The great March weather has the golf course in super shape and playing very nicely. The normal dry March weather has the fairways a little dry, but firm, and the ball is rolling out, which is always a good thing. We have nice definition between the fairway cut and the rough. The greens are firming up and are rolling true and as fast as they have all year.
Our tournament schedule was full in March with three big events. We had the Ladies’ Invitational, the Men’s Invitational, and the Club Championships (scheduled for this week) all in March.
We had our biggest field ever for the Men’s Invitational this year with 120 players. This is our “Big Event” and our chance to show off our course. We pushed the greens a little to get the speed up and Mother Nature gave us perfect weather for the Men’s Invitational. During the week of the Men’s Invitational, we increased our mowing frequency on tees, fairways, and greens to get that “tournament look” and playability. Tees and fairways were mowed five times instead of three the week of the tournament. The greens were mowed and rolled 20 times instead of about 12 over the course of the week. The increased mowing frequency along with heavy attention to detail work had the course in great shape for our big event.
I had a few questions about why we speed up the greens for the Men’s Invitational and why can’t we have the greens at that speed all the time. Our Men’s Invitational, along with all private clubs’ Member Guest events, is the “Big Event” of the year. I have always tried to take the course to the next level for the Member Guest Event. All of the superintendents that I network with do very similar routines to get their courses in tournament shape.
We plan our maintenance routine daily, weekly, and monthly and prepare the course to peak for the tournament. We increase mowing frequencies and lower the HOC (Height of Cut) as needed to get desired conditions. I also stay in daily contact with Tom Yeager, our Head Pro, and Members of the Green Committee and Board who are playing in the event to make sure we are not pushing the conditions too far. Obviously, we cannot double-cut and double-roll the greens every day because they would fail (die). Hopefully this has answered some of your questions about the course conditions for our Men’s Invitational.
April 3 and 17: Top-dressing and fertilizer on greens
April 17: Hydro-jetting greens
Every Monday in April and Monday and Tuesday in May: Vertical Mowing on Greens.
We increase our vertical mowing depths every 7 to 14 days. In May, we will start to circle vertical mow the greens.