffic off of number 1 until it is full healed.
Thank you as always for all your support. I hope to see you out on the course this holiday weekend. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
Aeration week is going very well. The weather has been perfect and the team is putting in long hours to take care of this important agronomic process. Aeration is vital to the long term health of our turfgrass systems. When we core aerate it is like a farm plowing a field. During this time were are managing our organic matter, helping our soil mirobiome, alleviating compaction, and creating pore space for new root growth this fall.
This past week the team has managed to core aerate all of our bentgrass playing surfaces. Greens, tees and approaches were also topdressed with sand. The fairway process that we did during mid-fall the past few seasons has already been completed. We chose to get the fairways done early because of a shift in the weather to a more fall like pattern. All areas were applied with a mixture of different soil amendments and organic fertilizer.
As I write this we are finishing up the last of the fairway aeration, fertilizing fairways, and putting the cups back in the greens. The team as completed an immense amount of work these past 4 days. While we will be open tomorrow, please give us a week or so until condition start to reassemble our normal standards. Thank you so much for all your support this year. This past weeks aeration should set us up for an amazing fall of golf here at the crest.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
Hot and Dry
July is drawing to a close and so far we have had a hot and dry summer. The opening of the soil profile done at end of June has been key in the over health of the golf course during this period of high stress. Allowing the root systems to breath and be receptive to moisture and air. As much as we would like to see some rain the agronomy team is grateful that the afternoon thunderstorms continue to miss us. Being dry going into last week's heatwave reduced the risk of boiling the turf from too much heat and moisture. A wise mentor once told me, "most grass dies from hot and wet, it can get ugly hot and dry, but it usually bounces right out when the weather shifts."
Green speeds have slowed down slightly because we implemented precautionary measures during last weeks 7 day heat wave. The greens are very healthy and we plan to return to normal maintenance practices by weeks end, bring green speeds up to normal levels. We are seeing some crabgrass on the margins of the greens and collars, this is a weak spot in our herbicide program. Hand plucking and chemical applications are being done to remove this pervasive weed.
The fairways are holding up okay during this hot and dry summer. We have done even more hand watering and are using our gps moisture meters to guide the team on areas of need. The additional traffic stakes are helping to keep carts from wearing down the same areas. We hope this weather pattern breaks in the next few weeks. If not please be patience as we may need to use our cart path system more often to reduce the stress of golf carts.
Much of the rough does not get irrigated. This has caused areas of it to go dormant, we anticipate them to fully bounce back with some natural rain and cooler weather. The fescue is having a great year. When conditions are hot and dry we see less weeds and the fescue does not get too thick at the base so it is very playable.
It's hard to believe that our Scheduled August aeration is just a few weeks away. Thank you in advance for your patience as we perform this necessary agronomy work. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
The summer is rolling and so are the greens and fairways. Thank you all for your patience at the end of last month as we vented all the bentgrass playing surfaces in order to protect them form the extreme heat and moisture we typically experience in Philadelphia. The weather the past few weeks has been hot and dry, but the team has pumped over a million gallons of water through hoses and our irrigation system to keep the Crest in prime condition. We are excited for the upcoming championship, best of luck to all participates.
The putting surfaces are very healthy all the work done as really improved their resilience to ballmarks and improved the overall density, leading to truer ball roll. We will continue to cut and roll the greens to maintain good speeds during the upcoming championships.
This years tee program as focused on divot filling, weed control and extra fertility. That combination seems to have the tees in even better shape then last year. Some clover has been popping up in the recent weeks, and we have been spot treating it. Divot filling is happening daily, up from 3 times a week. And we have added several lacking nutrients as a result of our most recent soil tests.
Much like the other areas, the fairways are doing great in the summer heat. Well timed chemical applications, our new mowers, and countless hours of hand watering has them dealing well with the hot and dry conditions. I do ask that everyone tries to follow the traffic stakes and signs that are out there. They are there to shift cart wear around so that no areas get so beat up sod repairs are needed. We ask to follow the arrow signs to the cart path and to drive around any area with black and white stakes, thank you.
