Cold Weather and Turf

Dear Spring Run Members,

This has been a rough start to the winter season for all of Southwest Florida. We have been experiencing very long cold spells since the end of November. With the consistent cooler temperatures, it has had some detrimental effects on the health of the turf. Bermuda grass is called a warm season grass and requires consistent temperature of 65 degrees at night to 85 degrees F during the day for optimal plant growth. The last couple months, we have been experiencing regular night time temperatures of 40 degrees to 60 degrees F. When this happens, the grass shuts down and stops growing, resulting in a longer healing time when stressed or damaged. It also causes the plant functions like respirations and photosynthesis to slow down significantly, and in some types of Bermuda grass, like common Bermuda, causes the grass to go dormant, turn brown or turn off color.

I have been getting the question, “Why are we mowing the grass so tight?” We aren’t mowing the grass shorter. In fact, we have raised the mowing height to relieve stress. The tighter shorter look is a result of the continued extended cold spells we have been experiencing. The grass reacts to the cold much like the muscles in your body do when you get cold, which tighten up and shrink. The same reaction happens when the turf gets cold. The blades of the grass shrink and tighten up, thus appearing mowed low. We also mow less frequently, currently once a week.

In addition to higher mowing height and less frequent mowing, we have our staff take different routes around the course to spread out the traffic and wear patterns. We also make routine foliar fertilizer applications to help keep the grass as green as possible at this time. We also put green dye in the foliar applications; it helps track where we have sprayed so we do not over apply any chemicals and helps keep the canopy of the turf warmer. When the canopy is warmer, the plant is able to perform vital living functions again.

While the cold temperatures have had detrimental effects on the turf, we have been employing everything we can to minimize the stress and reduce damage to the turf. As the weather warms up, we will hopefully see a quick flush of growth. As always, thank you for all your support and patience. Stay safe and healthy in 2021. We look forward to a great season moving forward.

Sincerely,

Benjamin S. Hanshew

Superintendent

Putting Green Update

Dear Spring Run Members,

I am sure many of you are wondering what the status is of the putting green, and when it will be back to normal again. The putting green is coming along nicely. We have taken care of all the issues with the green and have made all the necessary applications to correct any foreseeable issues that might arise.

The green is still trying to heal up a little bit, and the healing process has been slowed a bit due to the cold weather we have experienced lately. Because of the slower healing process, it has prevented us from switching the chipping green and putting greens. My plan is to switch the greens back the 1st of January. When we do so, however, the upper ridge of the green will still need some healing time, and to prevent it from being used or walked on, we will rope off the area to allow it to finish healing. We will continue to give the area all the necessary attention. With the right growing conditions and no further set-backs, we should hopefully be back to 100% soon. As always, thank you for all your continued support. We are looking forward to a great season and a much happier and healthier 2021.

Sincerely

Benjamin S. Hanshew

Superintendent

Putting Greens Issues

Dear Spring Run Members,

As you may have seen, we are dealing with some issues on the practice green. We have double aerified it, top dressed it, and sodded some of the bad areas on the green as well. There are several reasons for all of this work being done. The first issue is that we are dealing with nematode issues on the green. Nematodes are microscopic worms that feed on the roots and nutrients that the turf needs to survive. The second issue is that the green had a couple of diseases called fairy ring and Pythium that were stressing out the turf. The third issue was a problem call “black layer”. Black layer is an excessive build-up of organic matter in the soil that causes the soil to seal itself off. When this happens, it holds too much water and doesn’t allow the nutrients to move freely in the soil so they can be absorbed by the turf. Subsequently, the roots shrink and die, and the turf thins out and struggles to survive. If not caught, it can eventually kill the turf.

 By double aerifying the green, we physically removed the black layer and opened up the soil so the turf can breathe and begin to heal. Aerifying will help the roots to grow, strengthening the turf. Sodding will allow the green to get back to normal putting conditions faster. And implementing a fungicide program has helped to combat the diseases that were forming on the green.

With all these corrections and careful water management, I am confident that we should see a dramatic improvement in a couple weeks, and hopefully back to normal in a month or so. Thanks for all your understanding as we navigate through this situation. I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. We are looking forward to a great season at Spring Run Golf Club. Thank you for all your wonderful support!

