Cooler weather in early fall usually produces some of the best golf course conditions of the year
All anyone in Central Oregon needed to do over the weekend to figure out that fall is nearing is to open a window.
Cooler temperatures were here, though not for long, serving notice that the weather is changing.
But the cool down should be welcomed by golfers. In fact, the best conditions of the year are here and likely to stay through the end of September.
“Everything is coming to an end, in that Central Oregon kind of way,” says Josh Knapp, superintendent at Aspen Lakes. “The cool weather over the weekend is going to help out.”
What’s so good about September?
As the weather moderates, Knapp expects a surge of turf growth, something he expects to last well into September.
It turns out that Central Oregon’s typical weather during the transitional period between summer and fall tends to excite the turf.
“Bentgrass loves those 40-degree nights with those 70- or 80-degree highs,” Knapp says. “We’re picking up our mowing frequency again because we are going to get a little growth out of it. When we start getting frost in the morning, than it’ll start going dormant on us. That’s when we can cut back on mowing frequency.”
Even the handful of dreaded hot spots, the occasional dry spots found on most any golf course during Central Oregon’s dry summer, have begun to disappear and return to the lush green color of the rest of Aspen Lakes’ turf.
This as the crew cuts irrigation back to twice a week.
“Everything is kind of taking care of itself now, in a sense, because of the shorter days and the cooler nights,” Knapp says.
Time to top dress
Last week, Knapp and his crew topdressed all 18 greens. The sandy surfaces might have caused a temporary inconvenience for some golfers, but there are important reasons to do it each fall, including the fact that it simply produces smoother, firmer greens.
Knapp, who believes in regular topdressing, opted for a heavier layer than normal this time around.
“We went a little heavier, because we are going to be really busy in September,” Knapp says. “So we’re not going to have another chance to get the sand down this month until we aerate on Oct. 7.”
The inconvenience was short lived, too. By the weekend the greens were rolling at about 11 on the Stimpmeter, which is considered the normal speed at Aspen Lakes, Knapp says.
Just one more reason why September could be the best month of the year to play at Aspen Lakes.