I am sure you have seen the many new face of our team working on the course this year. We are grateful to have staffing during these challenge times with the labor market. Please bare with us as we work to train new staff members, we have seen a unusually high turnover this summer in our seasonal staff, leading to a constant cycle of on-boarding.
The dog days of summer are nearly here. The team has spent the last few weeks preparing the course to handle the upcoming nastiness of Philly summers. Over the next 8-10 weeks our cool season grass playing surfaces will be pushed to their limits in heat, moisture and wear tolerance. Please bare with us as we work to counter the punches that mother nature throws.
Bentgrass areas (greens, tees, and fairways)
Our bentgrass playing surfaces are firm and fast with the dry weather of the past few weeks. The topdressing and fertility programs we have implemented are continuing to create more consistent and predictable playing surfaces. We have begun venting, topdressing, and fertilizing of all the bentgrass areas to create macro-pore space for gas exchange ahead of the extreme heat and moisture of Philly July. The greens will be completed this week and the fairways will be done in the very near future.
No one likes to be in a bunker, but so far this season the sand at RiverCrest has been very playable. Continued training and all the work done in the off season has the bunkers in great shape this season. We continue to maintain the bunkers with soft greenside bottoms, and firm fairway bunkers and slopes. Please feel free to play out of the new trail bunkers on 18 and rate them on the google form.
Early May Course Update
The Crest is having a nice spring, we are getting a mix of dry and wet weather. Hopefully, we are done with some of the cold nights that have kept the grass from growing faster. Our early spring projects are complete and we are in the midst of making many of our critical agronomic applications.
The greens are getting better everyday. Their growth has been dependent on the roller coaster ride of night time lows. We have gone through multiple cycles were they stopped growing for several days, hopefully that's over. With the greens in optimal health for the upcoming season our only planed disturbance is our early summer solid tine in late June. This is critical to create large pore space for gas exchange in the root zone during the extreme heat of July.
Our tee boxes are the healthiest they have been in the spring in years. We are planning on doing a late spring aeration and fertilization on them as time and weather permits. They last few years of extra aeration is paying off, we will be doing 3 this year, down from the 5 we have been averaging.
Our emphasis on divot repairs this spring seems to be paying off. The team has made it a point to be out nearly everyday filling divots. Next week we plan on applying organic fertilizer to the fairways to feed them from spring into early summer.
Thank you again for all the support. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns and remember to rate the new bunkers on 18 if you get an opportunity.
The trial bunkers on 18 are all wrapped up and ready to be played out off. Please feel free to hit a few shots out of the different sands. After your round let us know what you thought of the bunkers by rating them in forms.gle/6d4LkteebKtGwZEo9 . The more ratings we have the better our understand of how the new sands are performing. Ideally, we will get enough date to compare them to moisture date, letting us know how that impacts their playablility.
Thank you so much for all your support, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
Slowly warming up
This Spring has been cold and wet! It seems just as soon as the fairways get dry enough to let carts go, we get another day of rain. Last weeks 3 day winter reprise slowed down the spring growth of all our turf, but let us get many of our spring projects wrapped up. The forecast is calling for some much warmer days, and the team is excited to get mowing!
All projects are nearly complete! 18 bunkers are the last piece, as we are waiting for our last sand from Ohio to be delivered. Stone steps have been added to the back of 3 green, 13 trees have been planted and all areas of work have been seeded or sodded. We will be marking some of these areas as ground under repair, but please try not to play off of any of the new sod until the end of the month, Thank you!
The greens have not healed as fast as we had hoped. We had a very cold winter and a cold spring. We have made two applications of foliar fertilizer to expedite the healing process. Our hope is that next weeks warm temperatures will get them growing. We will continue to evaluate the timing of our late fall aeration for next season to minimizes our disruption to the golfing season.
All other playing surfaces are coming along nicely. The bentgrass on the rest of the course is not as cold sensitive and because it is on topsoil not sand it holds the warmth of spring better. Last week we did a thorough filling of divots on the entire course. Early this week we spiked the fairways to help them handle all the rain we are getting now. These spike areas will be nearly undetectable after our next cut. We plan on doing a spring application of organic fertilizer to our tees, approaches and fairways by the end of the month.
