I had thought that I had went over the discussion on our fairways in my importance in keeping maintenance programs post last week, but with many still complaining about their lie in the fairways I will explain it again.
Last years our fairways were cut at the height of .700". That is just a smidgen under 3/4" for those that are not familiar with the hundredths of an inch adjustment. Our fairways were great last year with many people bragging that they were the best ever so naturally we wanted the same thing and I was told to leave them where they had been, many times. This is the height of cut they are still at now. So what is different which makes them so much worse this year? It is the absence of a growth regulator chemical called primo. The cost to treat the fairways for a full year is $3,500. We do not have the money!!! We have been lucky just to pay most of last years bills that were left over. Let me state that again, WE DO NOT HAVE THE MONEY!
So now the fairways seem like "shag carpet" as Tony Miranda has told me. Simply put a growth regulator works through the plant by causing the distance between the leaf shoots from the main stalk to shorten up. This tightens up the turf, which helps hold the ball up. With out the growth regulator the plant is growing normal so now the higher height of cut is allowing the ball to sink down into the canopy. I do not have many choices to improve the fairways at this point so late in the year. I can lower the height of cut, which will relieve some of the shag carpet effect but that will take leaf tissue off of the already trained height of the plant and scalp it back. When we are wet it will get scalped even more. This will also draw from the reserves the plant stores for stress periods and winter. I cannot promise they will be much better at this point if we lower them, and at first frost, they will have to be raised back up again, and that could be as soon as 2 1/2 months from now.
Per my latest discussion with our club president, after TD-5 passes this week and we dry out, I will lower the mowers in hopes of making a little improvement for the complainers. You do have a good complaint, we know it does affect your game but the solution is to use the growth regulator as we have for the last 11 years. In order to do this we have to have the money to get it done.
I will say that if we can manage to pay off all of our past due bills (at the beginning of the year it was over $100,000 of past 90 days due bills) and catch up, next year we will have the money we have been spending this year just to get even. Hopefully this means that we not have these same issues next year.
Grants theme this year has been honesty! Be honest to our members and let them know where we stand. I am trying to be honest with everyone either through e-mails or personal talks.
This has been the first year I have not had any budget to work with. $0.00 We have had to ask, borrow or charge parts to our own Credit Cards. I know you are still paying your dues and increases but the hole we are trying to dig our way out of was deep, I mean really deep. My department is running three crew members short and have been for the whole year, but we still bust our butts in hopes of making it look like all is normal. Money is not my departments problem to deal with. Maintaining the course is. While I have kept Grant and Allen informed of our needs and our programs we are missing, I cannot work without funds. We continue to do what we can with what we have and the Board knows that. I only ask our membership, YOU, to understand what we do not have to work with and that there may be side affects because of it. If you want what we had or better then you need to get funds channeled into my department or wait until the board straightens out our finances. Remember though that times are tight everywhere, case in point, Belle Terre closed their golf course today! Ormond is barely hanging on and will most likely get turned into a subdivision and lets not even talk about Willowdale which is officially a goat ranch again. And we look and play better then any of those courses. I wonder why!