Sincerely

Benjamin S. Hanshew

Superintendent

Wet Spots on Course

Spring Run Member,

Recently I have been hearing from some members who are dissatisfied with the wet spots we have on the course. I can assure everyone that we are aware of all these spots, and we are constantly driving the course to check for them so we can make any necessary adjustments. The fix for these issues takes time. We are working as fast as we can to correct these issues and ask that you be patient with us.

Recently the greens committee members and I did a course tour together to discuss their concerns. At first, the thought was that they wanted me to make the course firm and fast, which also makes it drier and brown. I explained that if we went this route that our definition would disappear, the cart traffic areas would last longer and be more numerous, Also the turf would stress and thin out, leaving more hard pan areas, and that the lush fluffy lies would go away. I also brought up that when my predecessor did the same, he was met with a lot of criticism. It was decided as a group that we were on the right track and that if we had to deal with a few wet spots from time to time, it would be acceptable to make sure that we kept the current lush green conditions, with the understanding that we would monitor and fix these issues as fast as we can. We have already replaced about 12-15 regular irrigations heads with part-circle adjustable heads to reduce the wet areas. During the budget process, we set aside some money to continue the replacement of the full circle with part circle heads issue. This will be a multiyear project. We will do everything in our power to minimize these issues until they are resolved but we cannot guarantee that there will never be wet spots on the course. Also, I would like to assure everyone that when you see heads running in the morning prior to golf, that we are not watering these wet areas. We are watering the dried out stressed areas only.

We are being very specific with the heads we turn on so we do not add water to the already wet areas.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this process.

Sincerely

Benjamin S. Hanshew

Spring Run Golf Club

Superintendent

Golf Guys

Dear Spring Run Member,

Last week, The Golf Guys retail store suspended Member Charge-backs until further notice. Due to a new upgrade in inventory software, their accounting department is having difficulty processing Member Charges. We can, however, pick up any item that you wish and bring it to our Golf Shop for you to purchase and use your credit book. As a Spring Run member, you can purchase items from the Golf Guys, but please be prepared to purchase using other methods than your Spring Run Account number.

The good thing to know it is cheaper to shop at the Spring Run Golf Shop than it is going to The Golf Guys as you automatically get your 20% off Member Price with us! Please consider using our shop for all your golf merchandise needs. Don’t forget that is the only way to use your credit book.

The Golf Guys’ management has told us they are actively working to come up with a solution, but there is no deadline for a solution. Please contact Spring Run’s Golf Shop staff to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

See you at the Spring Run Golf Shop!

Mike

Cart Path Only Decisions & Guidelines

Dear Spring Run Member,

Some questions have been raised recently regarding our decision processes and guidelines as it comes to making the course “cart path only” or not. I would like to explain what our evaluation process is when we make these decisions.

Our first step is always to look at how much rain we actually received on the course. Usually, anything less than a ½ inch and we don’t have any issues. If we received more than ½ inch then we drive the entire golf course and check the status. While we are driving the course, we are evaluating several factors.

The first thing we are looking at is how soft and how much water our tires are pushing and splashing while we are driving. If it is consistent water under the tires, then the hole will be “cart path only”. If the water sound is a little more intermittent, then we look at several other factors. The first factor then is how much we hear the water under the tires. If it is more than 60% of the hole then we make the hole cart path only. If it is less then that, we typically try to stake it off and put out signs to avoid the wet areas.

The next factor we evaluate is whether or not carts will damage the turf if we let them drive on the hole. If we find a wet area while we are driving, we drive through the area and see if our carts leave any tracks or ruts like the one in the pictures below.

If we hear water but don’t leave ruts or mud anything up, we will stake off the area and leave the hole open to carts.  We drive every hole on the course and make these evaluations, and then meet to discuss what we found and what the game plan will be. If we can, we try to leave as much of the golf course available as possible to drive on and only make certain holes cart path only. However, there are times where there are only 1 or 2 holes available to drive on, in that case, to make it easier for all members and golfers to remember the rules for the day we just simply make it cart path only on the whole course. We always try to minimize the cart path only restrictions to specific holes if we can but, that is not always possible because of the amount of rainfall or possible damage to the course. We never make cart restriction decisions based on who is playing golf that day or if there is an event. Nor do we take into account the appearance to others if we reduce or minimize cart restrictions. Our decisions are based solely on the conditions of that particular day and safety and health of the golf course.