It has been wonderful to see so many of you back out here enjoying the course on the few warm days we have had. I know soon we will have many more! Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
Spring is Coming
The long and cold winter is coming to an end! The team has begun the shift to spring and summer maintenance. The changing of the seasons is always an exciting time around the maintenance shop as we get a chance to focus on different parts of the golf course and different daily tasks. Over the past few weeks we have wrapped up our winter projects and have start on spring maintenance.
This winter we had great weather for projects. The ground was frozen for long stretches and we did not get bogged down with too much snow. Our early focus was on tree maintenance, removing dying trees, pruning trees for their health and adding trees where needed. As the ground softened and spring approached we shifted our attention to bunkers and drainage. The green-side bunker on 5 and 15 were redone and we are working on the chain of pot bunkers on 18 now. We hope to have them finished in early April. Fairway sand channel drainage was added to wet areas on 2, 4, 6, and 15.
This past weeks warmness has gotten us preparing the golf course for play. The team buttoned up projects, making sure areas have been cleanup and disturbed areas seed or sodded. The bunkers are getting their edges freshen up and sand distributed or added as needed. We have begun with mulch and flowers around the clubhouse. Next week we will be focusing on getting the greens ready for play. Soon, the golf course accessories will be going back out on the course too!
We cannot wait to see all of you back on the course in the coming weeks. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
February is drawing to a close, the golf course is rounding the final corners of winter and spring is just ahead. The weather has shifted from mostly frozen ground to a period of thawing. The maintenance team is busy wrapping up projects and setting up for the start of the golf season.
This winter we have focused on a few key bunkers for renovation 5 front greenside, 15 greenside, and the chain of pot bunkers on the right of 18 approach. To date 5 is complete, 15 is ready for sand and 18 is still being shelled out. We are continuing a process of repairing a few bunkers per season.
The warm weather the other day let us get prepared for adding sand channel drainage in some of our wettest spots. This year we will be adding sand channel drain lines to 2, 4, 6 and 15 fairways. The areas we did last year were significantly healthier and we're looking to expand upon this project. With continued good weather we hope to complete these lines in the next two weeks.
The team is nearly complete with the final clean up of our tree maintenance program this winter. All tree removals are complete, most of the pruning we had planned is also finished. We have some final raking and stump removals to do. Before spring, we will be planting several trees around the course in strategic areas.
Finally, we hope with some warm weather to get the greens opened back up soon, probably mid-March. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
The fridge winter on 2022 has allowed the team to do some much needed management of our trees. Trees are being removed that are dead and dying for safety concerns. The bulk of the trees that we are removing this year were from the wind storm that hit us in 2020, but we could not get to them last winter because of all the snow cover. We are also removing many dead ash trees because all the ashes are dying across the region from the ash borer. The trees removed on 9 were growing into the playing corridor that a large number of golfers requested be improved for the playability of the hole. Managing our trees is critical work for the long term health of our golf course. We will be planting several trees this spring, just like we have every year I have been here. The video below shows the take down of a dead ash tree on number 4. The tree was so dead it shattered on impact.
A cool crisp fall has settled into the Crest. Multiple days of heavy frost have slowed down the growth of the grasses on the golf course. The team is working on getting the course ready for winter. Final agronomy work is being done to all the playing surfaces, leaves are being cleaned up, bushes and grasses are being pruned back and seed and fertilizer is being applied. It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is only two weeks away!
The putting surfaces are slowing down with the cooler weather. Our biggest challenge has been keeping the leaves off them in during the windy afternoons. We are planning to complete our "spring" greens aeration the week after Thanksgiving. We will do our best to complete the process without impacting anyone golfing each day.
Late fall aeration has already been completed on the tees and approaches. In the coming weeks we will add seed, fertilizer and topdressing sand to them. Finally, as winter begins we will be covering many of our most sensitive tees, including the practice tee.
