Over the course of the winter, Southern Ontario experienced fluctuating temperatures combined with light frequent snow fall. These freeze thaw type conditions are ideal for crown hydration damage. In anticipation of theses thaw freeze events, snow and/or ice was removed from the greens a total of 4 times. During the frequent melting events the temporary surface drainage we installed on 1, 3, 5 and 12 seemed to be very effective in quickly removing water from the surface.
The 2016 portion of the Tree Management Program has been completed. The majority of the removals completed in the winter were done to increase sunlight and improve growing environments. All other removals were both declining Ash trees and Austrian Pines. The winter weather conditions have provided many opportunities to complete a thorough cleaning of tree debris. This will expedite the clean-up process during spring.
Plans are underway to execute some tree planting spring/fall 2016 as part of the Tree Management Program. Planting zones have been selected and arborists are finalizing details on tree selection. Tree selection is proving to be a comprehensive and complicated process in order to get the right tree in the right place. It is important to get this right so these trees can be enjoyed for many years to come.
Seasonally warm temperatures over the past week seem to have expedited us into an early spring and preparations for opening have commenced. I am pleased to report that the golf course has wintered very well and after removing the tarps earlier this week there is no winter damage to report.
2016 appears to be off to a great start and we all have our fingers crossed for an earlier than normal opening date. Temperatures and weather patterns can quickly change to more seasonal conditions. It is important to ensure turfgrass is healthy and growing prior to opening. If wear and traffic caused by carts and play exceed the growth and rate of recovery we are essentially causing damage to the course. The average opening date for private clubs in Southern Ontario over the past 10 years is April 12th. The golf course opened late (April 24th) in the spring of 2015. The course and grounds staff has prepared some subtle changes to a few of the course accessories. The thought process is to bring continuity to the Cutten Fields experience and unify the identity of the club from the Clubhouse to the Grounds.