Monday, May 30th, 2011

I saw a photograph on the front page of the Oregonian on Saturday. It was of the Peninsula Park Rose Garden without a single rose in bloom. The caption read, "Portland's no-rose Festival". Memorial Day weekend is the kick off of Portland's Rose Festival and normally the Peninsula Park Garden and the Washington Park Rose Garden are in full bloom. Just another sign of the spring we are having so far.

The weather did cooperate for the short time the Gaffney Lane sixth graders were out for their annual bird watching tour on Friday. As I mentioned in last week's post, Kristy McQueen has been bringing her class out to the course since my son Adam was in her class six years ago. Even though it is only for an hour, it gives me an opportunity to show the children the golf course and to give them a chance to see firsthand all of its environmental attributes. Many have never walked on a putting green and it always amazes them that the grass is actually real.

Kristy teaches a course on birds and the field trip gives the kids an opportunity to get out and locate and identify birds first hand. Every year some local birding volunteers help with the tour and this year Steve Berliner and Ron Spencer once again lent their time and expertise. I appreciate what they do so much in that they are also committed to providing a valuable learning experience for the kids.  This year I invited Russell Vandehey, superintendent from The Oregon Golf Club to help out as well. Russell continues to have a very successful Western Bluebird nesting box program and I wanted to give him an opportunity to speak to the kids and talk about the Prescott Bluebird Recovery Program. This year Russell has already fledged one box and still has five more pairs nesting successfully. Russell did such a great job, I hope he will come back again next year. As the bluebirds fly, The Oregon Golf Club is only five miles from Stone Creek and we have yet to see a pair of birds in our boxes.I keep threatening Russel that I'm going kidnap one of his boxes and bring a pair to Stone Creek.

Since the weather wasn't quite as sunny as previous years, the birds weren't out in the masses as they have before. We still managed to spot lots of song sparrows, gold finches, red tail hawks, swallows and even a brief encounter with a humming bird. Needless to say I think they all enjoyed themselves and may even come back and take a walk around the trail with their parents. Below are some additional photos of the event.
Gaffney 2011

Course Conditions

The weather wasn't all that great this week but it didn't stop the crew from getting quite a bit done. We were able to fertilize the greens and the tees as well as finishing all the fairway aerification. We only managed to topdress seventeen so we still have ten through fifteen to go. Weather permitting we should have it wrapped up by by the end of the week. We also used as many of the aerification plugs to repair the worn cart path edges. A small detail that will make a big difference on the general appearance of the golf course. The upper level of the driving range tee was aerified, seeded and topdressed. The teeing area is now on the lower tee box which may have a tendency to hold more water after rainy events so we may be having them hit off of the mats for a while until the tee box dries out a bit.

Brian and Mike did a little spring cleaning around the course and used the pressure washer to clean the neighbors fencing along eight and nine. It looks so much nicer and the guys were even rewarded with a big box of  warm cookies from the Whites. Thanks Cindy!

All my best to everyone on this Memorial Day and thoughts are with all whom have served and sacrificed for our country.

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

With a little help from Mother Nature things are looking up. Last week was very productive, finishing topdressing the front nine and the 18th fairways. If everything goes well this week we hope to have the fairway aerification on the back nine wrapped up. We will start in earnest on Tuesday, giving the course to the Senior Pub Links on Monday.

You will notice the ropes have come off of a number of fairways on the back nine. They have firmed up  and are pretty much ready for cart traffic. We still have a number of soft areas, especially on number nine. We have roped them off and painted others so please be mindful of those areas until they have dried up.

Killdeer - Charadrius vociferus

Also, please watch out for the little puffballs. A number of killdeer chicks have hatched and are out there scampering about. The chicks are precocial, that means they can move around and feed themselves shortly after birth. Once the chicks' down dries, the parents will lead them to a feeding area. The chicks stay with their parents until they fledge a month after birth. The killdeer may have two broods a year.

This Friday we are hosting the Gaffney Lane 6th graders once again. We will be touring the course and watching out for wildlife and identifying birds. This is a great event in which I enjoy speaking to the kids about all the wonderful benefits golf courses provide for wildlife. I will be sure to post some pictures of the event in my next blog.

On top of all the plugging and sanding that we need to accomplish this week we will be fertilizing both the tees and the greens, as well as making a scheduled fungicide application to the greens. As a reminder to the pro shop, please check in with us prior to sending groups off of the back so we don't run into any conflicts. Monday we are also going to be aerating and seeding the upper driving range tee. This should not conflict with use other than being closed for regular mowing in the morning.

