Through the first three weeks of August, we have recorded 7.5” of rain here at Estero Country Club. As the overall water table in Southwest Florida continues to rise, the golf course is beginning to get saturated. This is good news on the holes that we are still trying to grow grass on, however, it is bad news in other areas as we are trying to mow grass, fertilize, aerify and move large equipment around in general.
The golf course maintenance staff is spending a tremendous amount of time and effort repairing “wash-outs” after these rains. The soil is retrieved when possible but in many cases, new soil needs to be brought in. The ground is then leveled and compacted. We have begun sodding many of the reoccurring problems in the hopes that when established the root system will hold the soil in place and prevent future wash-outs. This is a very slow, tedious process that is all a part of growing in a golf course in the summer in Southwest Florida.
The front 9 holes continue to grow-in nicely. Weekly fertilization continues, and we have begun mowing tees, fairways, roughs and greens on the first holes that were planted 2, 3, 6, 7 and 8. The remaining holes are about 2 weeks behind will catch up soon enough.
We remain on schedule and our opening will be based on the weather over the next 6 weeks. Although the back 9 may look almost playable from the road, I can assure you that there is much work still to be done and we ask you to please continue to observe the no entry signs as all the turf is still very fragile. We have found a few golf balls on the course and we ask that you refrain from any player on the course until we are open.
Many areas along lake banks still need to be grown in along with some spots on fairways and roughs. Smoothing of the playing surfaces continues through aerification, rolling and sand top-dressing and will be ongoing over the next month. We will soon begin to lower the mowing heights, slowly bringing them down to playing condition height over the next 6 weeks. This is not something we want to rush, as we do not want to stress the plant that is still in the growing in process.