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Golf Course Notification
The golf season of 2018 will be remembered by superintendents across the Mid-Atlantic as one of the wettest and most challenging years in memory. As fall arrives, growing conditions have not improved. While fall is usually a time for turf recovery, this fall is proving the opposite as many turf areas continue to decline. Saturated soil conditions persist, humidity levels are high, and disease pressure remains constant. Many courses throughout the region have experienced record-setting rainfall, as this year rain was measured in inches, not tenths of inches.
Disease outbreaks of dollar spot, gray leaf spot, and brown patch are being widely reported. Because of all the rain and favorable disease conditions, fungicides are less effective, causing many to re-apply more often. Furthermore, saturated soils make it very challenging to get a spray rig on the course or even complete the most basic daily mowing tasks. Saturated soils do not allow proper air- exchange in the soil, creating an anaerobic environment for plant roots. Likewise, these conditions increase turf’s vulnerability to any type of traffic, even regular daily play.
Because of these challenges, many playing surfaces were compromised throughout the year, and in most cases this turf loss is a combination of factors that are beyond the control of course managers. Even where all necessary and feasible adjustments were made to protect the playing surfaces, losing turf during 2018 has simply proven inevitable. And as the year comes to an end, it is possible some areas will need further attention in spring 2019, as the fall “window” for recovery is closing. In fact, in many areas the recovery “window” was never open because of the poor weather.
Superintendents always want to provide playing conditions that are the best for our golfing community. This year was an extreme example of weather dictating certain golf course management practices. Even if the weather cooperates for the rest of fall, it will take time to put courses back together. Please remain patient.
Thank you for your time and consideration regarding this matter.
Chase Rogan, M.S.
Field Staff, Mid-Atlantic Regional Representative GCSAA