Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Storm Drain Repair Maintenance Parking Lot

Video showing the work that is beginning near our maintenance building. Project should take us approximately 2 weeks more or less depending upon weather.  Sink holes are beginning to form in the greenhouse and parking area which has caused this repair. Galvanized pipe installed in the 50's has rotted completely out on the bottom side. Will be replacing with a synthetic pipe last will last by our grandchildren's lifetime.


Friday, November 15, 2019

Firewood for Sale

Every season, we split firewood that is used to heat our maintenance building and we also make it available for purchase to the membership, their families and friends. Wood can be picked up at the maintenance building with your own vehicle or can be delivered to your home and stacked. Our average expenditure for natural gas to heat our facility was over $ 3,000 before we were using a wood burner. We now pay under $1,000 burning some of the trees that are removed from the property.

We charge $75.00 for a truck load that you pick up(reduced price for SUV sized loads/car trunks) or
$125.00 for the wood including the delivery fee. Any delivery outside the 270 beltway will be increased based on your location. Deliveries are available Monday-Friday between 8-3. You do not have to be at home for the delivery. If you want to come to the shop to pick up wood, we are happy to help you load during the week before 3:00 p.m. Self service is available on the weekend as well but staff are off during the winter season. We split oak that is the dominant tree species on property. It has been split from at least the season before so it is of great quality and provides a great fire.

We bill the charges to your Glen Echo account. If its a family member or friend, we will accept a check for the charges or of course you can put the charge on your account. Please contact
Joe Wachter 314-575-7321 jwachter@gecc.org if you are picking up wood, would like a delivery and or if you have a question about the process. We do not make deliveries over the long Christmas break through New Year since a majority of the staff take vacation during the time.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Fall Greens Aeration

Today our staff started our fall greens aeration program completing the practice green, greens 1-9 and 11-13. We will complete 10, 14-18 over the next couple of days.

Our process included the following:

  • Mowed the Greens.
  • Covered the greens with sand.
  • Used our Verti-Drain Aerator with solid tines going about 8" deep.
  • Applied a soil amendment product to the greens.
  • Blew the sand into the holes using back pack blowers and our pull behind type blower.
  • Brushed the green and rolled with our rollers.
A number of benefits occur from this operation:
  • Heavy topdressing of sand smooths out the surfaces.
  • The filled sand channels provide a oxygen filled area for roots to grow.
  • The channels assist with wetting of drier areas and allow wet areas to dry out quicker.
  • As mentioned above oxygen enters the green subgrade and assists in removing built up carbon dioxide.
  • The sand also assists to dilute thatch which forms in the top 1" of the green.
Below is a bit more detail regarding the operation.

We mow the greens to remove growth.

The greens are covered in sand so we do not track across the aerated green with a heavy load of sand.

Aerator then starts its working placing solid tines into the green at a spacing of about 3" and to a depth of 8". Below is a video of this work.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQ0xEew0b9I

We blow the sand into the holes to reduce tracking of our drag brush. We have a pretty simple drag which cannot move large amounts of sand into the holes.

Brushing greens after blowing in sand.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Glen Echo Foundation and Course Renovations

Thanks to all of you that have participated in Foundation activities or made donations over the last few months. Also thanks to the members who attended and donated funds and gifts to assist in raising money for our great club at the gala a week ago Saturday. The Foundation earmarked funding for a couple of course projects and we've hit the ground running today. We will be renovating the 6 tee complex, 5 green surround and 6 green complex over the next 7 months.

We will be working the next few weeks on the 6 tee complex and the left side of 5 green surround complex. We have a great deal of earth to move for 6 tee and felt it was best to complete this in the fall when we have drier conditions. With completing this project before winter sets in, we should be able to open the complex sooner than if we did the construction in the spring. We intend to sod the back of 5 surround and the complete complex of 6 green in the spring with zoysia. All we have to do is strip away the sod and lay new sod in its place so dry conditions for a long period of time is not required to complete the project.

Today, we stripped away the sod on 6 tee area and repaired about a 4,000 sq foot area of our zoysia nursery between 16 fairway and the lake on 10 with the sod we took off of 6 tee. We also connected the left and right side zoysia short cut area on 15 with a small 60" pass around the back of the green. We've had a difficult time growing cool season grass in this area and the stopping of the warm season grass really did not fit into the existing green complex. We also began to move some dirt on the 6 tee area.

