A Turfgrass Legacy: Winterizing the course

Bill Fach works 70 to 75 hours a week in the summer, maintaining about 107 ha (265 acre) of the 324-ha (800-acre) site by cutting fairways, greens, and tees, changing the holes, and hand-raking the traps and bunkers. Photo courtesy Bill Fach

By Molly Doyle

One of Bill Fach’s important winter tasks involves putting a fungicide on to battle snow mould so he does not lose the turf come spring. His team sprays preventatively for mould diseases because once the snow hits, a fungicide is of little use.

Fach also hardens off the turf by fertilizing or reducing the water reaching it. He says one of the difficult tasks is trying to decide if the course needs any more water, because once the system is shut down, if it gets dry or there is no rain, there is no more water.

“Blowing out the system is another winterizing task,” explains Fach. “We have to make the decision on when is the best time to winterize our irrigation system before it freezes. It is a very important process making sure you are getting water out of all the pipes. On an older golf course, this is so crucial because if you do not do it, they are all going to break.”

Fach says most courses in Ontario will blow their system out between the third week of October to around December 1.

“If it was in Burlington, for example, I might blow my system out the third week in November,” says Fach. “If I lived north around Barrie, I would be blowing my system out the second week in October because if you get caught with snow on the ground and you have got to blow out an irrigation system, you are in deep trouble.”

Read the full article: A Turfgrass Legacy: Bill Fach’s driving ambition

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