The wet spring we experienced this year created a few problems as we prepared the turf for the heat of summer. Constant rains create lazy plants. Soils stay saturated and the grass plant doesn't have to do any work. The root system remains shallow and weak as the plant gets what it needs close to the surface. Ideally the soil is allowed to dry and the grass plant sends roots downwards into the soil as it searches for water. This creates a deep rooting system, with strong summer hardy turf, capable of standing up to the summers stresses such as heat and drought. This year we had no choice but to head into summer with a less than ideal root system in place.
As things got dry and hot quickly in June we had many areas in the fairways begin to show signs of stress. An outbreak in disease (anthracnose) became wide spread into July and seemed to resist everything we threw at it. We applied wetting agent to help improve soil conditions, we applied granular and liquid fertilizers to try and boost turf health, and finally we had to apply a fungicide. This seemed to slow the disease down, but not completely eradicate it. The hot and extremely dry weather just seemed to never end and it was taking it's toll on our fragile turf.
|Anthracnose 9th Fairway July 17|
Smoke. Lots of it. For days. Weeks. Not only is there a serious health concern for those spending a great deal of time outside (golf course workers) but it left us with some unusual and unpredictable growing conditions. The smoke seemed to create a "dome effect" where it trapped moisture and reduced sunlight intensity. The result was a very slow evaporation of moisture from the soil and a flush in turf growth. We struggled to dial in our irrigation needs, as the forecast still called for temperatures in excess of 35C but only would get up to 29C or 30C. Each night we turned down the irrigation run times, and each day the course seemed to get wetter and wetter. What was going on? We've never had to deal with weeks of continuous thick smoke like this before. After a few days we just turned the irrigation completely off. In Early August we went 4 nights in a row with out running the irrigation system and 7 nights without irrigating greens. This is pretty unprecedented for August in Kamloops.
|August 2nd - Widespread Smoke|
|August 6th - Moisture Rentention (dew)|
|August 10th - Flush of Growth (clippings)|
|Spraying 14th Green in Preparation for The Sunshine Open|
With all these challenges we faced this year we were still able to adapt and provide a golf course that was in good conditions throughout the tough and strange summer. Our limited staff worked tirelessly to keep things looking and playing great right through the hottest, driest and smokey-est summer, and I am proud of what we were able to accomplish. We are truly lucky to have such talented and dedicated staff caring for the golf course. Thanks everyone! 2017 will certainly be a memorable year!
|2017 Kamloops Golf and Country Club Turf Care Team|