Monday, August 30th, 2010

Today was the day that we were scheduled to aerate the greens. Unfortunately I forgot to send the memo to Mother Nature. We felt the weather was to risky from what we were seeing in the forecast on Sunday and had to make a call so we could start filling Monday tee times. They are calling for all day rain showers so with that we would never be able to get the sand to dry and fill in the holes. Wednesday is just calling for clouds. Since we are moving it to this Wednesday I believe we will be able to get the Wednesday Men's club to play Monday instead.
We were able to aerate the chipping green on Monday with a new set-up on the aerator. We will be using the quad tine set up but with a mix of different size tines. Of the sixty tines we will have fifteen 1/2 inch tines spaced evenly across the width amongst the shorter and narrower 3/8th's inch tines. This will give us a deeper and a little wider hole on a 3 x 3 inch spacing but also with the normal 3/8's inch shallower tine's in between on a 1.25 x 1.25 inch spacing. We feel this will help us mix up the aerification layer that can develop near the bottom reach of the tines and may keep us from having to use the 5/8's inch tines each year. From what we have observed on the chipper so far, the healing process is the same as we have always seen with the quad tine setup but with the benefit of the deeper penetration. In this photo you can see the mix of larger plugs with the smaller ones. There is quite a difference underground but hardly noticeable on the surface.

Event Center
Jason and Rick have been working on the patio revision and I think it has turned out nicely. The stone work really sets the front of the building off. After they finish and have the pillars done, the new event center will be looking great!

Golf and Wildlife

Osprey at Stone Creek Golf Club
The Osprey have found some good hunting in our lakes this summer with the water clarity so good. Wednesday Mike and I were driving by the "Charlie" lake and we heard the Osprey calling out. We looked up and behold, there it was with a huge bass in it's clutches. Luckily I had my camera and was able to snap a few pictures.
Great Horned Owl's by Jim Ramey, Crosswater Golf Club
I sent a copy to my friend Jim Ramey, Superintendent at Crosswater. We trade wildlife photos and he replied with this one of a pair of Great Horned Owls. Pretty awesome! Golf courses sure make great wildlife habitat don't they!

Remembering Jason Oliver

It is with great sorrow that I report the passing of Jason Oliver. Jason was a friend and graduate from the turf program at Oregon State University in 2007. He was one of those students that stood out in my mind as the kid that had the world by the tail and was going to make a great name for himself.
Jason had been working for Stanford University as an assistant superintendent where he was responsible for managing the practice facility for the Cardinal Golf Team. Prior to Stanford, Jason interned at prestigious clubs such as Pronghorn Golf Club, The Olympic Club and Cornerstone Golf Club.
My fondest memory is delivering a used greens mower to David Douglas High School where Jason had built a putting green within the walls of the school. I couldn't help but be impressed with his attitude, determination and devotion. At eighteen he knew exactly what he wanted to be and went forward with gusto. We will all miss Jason and his infectious smile.

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

August 15th
August 23rd
Not much change other than the cool down from last weekend. We managed to get the moisture back in the greens and the areas that were wilted have now recovered as shown in the photos to the right. We have been very successful in using a moisture meter to track our progress in wetting the profile. It is important especially this time of year to avoid over watering. If we can manage the right amount of water without over application, the turf stands to recover much more quickly. Also, with the addition of Aquatrol's wetting agent Revolution as part of our soil moisture management system, our moisture levels are much more uniform and we are able to re-wet our profile much quicker after dry conditions.

This week we are looking at one or two days in the 90's and then another cool down. Perfect weather conditions if you ask me.

Day two of the Ladies Club Championship is this week and we are planning on using the "B" green on number fourteen. It was brought to my attention that the small alders were blocking their view of the green so last week we cleared the trees in question and they will have a clear shot.

This week we are checking all the equipment and preparing for aerifying the greens next Monday. Today we did a trial run on the chipper and it looks great. I have no doubt we should expect great weather. Completing the job early will certainly set us up for a fantastic fall season.

Monday, August 16th, 2010


Shortly after my last report I received another call from the Water Master and was told to shut the pumps down, so we are finally now officially on well water for the remainder of the season. Just to give an idea of how much we saved in electrical costs; last year we paid $4,620 for our July usage and this year our bill was $2,569. That is $2,051 in savings from not running the deep well in July.
Ten Green Drought Stress
The Club Championship was a huge success last weekend. Congratulations to Ken Davidson winner of the Low Gross Championship and special congratulations to our own Zeferino Cuevas for winning the Low Net Championship! One other notable to mention is Gary Barth from the County for winning the "C" Flight Gross Championship.

