Monday, August 15th, 2011

Off and running on Sunday morning!
Like the PGA, we too had a successful club championship. I wouldn't compare Stone Creek to the likes of Atlanta Athletic Club, but it was a great championship on both ends. As AAC prepared for the PGA Championship Ken Magnum had surrounded himself with some of the finest people he could find and the results were astounding. The key to any well run organization is not just the leader, but the people he works with on a daily basis. I would like to take this opportunity to recognize a couple of my key staff for all their hard work this summer. I will make a point to highlight a few each week until I am able to give everyone the credit that they are due.

One of the toughest positions on the course is the job of the assistant superintendent. Mike Turley has done an exemplary job ever since he joined us almost 7 years ago. Mike's job has been primarily the scheduling of daily activities and the application of fertilizers and fungicides. He must also be able to read my mind and stay one step ahead of me. To my astonishment he manages to play the role just like Radar on the series M*A*S*H. He has the uncanny ability to see the course as I do and many times has the jobs in motion before I can even mention it to him.

Like the assistant job, the equipment technician ranks right up there. Steve Mathre has been with me from the start. He was the second person I hired when I began to hire employees for Stone Creek. I hired him sight unseen from Ames Country Club in Ames Iowa. Steve made his way out with his family and has never looked back. I cannot site how many times Steve has gotten us out of a pickle or has helped a fellow coworker with a mechanical issue. He can do it all. This has been an especially trying year now that our equipment is aging and showing the signs of wear. Somehow he manages to get things right-side-up and back out on the course to keep things running smoothly. I would just like to thank Steve for all his patients and perseverance over the years in helping to keep this place in the condition that it is in.

In preparation for the Championship we spent some time checking the bunkers for sand depth. In many of the bunkers the sand has become uneven due to the constant raking from the front to the back. Jorge was able to use the blade on the Sand Pro to reallocate the sand throughout the bunkers, thus avoiding having to use additional sand. We did however need to fill quite a few green side ones. Special thanks to Jorge for all his expertise and effort in getting all the bunkers back in shape!

In our efforts to reduce the amount of pesticides we use on the course we have developed threshold levels which will dictate when we treat for a particular problem. The greens however, are the only area on the course where we will spray preventatively. Insect damage in the rough has been an area which we have allowed to go unchecked. Crane fly is the usual suspect up until now. We have discovered an infestation of billbug in the surrounds behind the 11th green. The damage first appeared as a dry spot but upon further examination we found  the turf had no roots and small white larvae were present throughout. We have had small infestations like this in the past and we will reseed the area this fall. We will be sure to watch the same area next year perhaps with traps and determine if treatment will be warranted.

This week we will begin cutting the tall grass and should be fertilizing the fairways with the new Boominator nozzles. I will be sure to report next week on how well they worked. In the mean time enjoy the course, it is playing the best I have seen in quite some time.

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