Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Course Conditions
It has been a great stretch of weather the last 5 days; the sun and the wind has really dried up the course. Thursday at one point the average wind speed was 15 mph with gusts at 30 mph. When the sun is shining and the wind is blowing like that things are sure to dry out. (You have got to love that high pressure system) By Saturday the wind had firmed up the course nicely and we let the carts out. Sunday the wind subsided but it left us in a frost situation. With the warmer than usual winter weather this year frosts have been few and far between. Things warmed up nicely once the sun hit the grass and we had them playing by 10am. I hope you enjoy the pictures, Mt Hood really seemed to be magnified on Friday.

We thought about mowing the fairways on Friday but chose to wait until Monday. We knew that the weather was going to continue through the weekend so we figured we could mow more grass if we waited until then. This year we are going to try a new mowing pattern. I read in GCM that one course decreased their mowing time by mowing their fairways ribbon style. In other words, splitting them down the middle. One mower starts down the middle while the other goes around the outside and they mow until it is all cut. If it works like I read about the mowers finished well ahead of the golfers which meant that they did not have to wait for play to finish mowing. I will report back on how well it works. I am sure the guys will have a small learning curve but once they get it down I am sure we will be saving time and fuel!

One drawback with the east wind is the bunker sand will tend to move. A number of bunkers have a lot of sand build-up along the lips just outside on the grass. Since the weather is supposed to continue through Monday I asked Laird if he would come in and work on blowing the sand back into the bunkers before it gets wet again and settles in.

Jorge and Zeferino did a great job on the cobble under the bag drop stand. I think it really dresses up the entry well. Our next project will be the path next to the 13th green shown here. This is that one area where carts are having a hard time staying on the path. I think we will add a cobble strip along the edge and then place boulders just beyond that to prevent them from encroaching further.

Mike had some of the guys work in the native areas on fourteen last week clearing out more blackberries and reed canary grass. We have to cut the grass down each year to give the desirable plants a head start in the spring. You can see in the photo to the left how the roses have struggled with all the grass growing up the middle of them. About the only way I have see reed canary controlled is through competition. Since we don't want to spray in these areas our best chance is to promote the desirables and allow them to out compete the grass.

Golf Course Philosophy: Brown is Better

This is a great story from Tim Powers at Crystal Springs Golf Course in Northern California. I love this stuff!

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Course Conditions
It is good to be back home and back at Stone Creek after a week in San Diego. It was a great conference and was nice to see many friends from around the country. The best part about coming back to the course is knowing that it is always going to be in better shape than when I left it and this year was no exception. Mike and the crew have been busy working on projects and making the course a better place to play.

The restroom enclosure on fourteen was finished and looks great. It has always been nice to have the convenience of the portable restroom around the course but the bright blue has always been a distraction. Now two of the three on the course are enclosed and they don't stand out nearly as bad.

The apron on the thirteen white tee was getting very muddy where golfers have been walking on and off. With the sod grown on our nursery the guys replaced the entire area which now looks 100% better. Below you can see the before and after.

Like the bunker on eight, part of the edge was damaged and was caving in so the guys repaired that as well. Again, using the sod that we grew on the nursery.

This year we made a set of tee markers that will replace roughly a third of the ones on the course. We finished the lacquer coating and put the new ones out along with the refinished benches.

Also while I was gone Mike sprayed the greens with fertilizer and also made a fungicide application to protect them and to alleviate some yellow patch pressure that we have been noticing. Mike also finished painting wet areas around the course in an effort to prevent carts from driving through them. It is working on a limited basis. Still some problem spots hear and there. The course seems extremely wet right now and we have seen quite a bit of cart damage. Rich has been limiting the handicap flags which will help a lot. Unfortunately we can't allow them out every day but we will continue to monitor the conditions and make the call on a day to day basis.

Today Zeferino and Jorge are working on the bag drop area outside the front door. We are placing cobblestones where the bag stand sets, this should be a great improvement from the gravel that was there before. Next we will be replacing the sod in front of the building giving it a nice face lift.

Golf Industry Show, San Diego California

It has been a long week and I am looking forward to coming home today and seeing my family and getting back to the routine. One of the great things about going to the Golf Industry Show is seeing old friends and networking. This week I have learned so much from just talking to some of my peers and have learned a lot from my classes. Pictured to the right is my good friend Mike Morris from Crystal Downs Golf Club in Frankfurt Michigan.

