Agronomy: Prepping for Tournament Season

Stu Rowland, Director of Agronomy

Aesthetics, Conditioning and Challenges: Summing up the start to the year and where we are headed as we move into the spring golf season. No doubt, we have accomplished much with a couple of challenges.

We are continually focused on playing conditions and experience. Additionally this winter, the team has been hard at work on course aesthetics. You will see throughout the course that in the areas near tees and greens as well as tree groves and solo tree rings, we have recaptured the original landscaped areas to provide a nice clean aesthetic. Almost all of the areas that had been overrun with turf and native grass have now been redefined, cleaned and cedar mulched. Not only is the aesthetic meaningful to the course visually, it is functional to both control erosion and root exposure as well as provide a better surface to hit from should a ball find its way into the area.

Making progress isn’t ever without a challenge or two. Just as many of these areas were cleaning up nicely, we experienced the wild swing of our Texas weather. From 70 degrees at one point to 11 degrees a few days later, we found ourselves taking a break to address getting greens recovered from the temporary dormant condition they experienced. All seemed well and then Texas happened again as we endured three days of cold misty weather and accumulating ice. The ice began trimming our trees on the third day and we had a pretty big cleanup to accomplish in removing many large branches and tree debris that littered our freshly mulched landscapes. Our team, accustomed to working with Mother Nature, made quick work of it preparing and getting the course open for play.

Moving into spring, our focus remains on our aesthetic projects while we shift to conditioning as the weather warms and the playing surfaces come out of dormancy and green up. We are excited for the first week of progress in March with our spring greens aerification. This season a different process will be put into place with a new tool called Graden. A Graden machine cuts a deep continuous channel through the turf that is then filled with sand. Unlike aerification that removes a small hole every two inches, the Graden will be a thinner width, enabling a quicker recovery and, due to the continuous channel, more thatch and organic matter is removed and refilled with sand, which will allow for greater movement of water through the upper profile, keeping the surfaces dry and firm.  

The team is excited for spring and tournament season. It gets our energy up and we’re back to mowing grass but more so we are excited to have everyone back out in shorts enjoying the improvements we’ve worked on during the last few months. If we’re really honest, we are just excited for spring in the Hill Country at Cordillera Ranch.  

Stu Rowland is the Director of Agronomy at The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch. He can be reached at and 830.336.3710.

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