Monday, December 28th, 2009

No, this is not another one of those cardboard silhouettes used to scare away the geese, its our own Willey Coyote. I caught a glimpse of him this morning as I was checking out the course. He has been pretty regular about his activities and is often seen first thing heading to the deep woods after an evening of hunting. I just wish we could count on him for keeping the geese away!

We are a little frosty again this morning. We have had a number of cold mornings which has made it difficult to change the cups as often as we need given the amount of play we have had recently. I have to recognize Zeferino for his extra effort this weekend. I checked in with him Saturday afternoon to see how the course was fairing and he told me that the ground was to frozen to change the cups and he knew that they needed to be done so he was about ready to head out and change them after play had finished and while the greens were still soft. I would never expect someone to head out in the dark and very cold and change the cups but Zef felt it would be best for the course. He and Jorge went out together and got the job done. Please take a moment and thank both of them for their extra effort. Guys like them are what makes this place rock!

It's another short week so we are going to focus on making sure everything is in "Tip-Top" shape for the Tip Bowl on Thursday. From what I saw this morning we shouldn't have to do to much. I am pretty sure we will be able to get the new tree planted on eight.

Best wishes to all over the New Year and may 2010 be the "Year of the New Economy!" I have a good feeling about our future.

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Now that it has warmed back up for the time being it is sure nice to see the golfers back at it again. Aside from the winter dessication and their brown appearance the greens came through the cold snap relatively unscathed. The course conditions remain in great shape for this time of year. Last week we managed to mow the greens, tees, and fairways without incurring any damage as a result of too much water.
The cart barn came through the frost ok, only the water filters for the ice machine were damaged. Unfortunately Sig was off during much of the ice otherwise he would have implemented a complete draining of the system. The pressure washer came through ok. The restrooms on the forth tee were overlooked and didn't get shut down properly. We had to replace both flushing mechanisms. They were up and running within 6 hours of discovery.

The staff continues to impress me each week with their up and can-do attitude. While the course was frozen the carts and mowers received a fresh coat of wax and we began to sand the benches to prepare them for a fresh coat of stain.  Many of the guys took some time off to get some Christmas shopping done during the freeze and were back and ready to get the course playable as soon as conditions allowed.

We tore apart the walk bridge on thirteen last week and resurfaced it with the left over "Trex" boards from the fourteen bridge project. The old boards were loaded with carpenter ants. It turned out great and should now give us years of service.

Friday, December 11th, 2009

The "Big Chill" has been reeking havoc on a few things around here. We don't normally shut down the irrigation during the winter because the frost rarely gets deep enough to damage anything. So far this frost has far exceeded last years depth and we are starting to see broken sprinklers. We have shut down the pump station so we won't have a big mess as things thaw out. We will have to turn the system on slowly with a watchful eye and look for wet spots developing.

Everything around the shop has been shut down and winterized. I did not make it down to the cart barn assuming that it was all taken care of. After inspection on Friday I found the water filters for the ice machine shattered and the hoses still connected to the pressure washer. I guess I should have gone down there earlier and had them drain the entire system knowing that it was going to be a long and hard freeze. To avoid oversights in the future we will write up a procedure for all weatherization for the entire property and make sure all department heads are properly trained.

The most dicey time of a major freeze is when things start melting. Aside from the usual freezing rain that can occur and potentially drop the nets, pipes that have cracked will start leaking and will need to be addressed. The greens are frozen well below the bottom of the cup and will need some time to thaw. If we end up with a lot of rain that can be good and bad. Good that it will enable the frost to thaw more rapidly but bad because the greens will get real swampy. Until they are able to perk water through the profile we will need to stay off of them. If we were to allow traffic on the greens in the swampy state we will damage them severely in which they would not heal until spring. They would also be unplayable due to the standing water. However, the tricky part is if we have started play for the day and the rain begins and the greens start puddling, it will be imperative to end play for the day and issue rain checks.

I will be around all weekend and will be watching the weather closely as we transition from the cold to the warmer rain.

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

The old cottonwood on the eighth hole is finally down. By the look of it I would say it would have come down on it's own pretty soon. Once it was down it was evident how weak it really was. It hit the ground and shattered in many pieces opening up rotten parts of the log revealing many large beetle grubs. These were inside the branches which were of concern for safety.

Now that the tree is down we would like to replace it with a Red Oak.   The Red Oak  grows to 80 feet and will grow 2 feet per year. I believe this will be a much stronger tree and will ad an aesthetic value to the hole. I have priced a 3.5" caliper tree from JB Sod and can pick it up for $225. Obviously we will need to wait for the ground to thaw before it can be dug so it may be a week or so before we will get it in the ground.

Monday, December 7th, 2009

After a long and busy week in North Carolina it is good to be home. I cannot express how fortunate I feel to have such a strong assistant and staff to take care of everything in such a good manor while I was away. Last week we managed to topdress the greens, fertilize the rough and topdress the forth and fifth fairways. Mike and Steve Pearce also attended the Pesticide Seminar for two days and Brian attended a half day seminar as well. The weather cooperated and couldn't have worked out better.

Brrrrrr!  This week may be a different story with the cold front moving in. We could be experiencing frost delays or if the wind continues we should be able to get them out pretty early. For the next few days I don't think we will be above freezing. We will be busy chipping the brush pile at the shop and will start working on benches and tee markers.

The grass will remain frozen this week so we are going to limit cart usage to the cart paths to prevent the loss of turf. The rough between the fairways and the paths will take a serious beating if we allow carts. The damage may seem insignificant now but when it tries to grow again the crowns will be to damaged to support it.

We will be alternating between the two hole on the greens and will be changing them as soon as the ground softens up enough to allow it.

Thursday, December 3rd

Today we are at Wake Forest University. Negotiations will be our subject.
It has been three very enriching days in which the education has been top notch. I will be able to apply many of the skills that I have learned right away.
Yesterday it rained all day, well over an inch and a half. Today we are blessed with sunshine and the high 50's. I can't say how valuable this week has been. This is Syngneta's first year putting this on and they are committed to build upon it each year. I cannot thank them enough for providing this opportunity. I met many superintendents from around the nation and enjoyed getting to know each of them.
                                                                                               William Davis, Wake Forest University

Tuesday, December 1st

So far the Syngenta Business Institute is everything I hoped for. There is nothing commercial, it is simply pure business education. This morning we discussed basic principals of a balance sheet and the different types and their uses. This afternoon was focused on personnel management. This was the best session in that we talked about performance feedback and motivation. There will be two more days of intense education one day we will actually be at Wake Forest University.
The Graylyn Conference Center was actually North Carolina's single largest residence built in the 30's. The original owner was the founder of the Wachovia Bank. Wake Forest University has since purchased it and runs many of their conferences' through it. I didn't know it but the University was actually relocated here in Winston-Salem where it is now. It was in Wake Forest previously. (duh) Most of the money around here is from the tobacco industry so if you need to move a university you just do it.
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