Friday, January 11, 2019

Plans for 2 Tee Renovation

Over the next few months, we will be renovating the 2nd tee at Glen Echo. There are a number of issues with this tee that need to be addressed.

  1.  It's alignment is pointed down the right side of the hole which makes it extremely difficult because as you know the hole slopes significantly from left to right. 
    Red arrow shows existing line of the tee. Green arrows shows the approximate direction the tee will be pointed.

  1. The tee surface is cool season grass which creates more inputs of resources; water, fertilizer and fungicides.
  2. It is at grade which allows water from above it to over run it causing less than ideal softness during rainy periods.
  3. It is much larger than necessary for our amount of play the course receives. This also takes more time in maintaining.
The plan is to turn the one long tee into 2 tees similar to what we did on #5 last spring. There will be a swale between the 2 tees to allow water to go around the tees and the tees will be pointed in the proper alignment.

The staff will be removing the front part of the tee which is currently covered in zoysia. Approximately 10-15 yards. This tee height zoysia will be cut off and used to replace the false bent grass front on #7, #10, and #13 until it is gone. The bent grass sod will be used to replace sections of collars that are damaged.

We will strip off the top 6-8 inches of soil and save it to cap the new tee services raising the level of the tees-6-8" so that it will be above the cart path next to the tee helping to move the water around the tee. We will of course strip off the remaining sod on the tee service and dispose of it.  Once we've stripped off the zoysia and removed the growing layer of soil, we will then remove the remaining soil. 

We intend to expand the blue tee back about 10 yards or so and will have to expand out the right side of the two new tees which will help us align the tees properly and also make them slightly wider. We will make the egress to the tees simple for our players and easy to access. The surrounds of the tee will be laid in fescue which will give great contrast to the new tee.

The pics below are a general idea of our plans. Ultimately we will have two tees approximately 17-20 yards in length and about 8 yards wide. We will be removing some of the scrub trees or pruning along the metro side to assist with afternoon sunshine for the zoysia grass. I mentioned to the green committee that the first Pin Oak on the left side of the tee has become compromised and appears it will expire in the next year. The 2nd tree appears to be in good shape and should not create any issues for the tee. It's limbs have been raised high enough to allow early day sun.

The tee should be completed by early April and will be open for play we hope by early May. There is a winter tee that is above the 2 large pin oaks about 40' from the existing tee that will be used once the renovation begins.

Okay, better quit for now. Gotta go get some bread, milk and eggs for the upcoming snow apocalypse!

White tee

Blue Tee

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Winter Play

Made a quick video on the course regarding winter play and our teeing grounds and 2 hole locations. We remove the tee markers for winter play to refurbish the markers and help spread the wear and tear to our tees. We ask that you tee it up on the edges, front or back of the tee and limit use of the middle. The tuf is not growing and middle of the tees has heavy usage during the season. This will insure that our tees have equal wear and will come out ofwibter ingoid condition.

We also will place 2 holes in every green to help spread out wear in case the greens freeze and we cannot change the holes. I would expect that we will change to 2 holes later this week since staff will be taking time off during the holiday season. We will place a sign at the first tee notifying you when 2 holes are being used. We ask groups to rotate the flag to the 2nd hole once your group has completed the hole. The holes are usually placed on the left and right side or front and back depending upon the green.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Tree Management Plan

This past season was a most difficult one for the trees on our property. Oak gall wasp, roller coaster of temperatures and moisture over the last 10 years with record all-time high temperatures and rainfall. Also, one thing to keep in mind a number of our trees were planted in the 40's to 60's which make them range in ages from 60 - 80 years. 

We have about 20-25 trees of all sizes to remove this winter. From green ash, locust and a large number of Pin Oak plus a couple of other red oak species who haven been under tremendous decline over the last few years. In most cases, these trees are in areas or groups of trees and are not strategic such as protecting doglegs. We do have an area along the left of #1 where we lost a couple of trees that need replacement and we hope to get a couple moved in this area over the next week or two. There are a number of other large trees that have showed some distress this season and will probably die over the next few years. Just like grass plants come and go, so do our trees.