Damaged Poa annua
The weather was a bit warm but overall the staff did an awesome job conditioning the course for the two day event. We had the greens rolling in the mid 11's and kept the pin placements as flat as possible. The course played very fair but the biggest challenge was the 20 mph wind on Saturday. The wind plus 101 degrees combined with 12% humidity, made for some interesting putts. Those conditions also put some undue stress on some of the greens. The tenth shown here wilted pretty bad mid day and there wasn't much we could do about it. The leaf tissue was damaged somewhat but will recover in no time. The lighter spots in the smaller photo are damaged  Poa annua which may will not recover as fast as the bentgrass, if at all. This is a case where bentgrass weathers the extreme temperatures so well. With the wetting agent we have been using all season, (Revolution) it will allow us to re-wet the soil profile with out working through hydrophobic conditions. We will be making another application this week with our fertilizer and with the cooler temperatures expected Wednesday things should be looking just fine.

It was nice to be able to set up the course for the Championship this weekend. It is always great to be able to play on greens that roll in excess of 10.0. We cut and rolled the greens on Friday, double cut and rolled Saturday and then single cut and rolled Sunday. This provided us with a consistent speed of around 11.2. Since we are a public course, and we do get a lot of play, we need to manage the greens around 9.0 to 9.5 for much of the year. This is to ensure that we keep the pace of play and it also allows us to use a lager portion of the putting green for pin placements. When we get 60,000 rounds a year the greens receive a lot of play and it is important to spread the pin placements around to distribute the wear evenly. If we kept the greens at 11.0 and above we would be limited on pin placements thus creating areas of wear that would never recover. It is nice to know that we can set the course up for championship events and give the players a new look at the same course.

The Bench on the 18th Tee (Just for fun)

This Week
As we approach the last few feet of the top tier on the driving range tee we will be aerifying and re-seeding it soon. Specialized Construction is back to work on the front of the Event Center. By adding an additional planter in lieu of a step we hope we will avoid any further tripping accidents.

Monday, August 9th, 2010

We got a call back from the water master and it wasn't what I expected. She said that she could not regulated us at this time due to the fact that the water was running 5 cubic feet per second. Our permit will allow us to draw until the creek reaches 1.5 cfs. So at this time we are still drawing from the creek again and have turned off the deep well pump. In the name of conservation we are not filling the lake on #6 at this time and we are only running one pump. It has certainly been a strange season and really speaks a lot for late spring rains and its effect on surface water. Now that August is here we will see the night time temperatures dropping and the days will be getting shorter. We can turn the run times way down as well as the water days. I only wish I could instill this knowledge to our neighbors and their 40,000 square foot "vanity pastures". I asked a couple of them last week what their water bill was and they said it is over $1,000. I offered to reduce their bill and they could pay me the difference but I didn't get any bites. Its funny that we probably spent around $1,000 for electricity last month to irrigate the entire golf course and they do just that on their home lawns. I have such a hard time with that.

Adam had an opportunity to fly with Richard Dopp in his Aeronca airplane last week and while he was up over the course he took this picture. If you look near the top and left of the photo you can see some of the lawns that I am talking about. It really illustrates the term "vanity pasture" which I must say got from a gal that was on the OPB Think Out Loud radio show that I did this spring on "Turf Wars". She had a pretty liberal viewpoint on lawns but I can really identify with her use of the terms. Aside from the neighbors, Adam's picture really illustrates how green things are for this time of year.

The crew has continued removing the Hydrilla from the lakes. Each day I see a huge pile in the dump but looking at the lakes it seems like a small amount removed. The guys have been doing a great job and there hard work is very much appreciated.

We used the Thatch-Away reels on the greens Tuesday and removed quite a bit of material. I feel like the sand really got into the profile and now they look awesome. I don't like to use these units to often for the vary reason that they can be too aggressive, but since they are so healthy right now and growing so well it was a perfect time to use them. We rolled the greens Friday to give them a little boost for the weekend and next week we will have them rolling pretty "smoothly" for the Club Championship.

I have been real please with our broad leaf control this season as Steve Pearce continues to systematically go through the entire course and spot spray. He continues to spray the clover patches that are showing up as well as the noxious weeds that arise in and around the tall grass areas. It really make a difference to approach it in this manner. We save so much in material costs as well as limit our pesticide exposure.

