Recovering from hail damage

By |  November 5, 2019 0 Comments
Hail damage recover (Photo: Cole Clark)

The left photo shows hail damage on a green the morning after the storm, and the right photo shows the green later that day after implementing the recovery plan at Pryor Creek Golf Course. (Photo: Cole Clark)

A severe storm hit Pryor Creek Golf Course, near Billings, Mont., on Sunday, Aug. 11. The storm produced wind gusts of up to 70 mph and golf-ball- to tennis-ball-sized hail. The storm happened late enough at night that we waited until Monday morning to begin cleanup. To make the greens playable, we sent staff with backpack blowers up the center of each green to clear a path wide enough for a cart and turbine blower to get on the greens without mashing more sticks into the greens as they cleared debris from the rest of each green.

The first step of the plan I came up with was to vibratory roll the pock marks as smooth as possible. We followed the vibratory roll with a circle verticut at ³⁄₁₆ inch with carbide tips. I believed the circle verticut gave me a chance to attack each pock from multiple directions.

We followed up the verticut by blowing remaining debris from the surface and did another vibratory roll. I then mowed each green with my sand reels, which were set 0.005 inch higher than the daily cutting units. Mowing at a higher cutting height avoided scalping any “tufting” that occurred from the hail or verticutting.

We followed all of that up with a light topdressing, which was watered in. On Monday night, the course had men’s league playoffs on the nine holes that were hit the hardest. I didn’t hear any complaints about the greens. I mowed for four days using the sand reels before switching to the regular reels. I’m about 10 days out from the storm while writing this, and the only different thing I’ve noticed is a bit of bruising of the leaf tissue, which seems to be improving daily.

Cole Clark is the golf course superintendent at Pryor Creek Golf Course. You may reach Cole at yegensuper@outlook.com for more information.



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