Sowing The Seeds Of Success

Turf grass-maintenance programs vary greatly from region to region, depending on soil types and turf grass species.

Proper turf grass maintenance is important at a golf course.

The following maintenance program is based on native clay soil fairways/tee boxes and sand-based greens with TifGreen 328 Bermudagrass species at the Mesquite Golf Club in Mesquite, Texas. The golf club received the 2010 Texas Turfgrass Association Golf Course Renovation Award for its maintenance program.

This program is designed to produce an aesthetically pleasing course that is safe for all participants.

Soil Testing

The first step to any good maintenance program is to take soil samples from the course. These samples should be from various locations, and each portion of the course, such as tees, greens, and fairways, should have its own sample since soil types and nutrient levels vary greatly.

Once the results are in, you will have a starting point for the program. Make sure to run additional tests one or two more times throughout the growing season to ensure a fertility program is producing the desired results.

Fertilization

Fertilization is an important key to any turf grass program, but can cause problems if applications are not properly calculated according to soil-test results. Mesquite’s golf club applies a 21-21-0 with Boron in June and July, and a 20-5-10 in April and October on tee boxes and fairways at a rate of 1.25 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. The nitrogen is in a 50-percent Sulfur-Coated-Urea, slow-release form.

A 16-16-16 mixture is applied on all greens once a month at a rate of .75 to 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. The nitrogen is in a 75-percent Nutralene form. In addition, a monthly application of 12-0-0 liquid iron provides an attractive dark-green color without the excess growth.

Mowing/Rolling

Mowing frequencies and heights are dictated by the turf grass type of the facility and the portion of the course being maintained. Mesquite’s mowing program is based on the turf grass, and the mowing height is 5/8 inches on the fairways, 3/8 inches on the tees, and 5/32 inches on the greens.

Tee boxes are mowed three times per week, while fairways and greens are mowed daily. Mowing patterns are alternated each mowing cycle to eliminate the development of grain and to provide a nice striping pattern throughout the course.

Sharpness of blades is critical, regardless of mowing equipment, such as reels, flails, or rotary.

One of the most critical pieces of equipment is the vibratory roller (for the greens), which allows maintenance workers to skip mowing in stressful conditions, and provides a smooth and fast ball-roll on the greens. The golf club’s greens average around 10 on the stimp meter, which is very fast for TifGreen 328.

Water Conservation

As an industry, all maintenance programs tend to apply more water than is actually needed to produce a healthy stand of turf grass. This golf course is currently on a central control system, which allows for monitoring flow, controlling watering from a central office, and receiving daily run reports on the systems.

This system will actually shut water off if something is operating improperly and then send a report to the office for repair.

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