On a final note, Maggie passed this along to me regarding health inspections. Kerry Tomlinson KATU Problem Solver did a restaurant report card on a local golf course and they mentioned Stone Creek as well as a couple of our neighbors. Over all I am very pleased with our industry in regards to how the golf course restaurants performed. Big congrats to Maggie and her staff for consistently making top marks! See how well we did below.

Monday, May 16th, 2011

I can honestly say we are having more days now without rain than with rain. That usually translates into better golfing conditions and better conditions for us to maintain the golf course. We are still quite soft in many areas around the course and would like to remind everyone to be mindful where they drive their carts. Now that we are in the tournament season full swing, letting carts out is a must for pace of play. We are still limiting access on fairways twelve through sixteen and number nine on the front. The third fairway has developed some soft areas and now that we have plugged it, it is probably in no shape to drive on. With that said we are going to limit access to that fairway as well until further notice.

Last week Mike had an opportunity to visit Farm Links in Sylacauga Alabama. I was glad to give him the opportunity because the education that is offered is always first class. It gave him an chance to see the workings of a southern climate golf course. He said it was neat to see that we are doing many of the same things that they do. The maintenance shop is still in rubble from the fire and they are waiting for insurance to clear before they start the reconstruction process. It is their goal to have a new  building up by August.

On the way there Mike didn't drive through any tornado damage but from what Farm Links superintendent Mark Langer told them, the television coverage doesn't give the true impact of the damage. The tornado swept north of Birmingham and Sylacauga, Mark said he has spent hours on the end of a chain saw helping many of those impacted.

On the way back Mike did get a bird-eye view of the Mississippi flooding situation. The flooding impact is unbelievable. I can't imagine what is must be like to be affected by such major natural disasters. You never can tell when it will happen and so far we have been pretty fortunate here in the NW. My thoughts will be with everyone as they recover from such a catastrophe. 

With Mike gone last week the crew really stepped up and got quite a bit accomplished. We began to aerify the fairways on Tuesday and had the entire front nine plus the eighteenth fairway plugged and picked by Thursday. Thanks to Steve Mathre and Zefferino for all their hard work manning the core harvester.

On Friday we decided to throw some sand down on the fifth fairway since it was so soft.  It drug in and turned out perfect. This week, before we commence plugging on back side we will focus on finishing the sanding on the front nine. We will have to work around the tournaments but that shouldn't cause any disruption.  We want to make sure we get the sand down before the holes start closing in. For the future, this would be a great case for a second tractor so we could be aerating and topdressing at the same time. We could probably get the entire course done in one week. With one tractor we are looking at a minimum of two weeks to finish the job with perfect weather.

The back nine fairways are still a bit soft. If the weather cooperates we hope they will firm up, making it easier to pick up the plugs and safely topdress the hilly ones in a week or so.

Last year we used the plugs from the fairways for fill around the new event center. This year we will be repairing many of the worn areas adjacent to the cart paths, especially around the greens and tee complexes. The plugs, when watered will reestablish and grow from their own. We will add a little fertilizer and some seed for a kicker. We already started on the first tee box and the cross-over between the third and the eleventh holes.

We are looking forward to a great week and welcoming back one of our first tournaments at Stone Creek Golf Club. Young Life has been with us since we opened June of 2002! I would like to thank them for their patronage over the years. It is a pleasure to help them raise money for such a great cause. 

Finally I would like to close with another wildflower shot. This yarrow was planted on the berm next to the eleventh tee box and each year there seems to be more and more. I love how it proliferates within the existing tall grass.

Monday, May 9th, 2011

I think we are getting closer to spring, at least that is what they are saying. The signs are around us but the temps just don't seem to be here yet. The good new is I just heard Matt Zaffino say this is the first week in a long time that the freezing level will remain above 3000 feet. We should be in for some great conditions.

I did manage to get out and get some spring pictures last week. The trees are in bloom and the prairie perennials are are beginning to bloom as well. Who couldn't resist taking a picture of fresh dew on the grass too.

The course remains in top condition. We sprayed the greens on Wednesday and applied a light topdress on Thursday which should equate to some pretty nice putting conditions this week.The bunkers are getting a little hairy and we will work like mad to get to them. Our focus will be to start aerifying the fairways. I will be happy to get a couple of them completely done including the practice fairway around the chipping green.We will see how the week goes.

Congratulations to Mike Hall, he and his wife gave birth to a baby girl on the 30th. Her name is Mikala, Mike don't shoot me if I spelled it wrong, I found 15 different ways to spell it so I took the first listed. Be sure to congratulate Mike when you see him.

