Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Happy New Year and 6-8 Project Update

I hope everyone had a nice holiday and stayed safe under the existing pandemic. We had some nice weather in December which allowed for a good amount of play from members and guests and we thank you for the continued support.

We do have firewood available if you would like a load delivered and or would want to pick up a few sticks. We charge a fee based on the amount you take from $ 15 and up. Delivered firewood is $ 100.00 Please contact me if you plan on picking up some wood so we can charge your account appropriately. jwachter@gecc.org  

Some of the staff are getting in a couple weeks of vacation during the holidays and afterward. Once they return we will catch up on some of our other work which will include golf cart maintenance, tree trimming/removal, leaf clean up along fence lines and shop work as we prepare for the spring golf season 2021.  

The drainage project has gone well for us to date. We have about 60' of pipe to put in the ground and cover. I've posted a video below regarding what we have completed to date and the work we still have left to complete. We were hoping the weather would stay dry to allow us to get some sod in place but we received a good soaking New Years Eve which has put us at a stand still at this time. For a full explanation see the video.



Saturday, November 21, 2020

6-8 Drainage Project Update

Made a video today regarding the work we have been doing the last couple of weeks on our drainage project. Its a bit long but wanted to give full details on how we are progressing and what to expect next.

For those with shorter attention spans, here is a summary.

6th hole has been reopened for play.

  • 6 in front of the green is mostly complete with the exception of a strip about 12' wide where out drain pipe was installed. This area is to be sodded in zoysia. The soil is a bit soft and pumping. We are working on firming it up but sometimes it just takes some time with the rain and cooler temperatures.
  • We began work in front of 7 tee from the surface drain toward 8 fairway. 4 sticks of pipe (80') and covered in rock. Part of our work between 7 tee and the pipe is to but some extra 4" drainage into this area to help catch some of the seep water that comes out of the hillside and keeps that area very wet during most of the spring and part of the summer.
  • With a holiday week approaching and work limited to 3 days, we will not go any further. With a tournament on Friday and open play for the weekend, we did not want to close the hole down. We hope to cover the 80' in front of 7 tee with soil this week.
  • We are blowing out the irrigation system on Monday, November 30th and plan to close the 8th hole effective December 1st(weather dependent). We anticipate this work will take about 2 weeks to get to the drain on the left side of the fairway. Part of this work includes shaping 8 fairway to drain into the large storm drain that we exposed on the left side of 8 fairway.
  • We will then have about a week to 10 days worth of work to connect to the drain near 8 cart path.
  • I would anticipate the 8th hole will be closed most of the month of December. 
  • The last section we would complete will be between the left front approach of 6 to 7 cart path where we are currently working. It would be our hope to have everything buttoned up by mid-January.



Friday, November 13, 2020

Progress on 6 Approach Storm Drain

 The staff have been busy this week on our storm drain repair in front of 6 green. Everything has been ripped out and new pipe has been connected between the start of the drain to the right of 6 approach connecting to the large surface drain to the left front of the approach.

Just a reminder, the 6th hole is closed to play as is the cart path. Please proceed back to the main road with carts and drive down to the 7th tee. We understand its a par 3 and many players could hit over the area to the green but we have a big mess in front of the green and did not want to take the chance someone could be injured walking around the area trying to retrieve a ball.

Gravel for the most part has been filled in around the pipe. Still have a bit more to add. Took about 50 tons. We will be capping the area with the soil that was removed, compact and then lay the sod back in place. We hope to have the hole back open for play sometime this coming week.

We will then begin to dig from 7 tee cart path across to the surface drain in 8 fairway. 

The course was a bit leafy this week with a large leaf drop over last weekend. We have 2-3 people cleaning greens, bunkers, blowing and mulching leaves daily while our most experienced staff is tackling the drainage project. We can usually do a pretty good job but a couple of high wind days early this week  made it difficult for us to catch up. Luckily, almost all trees have dropped their leaves except for the Pin Oaks which still have at least 50% of their leaves still holding on. They are beginning their drop but it will take a few more weeks.

Also, greens were cut twice this week from the aeration that occurred on November 2-4. Hopefully the rainfall this weekend will help settle the sand a bit more. Aeration holes have filled in nicely. Ready to throw some regulator on them before we put them to bed in the next few weeks to put a little shock into the poa annua. 

Skip digging out soil along the old 3' galvanized pipe.

First 20' of about 550 feet of pipe we are laying between 6 and 8 cart path.

Dropping in the gravel at the beginning of the project.

Tom digging out at the surface drain storm water chamber at the left front of 6 approach. Large surface drains were put in place about every 120' which helps get the surface water underground. Each chamber is large enough for you to step down into where the incoming and outgoing pipe are encased in concrete and brick. We made an sleeve that slips into the chamber out of the double walled pipe. We cut off about 3 of the ridges which reduces the size small enough for the pipe to slide into the existing holes. We then put some concrete patch around it to seal it completely.

