Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

I was in Central Oregon yesterday and was unable to get my Monday report done. More about my trip later but as I came to work this morning there was a notable amount of humidity in the air. Currently as I write this it is 5:45am and it is 63.6 degrees outside with 93% humidity. The dew point is 61.7 degrees! It will be in the 80's today but will actually feel much warmer. It feels like a trip I took to Alabama a few years ago to Farm Links in the middle of August.

Last year a few golf courses had  problems with pythium on their greens which set them up for a very difficult winter as as well. The conditions we are experiencing today are very similar to that of last year and we will need to be on guard for similar symptoms on our greens. It will usually start with a wilty appearance, making you believe that the turf is dry and needs water, but once you water it spreads like wildfire. Last week we made an application of Signature and Daconil which should offer us a fair amount of protection. It is good that we have finished our aerification and the greens are healed in. Often, additional nitrogen and water is used to help greens fill in quickly and then when combined with conditions such as this, a pythium outbreak can result.
Last week we noticed a few of the greens were still a little bumpy so today we are verticutting and following with a light topdress.

Last we accomplished quite a bit considering Bob was in the hospital, Carl was on jury duty and Brian was helping his father harvest pears in Hood River. Laird was good enough to come in for the mornings and help us through the morning tasks. Jim is doing a great job filling in for Bob while he is recovering from surgery. I had Pacific Sports Turf come out and deep tine the driving range tee box. The machine they used is called a Soil Reliever which penetrates the ground deeply and loosens the soil beneath the surface to help increase root aeration and drainage. This should really make a big difference on the lower tee box especially since it had been holding much water.
We also finished the tall grass mowing last week and with that done we will prepare for the next task of fertilizing the fairways. We are planning on getting that done this Thursday. Once that is done we will commence with topdressing the fairways. Lets just hope this weather holds out a bit longer.

Gas Pipeline Project
This morning the pipeline crew began to move in to start repairing the gas line. If they spot they need to repair is in the right spot they may only have to dig up 15 feet or so but if not they will have to repair a whole section of pipe. Pat's crew is taking extreme care not to damage the course in any way. Here they are tracking plywood across the 8th fairway as they make their way to the job site. They should have it dug today and will be able to project the scope of the repair.

Central Oregon

As I mentioned earlier, I was in Central Oregon this weekend. Mike and I went over Sunday to play in the  OGCSA Foundation Tournament which was held at the Nicholas Course at Pronghorn Golf Club on Monday. We played Juniper Golf Club Sunday and had a great time. I have never played Juniper and it was a real pleasure. Pat Reilly, the superintendent  has done a magnificent job at that course and I would like to thank him for setting us up for the round. Everything about it was just right. It reminded me of Stone Creek in many ways. I especially liked the tee monuments by Stone Creations and the way they tied in the native vegetation and used old juniper for the benches. Fine fescues were used extensively and looked great. I look forward to getting back there to play again soon!

Pronghorn Golf Club was a real treat. I have been there once before in March but have never played. In many ways it reminded me of Gray Hawk in Arizona but with bentgrass fairways and tees. David Freitag is the Director of Agronomy there and has been there since the beginning.  He took over the director position after John Anderson left and has done an incredible job.
Mike and I had the pleasure of playing with Jim Schindler from the Men's Club. We really enjoyed his company along with Steve, our last minute addition to our team. I really appreciate Jim's willingness to support our tournament. Perhaps next year we could field a few teams from Stone Creek! We played pretty well but left a few out there we wished we could have taken back. The tournament was a success raising over $20,000 for the Foundation. The proceeds from the Foundation will go to support research and scholarship at Oregon State University. Here are some photos of the course, I hope you enjoy!

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Course Conditions
Nothing beats a little shower to soak the course down after a long dry spell. Saturday night was one of those events. Last week we had almost 2 inches of rainfall and half of it came on that night. Sunday morning revealed the effect with almost every bunker washed out. This should keep the crew busy most of the morning today.

From the look of all the latest blog posts I have read, this is certainly a busy time of year for golf course maintenance staff's across the country. Aerification seems to be the hot topic as well as renovations. We don't seem to be immune from it either. Although we have finished the greens and they are completely healed we still have a long ways to go before we can relax. The fairways still need to be topdressed and the tees will need to be aerified as well as the entire course will need to be fertilized. Those are just the major events to take place but leaf season is just around the corner and we will be busy keeping the course clean simultaneously.

