Monday, November 6, 2017

GMS at Pueblo del Sol Welcomes New Superintendent Clayton McKinley

The GMS team would like to welcome Clay and his family to Sierra Vista . Originally from Colorado, Clay has gained a ton of knowledge and experience with an internship at Augusta National as well as an Assistant at some top golf clubs in Colorado and Wyoming. Clay has spent the last three years as Superintendent at The Club at Las Campanas in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We are all excited for the future here at Pueblo del Sol !

Light frequent sand topdressing

Here at PDS we will be adding a light frequent topdressing program into our maintenance schedule. This will be coupled with a light groom/verticut to create channels for the sand to move into the canopy of the turf and off the surface to replace the organic matter that was removed after the verticut. Dragging the sand in after a topdress will also be used to get the sand down. Another benefit to grooming and dragging is to get the leaf blade standing more upright for a cleaner cut which in turn will create a smoother, truer putting surfaced and increased speeds. Another important cultural practice we will employ will be to needle tine the greens to help with compaction, drainage and to create air and oxygen exchange pockets for overall soil health. We will try to stick to a 14-28 day light topdressing throughout the growing season and during the hotter months we may go to a very light dusting that will just require a watering cycle to work it down to minimize any extra traffic and wear and tear on the greens when they are already stressed from the heat. Not topdressing enough will create layers in the soil profile that you can actually see and that is the worst thing you can do. This type of program will result in smooth, firm and uniform putting surface resulting in increased ball roll distance. Outlined below are some more benefits to light frequent topdressing:

·               Thatch management: Like I have mentioned above, the sand is used to dilute and replace the organic matter that builds up at surface, without verticutting and topdressing the green will be come soft and spongy and encourage mower scalping and localized dry spot.
·               Smooth and firm the surface: Sand is used to replace the voids which exits in the turf canopy to produce a firm and smooth putting surface. This encourages an upright growth habit as well.
·               Protect the crown of the plant: The sand gives the crown of the plant a cushion from the impact of the ball and protects it from the elements to maintain turf health and quality. Also allows us to maintain a lower mowing height.
·               Improve root zone and drainage: Overtime the buildup from sand topdressing will improve soil physical properties. Since sand drains better than a native soil it will help keep the water moving through the profile creating a firmer surface. Sand also resists compaction as well, which is very important with all the traffic that a putting green receives.

All of these benefits combined will make for a much healthier turf stand as well as a quality putting surface and a much better golfing experience. 

Clayton McKinley
PDS Golf Course Superintendent