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.

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.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Course Report

The following statements were made by Dr. Lee Miller, University of Missouri Extension turf grass Pathologist. They were opening remarks to his last four messages over the past two months. 

He supplies biweekly reports regarding turf grass issues that are being seen throughout our region. He talks about what he is seeing and then discusses potential cultural practices that have proven effective to improve turf conditions. Of course, when most of the issues are environmental and or weather related, one has to wait and be patient before real and effective improvement is seen. 


March madness may be over, but the consistent wet and cool weather pattern seems to be sticking around in MO. Temperatures are slated to rise slightly over the next few days, and infection of zoysia grass by the large patch pathogen will presumably be occurring. The over abundance of rainfall may not only flood the Missouri River, but also result in a flood of large patch in the region.

"This wet weather pattern is shaping a severe season for this disease, and this weekend's warm-up will likely get large patch pressure cooking. With the amount of rain the region has experienced, I expect fall fungicide applications may not be entirely sufficient for control and spring applications may be necessary.


The wet winter and spring is causing some head or belly aches for some zoysia managers in STL and mid MO. The wettest winter since 1984-85 and subsequent cool and rainy spring pattern has resulted in slow, and perhaps no, green-up thus far. Widespread winter kill of well maintained ‘Meyer’ zoysia would be a first since I arrived in 2010.

"Several reports in the last week have expressed extreme concern over the lack of zoysia green-up, and the potential for large amounts of winter kill on some golf courses and home lawns. As mentioned previously, the 2019 winter was the wettest since 1984-85, and the 5th wettest on record.


Spring is running about 50-70 base 50 growing degree days slower than last year, but most plants and spring turf grass diseases are in full bloom. This week’s warm up will hopefully spark warm-season grasses out of their slumber, and let worried turf grass managers and homeowners know if the wet winter won the battle.


A ton going on in the past week, and unfortunately a lot of it falling from the sky. Preliminary reports are that May probably will be the wettest on record in Missouri and those in Kansas City broke the record for sure with an astounding 12.82” in the month. Winter kill reports on warm-season grasses are also widespread across the state. In the good news category, cool-season grasses are faring well in this mild weather.

Even though it seems that rain has never let up, we have been able to make progress on the golf course. The wet conditions have still made it difficult to mow regularly but when we have been given a little open window, we have been able to improve overall conditions throughout the course over the last couple of weeks.

We just fertilized our warm season tees about 10 days ago. We hope to get our fairways fertilized soon but conditions have been so wet and or storms being predicted that we did not want to lose the benefits of the fertilizer so we have delayed this application. We use about 5-6,000 pounds so its important to make sure most of it stays on our property at Glen Echo.

We are starting to see some growth in the fairways even without the fairway fertilizer. We mowed last Friday and Monday and there were some clippings beginning to accumulate from the mowers so we are getting growth.

The slowest that I've had greens to heal after aeration over the last 10 years at Glen Echo. When we completed the aeration in March, our average temperature model was about two weeks behind last year. As we moved closer to May 1st things began to tighten up. We had a number of night time lows below freezing which stunted the healing process in March and April. We also provide significant growth regulation in the early spring to our greens to reduce the impact of seed heads in the stand of poa annua we have throughout our putting surfaces. 

Our control this season was exceptional for the most part but it did significantly effect the healing process. Once we were a month into seeing  the holes were not closing, we allowed our regulators to run out. From around May 1st on the greens have not been regulated but have been very slow to grow. This is mostly due to wet soil conditions and reduction of overall sunlight. We've been able to mow one day and roll the next because of the slow growth. As we have begun to warm, we have been increasing to almost daily mowing to improve ball roll. We have also started rolling on days that we mow to increase roll out. 

We've had pretty good success in combating large zoysia patch on fairways with just a spring application of fungicide but this season was not very good. Probably the worst I've seen in the 29 years I've been in the business. It does thin the turf but once we apply a curative application, the disease usually begins to go into check and the grass begins to fill in. We will probably do a fall application on the most severely impacted fairways this season to discourage a repeat performance in the spring of 2020. There are still some areas of activity but they are smaller in scope and should begin to fade as temperatures increase and the rain hopefully subsides. 

We've also treated fairy rings that have popped up as well. Most are in check but some appear to have loss of turf. We will replace these over the next couple of weeks.

Over the last 10 years, we have worked diligently on attempting to corral the berrmuda grass in our fairways and intermediate through mostly chemical treatments but also with sodding. We have some areas that need repair and we will work on those over the next couple of weeks. 

We will be spraying our healthiest fairways where the bermuda is beginning to pop up in small spots to allow the zoysia grass to spread and improve. We will also begin to aerate fairways and tees as conditions begin to dry. We will probably not do a large scale aeration operation but will be foreced to do individual fairways at a time during the month of June.  Our goal is eliminate the disruption of the fairways before the end of June to allow our zoysia to heal and be in great shape from July 4th through the end of October.  We have spent tens of thousands of dollars on chemicals, sod and man-hours improving these surfaces and will continue this work. We do not want to take steps backwards.

We have been pretty lucky here at Glen Echo this season on the amount of total turf loss we've experienced in our zoysia. Some clubs have had to replace complete fairways. We have a few isolated areas. Our thin areas will begin to improve as we dry, warm up and apply nutrients.

The staff have worked very hard at keeping damage to a minimum while operating equipment which has caused some difficult conditions for you and the game you love to play. Last week, we were able to string trim around all trees through Hole 15. We've been able to do a little less push mowing of certain areas. I still warn you if you are in the lowest area of a hole, it is probably the wettest spot and could lead to damage or a cart being stuck so be careful out there. 

We've been for the most part hand raking bunkers this spring to allow the sand that we added in late winter to firm. Two tee looks great but was very slow to set roots but we finally opened it last weekend. We added about a foot of dirt to the surface which had to firm causing additional delays in our sod being laid. Much different than the fifth tee last season which was basically leveled on the existing surface. A few limbs and or small trees will be removed to increase sunlight which will be necessary for the zoysia to flourish on this new teeing ground. 

One of the things that my experience has taught me is to remain patient. I've come to understand that most of the difficulties we face as turf managers comes from within and being impatient and trying to force mother nature and do too much. Mother nature always wins these battles so I remain patient and attempt to not freak out like the guy below. Hope to see you on the golf course soon!

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Course Discussion, Bermuda Eradication and More

We've been able to mow more and more turf over the last week but conditions are very wet in various areas. It appears there will be a change in the pattern beginning over the weekend. We can't wait!!!!!!!

Randy and Rollo push mowing the area between 7 tee and 8 approach fairway which is too saturated for a big mower. You can still see the smaller tracking from the 22" mowers.

Bermuda eradication work on the course is ongoing. We attempt to suppress the bermuda in the late summer and early spring. You can see some of the areas that have worked pretty well in the intermediates on various holes. Our goal is the reduce the competitive advantage of the bermuda through early summer. We then do everything we can to repair the damaged bermuda areas and allow the zoysia to take over other areas by mid-June as we prepare for the rest of summer play and of course 'The Invitational' in July. We've made great strides with this work over the years but must continue with maintenance applications to keep the bermuda in reasonable check. Notice I said check and not eliminated. I posted a video below which is a bit longer than normal but goes through the thinking of our program and what we are attempting to accomplish.