In a blog post last week we discussed divots on fairways (Divots-Part 1 Fairways) and the growth characteristics of creeping bentgrass. This post will be about divots on tees.
To improve divot recovery on tees we have begun doing two things which we have not done in the past. The first is to add an extra amendment to the soil/sand mix used to fill divots to increase moisture and nutrient retention. The second is to have our staff fill divots on a daily basis with seed.
Because the seed needs moisture we are watering tees much more frequently. This may cause some wetter than normal conditions on the tees in the morning. We are monitoring disease activity as well to ensure the extra moisture does not cause an outbreak.
On several tees such as #3 and #4 sunlight is a challenge. There are certain turf species that are more shade tolerant than others that we will try on these areas. First we are going to be using these daily light meters to quantify how much sunlight is received at these tees compared to tee locations with plentiful sunlight.
With the success we've had using perennial ryegrass on our driving range tee we are often asked why we do not use this turf on our tees. Considering the quick germination characteristic of ryegrass it would make sense. However, ryegrass is prone to several diseases that can cause major damage in a short amount of time. These can be controlled with fungicides which we use on our driving range tee. The difference is it takes us 45 minutes to apply these materials to the driving range versus 16 man hours hours to our tees. When applying products to tees we use a spray hawk as opposed to riding the machine over them due to lack of space around the tees. Therefore the extra fungicide applications needed are very time consuming and the extra acreage of the tees compared to the driving range is cost prohibitive as well.
Besides the extra amendment added to the seed/soil mix along with daily seeding we will be trying to quantify exactly how much light is needed to grow good turf on tees. Will keep everyone updated on our efforts.