The long grass has recovered immensely this fall. Most of the areas we seeded in September have fully recovered. We do still have some end of season sod work to do in areas of high traffic and some of the bunker surrounds that are thin. The fescue is being mowed down as I type and selective herbicides will be applied to them before winter.
Thank you so much for all the support this season. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
This fall has been really excellent weather for the Crest. We are experiencing some of the best conditions of the year, things are firm, fast and healthy. The team has been busy seeding and repairing the golf course from the summer. We are looking forward to our final push of agronomy work as the season winds down in the coming weeks.
The greens are in great shape. With the warmer then normal weather they have been actively growing later in the year. This added growth has us looking to do a light topdressing before the next rain event. These light and frequent topdressings are a critical part of our greens health. As in my previous years here we will be completing a late fall core aeration on the greens around Thanksgiving, this takes the place of a early spring aeration.
Thank you for all your patience over the past month as we completed our fairway aeration. Getting that critical agronomy practice done earlier in the season is already paying huge dividends in the overall recover of our fairways after a long, hot and wet summer. The fairways aerated first have already full recovered and much of the soil and seed we added to weak areas has filled in. The last two fairways, 4 and 8, are still working back to being healthy, they did get some mechanical stress during the hot and windy days at the end of last week. We expect them to be great again the coming weeks. In December, we plan on doing a deeptine aeration to the fairways. This will not bring up any soil, but will make a solid hole over 8 inches down in the soil profile to help with drainage, layering, and overall soil health for next season.
Tees and Approaches
The tee boxes and approaches will receive their fall aeration in the coming weeks. We will use Tuesdays and early mornings to complete the agronomy work without disturbing our golfers experience. These areas are responding very well to the agronomy program, and the team feels the tee boxes out performed past expectations.
As our agronomy work is completed the team will be starting to look at winter projects. I am looking forward to keeping all of you up to date on our winter work in the coming weeks and months.
The fairways at the Crest are recovering from the excessive heat and moisture of late August nicely. The weather has been very seasonal with cool dry days, crisp nights, and timely rains. The aeration process that we began last week is going smoothly, and in just over a week we are over halfway done. During our aeration process we are taking the time to add seed and topdressing to any thin areas of the fairways and into the first cut of rough. If this good weather continues the team anticipates being wrapped up in just over a week or so.
Thank you so much for your patience, and please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
The majority of the course has fully recovered from aeration and the team is preparing the greens for the upcoming member guest. The team is excited for sweatshirt weather and being able to show off our amazing golf course in the upcoming member events.
The heavy rain we received in August, culminating in the 9+ inches with hurricane Ida were welcomed after a hot and dry summer. The agronomy team is very grateful to not have the extensive damage that so many course in our area received. However, some of our drainage collection areas and flatter fairways are showing signs of too much rain. This past week we applied liquid and granular fertilizers to help expedite the healing process. The team has also decided to move up our fall core aeration on fairways. This critical agronomic process will get oxygen and nutrients to our roots, while decompacting and flocculating our soils. Our agronomy plan needs to shift as the weather has shifted. Our plans are based on the need of the turf balance with the weather and the golf schedule. When a 200 year storm hits, we need to make adjustments. The plan is to work one fairway per day and to have as little disturbance to golf as possible starting after member guest.
Thank you so much for your understanding. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
Post Aeration Update
Last week's aeration went very well. The weather was in our favor and the team was able to do something to all our bentgrass areas. The rain we needed came just as we completed our process, over five inches since Wednesday, with more still coming. Our hope is that the greens will be completely healed by Labor Day weekend.
Greens, Tees and Approaches
The greens tees and approaches received the same prescription. They were core aerated, fertilized and topdressed. This process is very laborious but gives us the best results over the long run. Our process manages our organic matter, creates pore space, and keeps our infiltration rates high to keep our surfaces dry.
The fairways were sliced. This is a process that is very quick and low impact. It creates a opening in the soil for gas exchange and water infiltration. We have found doing this several times during the season combined with our late fall core aeration and deeptining balances the agronomic needs of our fairways and the playablity of our golf course. We will be applying an organic fertilizer to the fairways in the next few weeks to give them a little carbon based feeding at the start of fall.