We attempt to remove trees without a contractor unless they are too tall. Once we determine that we need the contractor, we call them in for a day and they remove tops on some of the largest removals that we need assistance in dropping. This might only occur once or twice a year. Our staff saves a tremendous amount of resources doing a majority of this work.

We like to prune limbs off of trees because of the close proximity of other trees that we do not want to damage as well as the protection of valuable turf areas. I also like to take the weight off of the tree so we can direct into exactly where we want it to fall. Trees can twist and turn without warning. We are also not aware how strong or condition of the trunk in case it possibly would snap as the weight begins to move one direction or the other.

We rented a lift for a week in an effort to drop as many limbs as possible. We chip the limbs in our dump truck and save the mulch for the range walk paths and other areas on the course where they can used. We are trying to do as many as we can over a weeks time to manage our resources. We haul off the larger limbs to areas around the maintenance building where we split the good Oak for firewood. We burn significant amounts of wood in our wood burner to heat our maintenance building. We save a minimum of $ 2,500 in natural gas expense over the winter. We will then remove the large trunks after the holiday break which will take a few weeks.

We have a small crew and it takes a significant amount of effort to remove the brush, limbs and log the trunks. .

In discussions with the green committee this fall, I talked about developing a plan to replace strategic trees as necessary but to not get into a large scale tree replacement program. We have a difficult time with managing our resources when it comes to the trees on our property. The shear size of these trees on an overall small piece of property is very difficult at best to manage. It is important that we conserve resources such as water, fertilizer and the total cost in tree management. Blowing, raking, mulching and grinding and mulching and grinding some more.

Our most important asset that we have at Glen Echo is the turf grass that provides the playing surfaces for our great game.   

Below is video of Gamma Tree removing the Sweet Gum next to the Pro Shop and practice green. I'm in awe of the work these guys perform. You learn to have a great appreciation for their work when you go up 40-50' doing the lower level work that we do. The removal of this tree will help to keep the practice green/cart parking area and ornamental plantings free of gum balls, leaf litter and other debris.

There are trees near 8 green partially removed (locust), Pin Oak right rough 16 230 yards from the green partially removed and another which has a large part of the crown of the tree exposed about 185 yards from the green that we have not trimmed yet but must be removed.

Contractor from Gamma working on the pro shop tree.

4 left side of the path about 50 yards before the cross path to the field bar at 7. Tree died over the summer.

11 top of the hill right side of the cart path at start of fairway. Had significant decay.
Today's look at the pro shop after removal of the sweet gum.

#18 right side of the fairway about 230 from the green. Oak died over the summer.

This tree was about 30 yards behind the tree above in the middle of 17/18 rough. 

This oak is to the left of the cart path on 2 near the green irrigation box 225 yards to 2 green. Died over the summer. There is another oak in significant decline up near the left tee on 16 which is in the same row of trees. I pruned it the best I could to make it look a little better for this season.

Oak chips used for walk paths and other needs on the course and of course the logs from the limbs only. We still have to cut the main trunks down.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Bunker Repair and End of Season Greens Spray

Our bunkers have gone through their 6th season and are in need of some repair. Most of the entrances and exits have some wear and tear issues from both equipment and efforts to keep them clear of debris. We spent most of the day on Friday reparing the left front bunker of #5.

The first thing we had to do was remove the sod along the edge to locate the actual edges of the bunker. We had to remove the excess sand that has been either blown out or drug out by our bunker rake.

We took the sod off and scraped the sand down to the soil layer and dug down along the sand until we found the original bunker edge that was done in 2012.

Once this was completed, we then laid new fescue sod and then moved the sand up against the new sod to assist in stabilizing the bunker edge over the next few months. In some cases, we will need to remove sod from the green splash side of a bunker as well. We will attempt to complete a bunker a week until sod cannot be cut from our supplier and will then begin again in late winter/spring hopefully completing most of the problem areas before spring has fully arrived. We will of course be checking sand depths and adding sand as needed as well to insure we have proper depths for our members and guests to play.

Some of you might have noticed the greens were pretty bright in color over the weekend. No, not a lot of growth taking place. We sprayed a fungicide called Civitas 
which has some late season benefits as well as early season benefits for 2019. Click on the link if you want to read more about it.