Thank you for your continued support as we strive to make Spring Run Golf Club the best bundled community in southwest Florida.

Sincerely,

Benjamin S. Hanshew

Spring Run Golf Club, Superintendent

Ropes and stakes

Dear Spring Run Member,

Ropes and stakes on the golf course can be a nuisance, I know. However, they are there to help manage stress on the turf by redirecting cart and foot traffic. These tools are necessary to help us keep the course in excellent condition. Stepping over them does not help. And cutting them is definitely not appreciated.

Someone has been cutting the ropes on #7, and either Sunday or Monday, they cut those ropes on the tee box in three different places. This is not the first time this has happened, as last year, someone cut ropes on #2 and #3. Not only is this detrimental to attempts to control cart traffic, is extra work for the staff and cost to the club,  it is vandalism. The Board of Directors is very interested in who may be behind this.

Thank you for understanding the purpose of the ropes and stakes. Know that by walking around the ropes and entering the fairway at the last stake, you are helping keep Spring Run’s beautiful golf course in great shape!

Mike

New Assistant Superintendent – Jay Haft

JAY HAFT

Dear Spring Run Members,

Please help me in welcoming our new Assistant Superintendent at Spring Run Golf Club, James “Jay” Haft. Jay is from Cincinnati, Ohio born and raised. He received a B.B.A from the University of Cincinnati majoring in Marketing with a Minor in Management. He later received his Turfgrass certificate from Cincinnati State.  Jay comes to us with a wealth of knowledge and background in both turf grass and landscaping. He has worked for some very prestigious clubs in the area, such as Royal Poinciana and Hole-in-the Wall golf clubs, and came with glowing recommendations from both courses. He has also work for Panther Run Golf Club in Ave Maria and did an internship at Innisbrook Golf Resort in Tampa. Along with his plentiful golf course experience, for the last couple years Jay has worked for some landscaping companies in the area, and has gained a wealth of knowledge on that side of the industry. I am positive he will be a great addition to our team and family here at Spring Run Golf Club. Please make him feel welcome if you happen to see him on the golf course or in the community. As always, thank you for all your support as we continue to keep Spring Run Golf Club “the Best Bundled Golf Community in Southwest Florida.

Top Dressing Sand on Greens

I would like to take a moment of your time to explain the importance of top-dressing the golf course and our program that helps keep us in excellent condition. Top-dressing is a very important practice on the greens for several reasons. The first is that it helps smooth out the greens and keeps them firm. This in turn allows us to maintain faster green speeds and a more true roll. The second benefit is that it helps maintain our soil structure. As we fertilize and do all our various cultural practices on the greens, it can lead to a build-up of organic matter which can create problems with water infiltration, nutrition deficiencies, and overall poor-quality turf. The top-dressing sand is coarser than the organic matter and thus allows us to create pore space in the soil, allowing water and nutrients to move more effectively through the soil profile. So, as you can see the top-dressing sand is a vital tool in our management program to maintain a quality putting surface on the greens.

We do our very best to alternate when we top-dress. We avoid always top-dressing on the same days so we don’t constantly affect the same groups. Our program throughout season is to top-dress every other week. So, if we top-dress on a Thursday one week, the next time we top-dress may be on a Tuesday or Wednesday. Then two weeks later we will top-dress on whatever day we have not top-dressed so that no group is getting affected more than another group. We do our best to adhere to this program, but sometimes tournament schedules prevent us from being able to avoid the disruption. We ask that you are patient and understanding with us as sometimes we are unable to stay on the alternating days. However, we will strive to do our best to maintain this program. My staff and I are looking forward to another great season here at Spring Run Golf Club and hope everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday season.

Sincerely

Benjamin S. Hanshew

Spring Run Golf Club

Superintendent