Monday, April 25th, 2011

Last week may have been dry but it would sure be nice to have some temperatures to go along with it. A couple frost delays and on Thursday we didn't even break 50! The good news is the course has dried relatively fast and we were able to get quite a bit of mowing done as well as allowing carts back out on the course Friday and Saturday.

It was great to see everyone out having a nice time on the course and to see Ted and Chris out there giving their group lessons. To give Ted a big plug, he has done a phenomenal job promoting golf by offering these "four for forty" group lessons. I am seeing so many first time golfers attending these lessons and they are getting their first experience of how fun golf can be. The other half of that equation that I am excited about is we are going to offer a short 4 hole round in the evenings this summer to allow the many new golfers to experience the game without feeling intimidated or pressured to keep up with play. My complements to Doug and Ted not to mention Gordy for their innovative approach to making the game available to everyone.

Tee aerification went off without a hitch on Monday and Tuesday. Although I wish someone could explain why some plugs just don't want to come out of the ground. Some of the tee boxes pulled just fine where others had large areas where the plugs either came part way out or not at all. If anyone has experienced the same thing and have found a solution, I am all ears!

On Wednesday I took my lawn installation and maintenance class from Clackamas Community College on a field trip to the Scotts research facility down in Gervais.We were met by Dr Jim Frelich who has been with Scotts for over 30 years. He says he is retired but it didn't look that way to me. I love bringing my class to his facility because his research is very practical in the sense that this is the situation that the average homeowner will see. Most of the facilities that I visit pertain mostly to golf turf but Jim's research is focused on the consumer market and he looks at such things as low fertility vs high fertility in combination with differing mowing heights along with drought and irrigated situations. It is interesting to see how the species composition changes as we change our irrigation regime along with how much fertilizer we choose to use.

There was one plot of tall fescue and Kentucky Bluegrass in particular that was not irrigated all summer last year and it was compared to the same plot but under standard irrigation. Looking at the plot today, the turf that was allowed to go dormant was in much better shape coming out of the winter and looked nicer than the turf that was irrigated. The reason being, when turf is dormant it is storing energy for when it is allowed to grow again, thus when spring comes around it is off to a much stronger start than the turf that had to grow and expend energy all season long. Just think of the money we could save if we could allow our lawns to get a little brown over the few hot summer months.

Part of our community outreach here at Stone Creek involves Kristy McQueen's 6th grade class at Gaffney Lane Elementary. Ever since my son Adam was in her class 5 years ago we have hosted her class on a bird watching tour. I have enlisted a regular group of community birdwatching volunteers and we take the kids on a tour of the golf course. This gives us an opportunity to help the kids understand the benefits of a golf course to wildlife and habitat and to give them their first up close and personal view of a golf course. We just scheduled the day for this year and the kids will be coming out on Friday, May 27th.

Back at Gaffney Lane the sixth graders have been working on an outdoor classroom project the last few years. They have planted a grove of trees with a brick path winding through.  My staff was able to contribute some funds to their project and just the other day when I was out for a bike ride with Henry, we found a brick with our name on it. That was quite an unexpected honor.

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