Royal Oaks Bird Cam

Alan Nielsen, CGCS at Royal Oaks just sent me a live link to his famous bird cam. A few years ago when I was hosting GreenLinks on the Environmental Institute for Golf website, I chose Alan's case study as one of the feature articles. This case study got a lot of attention for it's innovation and means of connecting Alan's members to the wildlife which surrounded them.
Alan recently updated the camera which provides live pictures that are much clearer. Here is the link to the bird camera along with a link to the original case study that Alan wrote in 2007.

Royal Oaks Case Study

Monday, June 27th, 2011

I don't have a whole lot to report this week other than this golf course is looking great. I think we can officially say that summer is finally here. The tall rough has reached it's pinnacle and the native roses are blooming around our buffers.  We were rewarded with a fantastic weekend which brought the golfers out in masses!

Many of the small projects that we did earlier this season are really starting to make a difference. While we were aerating the fairways this spring we utilized the plugs around many of the worn and bare areas that were not supporting turfgrass. Especially along the edge of the cart path near some of the greens and tees. The plugs worked great for this; utilizing the existing organic matter, they held moisture and started growing vegetatively along with the seed that we added. This area here on the third tee is one of the many that we repaired. This is one way that we can do a small thing that makes a big difference in the appearance of the course.

While playing golf a couple weeks ago my drive on ten bounded off to the right over the cart path and into the tall grass next to the 18th tee. After cursing myself for letting all the grass grow tall, it dawned on me that I am probably not the only one that has had to look for their ball in this particular location. After further investigation we found that at least one ball in every group ended up  somewhere in this location. The tall grass is tough enough, especially this time of year and when it is located in an area that attracts golf balls. We decided it was time to do something about it. Mike took the tractor with the flail and made the first cut, following up with the turf vac then again with the rough mower. The result is an area where balls will be quickly located and the pace of play will be maintained, not to mention a couple strokes will be saved from my score!

 I would like to finish up my report by posting some photos of some of my staff hard at work. There are probably a lot of golfers here at Stone Creek that may only play in the afternoons or the weekends, and have probably never seen the maintenance staff. If you are one of those players, here are some of the guys that make Stone Creek what it is. I can't say enough about these guys. They are true professionals in what they do and they do their job with enthusiasm and pride. If you happen to see one of them please be sure to let them know you appreciate their work!

Jorge Espinoza

Mike Coppedge

Mike Holl
Bryan Nishimoto

Andy Staples of Golf Resource Group and Scott Morrison partner to offer GEO Certification

When two friends decide to merge their businesses it is worth posting to the blog. Very exciting times for Scott Morrison of Out on a Limb and and Andy Staples of Golf Resource Group. They are joining forces in the United States to offer GEO Certification! Will look forward to hearing Andy speak at the Northwest Environmental Meeting in November.

Golf Resource Group expanding, now offering GEO certification

The Phoenix, Arizona-based Golf Resource Group (GRG), North America's leading firm for sustainable golf course design and operations consulting, has announced their endorsement of the GEO certification process. Partnering throughout the industry to establish golf's sustainability mission and inspire progress, Golf Environment Organization (GEO) provides streamlined guidance and practical tools across the areas of management, development, and events. GEO's certification programs are the most credible, comprehensive eco-labels available for existing golf facilities and new developments.

"We saw the GEO certification process as a natural progression to what we've been doing in the golf industry for the past nine years. GEO's philosophy on sustainability very much matches up with the philosophy we've developed over the years so we saw this as an opportunity to provide even more value to the courses who consult with us," explained Andy Staples, ASGCA Associate, a golf course architect and president of GRG.

GRG now offers courses guidance with the GEO certification process in addition to offering resource management planning and golf design services. Staples and GRG have worked with over 100 courses throughout the US and are in the process of expanding services to the international market. Past projects include a new 27-hole design project for Sand Hollow Golf Resort in St. George, Utah, energy management planning at Desert Mountain Golf Course in Scottsdale, Arizona, and a resource management and turf reduction plan for Northridge Country Club in Sacramento, CA.

The work pertaining to GEO certification will be conducted in partnership with Scott Morrison, the pioneer of the GEO process in North America who now advises multiple clubs in Canada and the US. Morrison was responsible for the verification process of Mirimichi Golf Course in Millington, TN, the first fully GEO certified course in the US. He will lend his experience to GRG as a leading environmental consultant in the golf industry through his work as founder of Turf Hugger and Out on a Limb Golf.
"There so much talk about sustainability these days, that I sure hope the meaning behind the word doesn't get washed out and become meaningless," Staples continues. "We're hoping to do our part to make sure that doesn't happen."
About The Golf Resource Group
Golf Resource Group, established in 2002, is a golf course design and development consultancy with contracts for implementing and sustaining efficient design and management practices on golf courses in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Nevada and Washington.

