Friday, April 30th, 2010

Construction Update
It was move in week and the building made it in place without a hitch. The temporary entrance off the highway was perfect and is all put back into place. Great job there by Mark and Doug from the Parks department!
We all wondered how they were going to move the sections onto the foundation and we soon found out.  Imagine 25,000 pounds rolling at you with only a small stop to keep it from rolling into you. When it comes to setting buildings these guys know what they are doing.

Now all that remains is for PGE to hook up the power, the plumber to attach the sewer, the concrete sidewalks to be poured, the sheet rock to be repaired, the walls to be painted the irrigation and landscape to be installed. After that we should be good to go for our first tournament!

Course Conditions
Another wet and sunny week, typical for this time of year. I am so proud of my staff for the work they have been doing. They literally treat this course as if it is their own. I cannot say enough about the great work they have and are continuing to do. The greens are in great shape and the rest of the course is following suit.

I would like to tell you about one of my staff members this week and what he does for us. Steve Pearce has been with us for over six years. I first met Steve when we worked together at Northwest Landscape Industries. He left and went to the City of Tigard and I didn't see him until he walked up to me on the sixteenth green one day and asked me for a job. He was an easy hire since, I knew he was a licensed pesticide applicator and he works about as hard as they come. Steve's job is what I would term the "Pest Manager". He plays a major role in our integrated pest management program. If you see him driving around the course with a small spray tank in the back of his cart he is spot spraying for broad leaf weeds. By treating weeds like this rather than a blanket spray we are obviously saving dollars in pesticide costs but we are also pin pointing the application and not introducing large amounts of pesticide into the environment. By doing this Steve has saved the golf course literally thousands of dollars over the years. Another important job he does is manage our underground pest population. I think the picture speaks for his success.

Lighting Project
Friday, Winner Electric completed the clubhouse portion of the Energy Trust Lighting Upgrade Project.  I really think the lights look so much better but the best thing is we will be using 1/3rd of the power and will save $3,200 the first year alone. They say when you look to become more sustainable you should look for the low hanging fruit. In this case the fruit was so ripe it was about ready to fall off the tree! Minus the Energy Trust rebate and the tax incentive the total cost of the project should be paid off in six months from the energy we are saving. A win-win project.

Monday, April 26th, 2010

The greens are getting better each day. I would say they are about 99% and that is only because we haven't taken them down to the pre-aerification height of cut. We will be keeping them at the current height for a while until we see them getting tighter. Probably no longer than a few weeks. Once we see them tighten up we will verticut, topdress and drop them back to .120 thousandths of an inch. I took this picture this weekend while changing cups. That is a root coming out from the bottom. I saw this on almost every green. A good sign of a healthy plant!

Our Kabota has a spit in one of the rear tires and we found out that the company that makes the Turf Galaxy tire has gone out of business as well as the company that purchased them. Now we are 60 days until the next company can get the mold and start making them again. So with that said, our fairway aerification and topdressing will be put on hold until we can find a set of rear tires. Not to mention fertilizing the rough and the fairways as well. I am currently working with the Kabota dealer in locating a set. I hope to hear from them soon. I may look into a loaner if we have to. These things must get done!

We have had some reports from the neighbors that we have a rogue coyote on the course and is acting very strange, allowing golfers to walk right up to it. I want to assure everyone that this is only a decoy and is being used to keep the geese away from this area. So far it is working well. We have one more that we will use, perhaps around the lake on seventeen. Bob is moving him around regularly to keep the geese guessing. Rich Paden actually heard some ladies walking along the trail commenting on how close those golfers are to the coyote. They couldn't believe it was so tame. :)

No word on the duck nest yet. I will have to put the waders on this week and see if they are close to hatching.

