My name is Tyler Clark and I am a soon to be fourth year Environmental Horticulture Sciences Major with a concentration in Turf Management. I’m going to be blogging for the department sharing my exciting and mind boggling turf experiences with you over my summer internship and throughout the year. I hope you’re all ready. This is going to be some exciting stuff! I am looking forward to sharing my times with you.
A little bit about me before we get started. I’m a 21 year old San Luis Obispo County native, raised in Nipomo. I enjoy playing golf, hiking, the beach, the lake, golf, and – did I mention golf? J As you can see I love golf. I’m a certified turf head that hopes to run and maintain a championship golf course one day. I have played golf my entire life and came to the reality that I wasn’t going to play the PGA tour one day so I went to the next option, Turf Management. My goal is to have a positive impact on the golf industry and the people who play the game.
I am currently residing in Sammamish, Washington which is about twenty miles east of Seattle. I am working at The Plateau Club which is a high-end private country club situated on the border of Sammamish. It has about 50 homes on the back nine holes and the front nine is bordered by a 1,000 acre nature preserve. The greens are a 70:30 Bent to Poa Annua grass mix. The fairways are a grass mix of Bent, Chewing Fescue, Poa Annua, and Perennial Rye Grass. It is a very challenging course with five sets of tees which are 7,035 yards from the championship tees and a 75.6 handicap rating.
Upon arrival I got straight to work on the golf course. The first project I worked on was “verticutting” the greens. This is a very important cultural practice that is used to reduce the thatch layer of the turf grass, force the turf to stand straight up for a smooth surface, increase green speed and allow for more sunlight to get into the canopy. Now that you know what verticutting is, you may be wondering, “How is it done?” Verticutting is short for vertical cutting. It’s a very simple concept. A normal mower contains a reel with multiple blades that are in a lateral formation that spin around and cut the grass at heights ranging from .095’’ to .150’’ on a putting green. Imagine the blades are in a vertical formation instead of lateral and cut beneath the turf at heights ranging from -.125’’ to -.001’’. These vertical reels are interchangeable with the lateral reels and can be put onto any mower and are operated as a normal mower would be. After verticutting, a light layer of sand is applied to the green to manage the organic matter layer, stimulate microbial activity, level and smooth out the green, and revitalize the root zone with increased oxygen capacity. The sand is applied with a walk spreader at a rate of 15#/1000 sq. ft. Next we run the irrigation system for three minutes in order to move the sand down into the organic matter layer and root zone. This is an essential cultural practice that increases playability, turf quality and allows for good conditions the day it was completed.
I am having a great time in Washington and will keep you updated weekly. Keep checking in. Thanks for tuning in. That’s all folks. Have a great week.