Monday, January 17th, 2011

Course Conditions
It sounds like a broken record but what else can you say about the weather in the Northwest? It's raining again! This weekend was pretty much a wash. The course is saturated and is about as wet as it can get. Saturday we receive about 1.38" and we will probably get that and then some more through Sunday.
  The weather didn't keep the crew from being productive though. The rain held off long enough to mow the tees on Thursday and the greens on Friday. 

In addition to pruning the small firs around the course Steve has also been nurturing many of the volunteer Doug firs that you see in some of the out-of-the-way places. He has been transplanting many of these in areas around the course where they will grow and flourish. Steve also puts them in areas where we want to eliminate cart traffic like the hill between the 16th tee and the 13th tee and near areas where we have lost trees due to stress. Our goal is to be able to sustain our coniferous woods by reallocating these young trees that we have on site. Here is a small patch of young Dougs that are coming along nicely.(above)  

This week the guys worked on the shortcut between the 18th tee box and the 10th green. For years it has been a well used trail and it had finally become so well used that it was bare dirt and mud. We simply placed a thick layer of gravel which should make it a much nicer path and a little more pleasing to look at.

Monday we had an unexpected guest on the course. We don't normally get a chance to get so close, but it gave us a rare opportunity to see how pretty coyotes really are. We regularly see coyotes around the golf course and often see them mousing in the fields across the highway. This time he didn't make the crossing safely and was struck by a car. We called APHIS Wildlife control and they helped us with the situation. 

It is reported that coyote sightings have become an all to familiar event in the Oregon City area. Urban coyotes have developed streetwise ways. The wildlife manager from APHIS told me that coyote sightings are about 80 percent of his calls. When I called him he was just on a controlled hunt where they were attacking a local flock of sheep.  

Click here to view a great little slide show of urban coyotes on

A funny side note on coyotes: A few weeks ago Jorge found mound of sand in one of the bunkers on fifteen. He knew what it was from a previous encounter but wanted to show Travis what it was. He uncovered it for him and it was a chicken that had been stolen from a neighbor. A year or so earlier he saw a coyote running across Stoneridge Drive with two chickens in his mouth heading to the course. Later that morning he found the one that he didn't eat in a similar situation. You never know what you may run into out here, it's never a dull moment.

Once in a while I like to promote a good product that we have found to be successful in our operation. Geese are a common pest among many golf courses around the country and there are many products that are sold to discourage them form sticking around. We have tried many of them and so far there isn't one alone that will work by itself. In the past we have used life-sized  coyote silhouettes and decoys, string fencing around the pond edges, amphibious/airborne RC devices, spray on products and finally my standard poodles. All seem to be effective as long as you are consistently taking time to administer the deterrent.  

I think we have found a combination of products that takes very little of our time and has seemed to have an effect. The first is a flashing beacon that is solar charged and only works at night. The beacon disrupts the sleep cycle of the geese which makes it uncomfortable for them to roost at night. We have had them now for a couple years and have gradually seen the overnight population decrease to just a small flock once in awhile. The one I show here on the right was struck by a golf ball and we are replacing it. You can also see that the float has been eaten by the muskrats and had been reduced in size by one half. The good new is the company that manufactures these devices has already made the necessary changes on the new model (left) and seemed to have solved the problem. The beacon is from a company called Away With Geese and can be purchased from their website or through the local Par Aide distributor. They won't work over night but as far as what we have seen they have had a significant impact on our population this winter.
The other device is a green laser pointer which we use only when the geese are present. A simple wave of the laser over the flock and they are gone. Something about it simply freaks them out. The laser is easily kept in your pocket and can be given to any of your staff. I found ours on Amazon for less than $12 each!  And yes these are the ones that can cause damage to the eye so extreme caution is taken.

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