Contributed By: Tom Carew, Course Superintendent
While December and January are classed as winter months, air and soil temperatures felt more like good spring weather. With air temperatures of 14 degrees and soil temperatures of 10 degrees, the grass on all areas of the golf course was certainly growing in December and the first few weeks of January.
The weather has been fantastic for golfers and golf clubs. I have worked in Craddockstown for 14 years and it is the first Christmas period ever where we never lost a day’s golf because of frost, snow, or rain. So it is certainly global warming at its best.
Normally in December, we would be concentrating on pathways, bunker edging, tee box renovations etc. But December 18 and January 19 has been slightly different. With conditions being so dry we have been cutting greens more often, same with tees, and fairways. All of the rough had to be cut in early December and January another first for the club.
While the weather has been fantastic these soil and air temperatures are not ideal during short days in December/ January. Where you have annual meadow grass and these temperatures plus high humidity at night these are ideal conditions for the spread of Fusarium Patch. Unfortunately, I got really hit badly on our 13th green at the Christmas period. With so few plant protection products available to treat this disease, it is an issue going forward and unless you have the appropriate grasses in place you are certainly going to suffer. Having spoken to many greenkeepers around the country Fusarium patch was a major issue in December.
Verti-draining of fairways has been ongoing in January, and we concentrated on some walkways also. This is a very worthwhile process relieving compaction and improving infiltration rates. It took two full weeks to do all of our fairways.
Our new construction work has been coming on great we are currently cutting our new green which was re-turfed on a weekly basis with weekly topdressing of sand. The newly seeded fairway has also benefitted from the kind winter so far.
Let’s hope the spring weather is kind to all golf clubs in 2019 with some much play over the last eight weeks the course will need some quick recovery. Tees, walkways and greens are getting serious wear. We really need the temperatures we got last December in March!!