The driving range tee seems to be having trouble draining lately. The back of the lower tee box especially. I am going to have Pacific Sports Turf come out and use their deep tine soil reliever and aerate the entire surface to about 12 inches deep. We did this one year on our greens which helped tremendously. I have been keeping a close eye on the sixteenth green lately. It seems to want to be an anthracnose poster child. This green has a higher than normal concentration of annual bluegrass which is very susceptible to this disease. We will need to start making specialized fungicide applications to get it under control. Currently it has exceeded our threshold limit and will need to be treated this week.

I almost forgot to mention that Williams Gas Pipeline will be replacing a 45 foot section of 24 inch gas pipe right in the landing zone on the fourth fairway. The first time they called me and informed me of a job like this it was a little hard to swallow. Now that this is the fourth dig we pretty much know what to expect. The excavation will begin on Tuesday September 28th and they will be working into the night to have as little impact on play as possible. They should be done in three days. We will strip the fairway prior to the excavation and utilize as much of the sod in the repair as possible. During the day we will move the tees ahead of the excavation and and will have to play the hole as a short par 4.

Last week was certainly one of the busiest weeks we have seen all season. I was very impressed how the entire staff down at the clubhouse and the deli pitched in to help one and other with all the set up and take down for the various events that took place. Maggie has put in more hours than I can imagine. I would personally like to thank her, her staff, as well as Meghan, Jason and Doug for all their work in making Jason's celebration service so nice. That meant a tremendous amount to his family which made me very proud of everyone and what we were able to do for them. Thank you.

As many of you know Bob Barron from my staff is undergoing prostrate surgery this morning. Please keep him in your thoughts. I will be at the hospital and will be able to update everyone later in the day. Bob is a trooper and I have no doubt that he will pull through and will be back in business in no time at all.

OSU Friends of Turf Field Day
Friday, Mike and I traveled to Oregon State for the OSU Friends of Turf Field Day. The day started out at the turf farm bright and early where we were presented with their research. When we arrived they gave us a 31 page handout that showed all of their current research plots. I have not recalled ever seeing so much going on at one time at OSU. We had lunch at Trysting Tree Golf Course followed by a fun round of golf. The day concluded back at the farm with some great food and drink. Mike and I stayed at my sister's in Philomath and then got up in the morning and went to the Beaver game. One of the highlights of the trip was being able to spend time with Mike away from the course and just enjoy some good time together.
GO BEAVS! Oregon State 35 Louisville 28

Here Dr. Rob Golembiewski is explaining their green speed trials on annual bluegrass putting surfaces. This was a tedious trial in that it involved multiple stimp readings every day throughout the season which mean that the undergrads got lots of good experience measuring green speed with a stimp meter. I'm sure that will come in handy some day.

Brian McDonald is the research assistant and is going over the anthracnose trials. He us using different combinations of fungicides as well as wetting agents to gauge the level of control. From the looks of his plots it looks like they are all working great. I think I need to tell him about our sixteenth green if he is looking for a good place to control anthracnose.

Tod Blankenship, CGCS is Rob's research graduate assistant and has been implementing all kinds of great research including a turfgrass water use trial where he is measuring the effect of cutting height and water amounts on different types of turfgrass. Here he is showing us the new creeping ryegrass trials that will get underway next year.

As an alumni of Oregon State I am very proud and excited over the direction of the program. When Tom Cook announced his retirement The Oregon Golf Course Superintendents Association became very instrumental in bringing the new professor to Oregon State and continuing the program. The association started the OGCSA Foundation with the intent on raising funds to help land the "big fish". We wanted to first provide $50,000 to help "fast track" the position and avoid a gap in the program. That is exactly what we did and were able to have Rob in Corvallis before Tom was officially done. Tom continues to live in Corvallis and is still a supporter of the program, as a matter of fact Tom was at the field day and the golf tournament. The Foundation continues to raise funds for the program by hosting a benefit tournament every year. This year we will be having the tournament at Pronghorn which should be a great event. The Stone Creek Men's Club is even bringing two teams to the tournament. The Men's club has always supported our program and this continues to show that they understand the benefit of research at our university.