This week we hope to start fall renovations to the rough. The aerovator seeder is being put on the tractor as I type. We will be aerovating, seeding and fertilizing the majority of the in play rough in the next few weeks. We will be working from the 1 inch cut out. Traffic areas that need to be sodded will be refreshed late in fall.
Thank you all for the understanding during last week's aeration. We do not like taking the golf course away from the membership, but it is a very necessary process for the long term health of the Crest.
Another summer month has pasted and we are now in August. Although the past few days have felt more like October. The golf course continues to have a healthy season. The heat has not been as relentless as in previous summers so the course has gotten a nice break along with some timely rains. The team is looking forward to more cool nights and shorter days in the near future.
In mid July we were very conservative with the greens, putting their health in front of daily conditioning. Now that the worst days of summer are behind us we have started to get the greens rolling again. We anticipate continuing this up to aeration and picking back up on it as soon as the greens heal.
The Tees and Fairways
The other bentgrass playing areas are having a great season. The changes to the agronomy program are continuing to pay dividends. We hope to keep this level of plant health and good playing conditions right into the fall.
The rough at the Crest is our weakest area of turf. July was hot and dry, causing extra stress on the rough that does not get coverage by our irrigation system. Other areas are getting worn out from traffic. As part of our fall agronomy program we will be aerovating, seeding and fertilizing most of the rough so that it can be in great shape for the fall and start of next season.
Aeration week is right around the corner and the team is looking forward to putting in some agronomy work to all our playing surfaces. Thank you for your understanding as we complete this necessary work.
The golf course is in good shape nearing the middle of July. The next few weeks of the summer are some of the most challenging to keep grass alive. Hot days and warm nights combined with frequent heavy thunderstorms create a petri dish for disease in our soils. The agronomy team has everything as healthy as possible. We are continuing to be pro-active with chemical, fertility, cultural and irrigation practices to keep things looking good until the cool nights hits in late August/early September.
There are no major updates or changes to any of the playing surfaces, so I will not bore you with a line by line update on everything being good. Generally we are dealing with the peak of summer weed pressure. As our cool season grasses are slowing their growth rate down due to summer heat, this creates void space for warm season weeds to poke out. Most of the controls we applied in the spring are working well, and we are applying herbicides to areas that have break through.
This week we have a contractor in repairing the cart paths. They are working through the course and making a slew of much needed repairs. The golf shop will be updated daily with the areas they are working on. Thank you for your patience as they create some traffic issues during your round over the upcoming days.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns with the golf course.
We are nearing the end of June and the Crest is having a great season. This week is forecasted to be nice and cool, which will help our turf going into July. The team is working on maintaining our current conditions through the long hot summer days.
The venting, verticutting and topdressing last week has helped the greens lose the algae layer that was starting to develop. The greens are getting back to putting great again. Thank you again for your patience as we completed that necessary agronomic work. We do not plan on any other disturbance until the scheduled August aeration.
A major goal of the agronomy team this year was to improve the approaches. We have taken many steps to treat them more like an extension of the putting surface. This week we continued that program by repeating the venting, verticutting and topdressing on the approaches. Because the grass is cut higher, the approaches will be fully recovered even faster.
The fairways are having a much better year then last year. It seems many of the improvements to the agronomy program that we have made are really starting to pay dividends. This week, we solid tine and applied granular fertilizers and wetting agents to spots on the fairways that traditionally struggle during the summer. These spots are a mix of high traffic areas to areas were the soils are prone to hard panning. Next week we will be applying a granular fertilizer to all the fairways to help them deal with the heat stress.
Thank you all for all your support. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
Early June Update
Philadelphia summer has set in here at the Crest the weather as quickly turned from cool and dry to hot and humid. We have already had two heat waves and it seems like there is a threat of pop up thunderstorms nightly. The maintenance team has the course ready for summer, and we hope that everyone is enjoying the Crest!