1.25" Left, 0.5" Right
Field Day
Super fine texture
Plots next to turf type tall fescue
Creeping ryegrass invading tall fescue plots
Thursday I had an opportunity to attend a field day at the Ledeboer Seed Farm. They have developed the first turf type creeping perennial ryegrass. Ryegrass is the primary turfgrass used in the Northwest amongst golf courses, sod farms, and athletic fields. It's value is in its quick establishment characteristics and its strong wear tolerance. Dr. Fred Ledeboer discovered, while evaluating some of his plots, a patch of grass that he thought was creeping bentgrass and almost sprayed it out with Round-up. But upon closer examination he discovered that it was in fact perennial
ryegrass. He soon learned that this grass produces what they termed "pseudo-stolons". They are actually seed stalks that lay prostrate and will develop roots at the nodes of the plant. So instead of producing seed stalks that normally appear in the spring and cause the turf to become tough to cut and leave a frayed appearance, this grass uses those stalks to spread and knit together. So as you can imagine the sod growers will like this because they can now plant a 100% perennial ryegrass product and do not have to use netting or Kentucky bluegrass to hold it together. Currently JB Sod is growing 90 acres of the sod and just started
selling it this summer. The texture of this turf is amazingly fine and the color is some of the deepest green I have seen. I call it a freak of nature, it just seems to good to be true. We have been using it on our driving range tee now for a year and can see the spreading characteristics already. It is going to be a great product for tee boxes and now I can see the value for some courses to use it in fairways in lieu of bentgrass. It will take a low cutting height with no problem, I have heard of it down to as low as 7/16th's of an inch. The other nice thing is the seeding rate can be as low as two pounds per thousand. The lower rate allows it to spread quickly and become established. In these pictures you can really see the fine textured appearance and its ability to compete with other grasses. We will be planting our nursery with this product this fall and will use it to re-sod some of our tee boxes that are starting to crown.

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Another fantastic week. The course could not be in any better shape for this time of year.  It was great to see such a great turnout for the "Breast Friends" tournament on Friday. The limo on the second tee box was a first for me!
The pumps are finally off at the creek and I turned the well on Friday at noon. We have had an extraordinary water year this year and are grateful for the bonus water we received this month. The water master cannot remember ever not regulating so late in the season. We actually shut it off before she called but she said we would have probably got the call this week some time. We will be turning the driving range irrigation off first to conserve water and then we will limit some of the rough irrigation. The first thing we will see are tire tracks from the carts. When the grass is drought stressed the leafs will become damaged and turn black initially then eventually brown. So in case anyone gets reports of strange tracks on the course we can tell them that it is just drought stress and it will recover as soon as we can get some rain.
We received our soil test back on the 15th green and as I suspected our pH has risen which gave way to the Take-all-patch. I would have never guessed 7.5 from 5.9 but that is what happened. I attribute the rise to the two Verde-Cal applications we made this spring plus the elevated pH in the irrigation water. We re-tested the greens Tuesday with a pH meter and the ones we tested, including fifteen, all hovered around 6.5. This is right where most turf professionals want to see pH levels. At 6.5 the nutrients are most available to the plant for uptake. Personally, I never thought it would be possible to hit that mark in the Northwest. Now the trick will be to keep it there.
I mentioned the elevated pH in our pond water earlier. We have been at a loss at how much the levels fluctuate in just the last few months. The pH currently in the irrigation pond is 9.7 which only last month was 7.05. We have been pumping water from the creek which has ranged right around 7.0. A 2.65 increase in the lake pH in one month is hard to believe. I just wish we knew what was causing it. We should not see any detrimental affects from the increase since we are so blessed with Oregon rainfall which will flush away any bicarbonates that may accumulate in the profile over the summer.

Hydrilla verticillata
Last week we started hauling out the weeds from the irrigation lake. From what I have read it is called Hydrilla verticillata. It can grow in depths of 20 feet of water and will reproduce from fragmentation, seeds, buds and tubers. It is a perennial plant and if left untreated it will form a mat over the entire lake surface. It is originally from Europe and Asia and was probably introduced to our streams from the aquarium industry. Just when we got our ponds free from the algae this sets in. The funny thing is that in order to control it some recommend letting the algae bloom to keep the sunlight from hitting the bottom of the lake or to use a lake dye to do the same thing. I am not in favor of using dye's since we spill into the creek and we just spent a bunch of money clarifying the ponds. We may have to treat the water later this fall after we stop irrigating, but in the mean time we will continue to remove it mechanically.

Tuesday we are planning on verticutting aggressively with the Thatch-Away units and topdressing. By doing this we will be smoothing the greens out even more and with the club championship coming up on the 14th we should have them rolling nicely.

This spring we completed a lighting upgrade throughout our facility with the Energy Trust of Oregon. GCSAA asked me to write a case study regarding the project. You can read it by clicking on the tab above labeled "Case Study".
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