Monday, July 25th

We finally turned on the well! Once again our summer has been late to arrive and we have been able to use water from Beaver Creek up until now. We actually got the word from the Watermaster over a week ago that we reached our limit on the creek. But since then, we have had enough rain to keep us from having to irrigate so we just left the well off. Sunday morning the lake level was down about 4" from the previous nights irrigation, so the well is now on. Compared to some of the previous years we are still quite green, including the range which is normally dormant by this time of year.

On Monday we aerified the lower driving range tee box and seed and sanded the entire surface. I will continue to remind everyone to be aware of your divot pattern while practicing. I am working on developing a sign which will demonstrate the proper use and will hopefully help avoid divot patterns like this. The range is a huge source of revenue for us and the better we can manage it the better the conditions will be for our customers. I am beginning to see our new divot patterns appearing hear and there and I would like to thank all who are doing their part.

The course continues to be in the best shape I have seen it for this time of year. Our greens are healthy and strong and so far have avoided much of the disease that has been going around due to our inclement weather. Our plant health care program, which includes our fertility, as well as disease management, has seemed to be very effective this year. We have managed to dodge the anthacnose and many of the usual summer ailments thus far. We normally spray a preventative application on a monthly basis but due to the disease pressure that has been reported in our region, we will be making our second application of the month this week.

Bill Inman, Bill Rommel, Frank Phipps
On a personal side, I would like to share an experience I had with my father last week. My dad is now in his eighties and has developed macular degeneration which has taken much of his eye sight. His vision is now at 80-20 which legally puts him in the blind category. It hasn't been easy for him especially since golf, the game he has loved for so many years, has become a serious challenge for him. All last winter he had been telling me that his golfing days are over and perhaps he will be able to get out one last time, perhaps for just nine holes. The good news is he made that nine holes and then some. So far this summer he has played three times and has his fourth tee time booked for Tuesday! Last Tuesday my schedule opened up so I joined him and his buddies for eighteen holes. By the fourth hole my dad had holed out twice from off the green! Keep it up dad, you are an inspiration to us all!

AM 860 - Gordon Kiyokawa, CGCS
Last night Gordon Kiyokawa, CGCS, had an opportunity to speak with Ron Callan of KPAM Radio on the Northwest Sports Tonight Show. Gordon speaks on superintendent awareness week and discusses the importance of the Oregon Turfgrass Foundation.
The link will play the entire show so if you want to get to the interview run the slider on the podcast player to the 22nd minute.

AM 860 - Play Now

Monday, July 18th, 2011

They say that time flies when you're having fun and that pretty much sums up the last couple weeks at Stone Creek Golf Club.When you are able to accomplish many things and in turn see the results quickly, it gives us all a sense of job fulfillment which is why we love this line of work. The entire staff has been extremely productive and their results are evident by the condition of the course.

I'll try to make this post as brief as possible but there is quite a bit I would like to cover. We started the week out with a few spray applications, beginning with our anthracnose control on Monday followed by our bi-weekly fertilizer application on Tuesday. Wednesday we topdressed the greens lightly, remaining on our every two week rotation. The greens were rolling great all week and for the Men's Club Open tournament on Saturday. Mikes fertilizer application has begun to take effect, bringing on a whole new dimension to the course. We don't normally have so much dark green growth but with the additional rainfall we are experiencing The grass is really beginning to take off.

The guys managed to trim all the bunkers once again and have them looking great for the coming week. With our busy tournament schedule this week this should allow us to stay well clear of our guests and be able to focus on some out of the way projects.

Zeferino has been busy working on the irrigation system, making adjustments to increase the efficiency of the heads. Shown here, Zef is raising a head in the approach on fifteen. This is an ongoing job which will never be complete. The sprinklers are constantly being monitored and raised as needed.

We are currently in our 2nd year of a three year program of replacing our sprinklers around our greens. We have been replacing our 730 and 760 series sprinklers with the more efficient 855 and 835 series sprinklers. This is done by simply removing the guts from the existing cans and installing the new ones. There is no digging involved. We have currently replaced all the heads around the greens through the twelve. The old sprinklers aren't going to waste. Zeferino has been using the part circle 760 sprinklers to replace full circle 730 sprinklers in the rough along the perimeter of the course. By doing this we are able to reduce our water use by half in these areas. Another way that we can make use of what we have to make simple changes and incur significant savings.

This week I placed new sand bottles in the landing areas on twelve and fifteen where we seem to accumulate a large amount of divots. It appears it is working since the bottles have been empty each morning after. I would like to implore the player assistants to keep a 5 gallon bucket of sand with them to keep these bottles full. This will help expedite the recovery of these areas.

Driving Range Continued
On a final note, to follow up with my previous post regarding the driving range tee titled "Practice Like a Pro, I am doing a little experiment of my own up on the nursery above the range. From the photo shown here, I hit 25 balls twice using two different methods. The first, which I will call the shotgun method and the second I call the caterpillar method. The photo speaks for itself in the amount of space that was taken by hitting the same amount of balls. The caterpillar method is simply accomplished by placing the ball immediately behind the previous divot. That way you are only removing a very small amount of turf each swing. If you simply make short rows of consecutive divots and space them apart by two to three inches each row, you will see a significant increase of recovery time and also reduce the impact on the overall range tee.