Andrew Staples, ASGCA Associate and President of GRG, has designed, built, managed or consulted on over 125 golf course projects throughout the world. He has served on the Environmental Institute for Golf's Energy Conservation BMP Committee and is considered a leading expert in sustainable golf course architecture including all areas related to resource management. Visit for more details.

Andy Staples, ASGCA Associate
The Golf Resource Group
Phone: 602-845-9074

Monday, June 20th, 2011

With the soil temps finally exceeding 60 degrees this week, we are seeing some of the finest turf conditions of the season thus far. Irrigation cycles are still few and far between, we have only had to run the fairways once and that was just to get our first application of Dispatch (wetting agent) out.

Monday we verticut the greens with the Thatch-away units. We followed with a little higher rate of sand. Now that the greens are in a growth mode it is important that we match the rate of sand with the rate of growth to avoid layering and a thatch build up. Our goal will be to apply more frequently, maintaining a twice a month schedule at a lighter rate.

We are on our second round of the Redox fertilizer on the tee boxes and so far I am impressed with the results. We started out with a quarter pound of nitrogen in our first application but have now decreased to a tenth. For the tee program, I have asked the distributor to deliver the Redox in a dry formulation instead of  pre-mixed like we do with the greens formulation. It now only comes in a single 5 gal bucket that is only half full. We simply add the water to the bucket, turning it into an instant slurry, then add it to the tank with our desired amount of nitrogen. It's that easy. Compared to our previous granular program we will be seeing more uniform growth and repair with much denser turf at a much more affordable price.

Killdeer, Charadrius vociferus
Keep an eye out the window of the event center. A mother killdeer has been on the nest at the base of the maple tree for some time now and should be expecting her chicks any day now. We have placed irrigation flags around the tree to let you know where it is. Please use caution around the nest and try not to disturb her. Also, watch out for here little puffballs around the cart path. The killdeer are notorious for looking like they are injured to draw your attention away from the chicks but what we need to look out for is while watching her, we may be running over her chicks!

Dave Phipps, Jim Goritsan
Last week I took a break and finally played my first round at Stone Creek!  Now that spring term is over and I am no longer teaching my turf class, I took the opportunity to play with the Wednesday Men's Club. The highlight of the day was playing with one of my college fraternity brothers. I haven't seen Jim since we graduated 26 years ago! He now lives in Fort Lauderdale Florida and fly's 737s for American Airlines. Now that we have reconnected, we plan to play more golf when he is in town visiting his family.

Finally, I just wanted to show this shot of the event center decorated for the Ladies Club Flag Day event on Tuesday. They came in the night before to set it up so I took the opportunity to get some shots in the morning.  I love the way they go "all in" for their events. We are lucky to have such a strong group at Stone Creek.


Dupont's new chemistry for broadleaf control is affecting more than the broadleaf weeds. I just purchased enough to apply a couple acres and was not aware of the damage it has on conifers. A word of caution to all here in the Northwest, be careful around your Doug firs! See the link below to look at some damage in the Chicago and Kansas City area.


Golf Day at Oregon's Capitol

Monday Gordon and I were part of the Golf Day in Salem. As part of the Golf Alliance of Oregon, we were there to educate and inform the Salem legislators and lobbyists on the environmental benefits and the economic impact the game of Golf has on the State of Oregon. We shared our recent economic impact study that found Oregon's golf economy is estimated at $1.2 billion and contributes more than 27,000 jobs and a total economic impact of over $2.5 billion annually.

Larry Giustina, Denny Taylor, Gordon Tolbert
Special thanks to Barbra Trammell and Eric Yaillen of the OGA, Linda Whitworth from the Oregon GCSAA, Larry and Mark Giustina and Liz Doyle from the  Oregon Golf Course Owners Association for all there work setting everything up for the day. We had a great time with the putting contest, pinning the Democrats, Republicans, Independents and the Lobbyists against one another. Not so sure who came out on top by the end of the day but the Lobbyists were leading by the time our shift was over.

I was able to have a nice conversation with Paulette Pyle and Terry Witt from Oregonians for Food and Shelter. OFS is our Lobbyist group that represents our associations best interest in Salem. I just found out that Terry is planning his retirement very soon which will leave a very large job to fill. Thank you Terry for all you have done in Salem over the years in the interest of Oregon's agricultural and horticultural industry, especially all your efforts in protecting our ability to continue using pesticides safely as professionally trained applicators.

Oregon City High School, Advanced Digital Photo

As I promised, here are the photographs taken by Oregon City High School's Advanced Digital Photo class. Amy Greene has done a wonderful job challenging the students in discovering what their individual style is. I think this gives the students an opportunity to view the golf course in a completely different way. I noticed some students focused on the wildlife while others took photos of golf subjects. All were done in a very tasteful way. I hope the students continue with their craft and are compelled to share their work with many. I look forward to hosting more students in the coming years.

