Monday, August 22nd, 2011

This week I would like to start out my post with a recap of an earlier post I made regarding driving range tee divot repair. We have planted the new "Natural Knit" spreading ryegrass on our nursery and on the driving range tee box to see if it would increase the rate in which divots would repair. The thought is that with the new spreading characteristic combined with the wear tolerance of perennial ryegrass, we would be able to have a better quality driving range tee. We were having a difficult time gauging the rate of repair on the actual driving range tee box since it is always so messed up so we did a divot pattern on the nursery which is located above the range next to our shop. The two photos below were taken 38 days apart and the divots were filled only with sand, no seed.  It is pretty evident that the divots do in fact fill in quickly.
Taken July 14th, 2011

Taken August 21st, 2011 (38 days)
  In addition to the rapid repair we have also noticed that the texture of this grass is extremely fine. If I were to build a new tee box this would be the grass of choice. I can only imagine what it would look like planted in a fairway too. In some of the trials I have seen with this grass, it resembles bentgrass in many ways, only without the heavy thatch build-up. It performs very well at heights around 0.50". This week we will aerating and seeding the upper tee box and we will continue to plant the Natural Knit.

In a side note, speaking with Dr. Golembieski at Oregon State. He has some trials of the same grass at the Lewis Brown Research Farm and he noted that the grass performs optimally at cutting heights below 1.25". In addition to golf tee's and fairways, Natural Knitt would make a very nice soccer pitch or baseball field which receives a high level of maintenance and cut below 1.25".

Course Conditions
We finally found the 90's! Saturday hit 93.6 degrees here at Stone Creek which is the first time we have exceeded the 90 mark all season. The course is finally beginning to take on that Stone Creek trademark late summer appearance with the edges of the rough showing some brown. I am glad to see that Stone Creek golfers appreciate good dry conditions. In my opinion this is how golf was meant to be played. I feel it adds a completely new dimension to the game with the skinny lies and the additional ball roll. You will definitely find your ball in places you may not have been able to reach earlier in the season. The greens are still rolling true and fast and the tee boxes are the best I have seen them. Zef has been doing a wonderful job managing the moisture on the fairways. Early in the morning you will see him running a few multi-manuals in select areas, being careful not to allow the fairway to become too wet.
This week we will verticutting and topdressing the greens as well as fertilizing them. Mike will also begin fertilizing the fairways with the new Boominators. Last week I started mowing the tall grass in between the tee boxes and this week I will begin to cut the large areas between the holes. This is a big job and will take some time. We will normally mow early in the morning while there is plenty of moisture on the grass. This helps keep the dust down to a minimum. We should probably be able to mow close to 5 acres a day.

The parts are all in for the 4500 and we should be able to resume our regular rough mowing schedule. The entire crew has done a magnificent job keeping up with the rough using the trim mowers.

I am happy to report that Carl is home from South Dakota and is doing well. If you missed it, Carl took a dive on his bike at 70 mph after his front tire blew out. Bob and Steve took over an electric chair that Bobs mother used to have. Carl is so grateful for that. He can now motor around the property and get to places that he hadn't been able to before. I stopped by Saturday for a visit and he is already talking about another bike. Not so sure if Sandy is going to allow that. He should be in his casts for close to 90 days and will then need quite of bit of rehab to build back his strength.

Carl's spirits are high and he is doing great. He loves company so feel free to drop by and visit for a spell. Oh and by the way, while he was in the hospital he quit smoking. It has been three weeks now and he has no desire. He even let me take all his tobacco off his hands so he wouldn't be tempted. And no, in case you were wondering, I found a good home for it.

Thursday we held our annual rib-eye barbecue. The steaks were incredible and we ate like pigs. We enjoyed having Mike McLees there. Now that he has retired from the County he can finally make it. He will always be on our invite list. This is my way to say thanks to everyone who works for me, including the staff at the ball field as well as Mark and Doug with the County Parks Department. Especially all my staff here at the course. All wouldn't be what it is today with out their hard work and expertise. It was especially nice to have Gordon there as well. We managed to forget our bocce ball tournament but will have to do something later. Thank you Gordon for offering my staff a group lesson! I think that would be huge for the crew. We should be able to use the nursery tee behind the shop and continue our divot recovery trial. Thanks again for doing that Gordy, that really means a lot!

Finally a word of thanks to Fazio Brothers Sand. Russ showed up with his new truck so I had to snap a quick picture of it. Richard Fazio is one of the Oregon Golf Course Superintendent Association's biggest supporters. They manage to keep golf courses supplied with some of the finest topdressing sand around. They deliver from Coeur d'alene to Bend and the greater State of Oregon West of the Cascades. Besides thanking them for all their support I really wanted to post this picture. It is such a good looking truck!

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