This tee has been very problematic over the years. The current configuration of the tees does not prevent water from running across the tees from the surrounding area. It literally floods the tee making conditions very wet for mowing and makes for difficult playing conditions. Excessive moisture increases compaction and does not provide a healthy environment for healthy roots.
 I've attached a aerial view of how we intend to lay out the new tees.

The darker green designates existing turf and or improvements to existing zoysia turf. We also intend to place a swale/runoff area between 5 green and the new tee complex. Exact turfing  area will vary once we have the dirt surfaces in place and make final determination of  the sun and shade that we experience on this corner of the golf course.

We intend to put some depth into the blue tee and the red tee and reduce the total width of the tees to less than 1/2 their existing width. I would expect to have a depth of 10-12 yards for each of the two tees and approximately 15-18 yard depth for the white tee. We will move the tees over to the right which will move them away from the large Pin Oaks that are reaching across the cart path and reducing players ability to move the ball from left to right. This will also allow us to turn all the tees to line up properly toward the green surface. Currently they are pointed toward the out of bonds which is the fence line. This will not only help you line up your shot but will assist our staff in setting the tees to the proper positioning.

All of you received an email from Katie Dooley with our planned time schedule. We hope to have this project completed before the end of the month. We will provide and teeing ground to the right front of the red tee in the rough area and or will provide a artificial mat in the same area if you prefer hitting off of this type of surface.

We appreciate your understanding during this renovation process. I will make posts regularly so you can see what is taking place with the renovation.

Thanks for your support and come out and see us. Course is in excellent shape and greens are rolling out.

Yes it was dark this morning as we began cutting sod off of 6 tee area.

Decided to renovate our fairway nursery.Stripped off a large section of less than ideal sod, hauled it away, graded and brought in the sod from the tee surface from 6. Should save us about 1,500 in sod costs over the next couple of years as it grows in.

Cuting off the lumpy sod and pushing it in piles to load into our dump truck

Sod from the 6 tee complex being loaded up and hauled away

Small intermediate strip placed around the back of 15. Great look and turf improvement. We will dig up the sprinklers seen in the foreground, raise them and then put sod over the spots.

End of the day with sod removed and some soil moved around.

Winter 2020 Spring Course Preparations

Yes, the W word is coming soon as is next spring's golf season. The calendar continues to turn as are making our preparations for winter and next season.

We've been doing a number of things to prepare our warm season turf for winter dormancy.  We apply Sulfate of Potash to our tees and fairways(Zoysia Turf) to assist it with winter hardiness. We also begin raising our height of cut and reduce our mowing schedules to once a week. As the temperatures continue to cool over the next couple of weeks, will eliminate fairway mowing for the season.

Greens aeration is scheduled for October 21st unless we get rained out. Our rain date will then move to the 28th. This will be a solid deep tine aeration that we normally do every fall to a depth of about 8" or so and fill the holes with sand.

We will be spraying our close rough with a couple of light applications of Nitrogen to build up strength in our cool season rough before dormancy in late November/December to allow the plants to strengthen and come out healthy next spring.

Of course our leaf grinding and removal will be taking place over the next month to 6 weeks as necessary. We attempt to grind up as many leaves as possible back into our turf but once the supply exceeds our ability of the grass to handle an overload of leaves, we will vacuum/sweep 20 loads or more and haul them back into our dump area on the back of the range.

Its great weather over the next couple weeks as we continue to work on the course. Greens are rolling out well and course is in great shape. Come out and see us before winter catch up to us?

