Monday, June 28th, 2010

It has been fun to watch the course evolve with the nice weather. With every nice day the course seems to improve its appearance drastically. The uncut fine fescue unfortunately offers a tough hazard to the golfers but the good news is we will be cutting it down in a couple months. I personally love the contrast it offers throughout the course, it makes for some great photo opportunities.

We have  been topdressing fairways this week and will have them all wrapped up by Tuesday. The greens are in better shape this week. I never thought I would use social media to solve a turf disease problem but Facebook came in handy last week. I posted a picture of the Take-all-patch disease that I was seeing on the Turf Diseases Page and Dr. Leah Brilman contacted me directly and mentioned calcium levels. That provoked my gray matter to remember that Take-all-patch can surface at higher pH's and along with the higher pH manganese can become unavailable. This year we happened to make an extra Verde-Cal application, which is an outstanding product and is probably one of the most active calcium applications you can make. The result was a quick and large increase in pH resulting in the onset of Take-all-patch. Our remedy was an application of Heritage along with .05lbs of manganese per 1000 square feet and two tenths of a pound of nitrogen (from ammonium sulfate) to stimulate some growth. It may take an additional application or two of the manganese but I am confident we will not be seeing Take-all-patch much longer.

The painting and the landscaping around the new event center has come along nicely this week. I have been extremely pleased with the work of both, Anderson Painting and Showscapes. The painting was completed in one day with minimal interference around the clubhouse and it turned out great. Chris Anderson will be bringing by some samples soon so we can choose a color for the deck. We will need to determine the best day to paint it so we don't interfere with any tournament activities.

Showscapes hit the ground running on Monday morning. Their first day the essentially hand graded everything and installed irrigation. The second day the topsoil was placed and by the third day he plants were laid out. We chose to irrigate the plants by drip irrigation to conserve water and to remove the possibility of over spraying the new building. Here are some picture of there progress over a three day period.

 Tree Troubles Update
 Here is an update on my "Tree Troubles" blog  on February 8th, 2010. The first picture here was taken in January and the second was taken this month. The good news is that I am seeing a lot of  new growth on the tips of the branches, especially the tree on the left. The bad news is not all the trees treated have quite this much new growth but there is some which is a good thing. Whether it is a result of the air knife that remains to be seen. We will keep a close eye on the stressed trees and if the ones we treated last February show signs of improvement we will look into further treatments this winter.

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Course Conditions
I finally had a chance to play golf with the Men's club on Saturday in their US Open Tournament and had a terrific time. The conditions were magnificent which really left me with nothing to blame. I have had better days putting but I wouldn't want to be like Tiger and blame my poor performance on the greens and say they were "awful". I heard rave reviews from everyone.

I am a little concerned with some of the new patches that have begun to show up on the greens. At first glance I suspected Brown Patch or Yellow Patch. I would have never suspected Take-all-patch in that it usually runs its course in the first 5 years of play. People I have shared this picture with and those that have come out to take a look pretty much agree that it is Take-all-patch. Our next step will be to spray with Heritage. It seemed to have worked best 5 years ago when we dealt with this, it will probably work well this time too.  It is highly unusual in that these greens are now 10 years old. If anyone has ever experienced this before I would sure love to hear about it.

Now at 10 years the Poa annua has really begun to fill in. This spring I have seen more seedheads than ever before. It is only a matter of time before these things are going to be taken over. It is sad for me to see the bentgrass loose the struggle in that we loose the disease and drought tolerance and will need to spend more money protecting them. There is an outstanding article by David Oatis titled "The Evolution of a Putting Green" in the March/April 2010 USGA Green Section Publication. The article goes into the Poa invasion and describes the transition of a bentgrass green to a Poa blend.  Once we get to a certain population of Poa we will be able to utilize the growth regulator Proxy to control the seed heads. Right now we still have a significant amount of bent and cannot risk the injury that we saw two years ago while trying to control the seeding.

Today (Monday) is going to be a busy day around the clubhouse. The landscaping will finally begin around the new Event Center as well as the painting of the clubhouse building. The new flag pole is going up as well. We have lots of shotguns on the schedule in the coming weeks which will make it tricky to topdress fairways. We may have to have a couple guys work afternoons to fling sand after the morning tournaments are over. That should make for dryer conditions as well.

