Early Spring Grounds Update

April 20, 2010

As I stated when the course opened in mid-March, I couldn’t be happier with turf conditions considering the time of year.  This past weekend was the opening week for  regular players and the Hilldale men’s club.  Green speeds were fairly quick for an early date…stimped at 9.25′ on Sun. morning.  Soil conditions are much drier than normal for mid-April, which I’m sure anyone who played the golf course recently could attribute.  I’m hesitant to use the irrigation system too much this early for a couple specific reasons: ponds and groundwater are extremely diluted with salt run-off from roads this past winter (obviously due to the heavy amount of snow we experienced).  I’m in the process right now of pumping water out of the irrigation pond on hole #10 into the ponds on holes #6 and #13.  Also, dry soil conditions in the spring will produce a much stronger turfgrass root system compared to wet or even overly moist conditions.  A light irrigation was applied to the greens on Sat. evening (4/17), with another to follow this evening (4/20) to prevent plant wilt and extremely hard conditions.  To touch a bit further on watering practices, I have stated in the past that firm conditions will produce a much better putting surface over soft/spongy ones.  At Hilldale, a strong emphasis is placed on fine putting greens, so in order to keep consistently quick speeds and ballmark damage to a minimum, it is necessary to lean towards firm if weather conditions permit.

A couple other items of interest, the north tee on #13 has been modified since last fall.  We raised the tee about 4 feet to get a better view of the green and surrounding area, and at the same time leveled the surface to eliminate the slight downhill slope of the old tee.  It is my hope to have the tee playable by the weekend of May 8th and 9th,  although yet to be determined.  A slight facelift is also being planned for the back tee on #4.  Again, leveling off and straightening are the primary goals. 

Hope to see you out on the course soon, 

Bryan Widmer, CGCS