Monday, June 13th

When it comes time for showing off the beauty of Stone Creek I would say June is the month. The soil temperatures have finally risen and the tall grass is finally growing up between the holes. The tall grass may not be a favorite for many golfers, especially this year with all of the excessive growth from our April and May rains. I  love the way the grass becomes fluid like as the wind sweeps across the course. As the grass begins to dry in July, the course will begin to take on a whole new appearance.

We really enjoyed preparing the course and hosting one of the qualifier matches for the Oregon open on Wednesday. The greens responded just the way we wanted them to, giving the right speed for the event. The most notable shot of the day came from, Adam Wilgus of Eugene, who made a miraculous albatross on the 376-yard par-4 9th hole. Also, congratulations to our own Jason Coles (T14th) and Terry Paresi (T10th) for qualifying for the event. Both will be playing in the Championship at Waverly Country Club June 20 -25th. Click Here for the complete story at the OGA website.

It only took us a month, but the fairway aerification and topdressing is complete! Friday we sanded the fifteenth and thirteenth fairways, wrapping up the project for the spring. Even though it took us a while, I am very pleased in how the fairways turned out. The fairways were a bit soft in areas but the way it worked out we managed to save the softest ones for last. Mike did a phenomenal job spreading the sand, especially on thirteen and fifteen with the slippery hillsides.

The fairway and rough fertilizer has been delivered and will be spread as soon as we determine which tractor we will use. Pacific Golf and Turf is bringing out a demo tractor for us to use since our Kabota needs to go the the shop to have the seals and bearings replaced in the front axle. We nursed it through the topdressing and feel we should repair it before it incurs further damage. If we get the loaner by Tuesday we will try to get the fertilizing started Wednesday.

Thursday, Adam's Advanced Digital Photo class from Oregon City High School came out to the course for a short field trip. They had 30 minutes to capture photographs that depict their own personal style of shooting, using the golf course as their subject. Later this week Amy Greene, the teacher, will forward me their pictures in which I will post on the blog. I'm looking forward to showcasing their talents!

Equipment Wash Station

This is not intended as and advertizement in any way but only to enlighten those who may not be aware.

Monday, June 6th, 2011

First off I would like to recognize my son Adam for his newly acquired photography skills. We have both recently purchased Nikon DSLR's and spent the evening of Memorial Day on the golf course looking for some nice shots. This photo here, which is actually my new blog background, was taken by Adam just as the sun decided to make a last ditch appearance for the day. He really captured the essences of Stone Creek with the tall grass in the foreground and the signature bunker as the subject. Thanks Ad's!

 This week started out like May but ended on a promising note. After receiving almost two inches of rain over the first two days of the month, I was starting to wonder if the calendar simply needed to be set back a month. Finally a couple days in the 80's to get the month off to a great start.

Once again the rain early in the week prevented us from getting the sand out on the fairways. Friday we managed to get the 10th completed and that was it for the week. The course is extremely wet but I am confident that the nice weather over the weekend will give us better conditions. Our goal will be to finish the sand once and for all. The front nine fairways have healed and are looking great.

The recent cool and damp weather brought us a small outbreak of microdochium patch (fusarium patch) on the putting green and number nine. We treated on Friday with Affirm and Mancozeb which will stop further infection. We will definitely be watching closely as we head into this warmer weather too.

Thursday we used our new TB 200 roller brush to "flick" the greens and stand up the grass to get a clean crisp cut. We applied a light topdress over the greens and simply drug them in using a steel mat. The results were just what we were looking for. I usually don't like topdressing so close to the weekend but this time the sand went in real nice and the mowers weren't picking up a lot of material. I shot a short video of Brian while he brushed #11.

Finally, my quarterly contribution to Golf Course Management's Insider Environment column is in the June issue. If you are interested please feel free to read it on page 36 of the digital edition. Just follow the link below. 
 Golf Course Management - June 2011

Never to soon to promote the NW Environmental Meeting!

Announcing the
2011 NW Golf and the Environment Meeting
Tuesday, November 8th, at The Oregon Golf Club

Featuring Pat Jones of Golf Course Industry Magazine!
Pat Jones is the editorial director of Golf Course Industry magazine, where he runs and contributes articles, blogs, videos and his award-winning “Parting Shots” column each month. Pat's unique perspective offers up hope and a dose of reality. You will enjoy Pats presentation on “A Not-So-Brief and Occasionally Painful History of Golf & Environmental Politics”. Joining Pat will be an esteemed list of speakers including Greg Lyman, Andy Staples, Michael Vogt and Walt Osborne. To wrap up the meeting Pat will lead the speakers in a panel discussion on environmental issues facing golf today.

Don’t miss this full day of education and opportunities to improve your facility. GCSAA education credits will be awarded. For those traveling, a room block has been reserved at the Oxford Suites hotel located in Gladstone. Make your reservation at: 877 558-7710 and mention the Oregon Golf Course Superintendents Association to receive your discounted rate.
Watch for registration coming soon!
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