Dear Spring Run Members,
I feel it is important at this time to take a moment and let you know the status of the golf course conditions and the efforts underway to address concerns about it. First and foremost, please know that the staff is working hard to determine the reasons for decline in certain areas, especially at the practice facility. The recent cold spells have really knocked the stand of turf back considerably, as Bermuda grass hibernates when the nighttime temperatures average 55 degrees F or less. This has been going on for periods of time at a stretch since mid-December. The grass never has a chance to get back into growth mode before it is forced to shut down again. When the usually hearty turf stops growing, negative effects from other factors begin to show up.
I have complete confidence in Ben Hanshew as our Golf Course Superintendent. I have managed Superintendents for 25 years, and I can tell you that Ben is second to none. He is dedicated, knowledgeable, and proactive. He has the resources he needs to address any issues that come up. He has reached out to vendors and fellow superintendents for assistance with testing and advice. While we have gotten some good suggestions, no one has said that the course is being mismanaged in any way. Everyone agrees that chemical and nutritional measurements are all in line, and we need to try some new procedures that might get to the bottom of it.
Every course deals with mole crickets, nematodes, Pythium, and other fungus and pesky pests intent on destroying the turf for their own benefit. Thankfully, our pest levels are low due to proactive applications to control them. The course isn’t hungry. Ben has implemented a very aggressive fertilization program to feed the turf. And fungus is just something you have to fix when it occurs, due to various weather conditions. I feel confident the appropriate measures are being implemented as best management practices. So while some other undiscovered issue may be at play, we are doing what normally needs to be done to maintain 92 acres of turf to USGA standards.
This past week, Ben has needle-tined the practice green, with nearly immediate positive results. Aerification gets oxygen to the roots, resulting in incredible proof of growth. He sprayed a flushing agent on all the greens, which begins to bind various organic chemicals, including sodium bicarbonate, in advance of a “flush” of the greens, which will eliminate most of the nutrients, but also any potentially hidden damaging elements. We will immediately replenish nutrients following the flush. Please know that we are consulting with others who successfully employ this procedure on a regular basis with very positive results.
Finally, we are locating the “blowout vents” that were installed in each green when they were rebuilt. We will force oxygen through the network of pipes under each green, permeating the roots of the turf and encouraging immediate growth as it migrates to the surface. This is a novel procedure, but one we would like to incorporate on a regular basis.
While we anticipate that these procedures will be effective, I can assure you of what will be…warm weather and a little rain!
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
9 thoughts on “Golf Course Conditions, Efforts & Concerns”
Thank you for all you have done to keep our club in top notch shape during a very challenging year.
Sent from my iPhone Jmlowrie@comcast 804-382-1323
You’re welcome Mr Lowrie. It seems like every season presents it’s own unique challenges, but we always work through them. This year won’t be any different!
Ben and his Maintenance Staff should be complemented by the Spring Run Members for their hard work and determination to make our course one of the best conditioned courses around. They cannot control the uncommonly low temperatures that we have had for close to two months. Bermuda grass stops growing when the temperature is below 60 degrees. Our conditions will improve when the weather gets warmer.
I’ll pass along your thoughts Mr Butler. Looking forward to a warming trend this week!
Mike, I think there is one other thing to point out. Many of our owners here at Spring Run are “Snow-Birds” and in the spring and summer they probably play golf up north on bent grass in the peak growing season there. What they seem to forget is that while they are here in Florida in the peak tourism season, it is our worst season as far as temperatures for grass to grow. This is also the time of year when we experience the highest play on our golf course. Now consider the length of this current cold spell along with no rain. As Ben has pointed out to me, the only water our course is getting is from ground water in our ponds which has a higher level of salinity which is not great for growing our strain of Bermuda.
With the warmer weather and hopefully some rain, we will see a marked improvement in March.
Spot on Mr Corso. I’ll remember to make that point going forward. Thank you
I’ve been playing a few other courses this season. I come back here to play at Spring Run and always notice our course sure seems to be in much better condition. THANK YOU to all of the staff. This has been a much cooler and WINDY season to be dealt with along with the virus issue. SPRING RUN is the place to live and enjoy life.
Mike Can you please advise on when members will be able to use the practice sand trap? It would be great to be able to practice something that is so valuable to having a good round
Ron, I don’t think the practice sand trap will be available until we switch back to putting on the practice putting green and chipping on the practice chipping green. It will be too dangerous to have people putting and someone using the sand trap. Also, using the practice sand trap throws too much sand on the chipping green which will hinder putting.