What happens during golf course overseed?

Skip and Dreama Fumia

Ok, if your guess is that “our golf course is unavailable for play due to grass maintenance,” you’d not be entirely wrong, but not entirely right either. Here’s a little more information for you.

Ideally an all-season grass would exist – one that thrives in our summer heat and endures our cooler winters; however, that grass has not yet been developed, so we regularly transition from summer’s Bermuda grass to winter’s rye. Beginning September 12 the practice range will close for overseeding (target greens, teeing area, putting/chipping greens), while the three nines will close on September 19 for overseeding (fairways, tees, collars and greens). If our weather is cooperative, the practice range will re-open (using mats for teeing area) on October 3 and the three nines will open on October 10. Please note that the nines will be cart-path-only for three weeks after re-opening (two weeks for handicap flag holders). Watch What’s Happening for any updates.

What does Course Superintendent J.R. Kies and his 24-member crew have in front of them? First, prep occurs – three to four days of sweeping, raking, mowing and debris removal to ready the areas to receive new seed (blend of ryes, generally applied at 750 lbs per acre). Then water and a wetting agent goes down to promote germination. The crew will be irrigating every hour on the hour for three minutes during this phase (6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.). Once germination occurs, the team will start letting the newly seeded areas dry out, then begin mowing to get ready for play. In general, the crew will be working 5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. weekends when necessary. Caution, during this time, the golf course is CLOSED – no one (no golfers, no joggers, no walkers—) on the course but the maintenance crew. This is for your safety.

During the last week before re-opening, the maintenance crew will also be tidying up – edging cart paths, cleaning up ball washers, replacing flags/sticks and installing new GPS reflectors on flag sticks, for example – all aimed at producing the best course and conditions possible for re-opening. J.R. notes that when we re-open, you will again see the cart traffic gates we used last year. This year J.R. intends to move the gates more frequently during the winter season.

Of course, the Pro Shop (though closed during overseed) has a few projects planned as well. They include: range equipment/maintenance (ball washer, ball picker, sort/discard damaged range balls, collect balls at range edge); cart/cart barn maintenance; re-organize trophy and posting room; update Chelsea reservation system and wash and paint surfaces and markings.

All in all, it is a time for our Golf Operations staff to refresh our entire course and get ready for the winter season of high volume play. For Quail Creek golfers it’s a time to take advantage of lower rates at other courses, fix every game flaw by reading all the newest magazine/Internet solutions, or find something to focus on other than golf. Ok, maybe not.