Tenacity vs Persistance

(First, a huge shoutout to everyone who’s started tossing their broken tees next to the tee markers, and not in the roughs. Absolutely lovely to see an immediate impact, bravo!)

Persistence is a big part of what we do in taking care of your golf course. It’s the constant in our line of work to counter what Mother Nature gives us. Some things we can attempt to counter, such as being in a drought like we’re in, and applying more water via the irrigation system,  hand watering with hoses where needed, or adding roller base sprinklers where we need additional moisture and we don’t have great irrigation coverage. But some things are not so black and white, and/or direct.

In a year that we’ve had, which started out unseasonably cold, the turf missed it’s normal annual development/establishment period. Normally, that developmental period would just be delayed until it gradually warmed up, but this year, we went from unseasonably cold, to unseasonably hot, with our specific location succumbing to a D2 stage drought.

That’s where Tenacity comes in. We’ve had to continue our persistent push, but adapt our game plan, and direction of efforts, based on what Mother Nature has given us.

This has not been more evident than where we’ve been trying to get Fescue established around the 1st tee. We seeded this area last Fall, as a dormant seeding, as we have in the past with other areas with great success. The risk of this is that we lose snow cover when its dangerously cold and the seed doesn’t survive. That’s exactly what happened. No big deal, we just reseeded it in the Spring. However, the cold temperatures this Spring prevented the seed from germinating. Then it got too hot. Seed also will not germinate if it’s too hot, as a survival technique, knowing that if it does in that kind of heat, it will perish quickly.

Not knowing which seeds will or will not germinate, we’ve been persistent with watering the seed, multiple times a day, for the past 3 months. The downside of that is when seed that resists germination because it’s too cold, and/or too hot, and is continually watered, it will rot and perish. For us to miss the ideal time this Spring to establish the Fescue by seed, it’s been an uphill battle to success.

There is an obvious difference between the establishment of the mounds between 3 and 8, and that of the putting green. First, the seed that was planted last Fall had a much higher survival rate on 8. Most of the protective snow cover blew off the putting green mounds, exposing the seed to lethal temperatures, and drying out. The steepness, and exposure to the wind at the putting green is a disadvantage for establishment, but will serve as an advantage once established. We are also able to run the overhead irrigation heads on the 3/8 mounds during the day with little disturbance to play (sorry if you’ve ever gotten a unwanted shower at 11am, 2,4,6 and 8pm). But we can’t do the same at the putting green, so we’ve tried our best to modify homeowner soaker hoses to our irrigation system, with some success. There’s been some repercussions to the attempt – some areas get too wet, as the hoses are not designed to withstand the high pressure of our irrigation pumps, and some areas don’t get enough water, as the we have multiple soaker hoses connected, and they’re not engineered to sustain consistent pressure over extended connections.

Four weeks ago, it was decided that growing the Fescue in, via seed, was not progressing at the intended (or acceptable) rate. The extreme heat had basically halted any chance of getting seed to germinate. The game plan had to adapt to the weather that had taken place, as well as the trend it’s been headed down. We began taking plugs of established Fescue, from areas on the golf course that were overly healthy and/or thick, and planting them on the mounds. We use our greens cup cutter to take literal plugs of turf, and transplant them on bare areas of the mounds.

This has been a slow process, as it’s very labor intensive. But we’ve remained persistent working on it, as time allows, and have made great progress. Keeping the plugs alive requires the same amount of attention, watering via hoses, until they re-root, and establish. Our staff has gone above and beyond to continue to push, despite some days/weeks, of getting very little results with such committed efforts.

Just like with many things we manage throughout the property, the combination of persistence, with some adaptive tenacity, will lead to success.

Thanks for being patient during this unusually difficult grow-in process. Like everything else in work, and life, the results will be worth the effort in the end.

Mike Manthey


4 Replies to “Tenacity vs Persistance”

  1. David Reeder says:

    Thanks Mike, as always, for all the fine details on course development and the ongoing persistent hard work by you and your crew. It is recognized and appreciated!

    1. Mike Manthey says:

      Thanks David for the support!

  2. Mitch Granholm says:

    Been thinking about the MHCC crew a lot this summer with the drought. Over the 12 years I was at MHCC we never saw anything close to this.

    1. Mike Manthey says:

      Appreciate that, since you know what it’s like to live through. The struggle is real!
      It’s been tough, but the team has been awesome. Very lucky!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *