Monday, November 29th, 2010

Just like that, there goes another month. This season seems to be flying by. Last week brought our first snow of the season and hopefully isn’t a precursor of the winter to come. As expected the greens froze but unfortunately the snow stayed, keeping the course closed for a couple days. The gradual thawing went nicely without a lot of rain to puddle and close the greens again. All is good now and we were able to mow the greens giving them a fresh surface for the weekend.
This week is our pesticide re certification seminar week. Mike Turley, Steve Pearce and I will be attending the annual OGCSA Pesticide Seminar at the Portland Convention Center all day Thursday and Friday. We are required by law to obtain 40 hours of training classes every five years to maintain our pesticide applicators permit. The hours obtained by attending this seminar fulfills enough credits each year to maintain the license in the five year period.
The Oregon Landscape Contractors Association Conference runs concurrently at the convention center and this year they have invited me to speak on “Understanding Today’s Environmental Issues and Their Impact on Our Future”. I will be discussing the Stone Creek environmental story as well as highlighting the OGCSA Environmental Stewardship Guidelines. It was an honor to be invited to speak. The landscape industry is where I got my start after college working for 5 years at Northwest Landscape Industries.
'Tis the Season

This is not just the holiday season but if you are a true football fan in Oregon you have to be excited about what is going on in our state. As you know, I am a Beaver Alumni but I cannot help but be excited about what the Ducks have been doing, Kelly has done a masterful job and the Ducks have been absolutely non stoppable.  I have been pulling for the Ducks all season and hoping they would go 11-0 up until they meet the Beavers in the Civil War and that is exactly where we are at today. But, this is where I am going to draw the line. Sure it would be nice to have a team from Oregon compete in the national title game but someone should have told the Ducks that when we had our sights on the Rose Bowl last year. It is our turn to return the favor. I absolutely love the hype this week brings and look forward to all the  camaraderie. My only disappointment is my favorite Duck (Harold Plough) has flown south for the winter. Please visit Harold's Fan Page on Facebook and give him your best regards. Tell him that we need him home soon, the rivalry won't be the same without him. In honor of the game this Saturday let's all wear our favorite teams colors and look forward to a fun and exciting game.

Gordon, as for your Trojans....well lets just say their rule has come to an end. Time to jump on the State of Oregon football band wagon :)

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving to all! I hope this holiday season brings you close to your families and friends. May the coming year bring new opportunities and favorable golfing conditions.
Course Conditions
Speaking of golfing conditions. I have certainly seen the course drier but it is mid November after all. Aesthetically, the course is beautiful and the greens are rolling great. The only issue now is in some of the fairways and roughs. If and when we get some drier weather we will try to get out and spread some more sand on those areas to help firm them up.
The cold weather hasn’t seemed to slow down the crew. We have been discussing small projects in the mornings that we would like to accomplish this winter. As we have time, the guys will take ownership of their projects and see that it is accomplished. They have also been as careful as possible in mowing and getting around the course. Even though it is November the grass is still growing and it is getting long in some areas. Where it is too wet to mow I have instructed the guys to skip it all together. It is better to come back and hand mow an area than create a bunch of tire damage
IMG_1371Wouldn’t you know that as soon as I talked about disease pressure on Poa annua (last weeksIMG_1358 post) that it would show up the following week. Last week Fusarium patch showed up on the big putting green. Classic disease appearance but unusual by our standards, it was actually 15 days since we last sprayed but it still showed up. Now that Poa is becoming a more dominant population we will begin to have much more pressure like this. Since we have such a great nursery I suggested that we simply plug out the bad spots. Mike did just that and today you would never know it was there. We also sprayed on Friday to prevent further infection.
IMG_1364We also utilized the nursery last week repairing the old hydraulic leak on the fourth green. I had probably let it go a little long but was hoping to see the bentgrass encroach back in. One streak was pretty much healed so we chose to leave it be. Mike sodded the other areas which I must say turned out beautifully. Today you could putt across the repair and never see your ball bounce. He and Brian did a fantastic job!
New greens mower technology has arrived that can now eliminate the hydraulic leak. FridayIMG_1387 Rich Schwabauer of RMT Equipment brought out the new Jacobsen Eclipse 322 to demo. This machine is a hybrid which operates with a 14 hp Kohler motor and uses electricity to drive the cutting units and the mower itself. Everything is electronic so there is not one drop of hydraulic oil on the machine. As a matter of fact the only oil is in the motor and the transaxle. Steve and I took it out to the nursery and were very impressed with its performance. In the photo it looks like Steve forgot to mow the middle strip but what he is doing is using only the outside cutting units and then IMG_1391splitting the pattern to make it appear that it was cut with a walking greens mower. Jacobsen has the option to operate each cutting unit independently which offers you more options for your clean up pass and avoiding the clean up ring.  I know we don’t need a new mower any time soon but it is good to see that we now have some great options that will prevent spills and save fuel too.