Right front edge of the #5 first bunker on the left

Arrows designate the edge of the bunker. We stripped off the sod from the tip up the arrow back up the slope. Sand hand been pushed up over the actual bunker edge so we dug down into the sand bank to find the original edge of the bunker Kyle Goalby had originally shaped.

Sand/soil mix being removed from the dge

Repaired edge with new sod. 

Sprayed the greens late last week with a fungicide which delays fall/winter dormancy and should assist in spring green up. Yes think spring!

Man Its Cold Outside(Weather Stats for November)

The ugly weather stats for November. The course was closed 9 days in November with 6 other opened days where the avg high temperature was 39 degrees so far all practical purposed closed 15 of 26 available days that we could have been open.

                                  Observed          Normal   Depart      Last Year
                                                              Value        from

Avg Maximum               46.2                55.5        -9.3               58.2
Avg Minimum                31.4                38.1        -6.7               38.0
Mean                               38.8                46.8        -8.0               48.1


                                          2.74                3.91      -1.17              1.53








4 SNOWFALL RECORDS SET OR TIED (11/15, 11/12, 11/09, 11/08).

Friday, November 9, 2018

Firewood Weather

Well, the worm has turned on the weather here in early November. Our aeration holes are trying to close up but have been a little slower than normal because of the cool weather. I'm not too worried, still plenty of opportunity for some growth over the next few weeks.

In the meantime, we are selling firewood again this year for anyone interested. Its $ 100 delivered inside the 270 beltway. If you prefer self-service, its $ 75.00 a pick up truck load. If you have a smaller vehicle like an SUV, we will normally just charge you $ 25 to $ 30.

Delivery is available Monday-Friday between 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. We can deliver without you being home as long as you let us know where we can stack it for you. Self service pick ups can be done 7 days a week. Please contact me by email if you have any questions. If you use the self service route, once you've picked up your wood drop we a line so we can charge your account at Glen Echo accordingly. Below is the wood that we have ready at this time.

This is looking from our maintenance building below the first tee toward the long range parking area on the other side of the wooden fence. The wood on the right is seasoned and has been sitting there all season. The wood on the left is seasoned but newly split and needs a month or two to improve its burning ability for those you who will do self service this season.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association Men's Player of the Year Award: Drew Pranger

When you manage playing surfaces at a golf course, you attempt to manage for the masses, the average player which is the majority of players both male and female. We have Club Champions every year who rise to the top in their particular category who play of course better than the average. 

But for many clubs, there is a time and a place where players develop into outstanding golfers for the entire region that we encompass. A couple of years ago, Darren Stoffel won the District, Drew Pranger won the Metropolitan Amateur hosted at Glen Echo and Darren and Nathan Calcari won the 2 man at District. We have a number of players who have played well in local amateur events.

This season was an outstanding one for Drew Pranger. He won the Old Warson Cup in the spring, the Metropolitan Amateur in the summer, qualified for the US Mid-Amateur Championship and the Sectional of the US Open. And by the way tied the course record at Glen Echo(Editors note actually tied in a year or more ago) at 63 and then beat it a few days later with a 62.(Editors note: Forgot he did the 62, and then 61) IN FUEGO!!!!!!!!!!!

Before we get to Drew's award, we should recognize Darren Stoffel who won the East Side Amateur this past summer.

Last night, we had the pleasure of being at Old Warson CC to watch Drew receive his award. His family and Glen Echo friends were there as well. I took a short video of the ceremony and a few pics. We have a very competitive group of players right now who can beat the ball around a bit here at Glen Echo. It is fun to watch and I'm glad to be a part of it. I would be remiss if I did not post pics of Men's Senior Amateur Buddy Allen and Ladies Player of the Year Ellen Port.

Drew and his hardware!

Had the pleasure of getting to know Ms. Ellen Port when I started at Sunset in 1990. What a great player she was becoming and has since. She is one of my favorites of all-time and our most decorated amateur golfer!

 Buddy Allen who had a great year. He's played a number of rounds at Glen Echo and can really strike his golf ball!