I would have to say I will remember 2016 but not in a good way. This was one of the most trying years I have had in my 32 years in the golf course business. Mother Nature had its way with us this past season.
We ended 2015 with 20 inches of rain in November and December. We had 5 inches of rain in April. In May we had 6 inches of rain. Hot and dry in June with temperatures in the mid to upper 90’s. July was the 9th wettest on record with 8.22 inches and hot. August was the 4th wettest on record with 10.23 inches. From July through September we had 27 inches of rain. We also had the 2nd warmest fall on record. The biggest problem that happened was we had the 4th hottest low temperatures in the past 122 years in July and August. You might ask what the big deal is. Normally at night it cools down to upper 60’s to mid 70’s in the summer. That gives the turfgrass plant time to catch its breath. We stayed in the mid to upper 80’s for lows. Roots for cool season turf will not grow when temperatures are above 86 degrees. The cool season turf did not get a break it was under severe stress 24/7.The weather was the big news but we also had another year of Nematodes along with the hot wet summer. I came into 2016 to get control of the Nematode problem we had in 2015. I went on a Nematode control program. The problem was the product I was using did not make it down to the Nematodes. It got caught up in the thatch and never made it to the roots. With the hot wet summer and Nematodes we lost turf on greens 4, 5, 8, 10, 11, 12, 14 and 15. We lost some of our surrounds on holes 2, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17. After the turf loss in Mid July I began to overseed our greens with the latest Bentgrass variety. We over seeded the greens that were hurt the most 3 times. All other greens were seeded just once. We took plugs from our putting green and plugged some of the bigger voids. We also used sod off of the white tee on # 9 and fixed some of the collars. The green surrounds that were lost we sodded with new cool season turf. This winter I plan to attend a seminar on Nematodes at the Golf Industry Show. The seminar is being put on by Dr. Crow from University of Florida the expert on Nematodes. I am going to get some insight on how to control this pest. Nematodes have always been a problem in the southeast. Over the past few years it has become more common in the Midwest. It has become a big enough problem that the University of Missouri is going to be doing some research on Nematodes next year.
Nematode feeding on a root.
With all the issues we had in 2016 we still accomplished many things. We laser leveled 7different tee boxes. 1 red/gold, 3 black, 5 blue, 6 white, 9 white, 12 white and 14 gold/red. We removed a number of dead trees. Big Elm tree on # 1 rough, Bradford Pear at Clubhouse front entrance, Pin Oak at west side of Clubhouse, Big Maple tree # 5, 2 Cypress trees # 6, Hickory tree # 9. We also limb up trees on holes 1, 2, 4, and 8. We cut growth back on all of our wooded areas on hole 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 17 and 18. We fixed drainage that was clogged up by tree roots on holes 3 and 4. With the help from the Villa’s we were able to get some much needed clearing done at 12 green and 13 tees. This will bring some much need air flow down to 12 green. This cost the club $0.00. All these projects were done along with maintaining the golf course through one of the wettest summers on record.
The biggest blessing for my staff and I was the approval to rebuild our bunkers and to get some much needed drainage done. The bunkers on holes 8, 10, 11, 13, 14, and 16 are completed and they look fantastic. We have holes 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 18 left. We are also fixing cart paths along with drainage on holes 9 and 10 to be complete yet. We have a number of holes we are going to install French drains to help remove standing water in fairways and dry up some low areas. We seem to be in a raining pattern at this time. Not sure when Schaefer-Meyer will be back to get started on the front nine bunkers and cart paths. We have had 2 rain events on the new bunkers on the back and we have had no washouts. I can't wait to see all bunkers completed.
# 10 bunkers
2017 is already looking better. Our bunkers will be new. New drainage will be installed. New cart paths will be installed on holes 9 and 10. We have plans to level more tees. More sod work will be done on a number of our green surrounds. We will continue our tree maintenance on the rest of course we did not get to last season. We will over seed our greens in the fall. We have new equipment coming in, that will help us maintain our course. 2017 looks pretty good.