Thursday, July 20, 2017

Today will be the beginning of a very stressful 4 day stretch at Victoria National.  We will make a daily decision on what is best for the players, staff and golf course in regards to cart traffic.  

With minimal rainfall and our average high temperature well above 90°, our team has worked diligently to maintain championship caliber conditions for our members and guests.  During prolong heat and drought stress the plant declines in turf quality that is associated with root growth, photosynthesis, carbohydrate accumulations (Salts), and turgidity of the plant. The next 30 days will be crucial for the agronomy department in maintaining turf health.  By minimize this stress at the right time can ensure healthy turf for the remainder of the season, we may have to make the decision  of keeping carts on paths between the hours of 1:00p.m.-5:00p.m. or simply keep carts ON paths for the entire day.  To combat this stress, the Agronomy Dept. does our part as well by mowing everything that we can before 10a.m. and focuses on hand-watering the next 6-8 hours of the day.  We also ask our staff to leave their carts under a tree where applicable and pull the 100’ hose up and down the  entire fairway to minimize addition traffic on the course.  This hose when full of water weighs approx.. 100 lbs.    Cart traffic is always our last option.   Wear damage caused by vehicles can be influenced by the speed of travel, the amount of stopping, starting, turning, and the amount of moisture in the soil.  Wear symptoms include leaf tissue matting and a subsequent exposure of underlying thatch. With additional traffic, leaf blades become bruised.  The ruptured cells eventually give turf a dark, water-soaked appearance. Wilt sets in as water is lost from the leaves, eventually causing a loss of chlorophyll and cell death.  This is accentuated when we have minimal areas for carts to enter and exit the fairways combined with the lack of moisture.  In Lehman’s terms:  It’s asking someone who is in the middle of running a marathon to run sprints with no water.  The past 45 days we have received 2.6” of rain with nearly half falling in a 3 day stretch.  Our average moisture should be 7” at this same interval.

 By minimizing the cart traffic in the afternoon or the entire day we will be benefiting the turf by not adding additional stress.   Simply scattering cart traffic throughout the season will also reduce the amount of stress put on the turf. Please continue to fill divots on tees/ fairway and remove pelts as they will not grow back during the summer.   If you have any questions regarding this decision please feel free to call me directly, my cellphone 317-654-4913

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