Frost Delays

This post is reprinted with permission from Golfdom and Puttin' Down Roots".
Frost Delays  

Frost is a common reason for morning tee time delay. The reason for the delays is the damage that can occur from foot or equipment traffic to the turf when frost is present. Generally speaking, nice fall golfing days and frost go hand-in-hand. With more frost days expected, this is a good time to look at the conditions favorable for frost.
Frost occurs on clear cold nights when turfgrass plants re-radiate heat (exothermic reaction). As the plant loses heat to the atmosphere the plant leaf cools. If the plant temperature is cooler than the air temperature then moisture from the atmosphere will condense on the leaf. If the leaf temperature drops below freezing then the water freezes and frost forms. This will occur even if the air temperatures are slightly above freezing. At this time of the year it is not uncommon to have frost form even if the air temperature is in the mid to high 30s.

Frost itself does not cause damage, but injury does occur with traffic on frosted areas. Turf damage is generally superficial. This is not to say that traffic should be allowed on frosted turf. If traffic occurs, whether it is foot or mechanical, damage caused by crushing the leaf blade will occur. Initially the symptoms will appear purplish to black in color (almost like an excessive Iron application). The damaged turf will then progress to a straw color. If no damage occurs to the crown, recovery will occur from the generation of new leaves.

Editor's note: "Puttin' Down Roots," an e-newsletter from Golfdom and sponsored by BASF, focuses on plant health. Each month, Golfdom provides readers with a useful plant health tip so they can do their jobs easier.

Karl Danneberger, Ph.D., Golfdom's science editor and a turfgrass professor from The Ohio State University, can be reached at

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Shane and Brad heading out to the 1st tee
The holiday season is officially under way now that Thanksgiving and Black Friday are under our belt. It also signifies that the winter golf season is officially under way. Last week we had a few days of solid rain which we only saw a handful of golfers. Once again, I must tip my hat to those golfers that can brave the elements for four and a half hours on a wet and miserable day. I found these two hardy soles on Wednesday heading out to the first tee. The week wasn't all bad. On the days that it didn't rain, the tee sheet seemed to be packed until early afternoon.

Steve Mathre is never short of anything to do. Last week he spent some extra time on our equipment trailers installing extruded matting on them to protect the drums of the green and collar mowers.

Last week Steve also took the initiative to clean out his shop. During the season he is so busy that there is hardly time to keep up with the details. When I walked in the door following my vacation the entire shop looked amazing.

Steve Pearce on 18
Our deciduous trees have dropped and there are just a few remaining pockets of leaves to clean up. Even with the couple rain outs last week, the crew has managed to keep the course in fantastic shape. Friday I managed to get out and snap a few shots of the course and the guys mowing greens for the first time all week.

Blowing the needles off 17 before mowing
We are looking forward to some favorable weather this week. We will be finishing up the drainage on 18 and will look to begin a new project either on 11 or 5.

If the week stays dry and the conditions allow, I would really like to see some sand applied to the greens. The greens will be due for a shot of fertilizer as well. We are seeing some holes appear on a few greens which are the result of cutworms. Cutworms will inhabit the aerification holes where the sand is soft and will come to the surface to feed around the edges. So far the holes are worse on 11 and 12. We will be monitoring the greens and will probably need to make some spot applications to prevent further damage.

Stone Creek's GBH
Final Fall color

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Pinehurst #2 lives up to its reputation!
Last week my trip to Pinehurst North Carolina topped my all time golfing experiences. Being able to play #2 following the highly touted renovation by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore was an experience I will not soon forget. First of all, Pinehurst is so steeped in golfing history it made my head spin simply walking to my hotel room. The golfing legends who have played and the championships that have taken place are immense.