Yesterday I took a class on developing best management practices for golf course water conservation that was taught by Robert Carrow, Ph.D. and Clint Waltz, Ph.D. from University of Georgia. They explained the process that the Georgia superintendents took to influence their government officials and the role they took in developing their water conservation laws that applied directly to golf courses. My biggest take-home was if we don't get involved and help educate lawmakers about our environmental practices we will end up paying the big price of working around unnecessary laws. This was a big wake-up call. Pictured to the left is Madera Golf Club which I had the opportunity to visit Thursday.

Last night I attended the Presidents Reception on the terrace and greeted our new GCSAA president, James Fitzroy. There is no question that Jim will be a strong president and will lead us through the coming year. Congratulations to Mark Kuhns, our outgoing president who had to preside over some of the toughest times our association has seen. I commend him for his steadfast leadership. As I took this picture of the destroyer heading out to sea I wondered when I would see the sun again knowing that I would be heading back up to Oregon tomorrow.

Golf Industry Show, February 11th, 2010

While at the show I have had the privilege to record a number of video blogs for The latest was this morning and I blogged about the new Oregon Golf Course Superintendents Association Environmental Stewardship Guidelines. As many of you know this has been a passion of mine for a along time and I am so excited about the reception we have receive regarding the Guidelines and our partner website

Golf Industry Show, San Diego California

I took my first class today called "Hazardous Duty...Basic Bunker Maintenance". There was lots of useful information on communication and developing an understanding of the architectural purpose of the bunkering and developing a well defined standard for bunker playing conditions and the desired degree of difficulty for playing bunker shots. I think that we can develop some standards to help us maintain our bunkers in a more consistent way. The main take-a-way I got from the class is that they are HAZARDS and we can't loos site of that. There is always going to be what some consider an unfair lie but if they hadn't hit it in the hazard they wouldn't be in the predicament  in the first place.

One example given was a greens committee member stated that he found his ball to be completely unplayable after he hit it in the adjacent creek on the fifteenth hole but he determined that if they could cut the water off completely he may be able to find it and at least have a shot at the green. A hazard is a hazard and what makes us think that we have to have bunkers in such pristine shape that we can never have a bad lie. It's something to think about anyway.

Saturday I took some time and toured the USS Midway. That was a great tour. I recommend it to everyone who can make it down here. One of my vendors used to fly fighter jets in the Navy and I managed to see all three of the jets that he flew. Mike "Turf Commander" Madden, these photos are for you!

Monday, February 8th, 2001

Course Conditions
 For the most part the course is in very good shape. As a result of the warm weather the grass is growing quicker that usual and we are still mowing the greens twice a week. The fairways seem to be getting softer so we will continue to restrict cart traffic until we have a good opportunity to dry out. Speaking of that, the forecast looks good for the next 5 days and we should have some great playing weather ahead. Next week we are planning on fertilizing the greens and treating them with a plant protectant to prevent any further disease development. We will also be treating the tees as well.

Last week the crew was busy completing many small projects around the course. Mike built an enclosure for the portable toilet on seven and will complete the enclosure on fourteen sometime this week. He did a great job.

Steve has put the finishing touches on the new range picker which should be ready for service this week. I took it for a test run last Thursday and was very impressed how it handled. What struck me most was how it handled coming down hill by not freewheeling at all. I cannot say enough about Steve and the effort he put into it. This will be an asset to the course for years to come.

We continued to do some minor repairs on the course as well. The broken edge on the large bunker on eight has been repaired as well as the wet low near the approach on eighteen. We also repair the grass along the cart path near the ninth white tee. These little projects make such a big difference in the over all appearance of the course. We will continue to work on these type of things as time allows.

Tuesday Damon Schrosk with Treecology came out and used his Air Knife on the root zones of three Douglas fir trees. On one of the trees we incorporated Axis which is a vitrified diatomaceous earth. The idea is to hold moisture and create airspace in the root zone to help the trees become stronger and thrive.  In the video below you can actually see the ground heave when the air is injected. We will keep a close eye on these trees to see if we can detect some improvement throughout the spring.

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