Here are some photos of our current tee box showing some do's and don'ts.

Shotgun Method - Not acceptable

Caterpillar Method- Acceptable

This photo was taken on the back of the lower tee box where we haven't even reseeded yet. Note how well it is healing vegetatively. This area will be ready to hit from in no time at all.
Excavation Method - Not Acceptable!!!
The days of carving large patches needs to end. These are difficult to get to fill back in by the time we come back to this area. The narrower the patch the quicker it can fill in from the sides and the new seed isn't damaged so easily by mowing.

Boominator Boomless Spray Nozzles

I have made it no secret how I feel about our fertilization program here at Stone Creek. We have been on the Redox program going on three years for our greens and have now started applying to the tees and fairways. One of the factors keeping us from going to a liquid method to the fairways was the way in which we would have to apply it. The traditional fixed boom method would take us much too long and with public play beginning before 5:30am we would never get it done.

Boom 405TD by Greenleaf Technologies
The boomless nozzle isn't anything new but when Redox worked with Greenleaf Technologies to develop an air inducted Boominator nozzle to apply their product, they hit a home run. The air inducted venturi which precedes the nozzle is what makes this work so well. I first became aware of this nozzle while I was in Vancouver BC at the Canadian Turfgrass Conference. The Brett Young company was promoting it along with their line of Redox fertilizer. What I didn't realize was how few of these are actually available. I managed to get a hold of a pair from Mike Powers from A&L Supply.  He told me we probably possess the only two in the United States. From what I see, the demand will soon increase and they will need to step up production.

Installing the valves was simple. We simply placed a TeeJet 3-Way Nylon Manual Ball Valve between the #1 and #3 electric boom valves and the spray booms. This allowed us to simply direct the flow to either the booms or the boomless nozzle with a quarter turn. This also gave us the use of the left and right electric valves for simple operation.
Using a couple pieces of angle iron, Steve built a frame off of the existing boom frame and set the height at 42 inches (We read that they can be set from 36 to 48 inches so we chose the middle). He then bored a couple holes large enough to attach the valves using a couple bulkhead couplers. Once we installed them we ran them in the parking lot and made sure that they met at the bottom without an overlap.

Our Toro Multi Pro 5500 is equipped with a Raven control system so we had to set the parameters so the calculations would be accurate. Our effective spray width was measured at 33 feet so divided that by two and multiplied by 12 inches which gave us the number 198. We plugged that number in the "boom one" and "boom three" calculation. Boom two was set at zero of course.

Below are some photos and a video which show us spraying water over the nursery. Note the distribution uniformity and how fast we are able to travel. At 40 GPA Mike calculated that he should be able to spray at a rate of 24 acres an hour. That is basically a tank, which is 300 gallons, every 20 minutes, which will cover 10 acres. At that rate it should be less than three hours to spray the entire course including mixing and loading. Once we make our first application in August I will post an update on the process and let you know how it worked. From what I can see it looks very promising.

Practice Like a Pro

Next week we will be moving to the upper driving range tee box. This is a timely article written by Ty McClellan, USGA agronomist regarding proper use of the tee box. At Stone Creek we are lucky to have such a nice teeing ground and the more efficiently we can utilize it, the better the conditions will be for everyone. The key is to use the turf in a way that allows the turf to heal quickly yet allows the maximum square foot usage. The days of excavating a large patch of turf are over. Please read Ty's article and help us get the most of our teeing ground.

By Ty McClellan, agronomist, Mid-Continent Region
July 13, 2011

Randomly scattered divots (on the left) remove up to 50% more turf than practicing in a linear pattern (on the right) where each new shot is placed directly behind the previous divot.