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Course Conditions
We can safely say the course has dried out a bit. We hit a milestone over the weekend and finally pushed the mercury up past 80 degrees. The crew got the course in great shape for the weekend considering how wet everything was all week. We are still seeing a few wet areas and will limit cart access where needed. This morning has been busy. Staab Horticultural is applying Primo to the fairways and we are verticutting and topdressing the greens. Mike will be finishing up with the final touches on the fairway and rough fertilization and then will start sanding the fairways.

The tall grass is taking off along the edges and is looking great. This may not be a favorite for golfers but I sure enjoy the appearance. The course really looks nice with the different heights of cut. Carl has done a fantastic job mowing the edges of the paths and keeping the tall grass at bay. This is a great time of year to take photographs of the course. You can count on me posting some shots in the coming weeks.

Anderson painting can start on the clubhouse as soon as the weather permits. As of today we are planning on next Monday during the shotgun tournament. They should be able to shoot all the walls in one day and then finish the trim the next day. Showscapes is going to begin the landscape construction this Wednesday. If all goes well we should have everything wrapped up by the end of the month!

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Course Conditions
Quoting my good friend Peggy Hindahl, "Dave, the rain. Make it stop". I think there is a limit to how much rain the human psyche can withstand in the month of June. Especially when we get the normal month amount in the first three days. According to my weather station we have received 4 inches in the last 7 days and the weather pattern appears to be continuing. The long range is forecasting rain nine out of the next twelve days. The average monthly rainfall expected in the Portland area is 1.5". We may be setting some kind of record this month.

On the bright side, we haven't had to irrigate the golf course yet and we are saving a tremendous amount of money on pumping costs. We are usually turning on the deep well by the first week in July. We haven't even put the pumps in the creek yet this year. If we stay in this condition we may be able to draw from the creek through the month of July which will save lots of money from having to run the deep well.

The one thing I have been noticing is quite a few small fusarium spots on the greens. We covered them with our last fungicide application and it should not become a problem. With the Poa becoming more prevalent we will start to see more disease related to that species. I am glad that we have been continuing our soil penetrant program through the winter. Our moisture levels at 3" are still at 25 to 30 percent following an inch and a half rain event. Keeping the water running through the profile aids in maintaining a healthy root system and will also help prevent pythium outbreaks. With this amount of rain coupled with potential high temperatures, we could set our selves up with a bad outbreak if we are not moving that moisture through the profile. We will continue to be diligent and keep a watchful eye for any symptoms.

Again, given all the rain the crew is still doing a fantastic job. This week they managed to trim all the bunkers and still get the rough mowed. We have a few wet areas which are evident from the photos here but with a few rainless days we should be in fine shape. Quite a few bunkers are holding water which normally isn't a problem for this time of year so we will be pumping them as needed and making notes on which ones will get reconditioned next winter when we have time again to dig them up.

We took advantage of the rain last week and made another Verde-cal application. After reviewing soil test results we are barely making an impact with our past applications so we have decided to make multiple applications this year in hopes of increasing the calcium levels along with the pH. We are very pleased with the overall health of the greens to date. We have had a little struggle maintaining good speeds but at this point with all the moisture we are more glad to see them healthy. We will be fertilizing this week and along with that we will begin our Primo (growth regulator) program. This will help the greens tighten up as well as have an effect on maintaining better speeds through the day. If we can get some decent weather we are going ahead with the fairway and rough fertilizer then will start on the fairway sanding.

Ball Fields
I couldn't be more pleased with the work George and his crew are doing out at the ball park. You think we have struggled with the rain, imagine what they have to deal with every day when coaches and the parks department are expecting to have games each day. I think there has only been a couple rain-outs this season which speaks well for the work the crew has been doing. In this picture the guys are adding some more soil in low areas to prevent puddling.

Event Center
We have reviewed the landscape bids and will be hiring Showscapes. They were the company we used when we installed the clubhouse originally and will do a very nice job. Given the weather conditions they are backed up some and will be able to start the week of the 14th. Jason and Rick need a couple good dry days to finish the walls and will be able to pour a new air station for cleaning shoes. The steel will be in this week and the railings should start going up soon too. We should have the crawl space door installed this week so we can finish the grading behind the building. The framed photographs should be done this week and will start hanging them as soon as I get them in.
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