Monday, July 26th, 2010


This is the time of year where conditions remain pretty similar from day to day. I feel like I am repeating myself but I cannot say enough about the work Mike and my entire staff has been doing this year. There doesn't seem to be a day where I don't hear a complement on the course and how pleased a player is about the conditions.

As noted in my previous post we bayoneted the greens last week. There was no significant change in the smoothness of the greens but they are a bit softer. Once they settle out they will become more firm.Now would be a good time to hit the ball at the hole, the green should hold pretty well.

I am anticipating turning the creek pumps off any day now. I am still amazed at the flow going by the diversion. As long as the creek holds up we will continue to keep the ponds topped off. The good thing is that the overflow goes right back to the creek so we are only loosing what we put on the course and are allowing the downstream users to get plenty of water.

Alisma plantago-aquatica

Lake A, which is only a lake in the wet months, has finally dried up. This gave me an opportunity to walk through the lake bottom and evaluate our wetland plantings. I am pleased to report that the water plantain is doing very well. I first noted it starting to proliferate three years ago and now it seems to be spreading like wildfire. Considering when we build this course there wasn't a plant to be seen in this entire lake bed and now it is a flourishing ecosystem which functions as storm water containment and wildlife habitat.

Bocce and BBQ

Friday was our annual crew barbecue and this year we added a bocce ball tournament. We found our nursery green to be a perfect place to set up a court. We made two man teams and Mike and I decided to let everyone else win. (You know, as the boss it is good to let everyone beat you, right?) Steve and Jorge were amazing, almost like they have been playing for years. When they were putting the bocce ball within a foot of the pallino I knew we couldn't compete with that. The new barbecue worked great and the rib eye's were fantastic. a good time was had by all.

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Summer Aerification
In the summer it is common to use a solid tine to open or vent the greens. This allows the gasses to release and also increases water infiltration. There are many types of tines used for this process which range from a cross tine, or a solid round tine which can range from a needle size to a half inch. We prefer to use what is called a bayonet tine. These look like knives and research has shown that the holes will remain open longer increasing the benefit of the process. To the right is a picture of the tines that we used, you can actually see the depth that we are getting. Below is a short video of the process using our Toro 648.

The surface is usually left a little puffy so we follow the aerator with the roller which leaves the greens rolling as smooth as normal. This Morning we did the front nine and will finish the back nine tomorrow ahead of play. As temperatures head into the 90's this weekend the greens will be able to take the water to the roots where it is needed.

Monday, July 19th, 2010

As I read through some of my peer's blogs from around the country I see a common thread this time of year, heat and humidity. I have got to hand it to some of those guys that live in some of the most undesirable climates this time of year. It is a 24/7 job to keep turf alive and healthy and there are so many talented superintendents that make it look so easy. It simply makes me feel lucky to be dealing with high temps in the 80's and lows in the 50's. We couldn't have better growing conditions.

This has got to be one of our most mild summers in some time. Yes we hit 100 degrees a couple weeks ago but that was short lived. We have yet to see a trend in the 90's which is very common in July. The course is still looking green. Even though we are still getting cheap water from the creek we are still using it wisely. The fairways are green but they also have some mottling to them. Some areas are browner than green but you won't see a bad lie on the course. The biggest difference this year is the range. It would have normally been turned off two weeks ago and would be as brown as a wheat field in October. The bountiful water has allowed us to widen our irrigated area which will at least keep those errant drives from rolling too far off line.

We were able to topdress the greens last week and will be fertilizing early this week. We have noticed that they are starting to seal up so we will be aerifying with the bayonet tines later in the week, possibly Tuesday and Wednesday. We will probably split it in to two days and will start early enough that we will not affect the tee sheet. The roller will follow so there will not be any change on the ball roll.

Speaking of blogs, one that I like to follow is by Micah Woods, an OSU grad that received his PhD at Cornell and is now the president and research director at the Asian Turfgrass Center. He often travels and this last week he was at St.Andrews helping with the Open. I thought this post was interesting showing the behind the scenes action.

Ball Fields
I stopped by to see George and his crew Friday and they are doing a magnificent job. I saw first hand how appreciative the coaches are and how grateful they are to be playing on such immaculate surfaces. His outfields would rival turf at most golf courses and the infields were groomed perfectly. In the photo to the left George is watering the infield to settle the dust before he lets the teams take the field. Below the guys are laying down the foul line and batters box. These guys take a lot of pride in their work and it shows in what they do.
After the summer season we will be aerating the outfields and then will be getting ready for Fall Ball.

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Course Conditions
Last week the course was tested with the highest temperatures of the season peaking at 100 degrees on Thursday and staying close to the 90's through the weekend. Other than some minor mottling in the fairways which is pretty normal for us this time of the year, the course came through looking really nice. We have continued our weekly Dispatch injections in the irrigation system which is assisting the water penetrate the surface. We will continue this through the summer in order to increase our watering efficiency.

