Fine Turgrass Management

Fine Turgrass Management

Steve Cook, CGCS, MG - Director of Agronomy

Monday, April 25, 2016

Growing Degree Days

Thank you Purdue and MSU for this explanation, which I think is pretty good:

What is a Growing Degree Day (GDD)? A growing degree day (GDD) is a method to track the heat units that have accumulated and are needed for plant growth and development. The formula for calculating GDD is:
GDD = ((max temperature °F + min temperature °F) ÷ 2) - base temperature °F, where the base temperature is normally either 22, 32 or 50 °F but varies based on the model.

For example, if the high today was 74°F and the low was 52°F and we used a base temperature of 50°F, our calculation would be, GDD= ((74°F + 52°F) ÷ 2) - 50°F = 13 

Models that help us predict plant development use accumulated GDD which is simply adding the GDD calculated each day and determining how many GDD units have accumulated thus far.

In some cases accumulated GDD can be used to monitor when weeds might germinate or flower or when grasses might produce a seedhead while in other cases accumulated GDD can be used to help optimize application timing such as with preemergence crabgrass applications or the selection of amines or esters for spring broadleaf applications. Research into plant development and optimal herbicide application timing has determined a window of accumulated GDD needed to best predict when to time these applications or when these events might occur.

Friday, April 22, 2016


North greens are healing nicely. We can focus a little more attention on course detailing - bunkers etc. - now that aerification on the North is finished.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Aerification Update

The North Course aerification of greens, tees and fairways went great! Perfect weather - dry, low humidity and 65 deg - helped make this process flow perfectly. Thanks to the staff for the long hours and attention to details.

Monday, April 18, 2016

North Aerification


CORE AERATION is one of the “dirty” words of golf course maintenance. With a golf season of seven months, many would question the necessity of disrupting play each spring and fall.

An important purpose behind core aerification is the removal of unwanted organic matter, allowing roots to grow. With a healthier root system heading into the golf season, the grass plant is better able to withstand the stress of traffic. Aeration also relieves compaction, promotes air exchange and helps with water infiltration.

How much aerification is enough?

There is no rule of thumb for what percentage of surface area should be impacted each year. It would be safe to say however that it is difficult to “over aerify”. The USGA suggests that 15-20% of the surface should be aerified each year. This would dictate a larger hole size – and closer spacing between holes during the aerification process – both spring and fall. Changing from a 1/4” tine to a 1/2” tine increases the surface area impacted by four times. Using a 5/8” tine versus a 1/2” tine increases the surface area impacted by approximately 50%.

How long after aerification before the greens are back to normal?

With cooperative weather, the healing process will take 10 - 14 days. Extra fertilizer and water are applied at this time to expedite recovery.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


.70" over the weekend left the golf courses very wet, particularly the South. We should be able to start mowing today and tomorrow and anticipate allowing carts on Saturday.

Saturday, April 2, 2016


.25" on March 31st and .66" on April 1st

Total for March = 4.38"

The forecast is still slow and I would not anticipate much work on the golf course this week.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Monday, March 28

.47" last night.

4.03" for the month of March in 2016. The average precip for March is 2.17".

Carts will be allowed on the North tomorrow, weather permitting. The South Course will open to walkers only - no carts - on Wednesday the 30th.

5 green south 1920's

Friday, March 25, 2016

Common Questions

Turfgrass still in winter dormancy has difficulty recovering from mechanical damage like cart traffic. Until the turf is showing signs of growth - and thus the ability to recover - we prefer to keep carts off the golf courses.

Our opportunity to provide excellent conditions later in the season will be enhanced if we limit the traffic damage incurred in the spring. We will allow carts as soon as possible. We are all anxious to get outside and enjoy the weather.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Course Update

The 10-day forecast looks slow. But we are planning on a potential window next week where we might get carts on the North for a day or two. Let’s see how much rain we get over the next 2 days, the models we are looking at are calling for 1" today and tomorrow. If that happens, the North course will stay wet for a few days. If not, perhaps there is an opportunity to get carts out over the weekend.


It's very difficult to predict conditions this time of year as the turf is still dormant and not "drinking up" the water. We have mowed greens twice. Nothing else has been cut. The ground is freezing at night with temperatures in the low 30's or high 20's.


Additionally, we are using everybody we have to get the shop back together from the fire remediation, and finishing winter refurbishing. So I'd like not to pull bodies from that operation (yet) to start course maintenance.


  • The courses will be  ready for Men's League on April 19th, our typical target date.
  • Green Committee meeting April 12th, 7:30 am: Trey Rogers from MSU will be discussing greens construction.
  • North Course currently open to walking.
  • Fire remediation will be completed next week.
  • Some seasonal staff returning April 4th, weather permitting.

Monday, March 21, 2016


The 5 - 10 day forecast looks unfavorable for golf. The ground is freezing at night which is preventing any growth and also preventing us from doing work on the courses. Staff will not return until April 4th or later, so I do not anticipate opening the South Course until after April 4th.