The clubhouse is shaping up. The county cut in the temporary access road on Thursday and Pacific will be bringing the units in on Tuesday pending all the inspections go well on Monday. Tony has provided us with a timeline and is communicating with all of her subcontractors and it looks like we are on schedule to be able to occupy the building by the 10th.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Course Conditions
We managed to get the greens aerification completed last week and lucked out on the weather. Mondays first assessment concluded that it was going to rain out once again but the skies cleared and we went for it. Although it was a late start we still managed to complete 16 greens with one aerifier and completed the remaining four the next day. We used the 3/8's quad tine this round and the results were exceptional. By the looks of the parking lot throughout the week it appears the event didn't hamper the golfers one bit.
We will be aerifying the fairways next but ran into a glitch with the Kubota. We discovered a large split in one of the back tires and felt it was not safe to run it until we replace it. We ordered two new ones last week and should have them soon. Our sand pile will be filled this week as well as it took quite a bit to do the greens and the tees.
We will be fertilizing the greens this week with Nature Safe 8-3-5 . This is an organic fertilizer that has various meat by product meals which provide nitrogen that will slowly release over a 7 to 8 week period. We have used this product now for quite a few years and have seen excellent results, especially following aerification.

While exploring the ponds and the naturalized areas last week I stumbled across an interesting site. As I approached, a hen duck left her nest which naturally rose my curiosity. When I looked inside I noticed a golf ball. What was even more interesting, when I came back the next day to take a picture of it I noticed that she was turning it like the rest of the eggs as part of the incubation process. This ball happened to be a Nike One Black. Doesn't it figure a duck would choose the Nike:)

Ducklings are always a nice sign of spring as are the blooms on the trees and the native flowers. Here is a picture of the dogwood along the fifteenth fairway and one of the Balsam plants flowering between the third and eleventh tee boxes.

The clubhouse project is moving along. We had a small delay due to compaction issues but that has been rectified and they should have the foundation poured by this Wednesday. The plan is to be moving the building in on the 26th. If all goes well we should be able to occupy the building the week of the 10th. Once the building is up we will be able to dress up the landscape and put everything back together again. It will be a chore as all the irrigation lines have been cut and will have to be re-routed and repaired.

One other project got completed last week and that was a thorough cleaning and testing of all of our irrigation satellites. Western Equipments Toro irrigation technician, John Hassler came out and put all the controllers through the riggers and cleaned them to as good as new. He did a fantastic job from the looks of this controller on twelve.

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Out with the old and in with the new! We just received our new fleet of golf cars from EZ-Go last week. It is always a big job and many kudos to all who helped Rusty (left) and Cart Barn Dave get the old carts ready to go back and the new ones off the truck and ready for use. It will be nice to have a strong fleet once again. With the new charging systems we should stand to use quite a bit less electricity.

Speaking of saving energy, our lighting upgrade proposal to the Energy Trust of Oregon was approved last week and we have begun the process to initiate the project. We will be replacing the lighting fixtures in the club house, cart barn and in the maintenance shop with energy efficient fixtures and ballasts. After we computed the savings and the incentives offered by Energy Trust along with the tax rebates, the upgrade should pay off in six months. It was a win-win for everyone.

Oregon Public Broadcasting, Think Out Loud - Turf Wars

Monday, April 5th, I was invited to be a studio guest for a radio program on Oregon Public Broadcasting called "Think Out Loud". The subject of the show was called "Turf Wars". An Oregon based author is advocating replacing your front or back lawn with a garden. Many people are opting to remove their lawn all together for fear of fertilizers and pesticides. The show will host a variety of opinions and obviously I will be on the side of a lawn. OPB's website is available to take comments on the subject as well as downloading the podcast at: I had a great time doing the show only wishing that there was more time to say more. I found it interesting how closed people are about lawns and all they want to do is come up with lame replacements for what has been working extremely well for years. In my opinion know one really came up with a good reason why you should not have a lawn. As far as I am concerned lawns have a place in our landscape as do ornamental shrubs and vegetable gardens. Check out the podcast and decide for yourself.

Farm Links

Last week I attended FarmLinks, a research and demonstration golf facility in Alabama. I went on behalf of Western Equipment, our Toro distributor. Toro is a cornerstone partner in the Farm Links experience thus much of the first day was learning of new Toro irrigation products including new sprinklers, soil moisture sensors, and a new operating software called Lynx.
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