Irrigation Update & the Challenges of Growing Grass in the “Transition Zone”

I think the saying is, “In the Appalachian Mountains, if you don’t like the weather…just wait 5 minutes”.  Fortunately, we live in a beautiful place in the United States known as the Transition Zone.  Rainy, 70 degree weeks are followed by dry, 88 degree weeks.  The Transition Zone consists of portions of several states where the weather and growing conditions can sometimes accommodate a certain plant one week and not the same plant the next week.  In the golf world, this has ballooned into cool vs. warm season grasses.  At Laurel Ridge, we have all cool season grasses, i.e., grasses that do better at temperatures below 75 degrees.  These grasses stay green all year long unless it gets too warm.  Balancing the golf course right now with limited irrigation is a challenge.  Water trucks, trailers and portable pumps are keeping the back nine greens alive during construction and these warm weeks.

With reduced staff mowing the golf course, inconsistent playing conditions are inevitable and for that I apologize.  Whether it is tall rough, lack of weedeating, limited teeing space or something else, please know that the maintenance staff is working hard for LRCC.  We set high standards for our golf course conditions; therefore, seeing something out of place and knowing the days just aren’t long enough to fix everything drives me crazy.

On an encouraging note, the new irrigation ran for the first time on the entire front nine on Thursday.  The irrigation contractors have shifted focus to finishing 10 and 18 as well as connecting the lines to the tennis courts and clubhouse irrigation. Trenching and product installation have started on 11 and will be bouncing around the back nine for the next three weeks.

Once again, I ask everyone to avoid driving across any trenches or seeded areas. Thank you for your patience and support.

Logan H. Nesbitt, Golf Course Superintendent