Late July is usually the time when there is a lack of turf coverage on practice range tees established with cool-season turfgrasses, such as creeping bentgrass or Kentucky bluegrass.  Heavy play removes divots faster than the turf can recover, and hot, dry summer conditions leave little opportunity for seedling establishment or regenerative growth of surrounding turf.  Poor turf coverage that comes in mid-summer generally indicates that the practice tee is simply undersized for the amount of play received, i.e. there is not enough time for turf to recover before tee stalls are returned to previous locations.  It also indicates that tee stall rotations need to be reviewed for efficiency and that synthetic turf options should be considered at the rear of the tee to provide the additional time needed for turf recovery.
With the exception of an efficient tee stall rotation, enlarging the tee(s) and adding synthetic turf are improvements typically left for the off-season when time and funds become available.  So, until then, what can be done?  The solution resides with golfers.  Since randomly scattering divots can quickly destroy a practice range tee, the better approach is to shrink one’s divots by removing them in a pattern just like the professionals.  More specifically, this includes placing each shot directly behind the previous divot.  This can easily be repeated for up to 10 shots resulting in much less turf being removed.
Let’s take a look at a practical example that was provided by Golf Course Superintendent Chris Pekarek at The Village Links of Glen Ellyn in Illinois.  Mr. Pekarek estimates more than 2 million shots are taken annually from the 1.25-acre Kentucky bluegrass practice tee and that 1.5 million of the shots result in turf removal.  Although divots come in all sizes, the average iron shot is believed to remove a divot 3 inches wide by 6.5 inches long for a total of 19.5 square inches.  After just 30 shots, or a small bucket of balls, 4.1 square feet of turf are removed, given a typical practice routine (30 shots x 19.5 in2 = 585 in2 / 144 in2 = 4.1 ft2).  Therefore, after an entire season, 205,000 square feet of divots are removed from the tee. That's more than 4.6 acres of turf from their 1.25-acre surface.
If instead each shot is played directly behind the previous divot, subsequent divots are reduced to an average size of 3 inches wide by 3 inches long, or 9 square inches.  After 30 shots, this pattern removes only 2.1 square feet of turf. (As the first divot removes 19.5 square inches and the subsequent 9 divots remove 9 square inches each for a total of 81 square inches, a total of 100.5 square inches is removed for every 10 shots, which is typical for this linear pattern.  For 30 shots or a small bucket of balls, 3 x 100.5 = 301.5 in2 / 144 in2 = 2.1ft2 are removed.)  If everyone adopted this method, the annual number of divots removed would be reduced from 205,000 square feet to just 105,000 square feet.  That’s nearly a 50% reduction in the amount of turf removed.
Implementing this simple divot pattern into your practice regime has significant season-long implications at your facility.  So, rather than voice a complaint about the turf during oppressive conditions in July and August, do the turf a favor and practice like a pro!
NOTE: Special thanks to Mr. Pekarek and The Village Links of Glen Ellyn for graciously supplying the information and photos used in this article.  It was Mr. Pekarek’s blog that inspired this month’s topic.
If you would like more information about a Turf Advisory Service visit, do not hesitate to contact either of the Mid-Continent regional offices: Ty McClellan at or (630) 340-5853 or Bud White at or (972) 662-1138.

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Steve Dodds from the Men's Club said it again on Saturday, "It's ridiculous how good of shape this golf course is in." I don't think I could agree more. All I can say is keep coming out because it is going to even get better in the coming weeks, I guarantee it!

We got our tractor back last week which enabled us to get our fertilizer applied to the the rough and the fairways. The guys did a great job, Mike on the tractor and Bryan and Steve P did the majority of the hand spreading. They finished the job on the very last bag. It's either my superb estimation or the skill in making the perfect application. I think I would bank on the latter. Soon you will start to notice the fertilizer kicking and you will really see the contrast from the outer rough to the maintained turf. Looking at the photo above, demonstrates where the "red" in the name creeping red fescue comes from. Pretty dramatic if you ask me. This is one of my favorite views of the golf course in the morning.

If you have had the opportunity to play this week you will have noticed the many slits in the greens. Monday and Tuesday we used the bayonet style tines and aerified the greens. The procedure is non invasive, by rolling afterward you can hardly notice a difference in ball roll. The benefits are many. Often, with the amount of play we receive the greens may tend to become compacted on the surface and will seal up, preventing water from penetrating the surface. This is a very effective tool to allow us to get water to the root zone with out disrupting play. The procedure also allows the exchange of gases. We also call it venting. I shot this quick video to demonstrate the benefit of using solid tines in the summer months.

This week we will be applying our anthracnose preventative application and also applying a light topdressing on Wednesday. With only one tournament on the schedule this week there will be plenty of opportunity to play. So call and get your tee time soon, the weather will be perfect, in the high 70's and low 80's. It just won't get any better.

Phil and Ron enjoying a great round on Wednesday!

Monday, July 4th, 2011

Happy Independence Day to everyone!
What a fantastic morning to be working on the golf course. Golfers were teeing it up at 5:04am and the course was looking fantastic. We are finally seeing some modeling on the fairways and a few of the greens are showing a bit of stress as well. All is good though, we are drying it down to that level intentionally to get a feel for where our limits are. This is the point in which we run a long soak cycle on the greens to completely wet the profile. We will reduce the water cycles for a while, allowing them dry them down once again. This is the cycle that will encourage our roots to remain deep throughout the season.

We utilize many tools to enable us to get the moisture through the profile and one of those is the wetting agent Revolution. This aids the water in penetrating through the profile without keeping the soil too wet. We also use solid tine aerification to increase the oxygen exchange in the root zone as well as alleviate any surface problems. As a matter of fact we are planning on using the bayonet tines beginning tomorrow on the back nine and then we'll plan on reversing the nines and doing the front on Wednesday.  The bayonets are small knife-like tines that will penetrate the surface to about four inches. We roll immediately following the procedure so there is no significant change in ball roll.

This week we will be fertilizing the rough and the fairways with a granular 36-0-6 for the first and only time of the year. This may be our last granular application to the fairways for some time in that we are beginning our Redox program on the fairways starting in September. We will use very little nitrogen, using only enough to give us the needed repair. If it works on the fairways as good as it is working on the tees, then we are in for some pretty nice conditions.

Looking down the calendar, we are accumulated quite a few shotgun tournaments. It is so nice to see the calendar finally filling up. We are looking forward to providing them all with the finest conditions possible.
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