Thursday I  attend a First Green Foundation field trip at Glendale Country Club up in Bellevue. Steve Kealy, CGCS, Glendale's superintendent, is one of the driving forces behind the First Green Foundation. The First Green is an environmental education outreach program using golf courses as environmental learning labs. Golf course superintendents and/or local golf course representatives host students on field trips where they test water quality, collect soil samples, identify plants, design plantings, assist in stream bed restoration and are involved in the ecology and environmental aspects of the golf course. The students are also introduced to many other aspects of golf.

Steve dropped me a note last week and asked me if I wanted to come up and have a first hand look at how they host a large group of kids. We have been hosting 6th graders the past 5 years here at Stone Creek and taken them on a short birding field trips but we have never really offered a curriculum of any sort. I felt this would give me a great opportunity to enhance our program and offer more to a wider range of students.

The First Green Foundation has applied for a grant which will enable them to the expand to Oregon and educate superintendents and teachers alike in the benefits of the program. If so, I hope to become even more involved and provide a source for environmental education to the students of Clackamas County.

Jim Myers from the Plateau Club, Greg Hall from Fairwood Golf and Country Club and Craig Benson from Meridian Valley were also there to assist and lead discussions. What struck me was how simple the program was. There were over 50 students there and were divided into groups and were set to visit one of four stations every 25 minutes or so. The lessons included soils, water quality, storm water management and invertebrates. The lessons were simple and presented in a manner that was hands on and fun. I hope to have a full detailed account of my visit that I will share at a later time.

If anyone is interested or has any further questions I would be glad to talk. If you are looking for community outreach for your Audubon Certification this is the answer.

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Nothing like a 20 degree temperature swing to start this week off. Sunday was a magnificent day with temps in the 70's. Today we'll be lucky to break the mid 50's. I'm keeping my fingers crossed we won't get to wet today at the Superintendent Invitational at Oswego Lake. I'm also hoping my swing won't give me to much grief after a long winter.

Tuesday Stone Creek hosted a seminar by OVS Pro Turf Center. The Seminar was on the Redox fertilizer product and was presented by DJ Pakkala. We had superintendents ranging from Bandon to Astoria to Sisters. I enjoyed seeing Ken Nice and John Whistler whom I don't normally get to see but maybe once a year. We all learned the science behind the Redox product and how we can get so much more with so much less. I have touted the benefits of the program in past reports so I won't get into that now. You can see new photos of John and Ken on my "Buck Shot" page.

Thursday was "Take your Daughter or Son to Work Day" and this year Steve's son Jaimon and my son Henry got up before the roosters and came to work with their dads. Why is it when it is time to go to school they have trouble getting out of bed at 7am and they can just pop right up 4:15 and head to work with their dad. Both boys had a great time. Jaimon spent time helping Mike change cups while Steve mowed the driving range tee and Henry spent time checking out the nesting boxes for activity. This was Henry's first opportunity to come to work with his dad, previously his brother was the one to come. Being his 11th birthday Henry had a great day at work and even wrote a report for his class.

I love this program as it gives us an opportunity to let our children have a chance to see what their parents do day to day while they are away from home. I think Henry quickly realized why his dad can sometimes get tired around 8:00 at night. Most of all I think this gives them an opportunity to visit a work place and start thinking about what they want to do when they grow up. I couldn't be more proud if my boys wanted to follow in my footsteps but I'll leave that entirely up to them.

The greens are pretty much healed and the tees are filling in quickly. Last week we applied a granular fertilizer on the tees which is starting to take effect. This week we will be applying a fungicide to the greens to help prevent anthracnose as well as applying a light dose of sand in which we will use our new roller brush to gently work it into the canopy. With the warmer temps predicted this week we should see the greens responding quickly.

As I said Sunday was magnificent and the Demo Day appeared to be a success. As I drove home the parking lot was overflowing, a situation I normally see when we have a double shotgun. Ted was busy giving lessons on the top of the range. I let them hit from our new "Natural Knit" ryegrass nursery which should prove to be a good test of the ability for it to recover with it's creeping ability. The lower range was packed with people trying out the newest in golf technology.

Finally, it is not official yet but the voting is complete and it appears that Stone Creek has won the NW Golf Guys Player's Choice Award with a 9.3% lead over the next course. The credit goes to the entire golf staff at Stone Creek including the cart barn, deli, proshop and of course the maintenance staff. Congratulations to all!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...