The greens are best if we can keep them on the dry side so in order to do that we need to rely on Zefferino to hand water the hot spots. He has been doing a phenomenal job this season maintaining the moisture level. Also to assist him we purchased a moisture meter for him to look below the surface to help him see trouble spots before they develop.

Over all I feel the course is in the best shape I have seen it in for the 8 years we have been open, especially for July. I have been taking advantage of the great conditions and getting some nice pictures of the tall grass. Here is one of my favorite views that I like to take in the mornings. The seed heads on the fine fescue give the reddish hue which really sets the course off.

I wish I could have played the course over the weekend with the Men's Club British Open event. We rolled the greens on Friday and dropped the height of cut by 5/1000's of an inch. I am sure they rolled out nicely.

Prineville Golf Club Invitational
Over the weekend I had an opportunity to play in a ProAm tournament with Chris Gonzales at Prineville Golf  Club. My foursome included Nicki Ward, Vernie Santos, and Arron Breniman. We played pretty well but not well enough to cash. Although, I must say that Nicki play fabulously and won a pay ball Saturday on #6 with a birdie and she got 7th low net for the tournament. The weather there was in the 90's each day and the course was in great shape. This tournament has been known for it's small and very fast greens and the course lived up to its reputation.  Below is Arron teeing off over Chris's head on the 7th hole. Perhaps I shouldn't say much more other than Arron begged me to put a picture of him on this blog, so there it is.

I cannot say enough about the conditions of the golf course. After speaking to one of the two guys I saw doing the maintenance I was told that they just recently hired back some paid help to manage the course. With this economy they had to take drastic measures and lay off the entire maintenance staff and rely solely on volunteers to maintain the course. Now don't get me wrong, I would never condone this action but in this case I can see how they may have justified it. Prineville Golf Club is just a nine hole facility and they were able to rally the members and maintain the course through the hard times. They did an incredible amount of work to prepare for this tournament including tree trimming and brush clearing and weed wacking banks. I know that a one to two man staff could not have been responsible for that amount of work so big kudos to all the volunteer members including Retired Professional, Mark Payne for putting on such a wonderful two day event and providing such wonderful conditions.

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Course Conditions
After playing on Saturday and limping in with an 84  I can honestly say this course is in the best shape I have seen it for this time of year. All spring and into Junuary, I, like everyone else complained about the rain but now it is our turn to enjoy the benefits of it all. Last year I was shutting down the creek pumps this week and so far the creek is flowing great! If we can delay turning on the well pump we can save thousands in power costs. I have heard comments from golfers that the course is greener than it ever has for this time of year and that is true. Zeferino has been busy fine tuning the sprinkler heads and has found a few that are not working properly. He has been right on every one of them and has done a great job repairing and hand watering where needed.

The Take-all-patch I spoke of last week is pretty much all but gone. The copper spots are none existent and all that remains are faint thin areas that are recovering and will pretty much be fully recovered by this time next week. Here is a good comparison of a spot that was on the front of the 18th green. I am very pleased with the response we got from the Heritage and manganese. We will chalk this one up to experience and will keep a close eye on pH's and calcium inputs. I just heard that another course close to the same age has experienced the same thing. We will have to put our heads together and see what else could have brought it on.

Project Update
I think we can pretty much proclaim the new tournament building complete! It was well worth the effort. I am very pleased with the work of all the contractors involved from Pacific Mobile to Specialized Construction, and Showscapes Landscape Construction. Once we finish painting the back deck then all the projects will be complete and we will look as good as new. When I was at the coast last week Chris Anderson thought that we could flip the boards on the deck and avoid having to use a solid stain once again. His crew spent a few days flipping the boards which was a job in itself but will be well worth the effort. Now we can apply a semi-transparent stain which will last much longer and will be much more pleasing to look at. They are going to begin painting today and we will need to stay off the deck until Thursday to allow it time to completely dry. Maggie said they will have to shut the BBQ down but she is OK with that. The nice warm weather ahead of us this week will be perfect for drying the paint.
Specialized Construction put the finishing touches on the new spike cleaning station and we ended up purchasing a new compressor from Grainger. The old one made it four years which I must say was pretty good. I think this will contain the grass much better but we will still need to be vigilant in keeping the grass swept up.

I must finish this weeks report with a picture of our new family member and future goose chaser. Ryder hasn't quite figured out how he feels about him but we definitely love him. We picked him up from the breeder in Amity last Friday and he has already found a place in our heart. His name is Enzo and we will bring him by in a few weeks after he finishes his round of vaccines.
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