The member members are nearly complete and the team is overall pleased with the green's performance during this run of holiday weekends and events. To ensure the continued health of the greens we will be completing our next round of maintenance verticutting, venting, fertilizing and topdressing next week. I continue to get asked, "Why do we verticut and topdress our greens so frequently during the summer?" The answer is a simple the grass we have A1 A4 creeping bentgrass was bred for the hot sticky Philly summers, but it can choke itself out by growing too aggressively during the summer. This growth cause a layer in the soil, as one of my professors at Penn State called it "turf snot", that will seal off the soil and cause a bevy of problems when the days get hot. By frequently breaking this layer through mechanical abrasion we keep our grass happy and healthy all summer long.
The tee boxes have recovered nicely form the aeration the other week. You may notice a few weak areas on them. This is annual bluegrass, that is a secondary weed on our low cut playing surfaces. Because our tee boxes are so healthy we applied a herbicide to knock back this weed, and reduce its spread onto our other bentgrass surfaces.
The modifications to the fairways agronomy program seem to be working. I have had many industry colleges comment on how good our fairways look, just by the drive down Blackrock Rd. We will continue to monitor them during the heat of summer.
This summer the agronomy team will be out on hot days syringing the course. Syringing is the application of quick shots of water to cool the grass down during peak heat stress. You will see us using hoses and overhead sprinklers to cool turf off during the afternoons. Thank you for your patience as we make theses applications. We will typically be off any area in less then 3 minutes.
Course Update Mid-May 2021
The Crest is having an excellent spring season. It has been relatively dry with timely rains to keep the grass growing and helping our team with watering in different applications to the golf course. All the course accessories are out, including the blue bird houses. At the club house summer flowers are being planted and extensive work has gone into the waterfall features this spring. It is hard to believe that the member-member is just around the corner.
Our putting surfaces have been terrific this spring. The programs to improve the health, density, and ball mark recovery are working very well. We have been able to provide very good putting conditions this spring, it is always nice to hear guests from other local clubs comment on " how fast our greens are." Our program does require regular verticutting and topdressing. The agronomy team completed this practice Tuesday afternoon, along with a granular fertilizer application. With the warmer weather we expect to be back to smooth greens in just a few days. Our next scheduled agronomic practice will be a solid tine venting, verticutting, and topdressing of the greens after the member-members. Thank you for your understanding as we complete these vital programs.
The seedhead emergence of the poa anna and the need for some spring fertility has the tees looking a little off. We will be working a few tees at a time over the next two weeks to aerate, topdress and fertilize all the tee boxes. Our super agressive aeration over the past two seasons seem to be working. This year we are only looking to aerate the tee boxes 3 times, now, august, and at the end of the season.
This past week we applied an early season fertilizer to the fairways, and they are looking excellent. We have made a barrage of chemical applications to the fairways this spring including but not limited to different weed controls, insecticides, liquid fertilizers, and fungicides. The nice weather, sod patching, chemical controls, and all the cultivation practices of the past two season has the fairways primed for a great season.
Rough and fescue
During this time of year all cool season grasses go to seed. The seedheads in our fescue will be turning purple then brown into June, giving RiverCrest it's signature look. Unfortunately, this also makes the primary rough very thick for the next few weeks. Please bare with us as we do our best to keep it mowed down. Also please remember do not drive through the fescue after it has gone to seed. Once the seedhead is crushed by cart traffic it will not stand back up.
Thank you all for your continued support. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
Grass is starting to grow
The days are getting warmer and warmer, and the crest is getting better and better. The agronomy team is getting into a good rhyme. It feel like we are over half way done our big spring time push of applications, project wrap ups and program starts. Hopefully, this nice spring weather stays with us for a few more weeks.
Over the next few weeks our staff will be plucking the poa annua out of our putting greens and collars. Poa annua is a pervasive weed on our A1/A4 creeping bentgrass greens that if not aggressively manage can take over in just a few years. Hand picking every spring is a practice started by my predecessors, it is very successful. This labor intensive practice is worth it in the long run. Below is a staff member identifying and removing poa annua from number 1 green.
This is also a critical time of year for our fescue program. We are mowing all of the fescue down one last time before it begins to go to seed for the season. After it is all mowed we will apply selective herbicides to keep out the weeds.