I apologize for the slow greens speeds this time of year. Hopefully my explanation below will give you a better understanding of what is happening on our golf course. Although many courses around the country are suffering from extreme heat, we have actually enjoyed a cooler than normal summer here in the Bay Area.
Our green speeds are slow due to the extra fertilizer we apply to the greens in mid-summer. I have a different program than most courses because we are trying to keep the favored bentgrass as the dominant turf type in the greens, instead of the dreaded Poa annua. In California, it is very difficult getting bentgrass to out-compete the Poa annua. Since this is the only period in the year when the bent is growing and the Poa gets stressed out, I hit the greens with a lot of fertilizer to help the bentgrass push out any stressing Poa. So the greens are slow due to the aggressive growth of the bentgrass I’m shooting for. And though this is great for the greens in the big picture, I realize it is sort of annoying to the day-to-day player. I promise we will be back to better green speeds in the next couple weeks as the fertilizer fades.
Fortunately, people start their vacations and the golf course play goes down a bit in August. So it does give me a chance to feed and promote the bentgrass. Not only is the bent a far better putting surface, it thrives in our summer heat. Best of all, it uses far less water, fertilizer, and pesticides than Poa annua. And we’ve been able to maintain the bentgrass without core aeration, which is a regular disruption on most Poa courses.