Monday, October 26, 2009

Tuesday was our first field trip with Kristen Mull's Environmental Science class from Oregon City High School. Our topic of discussion was biodiversity and golf courses. This was a great opportunity to share the benefits of the golf course to the surrounding community and the wildlife. We are planning three more field trips this fall and will be doing some water and soil testing.
So far the high school is very excited about the opportunity to explore ecosystems and do outdoor lab experiments so close to the school. The possibilities are endless from what we are doing now with water testing to having the kids propagate native plants and actually have them plant them back out on the course after they have grown in their green house.

This was a good week for the greens as far as growth goes. I am real pleased where they are right now. Weather permitting we will apply a light topdress next week.
We are still experiencing some anthracnose on sixteen. We were hoping it would disappear after we aerified but it is lingering here for some reason. Anthracnose can be a difficult disease to control on Poa once you get it. At this point we will continue to treat it to keep it a bay the best we can. The key next year will be to treat early and prevent it from surfacing. Now that we are buffering our spray mixture we should see far more efficacy from our treatments.

Tees and Fairways
Dollar spot is lingering on this fall. I would have expected it to slow down once the daytime temps started dropping. We are seeing spots on the fairways as well as the tee boxes.
The tees have reached the threshold now where they are mostly Poa annua and we will need to put them on a treatment program. We have outlined a treatment program in the 2010 budget to prevent mainly fusarium patch.

Carl has wrapped the barley straw bales and we will be putting them in the ponds this week. I am sure they will float so be prepared to answer questions. The answer is that as the barley straw decomposes it gives off an enzyme that will help maintain pond clarity. 
We have put the rails on the new trailer and will be taking the cans to the store later this week. Bob says we have somewhere around 30 bags that have accumulated since we lost the old trailer.
Winner electric installed the new light over the man door at the cart barn. Sig says it is so much better now he can even see once he gets inside the door.

Local News
This fall has been interesting for a few courses in the Northwest. As you know many courses chose to aerate early September and a typical practice is to increase the fertility rates to allow the greens to heal quickly. If temperatures and the humidity are just right it can create the perfect environment for pythium blight. Last month some courses experienced the "Perfect Storm". Temperatures were 94 to 95 degrees with the humidity around 89%. Consequently they are now sodding large areas of their greens and have many of their greens on temporaries. This can happen to anyone and is truly a catastrophic disease. Portland Golf Club here locally and Glendale Country Club in Seattle were two that I know and both supers are good friends. My heart goes out to each of them. I am confident with their abilities and expertise they will have their courses playable in no time. If by any chance anyone hears that the superintendents are to blame, please stand up for them and explain that this is something that can happen to the best of 'em.  It just happened to two of the nicest country clubs around.

Monday, October 19th, 2009

I spent some time yesterday going through and organizing my old photos from the construction and it brought back some old memories. Looking back we have come a long way and have certainly made a jewel out of this piece of land. I know it is a cliche but this place is like a good bottle of wine that keeps getting better with age.
Here are some photos that I found that have taken me back in time.

The greens have been a little slow to respond but after the weekend we have made some great progress. We fed them on Friday which was enough to get them going. We are due for another fungicide application this week which we will get out as weather permits.

The tees are in great shape this week. The overseeding was very effective this fall which should really be beneficial going into the winter.

We managed to get a few fairways done last week but as the weather forecast goes we have learned not to count on it. There were many days where rain was forecasted and  it would have been perfect for topdressing. We will make another push this week and get the back nine wrapped up and on to the front.
The growth has slowed down enough to go to mowing two days a week which will allow us to get some other things done.

We just received two tons of amonium sulfate which we will get down on the rough soon. We are planing on spot treating where we need it the most. Fertilizing with 21-0-0 will allow us to give the rough a jump start going into the winter and also saves us around $1,000 in fertilizer costs.
The bunkers are due for a mowing and edging this month.

Mike and I are working on a project list for the winter. Topping the list will be bunkers. We still have many bunkers that need to have the sand reallocated and drained. After our rain event over the weekend we are already seeing where we need to pay attention. Tree work will have to be on hold until 2010. I am budgeting for it in January. We did loose a large branch on the eastern most Cottonwood tree on eight last week which makes me want to drop it for safety reasons. I don't think it would be much more than $500 to $700 to get it done. We would replant with another tree in the same area to maintain the integrity of the hole.

