Summer is closing in on us and it means busy days and hot weather. As we start to reach temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius both golf courses will start showing signs of heat stress. Our elaborate irrigation is capable of covering both courses with hundreds of thousands of gallons of water nightly. Every maintained square foot of turf sees water daily, sometimes it is simply not enough to compensate for the amount of water lost by the plant in these hot days. You will see areas along the edges of holes and around greens beginning to show heat stress in these prolonged periods of hot, arid weather. This is unavoidable if we are to keep the low-cut playing areas from becoming over saturated. Our irrigation technician and staff run portable sprinklers on these areas in the day to try and combat these conditions. It is very important when playing to try and avoid driving in these areas with your power carts, as it may take weeks for the cart tracks to recover from the damage.
We are known for having firm, true putting surfaces on both courses during our peak season (June-September) with green speeds averaging around 9 on the stimp meter. This may change for an event, but are generally maintained at these consistent levels. To obtain these conditions it means not over watering greens. Both golf courses have single heads around the green responsible for irrigating not only the green surface but the surrounding grasses. Both grass types (Bent grass greens and Bluegrass/Perennial ryegrass fringes, primary cut and rough) require different amounts of daily irrigation, so to avoid over watering the putting surface it means decreasing the overall water amounts which can burn up some green surrounds. Since the greens profiles are 12 to 14” of sand, different areas on the greens will percolate at different speeds causing small dry areas to form. The sand can even start to repel water causing hydrophobic conditions that require hand watering to elevate. The grounds crew is constantly hand applying water to these troublesome areas to avoid having to turn up water times and effect other areas of the putting surface. We use a tool called the pogo to probe the green surfaces and transmit data to our cell phones giving information such as moisture content, P.H., and canopy temperature. This data is used as a guide for predicting wet/dry areas in the greens and allows us to treat them accordingly. Our overall goal is to maintain our putting greens to desired conditions giving quality and consistent greens every day in hot summer weather.
As we approach a hopefully very hot and sunny summer golf season please keep in mind the grass is as hot as you are and can’t simply grab a cold beverage to cool off! If we could all do are part and keep traffic off hot/dry areas we will all have better playing conditions for the entire season. Stay hydrated out there!
Superintendent, Copper Point Golf Club