I cannot say enough about the renovation performed by Coore and Crenshaw. Learning about the history of Pinehurst #2 and how a renovation in the 70's lead to a wall to wall grassing of the course made me cringe. All Coore and Crenshaw did was to put it back to the original intent of Donald Ross and what resulted was a masterpiece. It is so ridiculously simple it was brilliant. The total number of sprinkler heads were cut in half as well as the irrigated acreage. Bob Farren told me that the amount of water delivered to the course was also cut in half. The fairways are simply sprinkled with a single row of heads right down the middle of the fairway.  There is no longer a rough cut. There are only two heights of cut, the greens and everything else. As a 13 handicap I found the course very playable from the white tees. However, the championship tees would present a much different challenge. I have a feeling this course is going to present itself well to the 2014 US Open.

I had the pleasure of playing with Clark Throssell and Anthony Williams, CGCS. We had an amazing time. We all made some pars and a birdie or two even found its way on the card.

Anthony Williams, CGCS
Clark Throssell Ph.D
David Phipps (That's a birdie 4!)
I must not forget to mention why I got to go to Pinehurst in the first place. I was invited by Golfdom Magazine to participate in their first annual Golfdom Summit. The Summit was an event for superintendents, suppliers and dealers of golf course maintenance products and provided a means for them to meet on a one on one basis. We attended board room style presentations which allowed superintendents to give open feedback as well as industry representatives were able to ask direct questions of superintendents.

Reese Jones
We also had an impressive line up of key note speakers. The first night we heard from Ken Magnum, Superintendent of Atlanta Athletic Club. He spoke of his experiences hosting this years PGA Championship as well as the decision to convert the greens from bent to Champion Ultra Dwarf Bermuda. Also speaking the first night was Reese Jones. He talked about the renovations that he has taken part in and how he earned the name "The Open Doctor". His remodeling skills have been applied to seven U.S. Open venues, seven PGA Championship courses, four Ryder Cup and two Walker Cup sites. Not a bad list of accomplishments! Bob Farren of Pinehurst spoke the following day on the renovation of #2 and really gave us an insight into the process of the renovation.

I must thank Golfdom for their wonderful hospitality and vision for hosting this unique event. This is the first of its kind event and I feel privileged to have been a part of it. I met so many great superintendents and look forward to keeping in touch with them.

I leave this post with some more photos from the trip. I hope you enjoy them.

The Carolina Hotel
The East Wing
Bob Farren, Seth Jones, Anthony Williams, CGCS

The caddie told me it was a black fox squirl

Clark shows his new home
Great bunkering

The Donald Ross Home off the 3rd Green

Monday, November 14th, 2011

The good news is, I don't think there will be any frost delays this week, the bad news is, I see a bit of rain in the forecast. It was great to see so many players last week. I think we actually had two capacity days! Pat Jones from Golf Course Industry Magazine commented on Oregon's weather and wondered how people play golf out here. The answer is, we just do. The NW golfer is a hardy breed.
The course continues to play very well. Aside from a few soft fairways we were able to get the carts out a few times. I am happy to report that the carts by in large have been very well behaved.
We began the drainage along the 18th fairway this week. We trenched over 180 feet so far and may still have to do more. Given how soft the area is the crew has done a remarkable job. Our goal is to pipe and fill what we've done so far and add laterals as needed. The leaf removal continues. It has gone fairly well up to now. The wind Saturday night made a mess of things which will take some effort to get cleaned up.

Last Tuesday while I was at the Environmental meeting I got a call from Steve. He said he found a parrot. The guys heard someone laughing in the blackberry brambles and thought someone was playing a trick om them. Steve eventually identified the source of the noise and found the bird deep in the bushes. It didn't leave his shoulder all day. We still haven't found the owner but from the noise it makes you can wonder why.

This week I am taking some vacation time and will be away all week. The first half of the week I'm going to be participating at the Golfdom Summit at Pinehurst North Carolina. I have my camera so there will be lots of pics of the new #2! Yes I do get to play it!

GCSAA Presidents Award and the Michael Hindahl Environmental Stewardship Award of Excellence

On Tuesday, the GCSAA announced that our Board of Directors have selected me to receive the 2012 President's Award for Environmental Stewardship. This came as a complete surprise which I am honored beyond belief. I will be receiving the award at the 2012 Golf Industry Show in Las Vegas on February 28th.