Almost ready to connect the pipes. Didn't get the completed picture but coupled the pipes together and got a nice layer of rock on the pipe to keep it in place during the rain we are expecting over the weekend.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Hole 6 Temporary Closure for Storm Drain Replacement

Today was the first day of work to replace the 3’ storm drain pipe in front of 6 green. During construction, the 6th hole is closed to all play. 

We ask golf cart users who have completed the 5th hole to travel back to the main club road and proceed down to the cart path leading to 7 tee. You can than drive up the hill to the tee and turn your cart around.(A reminder to those teeing off on 5 tee, please make sure the group ahead of you is given the opportunity to drive safely back to the main road and proceed toward the 7th tee.)

Walking golfers need to walk down around to the left of the 6th green and then proceed to the 7th tee. 

We anticipate the first section of this major drain project to take about 7-10 days to complete.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Tumbleweeds, Timing, and Hole Poking

 Elvis Presley says listen up everyone as my dad gives you some information of what has been going on and will be going on at Glen Echo. 

As we rolled into September and then October, I thought we might see a few tumbleweeds dance across the golf course as it dried for an extended period of time for the first time this season. Of course we have come to expect it in the late summer and early fall but this year was pretty extreme. It wasn't desert hot but humidity levels of under 20% and daily winds of 10-20 mph saw our largest use of water on the course for a 40 day period. Of course we wanted the course firm and fast for The Invitational and we were able to deliver some pretty good conditions. First time I took rolling out of the equation over the 3 day event since I've been here. Didn't want ball roll out to get out of control, especially since our guests don't get to play the course as regularly as our membership.

So the timing of rainfall was helpful to replenish the soil but is now going a bit overboard since we are planning aeration of our greens this week. We plan to deeptine 8" deep with an 1/2" solid tine, fill the holes with sand, smooth them out, fertilize and let them breath. Of course, rain is dampening our parade. We will have to work with the rainfall over the next few days and see if we can get a few completed a day.

We were also planning to begin the installing the new drainage across the 6th approach during the first week of November.(Pending aeration completion and weather)  During the work in front of #6, we will be forced to close the 6th hole during this time. We hope it will take only about 5-7 working days to get the old pipe out and new pipe in and covered. This of course is all weather dependent and the pattern is looking more like some stopping and starting over the next couple of weeks. 
3' drain pipe in the waiting room along the main road. 

Tree removals along 7 pipe line that we will try to remove soon. 

The arrows designate the beginning of the project in front of 6 green. 

With the other work taking place, we will still be chasing leaves into December which will keep everyone busy.   


Monday, September 28, 2020

Plans for the Fall, The Invitational 2020


Hundreds of courses in our business host a tour or major event each year but for thousands of others, there is a local event that is the major focus for its staff.

This past week, our club and staff were given the opportunity to host our major event at the club, The Invitational 2020. The work that was completed over the many months prior to the tournament plus the weather we were given over the last couple of weeks provided for great surfaces for our members and guests to play. Congratulation to Mr. Len Toenjes and his guest Mr. Russ Hanson who won the shootout and the overall title for the event. 

We still have some great golf weather ahead over the next month or more. Most of our efforts emphasize putting our turf to rest for winter in the best condition possible so it awakens ready to grow next spring. Below are some the areas of focus we will have over the next month or two. 

Raising Height of Cut 

As our zoysia begins to go dormant, we raise our height of cut slightly to assist with wear and tear and energy storage. We have reset our fairway unit and tee mower to 3/4" which is just .150" taller than their normal height. Once the growth slows over the next couple of weeks, we will stop mowing completely for the season to allow them to get a little fuzzy for winter. I anticipate our amount of play and cart traffic will be up so the turf will get beat down a little. Drier conditions, cooler and temperatures and less sunlight help in reducing overall growth so we should still have excellent playing conditions.

We have also applied Potassium to our zoysia surfaces over the last couple of weeks to improve its ability to survive the winter onslaught of cold and frozen precipitation.

Our green turf height usually gets raised slightly during the month of November and we usually quit mowing greens after Thanksgiving depending upon the temperatures and if there is a need to continue mowing.

Aeration, When Are You Going to Aerate Greens

We will be performing the same process we did in the spring with our greens, Verti-drain deep tine aeration. Since all of our Mondays are full through the month of October, we will begin our aeration after the tournament being held on October 26th. We will do some greens each day to get the process completed. I've always been of the opinion, to do our greens past closing day to give our membership and guests the best possible putting surfaces during the best time of the year to play in regards to ball roll out and turf health.

We also will be pulling cores on our rough the next couple of weeks and will also be involved in some seeding in weaker areas of the rough. We did some initial seeding and aerating in our green surround areas a couple of weeks before the Invitational.