Just For Fun

IMG_1361I would like to wrap up this post with a couple great shots I took this week. This first picture of Breanne in the beverage cart pretty much sums up the weather. I would like to hand it to her for staying out there and serving the customers with a great smile on her face!
I took the next photo Friday when we could actually see the sunshine. It would have been a great day to see IMG_1379the “Hood” but as you can tell there was a vale of clouds covering it. I have seen a cloud cap before but never the entire mountain.
Have a great week and enjoy your dinner.

Saturday November 20th, 2010, Weather Update

trans snowflakeCold Weather is on the Way, Lets be Prepared!

Just a quick update on the coming weather conditions. The way it is shaping up it is looking like we have a chance of snow Sunday night and perhaps Monday night. It all depends where the low pressure system sets up along the coast. We have made the rounds and winterized everything around the shop. Dave just replaced the old heating cables in the cart barn on all of the water pipes. This will take care of the pipes during the day when we need water but it is still important to turn the system off and drain it each night and to disconnect the pressure washer supply hose and the pressure hose each night to prevent it from backing into the machine. The important thing to remember when we get into these cold snaps is water will expand when it gets cold and needs a place to go as it freezes. Turning the water off inside the building will simply not prevent damage, you need to open the faucet on the outside to allow the water to drain out.

Last year we had a bad break in the club house. I don’t think that this freeze will be quite as bad as last years but we might think about cracking open one of the ceiling tiles near the area where it froze to allow the warm air in the clubhouse to circulate above. Now that we have the new event center we should probably take a good look around to see if there are any vulnerabilities. Don’t assume that being new will prevent things from freezing.

We don’t expect the temps to get that cold during the day but we will be getting in the twenties at night. Monday we will be closing the restrooms on the course and locking the door. Be sure to let the customers know at the first tee.

If it does in fact snow on Sunday night and we have an accumulation on the ground the course will obviously be closed. If the snow misses us we will be allowing play based on the frost. Remember we will allow play on frozen greens but the key is the frost must be off the leaf tissue and away from the crown of the plant. At that point we will open the course. The best bet will be to plan on 11am shotguns for the entire week pending frost. We have set temporaries on the shaded holes and will use those until the greens are ready to play. Monday before the ground gets to frozen we will add a second cup to all the greens to allow us to spread the wear on the grass.

If you have a tee time this week be sure to give the pro shop a call in the morning before you come out and get the latest on delays. Employees should contact their supervisors prior to their shift to avoid an unnecessary trip to the course.

Stay Warm!

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Course Conditions
IMG_1325It is November and the course is getting softer. The course looks great but if we drive where we aren’t supposed to be, you may leave a mess behind. The right of five is a good example of this. We pushed the rough mowing a little to far and it tracked up pretty bad. All superficial of course and will disappear soon.
We fertilized the greens on Friday. We will be increasing the iron rates as we get into the winter months. Many of the courses that escaped the winter wrath last year all had higher iron rates in common. I feel the iron will help harden off the grass and will enable it to tolerate the colder temperatures better. Last year we were using higher iron rates and we did in fact come through the December cold snap without any problems. We are also targeting some residual silver thread moss as well. We treated a few weeks ago with Quick Silver so now we are just treating it with the iron to avoid another herbicide application.
Poa  Transition
As I was changing cups the other day I couldn’t help but notice the Poa annua invading thePronghorn bent greens. It seems to be the fate of most all putting greens that I have ever been around. If it were possible, and didn’t require all kinds of chemical interactions, I would most definitely prefer to manage creeping bentgrass greens. Many golfers are fans of Poa greens by the fact that it is all they have ever played. This summer I happened to play some of the finest bentgrass greens I have ever set foot on at Proghorn Golf Club. Personally I would take those greens over Poa any day. The benefits of bent over Poa are many. First off, bentgrass has a far better disease resistance. In the time of reduced pesticide programs this is important not only for reduced inputs but the costs of a fungicide program to prevent common Poa annua diseases can cost up to $20,000 a year. Another benefit of bentgrass is its deep rooting ability. The deeper the roots the less dependent you have to be on water during the heat stress times of the year. This saves water and labor costs.

