Thursday, June 16, 2016

Divots-Part I Fairways

Would like to do two posts on divots. This post will focus on fairway divots followed by one on tee divots in the near future.

A little understanding of the turfgrass plant first may be helpful. The predominant turf species on our fairways is creeping bentgrass. It is called this because of it's stoloniferous growth habit. Basically it means this species of turf has stolons which are above ground stems that spread horizontally and root at nodes. While there is vertical growth of the plants, it has a more horizontal growth feature to it. Thus it's name creeping.

A great example of this can be seen from the below photos. The first is from an irrigation head on #14 fairway that can barely be seen.

This next photos shows what it looks like after trimming.

These pictures were taken just a few minutes apart so I am unsure why my camera has given the turf a different color to it. But the golf ball was not moved so the viewer can have a reference point.

This brings us to our preferred method of divot filling here at Fieldstone. Last week a video was sent out to members showing proper divot repair. It can be seen here: USGA Divot Repair

As mention in the video the favored method is to replace the divot if it is in good shape. If not, the sand and soil bottles provided in the carts and next to the halfway house should be used. It is very important the sand/soil is filled to the top of the divot and leveled. If not the mowers will be dulled when making a pass through the mixture.

We often get asked why there is no seed in the divot mix. This is a great question. Under the most ideal situation possible bentrgrass may germinate within 7 days. This does not necessarily mean you will see the turf but rather the seed coating is broken. Under late Spring and Summer conditions this timing could be pushed all the way to 21 days. During the Spring and Summer we make pre-emergent herbicide applications for grassy weeds such as crab and goose grass. This same pre-emergent also prevents the creeping bentgrass seed from germinating.

Another challenge we encounter is the accidental filling of divots in the rough with creeping bentgrass seed. Our preferred turf species in these areas is Turf Type Tall Fescue. Any bentgrass seed that germinates and grows in the rough makes for a very difficult surface to play out of.

During the growing season we apply a plant growth regulator on a bi-weekly basis which slows vertical growth and promotes lateral growth of the bentgrass. This actually helps the bentgrass to fill in divots. However, it also slows any new seedlings that may germinate.

A big thank you to everyone who properly replaces and/or fills in their divots and others. It makes a HUGE difference in the condition of the course.

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