We will also be fertilizing our cool season rough over the next couple  of weeks. We begin last week but had an equipment malfunction and are waiting on parts so if the rough smells a bit earthy, you will understand the reason. A part of our fertilizer in organic in its origin.

Drainage Project from # 6 through #8

We anticipate to begin the storm water drain project after the first week of November. The project will begin on hole 6 from the beginning of the drain along 6 property line to the first large surface drain in the left forward area of 6 approach. We expect the first section will take us about 7 working days or so. During the work on this section, the 6th hole will be closed to all play. 

We would like to get the section that crosses 8 fairway completed next depending upon weather. This is the longest section of the project. We have some soil/dirt work to that fairway to help move water to the surface drain we exposed in the left side of the fairway. Our hope is to have some dry weather so we can move soil and get the section compacted properly and sodded. 

Below are pictures of 2 trees that will be removed during October as we prepare the area for construction of the storm water drain replacement. The ash on the left is directly over the drain pipe and the Willow oak on the right is 2' off the center of the pipe. The trench at the top will be 12' or so wide. There is a 3rd tree that is the Ash to the left front of 6 green that will not be removed but it will be severely compromised by our trench. I expect this tree to not survive the construction due to the severe damage to its root system and surface construction traffic.


Leaves, Many Leaves

It's that time of year where first leaf drop is beginning with Cottonwoods, Ash, Walnuts and other trees which are under stress and or weakened. Our main leaf drop will occur sometime in November depending upon freezing temperatures. A great deal of backpacking, vacuuming, and large blowers plus grinding up leaves back into the soil with our mowers are all a part of the process.

Enjoy your fall on the course! 

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Summer's Almost Over and Fall's Coming and A Major Project Change

 Well, we've survived the meteorological summer(June-August) with a little less than 3 weeks before fall. Overall had a pretty good summer. I would have liked the greens to be a bit firmer but humid(wet) and hot conditions do not make it easy to produce that type of playing surfaces. No doubt they will get firmer and roll out will be great here in September/October.

Weather highlights for July/August

4th wettest July on record 9.07"

22 Days over 90 in July, normal is 12.

16th wettest summer(June-August) of all-time 16.49"

26th warmest summer on record.

So what have we been doing on the course the last month or so.

  • Sliced, knife aerated the fairways

16 blades per hub. 12 hubs, 192 blades going about 2" deep and 3" long
12 hubs, 16 blades on each hub for a total of 192 blades. Aerator is 6' wide. Blades go in about 2" deep and leave a cut about 3" long in the fairway. Normally in previous years the slits would turn a little brown due to less rainfall/drying on the edges but with our fairways being fairly moist when we did this work, they stayed green. 

  • Deep solid tined the approaches and tees

There are 6 tine holders with 3, 1/2" tines and 2,  3/4" tines for a total of 30 holes every 3" as the aerator rolls along. We set the aerator to go about 4-5" in depth. This will assist in root growth and moisture penetration into the tees.

  • Sprayed 2 applications of fairway, intermediate and zoysia green surround bermuda eradication chemical products. Fairways are not crispy, just slightly off color from the spray. The club spent $ 250,000 to put the zoysia down in 1995. We are trying to keep the bermuda grass out of the fairways. 

Other work completed included but not limited to the areas below.
  • Needle tined greens at end of July
  • Trimming fence lines trees, vines etc.
  • Topdressing and brushing greens and tees with sand to improve ball roll out and smoothness
This was some of the major work accomplished over the last month or so. Of course there are many hours spent mowing, spraying and daily routine work that takes place as well.

The month of October we had scheduled a tee renovation project for #4/#12 tee complex. The Glen Echo Historical Foundation had raised money for this project through member donations and the Gala. 

There is a 3' drain pipe that takes the storm water from Glen Echo Park subdivision and sections of the course from #6 to the lake in front of 10 tee. One of our rough mowers ended up rest on top of one of the pipes near the edge of 8 fairway when a cave in occurred. The galvanized pipes running underground are completely compromised, rusted out in the bottom which is creating sink holes in various sections of the pipe. We have completed minor repairs over time but its finally time to repair this situation properly.

The project will be broken up into 4 sections. Three sections average about 100-130 feet and begin and end at large drain chambers where the pipes are encased in concrete. The longest run is from a drain we exposed in the left side of 8 fairway to the cart path in front of 7 tee. We intend to place some additional drainage in 8 fairway and to the right of 8 fairway which stays wet for a long period of time in the spring. We also intend to reshape the bottom of 8 to help direct water into the large basin. 

I'm evaluating a potential timeline and will discuss it in the future. We have not had a Green Committee meeting since this situation occurred so more details will be forthcoming. We intend to wait until at least mid November since we will have a great deal of work on the course to complete over the next couple of months and of course we want to give our members ample opportunity to play the course during the middle of fall.