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Course Conditions
The course is about as dry as I have seen it in October. Given the weather forecast that will not last for long. The temps have been on the cool side over the last week which has slowed the grass down quite a bit. Our average minimum temp has been 40 degrees and the average high has been 60 degrees. I was banking on some higher temps to help the greens recover a little quicker.
We cannot always predict what the weather is going to do but it is a good lesson on the risks of aerifying late in September. Ideally we should aerify in early September to guarantee some warmer temps to give the greens time to heal. I know we have to weigh the benefits of waiting for a few tournaments and allowing them to play on good greens but we have to be aware of the risks. For next year I would like to make our aerification dates a decision that we do together as a team so we all can all be aware of the pros and cons of each situation. Again, it all depends on the weather and we could easily have a warm October and all will be good.

As I stated above, the greens are a little slow coming out of aerification. They have everything they need to grow except warm weather conditions. The temps are going to warm a little but there will also be plenty of moisture to go along with it.

For the most part the tees are looking alright. Some are on the dry side but that will be all good starting this evening around 11:30. According to the weather forecast we should be getting over 3" of rain this week starting tonight.
The driving range tee is in pretty good shape. We should have been watering it more often for this morning things were a little on the dry side. Sig and I noted a few sand piles that apparently the evening crew is not leveling the sand out after the dump the buckets. I am confident the Sig will handle that one and it shouldn't be a problem.

We have begun topdressing and so far we have 12, 13, and 15 completed. Our priority was to get the tricky ones out of the way to avoid accidents sliding on the slopes. We will continue to plug along as weather permits. Rain will not hold us up as long as it is not to heavy.

The rough is dry like everything else. If we had a slice seeder this would be the time to start seeding the thin areas. We are seeing quite a few wear areas that we will need to start roping off as people are entering the fairways from the path. With the rain we will need to start being a little less lenient on allowing carts out on wet days. We will not have the weather to help the grass recover.

I picked up some bales of barley straw last week that we are going to wrap up in chicken wire and place them in the lakes. Research has shown that bales of barley straw placed in ponds reduces the algae bloom in the following year. What do we have to loose, it's worth a try. So if you happen to seen some bales floating around you will now know what we are up to.

NTA Recap
Overall the NTA was a good event even though we had 6" of snow on the ground. It melted away quickly and I was at least able to get out for a 5 mile run.
The first day was focused on water use. Dr. Brian Horgan discussed new technologies that can save water when implemented. Mainly moisture sensors and moisture meters. I can see a use for a portable moisture meter to monitor the moisture level on the greens on a regular basis to maintain consistency.
Mark Esoda, CGCS from Atlanta Country Club discussed how their golf association worked through the drought in the south politically. Through their efforts of education and outreach the superintendents in Georgia are now the go-to guys when the state is looking for information regarding water conservation. Initially golf courses were looked upon as huge water users but as the state became aware of their water conservation practices and the fact the golf courses only use 1/2 of 1% of water used in the nation they were able to avoid strict regulation and were able to maintain their turf in an acceptable manor.
Rob Golembieski from OSU spoke on growth regulators and green speeds. The common belief is that Primo will increase your green speed but that is not what his trials were showing. The role of Primo is mainly turf density and growth reduction. To get the most speed out of the green regular rolling showed to be the best tool.
We had a couple other talks form WSU on organic fertilizer and the City of Spokane study on the use of effluent water.

The Golf Channel event at Mirimichi Golf Club was a great experience. It wasn't easy speaking to a camera and a teleprompter. The number of takes I had to do is testimony to that. I have a lot of respect for those who do this for a living. Although, I am glad I did it, it gave me a great sense of accomplishment. The vignettes should start airing late this fall and through next year during PGA Tour broadcasts. Thanks for allowing me the time to go.

Monday, October 3rd, 2009

Course Conditions
could safely say that conditions at Stone Creek are far better than conditions at Sunriver. We were supposed to play golf today at noon but it appears that we won't be doing that.

Aerification went well. I don't think we could have timed it better with the rain coming that evening. We fertilized and applied calcium on Tuesday and now we are off to the races. Mike will spray the greens Monday and at some nitrogen to give them an additional boost. With the nice weather we are expecting this week we should see some good healing happening.

Tees are still strong. We are seeing lots of growth and recovery.

I am glad we applied Primo. The fairways are in great shape. More sand is coming and we will begin topdressing this week.

The berms behind the 9th green have looked off all season. I think it is the result of bill bug. Further investigation has revealed the larvae that is shown above on the left. The damage is very typical to what we are seeing. These insects are becoming more and more wide spread in the area and I am afraid we are not exempt. We aerified, seeded, topdressed and applied an insecticide to the area and should see it improve in the coming weeks.

The trailer was finished Friday but I didn't have time to pick it up. I will have to pick it up next week when I am back in town.

This next weekend we are going to have Steve Pearce and Brian Nishimoto run the weekend chores. I will be home and will check in with them to make sure everything is going well. It will be good to train some others and give them some more responsibility.

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