Golf Course Management

SEP 2018

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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68 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 09.18 renovations are the exact opposite, as the ber- mudagrass established in the summer is now growing at its lowest rate in December/Janu - ary and must persist through tremendous usage with high expectations and little to no growth/recovery. Another component of renovation is the green construction technique, which can en - tail simply applying a soil sterilant to existing greens — assuming drainage is adequate — and then seeding into the mat layer (2), or re - quire a complete reconstruction of green sites and surrounds. For the latter, the construc - tion time depends on the labor on the site. In- creased labor means increased costs but also a shorter construction period and a quicker return to the golf course following establish - ment. Clearly, this involves advance planning by the superintendent and the club, and reser - vations for work crews must be made months or years in advance, particularly now, when so many courses are undergoing renovations. Interseeding Two common questions that arise during renovation discussions involve either seeding into existing greens to change species or sod - ding greens after surface preparation. Both of these approaches are attempts to avoid shutting down the golf course or, at the very least, to shorten the shutdown. In the case of interseeding bentgrass, there have been nu - merous studies and anecdotal evidence of ef- forts to determine an appropriate conversion method. To date, no research has shown that interseeding is an effective method of species conversion. Most results show no increase or increases of 1% to 2% over a two-year trial pe - riod (3, 11). It can be argued that continuing interseeding for five years or more could result in exponential increases in a turf species, but even then the time frame is lengthy and the conversion is far from complete. Reasons for the lack of success revolve around competition and establishment. e competition between the new seedlings and mature plants — and any other seed, like annual bluegrass — is dis - advantageous to the seedling in terms of water and nutrient availability. Combine this with a daily mowing height designed for a mature turfgrass stand, and the reasons for failure be - come clear. Sodding Sodding greens with creeping bentgrass is also an option, but you cannot broach this subject without forethought. For every sod - ding success, there is a sodding failure. Instant green does not mean instant playing quality, and superintendents should not count on any - thing beyond adequate playing quality during the first year. e first issue to consider is the quality of the sod to be installed. e soil harvested with the sod must be compatible with the existing root zone of the greens. Anything short of this will require core cultivation beyond normal procedures for three to four years (6). e sod may be washed free of any soil before it comes to the course, but the sod farm must be ca - pable of carrying out this procedure (most are not), and the sod will require significant time for new root establishment, as all of the roots will have been washed off before sod installa - tion. erefore, golfer expectations should be even lower. Another quality factor is age/con - dition of sod — primarily the condition of the thatch/mat layer. e mat layer on a putting green is modified with sand topdressing to provide a smooth surface. e sod farm may have topdressed — again, the material needs to be compatible — but often this has not been done, and the superintendent is expected to topdress the sod. is is not a problem, but it may take up to six months — the major - Installing new sod can be a faster and more effective way of replacing the existing turf if the quality, age and condition of the sod are optimal and the soil harvested with the sod is compatible with the root zone of the existing green . Photos by J.N. Rogers

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