Enough about bentgrass. Poa annua is eventually going to be our new grass on our putting surfaces so lets learn a bit about it. Poa annua is one of the most widely distributed weeds  that turf managers face today. It contaminates home lawns, sports fields and golf turf freely around the world and in all climates. In my travels I have not seen anything immune to its wrath. I even saw it growing in the artificial sports turf at the Oregon City High School football stadium! Why is it so hard to control? The answer is its distribution. Poa seeds and reseeds prolifically. The seeds are easily spread by golfers shoes, wind and even pets. Poa produces a massive seed bank and the seeds can survive for years in the soil and will germinate once the soil is disturbed.
There has been much research on PoIMG_1304a annua over the years. It has been found that Poa’s greatest advantage is its genetic diversity. We refer to it as a single variety but it is really a compilation of thousands of biotypes. This is why you will see two patches of Poa annual growing adjacent to each other yet one looks tight, has a dark color and the other may be light green and has more seed heads. This photo to the right was taken last week on our fifth green which demonstrates this perfectly.
Here at Stone Creek the green are going through a transition which may not be pretty. Rest assured that as time goes the greens will become more populated with Poa annua and the stronger biotypes will eventually IMG_20100819_161543dominate the stand. It is common to observe variable biotypes under various management regimes (Cline, 2001; Wu, 1991). This is why when you visit older courses such as Columbia Edgewater, Royal Oaks, or Orchard Hills, you will notice that their Poa greens aren’t seeding quite as much and their stands will seem more uniform. These greens have evolved over time and are now beautiful putting surfaces. Pictured to the left is Orchard Hills. These greens were amazing to putt on. By far the best Poa I played all year.
Growers have tried to develop a seed variety that can be harvested and planted like bentgrass but it has come at limited success. The first challenge is harvest. How do you harvest a seed from a closely mown biotype that has quality turf characteristics, as apposed to a biotype that grows taller and allows seed to be harvested and the growth characteristic, under closely mown conditions, is acceptable? It just doesn’t happen. The only way to have a true Poa putting surface is to let it evolve.
The tenth year of a putting green is usually the turning point where the Poa starts taking over exponentially. This is what the Oregon Golf Club experienced so I expecting similar conditions. We are preparing for the transition by increasing ourIMG_1305 fungicide applications in the coming years. Up until now we have allowed the anthracnose to be a natural Poa control. This year we experienced wide spread anthracnose on much of our Poa populations to a point where it affected the ball roll. Anthracnose will be our main summer issue where Michodochium Patch or Pink Snow Mold will be our main winter issue. Both of which were none existent in our stand until now. 
My point is, we are heading into an awkward phase of transition and we will work to make it as smooth as possible. Our philosophy is to provide the finest putting surfaces possible and we will intend on doing just that with what ever grass we have to work with. The Poa may look awkward at times but we will continue to provide quality putting conditions.

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Course Conditions


This picture should say it all. What a fantastic week for golf. We started the week off with a strong east wind which dried the course out nicely allowing us to get a good clip on the grass. The fairways seemed to jump out in 3-D. The weather man sent us all a curve ball mid week when he said that the rain would return on Friday. The rain never really did materialize but unfortunately the tee sheet seemed to reflect the weather report.

With all the wind early on the crew was busy picking up leaves. By mid week the greens, tees, fairways and bunkers were spotless. The crew put forth a great effort this week. Aside from maintaining fantastic golfing conditions while short handed, we still managed to fertilize the tee boxes, mow down the new grass at the entry and finalize the new cart path on 15. A good week over all.

Staff Update

Congratulations to Mike and Aubrey Turley on the birth of their new baby daughter. Her name is Leighton and she was born on Tuesday at 11:05am. Mike is taking some well deserved time off to spend with his family and should return on Thursday . Leighton and Mom are doing just great.

