July Letter from Matt Corbridge, Director of Grounds
Golf Course Grounds Updates
In stark contrast to the extremely wet May we just got through, June gave us plenty of excellent golfing weather. The past several weeks have seen warmer temperatures, sunny days, low humidity, and plenty of wind. All of these factors add up to a golf course that’s firmed up nicely and greens that are rolling quickly, especially for this early in the summer.
At Blue Hill, our main goal is to produce greens that are fast and roll true. One way to achieve this is to keep the greens as dry as possible – we minimize water inputs by utilizing targeted hand watering guided by the use of moisture meters. Another effective strategy to increase greens speed is to lower the height of cut when mowing the turf. As club championship nears each season, golf courses all over the US drop their greens heights in order to pick up greens speed. Last season we carried a HOC of 0.125” through most of the season and got down to 0.112” during the tournament. In an attempt to maintain faster speeds for more of the season, allowing golfers to become more comfortable on quicker greens for a longer time prior to the tournament, we are currently mowing at 0.110” and aim to keep that height for the entire summer.
As planned, we recently removed the overgrown and unsightly hedges along the entrance of the golf course, behind Woodlands eight green. We then removed rocks, old cement gate anchors, and other debris from the soil there, added some new topsoil and wood chips, and transplanted some ornamental grasses to make the entrance more appealing. These grasses will protect the road from errant tee shots, will be attractive from the road, and require considerably less maintenance on a year-to-year basis than the hedges.
We made our final preventative herbicide application to the golf course for crabgrass in June, as well. So far, we are seeing greater control than in the past couple of seasons. These preventative applications, along with a denser stand of turf, should keep us weed free throughout the growing season and provide us a better jump on the next season going into 2019.
Please keep up your diligent repair of ball marks on greens, filling of fairway and tee divots with the divot mix provided in your golf carts and on par 3 tee boxes. With your help, this will be a great summer at Blue Hill!