Summer's Over!! What Now?

By Les Kennedy, Jr. CGCS, The Blind Brook Club
President, Tri-State Turf Research Foundation

My Dad, an accomplished golf professional and greenkeeper, once told me as a young aspiring superintendent: “Junior, God grows the grass until the 4th of July then we take over.”  And this past summer, with the heat and humidity proved these words of wisdom to be more true than ever. 

Now that Labor Day weekend has finally arrived and with it comes the unofficial end of summer.  What now for the Golf Course Superintendent at your Club? 

At most Tri-State Clubs the majority of major competitions have been completed and the golfer’s thoughts turn to an enjoyable fall golf season, shorter cooler days, closing tournaments, the Holidays and hopefully some quality winter golf in a southern location.

But for area superintendents, our thoughts turn to preparing for the peak season of 2014 and all that needs to be done between now and then.  He or she may not admit it or even want to believe it but in reality everything we do from now until spring is to prepare the course, the equipment, buildings and facilities, course amenities, irrigation system, staff - even the superintendents themselves - for the challenge of next summer. 

Whether your course came through this past summer without a blemish (congratulations!) or, like most, with some areas that need attention, the preparation for summer of ’14 has already begun.  Aerifing, overseeding, deep tining, dry-jecting and topdressing programs are or are about to be in full swing to bring the course back to top quality for the fall season. As we get deeper into fall, capital projects are being planned and implemented. Fall fertilization and winter chemical application programs are initiated, irrigation systems/pump stations are drained and winterized, late season topdressings applied and where needed green covers installed.  All in an attempt to help the course come through the winter unscathed. 

Winter, Ah…music to the superintendent’s ears!  The winter season is still very important to the success of the upcoming season.  All of the equipment is gone through and serviced, all mowers ground, sharpened and rebuilt.  The Equipment Technician, Assistants and winter crew are all involved in the process of preparing the equipment and course accessories to insure everything is ready for the 2014 season. 

The superintendent and his assistants take vacation time, family time and general R+R to recharge and reflect.  This time is also critical for success during the upcoming year as we attend seminars, local and national turf conferences and workshops.  During these educational events we hear about the latest research results, we learn the latest on new and old pests and their controls and we network with each other to learn everything we can to help us prepare.  

The days begin to lengthen and spring arrives and the course clean up begins.  More aerification, topdressing begins as the course is readied for the new season.  The life cycle of the golf course superintendent!