Bob is still off after his surgery. He is hopeful the doctor will release him to work by the 15th. If you know Bob you will know how hard it has been for him to be away from work. Staying home and doing nothing is not Bobs M.O. It will be good to have him back.

Since Bob has been away I have asked Jim to work in to November. He was scheduled to be off for the winter after the 31st. IMG_1265He will be working just a few hours in the mornings until Bob is able to return. This week we trained Travis Snow. Travis worked for George at the ball fields this summer and also worked for N. Clackamas Parks as a seasonal. Travis is interested in furthering his education at Clackamas Community College in landscape management. We have asked him to work select Fridays and weekends this winter while he attends class. I have been impressed with his work, he has learned quickly and should be a great asset to our team.


IMG_1287As I mentioned earlier we wrapped up the cart path project on fifteen this week.  We could not have asked for better weather to wrap it all up. Jason and Rick with Specialized Construction have done another terrific job. Portland Road was in on Thursday with the asphalt to put the finishing touch on the project. With the extra mix we paved the cross over between the cart paths on three and eleven as well.

IMG_1299Steve Pearce thinned out some Doug Firs from thirteen and relocated them where the old path used to be. We seeded the area with fescue and covered the bare ground with straw to put everything away for the winter.

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Course Conditions
IMG_1226As I write this the course has received 3.10 inches of rain in the past 7 days. The weather pattern sure seemed to go from good to not so good all in a short period of time. Despite all the rain we were still able to get the carts out on the fairway at least a couple times last week. The course is still pretty firm and we want to get as many days on the course as possible. I am anticipating that we we will be putting the ropes up on 12 and 15 fairway pretty soon.
The fairway fertilizer has kicked in and is showing some good color. The growth isn’t that much which is nice. I think we timed it pretty good with the onset of the cooler temperatures.
Mike sprayed the greens Wednesday for anthracnose. Anthracnose has been pretty persistent this year, especially on 16. We are hoping this will put an end to it for the season. I think I have put together a pretty good fungicide program for next year. I switched it up a bit from last year by changing the rotation of the fungicides and going with different classes of chemistries. There are a lot of new products on the market today with very low use rates. These are generally the products that we like to use. Friday the rain stayed away long enough for us to fertilize the greens as well. We will soon be cutting back to one application a month for the winter season.
We went ahead and mowed all of the bunker faces last week and gave them all a fresh new look. Thursday was pretty much spent pushing the sand back in place and raking them out after the heavy rain. The crew has been doing awesome work, I can’t say enough about them. Currently down two members, they are pulling together and are doing some great work. Please be sure to let them know when you run into them.
Power Savings
I wanted to insert these tables showing our current power savings in the cart barn and in the maintenance shop since May, after our Energy Trust of Oregon lighting upgrade. I compared the cost to the previous 3 year average.
Maintenance Shop
  3 Year Average 2010 Power Bill % Savings
May $ 378.93 $ 279.72 26.18%
June $ 319.96 $ 295.91 7.52%
July $ 288.67 $ 211.11 26.87%
August $ 306.67 $ 204.12 33.44%
September $ 209.95 $ 233.81 19.64%
October $ 370.21 $ 205.60 33.08%
    Average Savings 24.45%
Cart Barn
  3 Year Average 2010 Power Bill % Savings
May $ 778.86 $ 642.07 17.56%
June $ 939.86 $ 795.52 15.36%
July $ 1,103.40 $ 774.21 29.83%
August $ 1,287.90 $ 927.40 27.99%
September $ 928.52 $ 834.34 10.14%
October $ 1,014.42 $ 805.70 20.58%
    Average Savings 20.24%

As you can see the savings is pretty significant. In those two buildings we have saved a total of $1,735.85!  I am still perplexed over the clubhouse since the savings are pretty flat. We need to look into that a little further and see what other cost saving measures could be implemented to improve that score. This winter the first place to start will be to make sure the thermostats are programed and we secure them to keep them from getting adjusted.
We have invited Gil Amestoy from EOFF and The Energy Trust of Oregon to speak at our upcoming OGCSA Environmental Meeting on November 9th. I hope that other facilities will take advantage of this program and see the same kind of savings we are experiencing.
For more information please click HERE
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...