 Dr. Michael Hindahl
Ironically, the awards didn't stop there. Also on Tuesday, while at the OGCSA's Annual Environmental Meeting, I was presented with the Michael Hindahl Environmental Stewardship Award of Excellence just minutes after the GCSAA sent out the press release. It was a little overwhelming to say the least. I would like to thank Oregon's Board of Directors for their recognition. Receiving the Hindahl Award means so much to me in that Michael was a close friend. He was also a friend of the OGCSA and an environmental advocate. Michael had a Ph.D. in Microbiology and worked for Oregon Health Science University researching AIDS. He had a passion for golf and desired to apply his skills to the industry. Prior to Michael's passing, he helped the OGCSA pioneer its Environmental Stewardship Guidelines which received the Presidents Award from GCSAA in 2005. He also played a pivotal roll in the permitting process here at Stone Creek. Without his help the construction could have been delayed considerably. To this day, Michael is still an inspiration. It is fitting that his award came along side of the Presidents Award because without Michael's influence and encouragement, I may not have had the inspiration to promote our incredible game and its relationship to the environment.

I cannot take all the credit for these awards. First and foremost I give credit to the golf course in which I am privileged to manage. Stone Creek has provided a venue in which I have been able to promote golf's environmental attributes through it's sheer beauty. I would also like thank my employer for their support and allowing me to pursue the many projects that have promoted golf's environmental benefits. Also, I give credit to my staff. With their skillful work, they are able to maintain Stone Creek in such a way that shows attention to detail without sacrificing the integrity of the land.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone from across the country and beyond who have sent notes, left voice mails and have commented on my Facebook page. Your congratulations have been incredibly humbling and have been an inspiration. With or without these awards, I am blessed to be part of such a wonderful group of peers called the GCSAA. On February 28th, I will accept The Presidents Award on behalf of all the it's members who are equally dedicated to their industry and the environment.

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Already the first week of November is under our belt. So far this fall has gone pretty much as expected with a few frost delays, some rain, some fog, and a fair amount of sunny days. One thing for sure, this fall has brought us some cool, but actually pretty nice golfing weather. We are still managing to get through the rough each week but it we are having to take extreme caution when navigating around the soft areas. We got the rough done early last week which enabled Pearce to get around the course with the trim mower on Friday which really put a nice finish on the course for the weekend.

We were finally able to get out our last Redox fertilizer application on the fairway for the season. We added less than .20 lbs of Nitrogen which should give the grass a boost going into the winter. In doing so it really gave me an opportunity to see first hand how the fairways are holding up. They are definitely getting wet, especially the back nine. I have asked the pro shop to restrict the carts to the paths on the back when we are allowing the carts out. In order to avoid further damage we will have to skip mowing a few areas until the conditions allow us to mow safely.

A reminder if you are golfing with a handicap flag on your cart. Please continue to obey the signs. We have placed "Wet Area" and directional signs on the course to make it easy for you to identify troubled areas. Many times the fairways will be firm and just off in the rough you may find your cart needing a tow to safety so please stay alert and watch where you are going.

We are beginning to see some disease on the tee boxes. This photo was taken from the black tee on number six. We have a few small patches here and there and will keep a close eye on it. On this particular tee we treated it locally instead of treating all of the tees on the entire course.

Speaking of pesticide applications, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has announced a new Clean Water Act permit requirement for certain pesticide applications in, over, or near waters of the State of Oregon, effective October 31, 2011. This new permit – a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) pesticide general permit – is required by a Federal Court order and is implemented in Oregon by the DEQ under an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). I cannot give advise to other golf courses other than I would suggest downloading and printing off a copy of the Pesticide General Permit and reading through it thoroughly. In a nutshell, the permit regulates how chemicals are applied in and near the waters of the State of Oregon. It will probably take some time to understand the complexities as it relates to each property. I am sure this will be a subject at the Oregon GCSA's Environmental Meeting this Tuesday, November 8th, at The Oregon Golf Club. Greg Lyman from the GCSAA will be there to help clarify the permit as it relates to our industry.
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