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    Superb Golf

A Hot, Dry Summer...

by Adam Sando, Assistant Superintendent

I hope that everyone is enjoying the golf season! With cooler daytime temps and recent rainfall the golf course is feeling a bit of relief from a very hot and dry summer. As we transition into fall the golf course will begin to heal from the stress of drought conditions.

One of the major issues we’ve dealt with this season is battling fungal infections on our greens. This is rare for our location, fungal issues typically happen in areas where humidity levels are constantly elevated. There are several environmental factors that contribute to infections, making it difficult to know exactly why it developed.

The irregularities and indentations that you may have noticed on the greens are the remnants of a fungal disease. When it was identified as a disease we immediately sent samples into the CSU plant diagnostics lab to confirm the prognosis and began a preventative treatment with fungicide applications on the greens to slow further development.

The infection on our greens has been identified as leaf spot and melting-out. Melting-out is a two stage infection. The first symptoms are leaf blight with a yellowing appearance on the leaf blade. The second part of the infection moves into the crown and root system of the plant and ultimately causes loss of turf.

We are now at a point where the infection has been contained and we are beginning some aggressive cultural practices to smooth the surfaces of the greens. First, we will begin by vertical cutting the greens at a depth that borders on grading. Second, a light topdress will be applied on the entire surface of the green and a heavier topdress on the affected area. Finally, a drop seeder will be used to over seed the affected areas promoting new growth.

For the remainder of the season we will continually apply light topdressings on the greens to even out the surface. The spring of 2019 we will use tighter spacing on our aerification equipment in the affected areas to remove ample material and create openings for vegetative growth. The process of smoothing the surface of the greens will take time but they will make marked improvements in the weeks to come.

As always the maintenance staff appreciates your patience and understanding!

DiNapoli set to Follow in the Footsteps of Golfing Greats

by Suzi Mitchell

Eleven-year-old, Michael DiNapoli who calls Haymaker his home course is about to follow in the footsteps of Tiger Woods and Ernie Els. Like both golfing greats once did, Michael earned a spot in The Optimist International Junior Golf Championship, which will be played on July 17-22, at the PGA National Resort and Spa in Florida. Six hundred and sixty junior golfers from 30 nations will be there, staking a claim on the winning title.

In May, Michael was in Boulder for a soccer game, when his Dad, Mike and golf coach Andrew Donner, Director of Instruction at Haymaker, suggested he enter a golf tournament being staged by the Junior Golf Alliance of Colorado at Aurora Hills Golf Course. It was Michael’s third ever tournament.

It was a qualifier for the Optimist event but the intention was simply to give Michael some exposure to competitive play. He tied for 4thplace, and earned a spot in the 12-13 year age bracket, plus $500 towards the $3,000 it will cost to make the trip. “Its an amazing opportunity,” says Andrew, who has been helping the DiNapolis plan and raise funds.

“I’m nervous and excited at the same time,” says Michael, who can be found on the Haymaker practice range four days a week, fine tuning his talent. He is hoping his favorite club – the putter – will not let him down. “Everything happens on the green,” he says. He will be one of the youngest players in his division, due to when his birthday falls in July, and will play against competitors hailing from Argentina to Thailand.

No doubt this humble Haymaker junior will embrace the challenge with his trademark smile and sportsmanship. “I am so grateful to my Dad for getting me into golf (he started in his backyard at age three), he’s my favorite person to play with and I am thankful to coach Andrew,” Michael says.

Onward to the 2018 Golf Season

by Adam Sando, Assistant Superintendent

I would like to extend a welcome back to all golfers for the 2018 season. The Haymaker is in great early season shape thanks to the hard work of our maintenance staff.

I would like to start by addressing the most commonly asked question this time of year; “What’s up with the greens”?  Every season we begin aerification on the greens ASAP.  No other process on the course receives more scrutiny and ire than aerification.  It goes without saying that this cultural practice is aggressive and has an undesirable effect on the surface of the greens.  It’s difficult to convey to players that the long term benefits of the process far outweigh the temporary inconvenience but I promise you that this process is the most critical step to guarantee that Haymaker’s greens continue to thrive for years to come. 

Why aerify?

  • Allows water to move into the soil profile more efficiently
  • Increases the space available for oxygen to enter the green, this promotes healthy roots early and prepares the greens for heavy traffic and maintenance
  • Removal of organic matter from the upper profile of the green. At Haymaker our greens are USGA standard putting greens built upon a sand base.  We continually remove the organic matter from the upper portion of the green and fill the voids with topdress sand to keep the organic levels in check.  When organic levels increase the thatch layer can act as a sponge holding moisture and creating a potential for disease.
  • And finally, aerification alleviates compaction caused by traffic from both maintenance practices and play throughout the golf season. This also softens the surface allowing them to be more receptive to approach shots.

Where are we now and what’s the next steps for the greens?

Every season the greens react differently to aerification.  Most of this has to do with a combination of weather and nutrient recovery/overlap from seasons past.  Our approach to nutrition is not on a whim but rather is calculated and planned from a soil analysis that’s done every season to see what we do or do not lack as far as micro and macro nutrients are concerned.  What this means is that when the greens wake up from a winters’ nap we feed them exactly what they require to put them in an optimum state for growth and recovery.  This season what we seemed to lack from said combination was that soil temps did not climb as quickly as we would have liked.  Now that soil temps are on the rise and the bentgrass is fed, the greens are beginning to fill in nicely and growth has taken off.

The next step for the greens is a gradual lowering of the mowing height and our first vertical cutting. At the moment our greens are at our highest height which is .187” or 3/16”.  On Saturday morning the mowers will be lowered to .171” or 11/64”.  The following Saturday,6/2, our greens mowers will be brought down to our target height for the summer months of .156” or 5/32”. The lowering of the greens mowers in combination with scheduled rolling will dramatically increase the rolling distance of your putt (greens speed) and also provide a smooth and uniform surface.

Our first vertical cutting of the greens will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week 5/29 and 5/30.  This will also help get a clean clip on the greens and even out the surface.  If you are interested in reading about the vertical cutting process at Haymaker it is posted on Turf Talk from 2017.

Our goal every season is to afford customers at Haymaker an opportunity to play quality and consistent greens. The month of May is always a bit frustrating for both players and the maintenance staff as we all want the greens to recover quickly.  In short time we’ll be there and you can bet that that 10 foot left to righter will do exactly what you read. 

Stay tuned for upcoming plans and projects in the month of June.

Haymaker Golf Course
34855 US-40 East
Steamboat Springs, CO 80487