Monday, July 1, 2019

Fairway Aerating

Mother Nature has been in charge all season with wet conditions. With only a couple of dry days every so often combined with a heavy play schedule, we were finally able to get dry enough conditions to aerate our fairways today. A few pictures with a couple drone videos.
Our process included the following steps:

  • Mowed Fairways to help reduce dew and the total amount of turf that would need to be mowed off after the process is completed
  • Aerated the fairways pulling a solid core with a 1/2" tine about 3" deep
  • Used our flail mower to help break up the cores after they dried for a few minutes. This mower has tags slightly larger than a dog tag that is attached to a rapidly spinning roller and literally flails apart the soil, thatch and grass plugs
  • Used 2 metal drag mats to break up the remaining pieces of soil that built up
  • Used our tractor blower and pull behind blower to remove grass turfts and excess soil
  • Mowed the fairways again to clip off the turf pulled up and help break the soil that was still left on the fairway
  • Sprayed the fairways with a soil penetrant and urea fertilizer to assist with the healing process and improve overall turf vigor
Aeration improve turf root structure, water penetration and drying of wetter areas, thatch reduction, gas exchange, and microbial activity which will improve over turf quality.
Jason pulling cores on 18, our last hole. Dodged a big bullet with the thunderstorm that hit around the I-64 area. Brought us in for about 45 minutes because of lightning.
Little drone view of Jason's work.
Tom using the flail mower with the before and after going over the area. Does a decent job.
Skip and Rollo dragging fairways to break up remaining cores and soil in preparation for the blowers to remove the remaining material into the rough.
Russ in a dust storm and he mows over the distrurbed turf on #1.
Sprayed fairways 1-5 and 7 with Urea and watered it in to improve turf vigor and color.
Will complete the other fairways as time allows over the next day or so. We included a soil penetrant in with the spray to assist water penetration over the next month as we begin to move into drier weather and the need for irrigation cycles.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Blues, Stimulation, and Getting Tight

What a whirlwind the last two months have been if you are a sports fan in our fair city. Great run for our St. Louis Blues as Pierre Laclede can attest outside city hall last weekend!!! #LGB

Speaking of stimulation which our Blues did plenty, we have finally been turning to the good side of weather over the last few weeks even though Friday and Saturday have been wash outs for the most part.

Glen Echo is a warm season golf course. Our largest area of fine mowed turf are our fairways and tees which account for almost 30 acres of warm season grass, mostly zoysia. The bermuda grass which I have a love/hate relationship with is required to help round out our course and fill in where we have voids in cool season fescue, poa annua and bent grass which invades our rough. The long cold winter has slowed its emergence in higher traffic areas but warmer temperatures are beginning to help it fill in where we need it.

There were enough gaps in the rain during Stanley Cup winning week so we could apply fertilizer on the fairways/approaches which will improve green up and also begin to help the turf fill in as needed. Most areas where we have needed to replace turf in fairways occurred from some of our bermuda eradication work last fall and some winter kill of both bermuda and a little zoysia. Also we experienced a few thin areas in north to east facing slopes 10 and 12 approach and also from excessive shaded conditions.We still have a few more places to do some sod patching on fairways, intermediate, and a few green approaches and surrounds. As temperatures increase which increases soil temperatures, this will also speed up growth of our warm season grasses. We did modest fertilizer application around the greens to improve fill in of the bermuda and give the cool season turf just a bit of energy to fight through the rest of the summer. We will do some additional spray-able and granular apps along weaker fairways and around all fairways in the first pass of the rough.  This will improve color and thicken the rough for the summer. Oh joy he's going make the rough rougher, yes, yes I am.

I think overall our rough is about in the best shape I can remember since arriving in August of 2008. Still fighting some weeds in various parts but are getting some good kill throughout the property. applications.

We had hoped to begin aerating fairways on Monday but it appears we will be too wet. We will try next Monday on our closed day which allows us to get a full day in. We will also do some individual fairways this upcoming week if we begin to dry down.The fairway aeration program should improve the turf in a number of ways:
  1. Reduce thatch through increased microbial soil activity
  2. Increase water penetration and drying down in wetter areas
  3. Assist with disease management including fairy ring
  4. Stimulate turf growth
  5. Reduce compaction in our fairways soil
  6. Breaking of the cores will help to fill in small imperfections in  surface areas.
Russ mowing 2 fairway.
From behind #2 green

The course continues to tighten and improve as we work our way into the first week of summer. Tree trimming, tree removal, sodding, aeration, and just general clean up of all areas are ongoing 

 I've included a Countdown Timer on the main page of the blog for the upcoming Invitational Member/Guest coming up in July. Amazing to think we are less than 30 days away from this great event.