As the snow disappears with this week’s significant weather warm-up, the greens department team remains busy with preparations for the 2021 golf season.
Despite a warmer than usual winter through December and January, February was a cold month with the frost settling well into the ground. It is crucial that the frost has left the ground prior to many spring tasks being completed, to avoid injury to the turf. Although we are currently experiencing a warming trend, it is still early March and the chance of returning to colder temperatures remains a strong possibility.
Each winter a total of nine greens are tarped, some due to flooding concerns and others for protection from shade and ice accumulation. This week the greens department team will be removing any residual snow and ice from the tarps, then removing the tarps themselves from the putting surfaces. Although winter and snow may return, the risk of leaving tarps on the greens is of great concern during the warmer days.
The disappearance of snow allows for more flexibility with our equipment to complete tasks of finishing off tree work, minor sod projects and the preliminary stages of course clean up. This final stretch of favourable weather, before the mowing and other cultural practices begin enables us to further prepare for a strong golf season.
Once weather conditions have made a more consistent change to spring, the soil temperatures must increase to allow the turfgrass plants to resume growth. Similar to the end of last golf season, with stretches of great weather but cooler soil temperatures, growth does not occur and recovery from traffic is not possible. Any resulting damage would be something that would be visible through the majority of the 2021 golf season, and create less than favourable playing conditions. It is imperative that the turf is actively growing prior to the course opening each year as this could lead to turf decline and potential loss.
The main risks of river flooding appear to be behind us, with the Credit River clear of ice and blockages and currently quite low. As the snow has melted, I am pleased to report that the turf appears quite healthy, leading to a promising start to the upcoming season.
4th Hole Fence
Last week we installed a visibility barrier behind the 4th green, stretching towards the short game area. This alteration will allow for a more consistent appearance behind the green. As we move through the season, we may complete additional areas using the same material. The fence behind the driving range, adjacent to Old Carriage Road, being a likely choice.
As the warmer weather arrives the greens staff are busy completing many tasks and responsibilities to get the golf course open for play as soon as possible while being mindful of turf conditions and sustained success.
I look forward to seeing more people enjoying the golf course as the weather improves for outdoor activities. We patiently await the weather making the final turn to spring-like conditions, and the beginning of the 2021 golf season; a welcome relief during a challenging stretch this winter and off-season.
If you have any questions about these topics, or anything else, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Course and Property Manager