Monday, September 13th, 2010

The course continues to play well. The greens are getting better each day as they recover from aerification. They seem to be a little sticky in the mornings. When they are moist the sand tends accumulates on the ball but as the sand works into the profile that will not be an issue for long. From Friday to this morning the greens have made a significant change. We are picking up mostly grass in the buckets as apposed to sand.
The weather was on the mild side last week which gave us a chance to shut the well down for a few days. I came in yesterday and fired it back on since we are going to throw out some more water this week with the weather hitting the low 80's.
We started mowing the tall grass and still have a ways to go. Fall is a busy time with the tractor and we may be pulling the mower off so we can get the fairways and the rough fertilized before the rain sets in. We will also be topdressing the fairways soon. Pending on weather, we hope to commence in early October. This is another case where having a second tractor would allow us to be so much more productive. Let me just insert a little photo here to get the positive vibes started.

Event Center Open House
Oregon City Mayor Alice Norris and Clackamas County  Commissioner Bob Austin Cutting the ribbon.

Friday was our official opening for the new Event Center. The rock work and the new planter in the front turned out quite nice. Special thanks to my staff for all their work in preparing the outside with fresh barkdust and setting the tent up for the band. It will be nice to have the opportunity to offer a space in the winter now were we can host meetings and other events.
Mehgan Foley did a super job organizing the event and having vendors come in and display their products. She set up a Facebook page for the event which I think worked very well. I was able to use it to send invites to many of my friends. The deli staff also did a great job serving everyone with a smile as usual.
I hope that soon we will be able to host an OGCSA Chapter Meeting here at Stone Creek. Something that would not have been possible with out the new center.

Notable Achievements
Big congratulations to Gordon Tolbert, President of Total Golf Management Services, for qualifying for the Senior Club Pro Championship in Palm Springs next month. The way he has been swinging all summer it really doesn't surprise me that he qualified. The tournament is October 7th through the 10th. We wish him all the best.
This may not be golf related but it is notable. Dick Martin, one of our player assistant's, took me Chinook fishing last Thursday. This was a monumental event for me in that it was the largest Chinook Salmon that I have ever caught (31 lbs). It took us a good 25 minutes to land her. She gave us a good tussle but she eventually found her way to the net. This was a trip that I won't soon forget!

Monday, September 6th, 2010


The crazy week is over and we managed to end up with a good weather window after all to finish up our aerification. The mixed tine application was a success. We were surprised by the amount of material we removed from the greens. We had the machines set on a 2x2 spacing which put quite a few hole in the greens.  It took an extra topdressing to finish filling the holes and Mike calculated that he used 150 yards of sand for the entire job. Overall the greens look and play very well.

As I was changing the cups on Saturday there was a significant difference in the amount of pressure it took to push the cup cutter into the ground. It was much easier than normal. The plugs were loose and roots were about as long as I have seen them in the fall before and that normal hard pan zone that we typically feel around the 3 to 4 inch depth wasn't there. Perhaps it was the alternating tine length that did it, At least that is what we would like to believe. The 1/2 inch tines were getting down a good 3 inches and the 3/8 inch tines were down around 1.25 inches. I think we truly prepared the greens for this fall by enabling the new roots to penetrate through the pan layer. Next week we will be applying a super fine grade of granular organic fertilizer called Nature Safe 8-3-5. I really think it benefits the soil microbes and promotes much stronger roots.

Now we need to allow Fazio some time to restock our sand pile. It is a busy time of year for them and in the coming weeks everyone else will be aerifying and topdressing too so this week we will start mowing the tall grass and then when that is finished we will commence aerification on the tees and topdressing fairways.

Tuesday was the annual OGCSA Crew Tournament held down the street at Arrowhead Golf Club. JD Clarizio and his staff always have their course in immaculate shape for this event and this year was no exception. We sent two teams and both came in at 4 under. They finished in the top half of the field which is great for the caliber of golf that is out at some of those other courses. I do believe both of our teams got the award for the best dressed!

Jason Oliver, Celebration of Life

Stone Creek was honored when asked to provide the venue for Jason's Celebration of Life Service. It is fitting that it will be held at a golf course and we are privileged to be part of his farewell. The service will be held on Monday, September 13th at 4pm.
I thought I would add this photo of Jason and Tiger Woods. It epitomizes Jason's all too short career. 
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