July 1, 2022
Welcome to Tremendous Secrets and techniques, a GOLF.com collection through which we decide the brains of the sport’s main superintendents. By illuminating how course upkeep crews ply their trades, we’re hopeful we can’t solely offer you a deeper appreciation for the essential, modern work they do but in addition give you upkeep tips that you would be able to apply to your individual little patch of paradise. Pleased gardening!
With out water, there can be no life. Even worse, there can be no golf. No surprise the business works so arduous to reserve it. Kevin Breen is president of the Golf Course Superintendent Affiliation of America, and the superintendent at La Rinconada Nation Membership, in Los Gatos, Calif. With drought ravaging his state, and lots of others throughout the nation, we requested Breen to share some easy on-course conservation strategies, together with tips the remainder of us can use at residence.
1. Timing is all the things
While you apply water is crucial. Early morning is normally finest for a few causes. Not solely do you wish to beat the warmth of the day, when water will get misplaced to evaporation, you additionally wish to get the job carried out earlier than the winds kick up and mess along with your sprinkler patterns. Late within the day can work, too. However watering after darkish can improve the chance of fungus and different ailments, which creep in when moisture sits for too lengthy on turf.
Must you seed your garden, or sod it? We requested a golf-course superintendent
2. Search for leaks
Watching your grass get watered is much more attention-grabbing than watching it develop. It’s extra productive, too, as you possibly can search for gurgling, puddling and different indicators of leaks. Fixing these issues now will prevent in the long term. An effective way to waste water is to place it the place you don’t need it to go.
3. Select the precise selection
Turf sorts are like folks: some do higher within the warmth than others. Select a range that’s suited to the local weather the place you reside. Don’t hesitate to ask an professional for strategies. The business abounds with drought-tolerant grass strains, and extra are being developed on a regular basis.
4. Keep away from over-watering
Deeply and often is the best way to go — sufficient to get water to the depth of the roots whereas giving the floor time to dry out. How will you inform when you’re getting it proper? Whereas superintendents have subtle instruments to measure moisture ranges (all the things from soil probes to drones that snap infrared pictures), there are inexpensive strategies. Most garden shops promote easy moisture gauges you possibly can plunge into your soil. You may as well pull a soil plug and examine the roots. The soil round them needs to be moist however not sodden. Potential indicators of overwatering embody a gunky black layer and an “sewery” odor — which may point out oxygen deprivation and natural rot. Wanting these measures, you may as well do a easy contact take a look at: press your hand into your turf—the highest of the soil ought to really feel damp however not muddy.
5. Spot water
You’ve in all probability seen this at your native course: as an alternative of turning in your complete irrigation system, use a hose to focus on dry or stressed-out areas. Or, as Breen places it: “Deal with your turf prefer it’s the 18th inexperienced on the U.S. Open.”
6. Take out turf
Turf discount is all the fashion in golf. There’s no purpose you possibly can’t do the identical at residence. Solely keep as a lot grass as you want, whether or not it’s to your children, your pets, your garden gnomes, otherwise you.
7. Wetting brokers
Out there in liquid and granules, they’re eco-friendly, simple to make use of and environment friendly, serving to the water penetrate the soil and permitting you to do extra with much less.
8. Don’t frown at brown
Brown is the brand new inexperienced. For years, that’s been the business mantra, however it hasn’t been embraced by an amazing many golfers, who stay enthralled by lush and emerald turf. So, let’s strive placing it one other means: simply as inexperienced grass isn’t essentially wholesome grass, brown grass isn’t essentially unhealthy, both. It’s okay to let your garden get a bit parched. It will probably even result in extra resilient turf, because the roots of the grass must search deeper for a drink. The longer the roots, the stronger the grass. There are limits, after all. If the grass doesn’t rebound whenever you stroll throughout it and footprints begin forming simply, you’ll have taken issues too far. Usually, although, “You possibly can stress your garden out fairly a bit,” Breen says, “and your grass will truly be higher for it.”
A golf, meals and journey author, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Journal contributor since 2004 and now contributes throughout all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Finest American Sportswriting. He’s additionally the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Enjoyable But: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.