Stow Acres Turf

Golf Course Maintenance News & Live Updates from @stowacresturf


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Full steam ahead…

Full steam ahead… It’s kind of a weird saying, but it fits for us right now. Both courses are open. There is only one temporary green (10 South) that remains in all 36 holes; all 36 holes will be open by the end of the week. Carts are allowed on the South course right now and likely to be going on the North course by the middle of this week. With only 10 people on staff right now (including myself), we are definitely very busy trying get both courses playing as normal as possible. Tree cleanup is being done on 7 and 17 North; 6 and 10 South this week. Greens have been cut and rolled once on both courses and will be cut at least once more this week before the weekend. Fairways, tees, and approaches will also be cut for the first time this week. We are very happy to report that even with all of the snow this winter, we had very little snow mold formation on short cut turf. You may see some small gray patches in the fairways, but this will grow out very quickly once we begin mowing the turf on a regular basis. Our sand cleaner will begin cleaning bunkers by the end of this week and will work through the rest of this month (please click here for a more detailed explanation of the sand cleaner). We are very excited for another great season here at Stow Acres! Please stay tuned into the blog as I will continue to post course updates. See you on the course!

-Jason VanBuskirk, Superintendent

chipper 7North

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Two pins and Winter Green…

The winter season is upon us, or is it?  We can only hope that the snow falling across the blog screen that you are reading right now would be falling on the actual golf course some time soon.  Both courses are fully winterized, well, minus the snow accumulation.  The irrigation systems have been blown out, drains have been flushed/open, accessories have been removed for refurbishing, snow mold applications have been applied to greens/tees/fairways, Winter Green has been applied to all 39 greens, and two pin positions have been cut on the front 9 of both courses.  Yes, two pin positions.  I got this brilliant idea from Russ Heller,  a fellow Superintendent here in Massachusetts.  Russ also has a great blog seen here: William Devine Golf Course at Franklin Park.  Well, the theory behind it is to divert foot traffic on frozen/dormant greens surfaces.  Closing the greens or providing temporary greens is not something we do at Stow Acres.  This is where snow is helpful in covering the greens, but, in order to preserve playing conditions for the Spring season until snow falls, we cut two pins.  We will leave pins in both hole locations allowing the golfer to pick whichever hole location they desire.  Once on the green, traffic will be split between both hole locations.  We’re doing this primarily because we suffered minor turf damage last season from repetitive foot traffic around one hole location pictured below.

Foot traffic damage during winterThe turf does heal once the weather gets warmer, but as you can imagine, these spots took quite a bit longer to recover.  Our assistant superintendent, Kevin Bracken, had a great idea to place modified greens covers over the trampled spots once we could cut the cup in a new position.  This certainly accelerated recovery.

modified greens cover over hole

Currently, there is no “real” snow in the immediate forecast.  However, with the cold temperatures becoming more consistent, we will be covering both practice greens tomorrow to ensure great putting conditions for the Spring.  If you plan on playing until it snows, please be mindful of the frozen turf.  Greens are most susceptible, so keeping pull carts in the rough and walking on the greens as little as possible will help preserve the surface.  I will leave you with a picture of what even foot traffic/pull-cart can do to fairway turf during a frozen morning.  Stay warm, play well, and have a great holiday season!

frost damage

-Jason VanBuskirk, Superintendent


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Going to bed properly…

There is quite a bit of work to do to ensure that the golf course is put to bed properly.  Tasks include a variety of things such as blowing out the irrigation system, spraying greens, tees, and fairways with a preventative fungicide for snow mold, extensive leaf cleanup, green and tee extensions, and even removing a few trees. We have been very busy this Fall as we underwent a hurricane and snow storm in back to back weeks. Fortunately, both courses escaped unscathed for the most part even aiding in leaf drop which allows us to clean more sooner. This week we will begin by treating the greens with a nutrient spray and continuing the leaf cleanup effort. We will also blow out the irrigation system on Thursday and Friday. The week of Thanksgiving we will begin spraying fairways and tees with our annual snow mold preventative. This can be a pesky disease that can leave a majority of our turf looking dismal if it is left untreated. The final weeks of preparation will take place in early December with snow mold and anti-desiccant treatment to all 39 greens. In order to protect the greens for the winter, we apply an anti-desiccant with green coloring.  This product helps the turf from losing too much moisture during periods of strong, cold wind.  We also apply a snow mold protectant.  Snow mold is a fungal pathogen that mainly attacks the leaf blade of just about every variety of cool season grasses. This is a liquid product and it is applied using our spray rig. The two practice greens and 9 North typically have seen the most amount of winter damage.  This cover is a permeable, tarp-like cover that allows air exchange and moisture to pass through, but still keep the turf insulated and protected from the elements. 

Thanks for your tremendous support this season.  It has definitely been a memorable one.  I will leave you with a video that was just published to GCSAA.tv thanks to the guys at EPIC Creative. They visited Stow in July to shoot a commercial on the use of wetting agents and surfactants. Once our turf has been properly put to bed, we will commence winter projects. Please check back soon to read about some of the events in maintenance.

-Jason VanBuskirk, Superintendent


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Aeration delayed due to rain…

I know most of you don’t hear me say this often, but unfortunately, we received quite a bit of rain this week.  Totals came in at 1.12″ from Monday night until Wednesday afternoon.  This obviously made aeration North greens  impossible and we had to delay until October 8-10.  Some have been inquiring about the South greens and those are scheduled for October 22-23.  Although I know most dislike the process, I cannot emphasize the necessity.  Instead of trying to explain it myself, I am leaving you with two great articles written by David A. Oatis, USGA Northeast Regional Director.  See you on the course!

-Jason VanBuskirk, Superintendent