Dear DMGCC Members,
Let me update you on the current conditions of the fairway turf at Des Moines Golf and Country Club. The fairways were originally seeded to Penneagle Bentgrass in 1985, 86 and 87. Over the years, for numerous reasons, two different types of grassy weeds have invaded the fairways. One is poa annua, commonly referred to as "poa". The second is poa trivialis, commonly referred to as "rough bluegrass". Both of these poas are considered weeds in a stand of bentgrass by turf managers. They are very shallow rooted causing them to die or at the least look bad in hot weather. Because of shallow rooting they also require much more water than bentgrass. By applying more water we are more prone to disease and we will have soft fairways.
There are chemical controls for these poas. Timing the use of these products is critical to their success and the optimum time to apply these products is now. A downside of these products is that using them can leave some rather large voids in the fairway because the undesirable grass is killed. Another side effect is that while the bentgrass tolerates the chemical, it becomes very yellow or discolored. Play may continue but the fairways look undesirable for 6 - 8 weeks. If the fairways have a very high concentration of the poas, reseeding with bentgrass may be the only way to reestablish a solid stand of grass in the bad areas.
We need to deal with this problem straight up and see what populations we do have at the Club. If I had to guess I would say we have about a 50% population of Penneagle Bentgrass; so this is a real issue for us, and it will continue to be so unless we are proactive and formulate a plan to deal with it. Both of these poas are not always controlled by one chemical. Therefore we are doing two test plots, on two different fairways. One trial will be on #15 South and the other trial will be #16 South right in front of the gold tee. While all of our fairways have the problem, these two areas were chosen because they are not being used during the Country Club Invitational. Using these products will show us what populations we do have and with that knowledge we can evaluate how effective these products might be in controlling the problem going forward.
The picture below shows a typical fairway at DMGCC with all three turf types present. The poa annua is the very light green, dispersed throughout the entire fairway. The poa trivialis is easier to see, it is usually in a large darker patch. The bentgrass is everywhere else in the picture. As you can see we have a large population of the weedy grasses mixed in with our Penneagle Bentgrass.
I will keep you informed on the progress of our test areas.
The short game practice area is now open for use. This area is to be used to only hit shots of 75 yards and less. We have established target greens with flags in them. Those are the targets we want you to hit to on that particular day. Please DO NOT MOVE the flags to different targets. If you want to hit longer shots then please go to the driving range. This is done not only for safety but to move the play around the short game area.
Also, when you are practicing in the bentgrass fairway area please DO NOT HARVEST an area completely. Leaving turf around your divots allows for the area to heal and grow back quicker.
Rick Tegtmeier, CGCS
Director of Grounds