Monday, July 28, 2014

Video Course Update for the week of 7-28-14

A little video course update for your viewing pleasure this week.  Continue to check blog for regular updates as well as the twitter feed on the right hand side of the page.  Sometimes includes information that is not posted on the blog.

Hydrojecting Greens

E&E Enterprises was out this morning ahead of play hydrojecting our greens.  Check out the video below for a little demo.  Holes should heal in the next few days.  We will be rolling the rest of the week in preparation for the St. Louis Women's District Golf Association Invitational being contested at the club Monday-Friday of next week.  I was able to get a topdressing in at the end of the day just before dark which will improve ball roll as the sand settles down.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Open Play Day on Monday, July 28th

The course is open for play on Monday, July 28th with a special guest rate.  Weather is supposed to be outstanding.  Field Bar will be open as will the bar from 2-8 p.m.  Come out and see us.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Green Changes in July

With the Invitational tucked away nicely in June, we have made changes to our greens practices for the month of July and into August which contribute to a much healthier plant and hopefully no turf loss during this very stressful period.  These changes are to protect our plants from potential devastating damage that could take the rest of the season to heal and greatly effect your experience at the club.  The lack of fans for air circulation throughout the course and no drainage in our greens creates issues during the heat of summer and I act accordingly to protect our most valuable resource.    

After the 4th of July weekend, we raised our mowing height .005 thousandths of an inch which is slightly taller than the thickness of a strand of hair which averages about .004 thousandths of an inch.  We have been given some great growing weather over the last few weeks but we are still on guard against the potential for damage.  Higher temperatures and saturated conditions are our biggest fear but the stress that being mowed, stepped on, sun baked, and every nasty disease known to turf is looking for its first opportunity to spring an invasion and spread its kind!  Besides the increase in height, below are a few other things we do to insure we get through the summer season without damage.

We have been able to top dress our greens a couple of times during this period but do use a little less sand. I resist the temptation to brush or groom the grass during higher temperatures.  Tearing and or scratching the leaf blades can lead to damage and the plant is forced into injury management which diverts needed resources away from breathing, perspiring and food production which are essential for a plant to live.

Our greens were opened up in late June in preparation for hot weather with a needle tine venting.  We plan to hydroject the greens on Monday which should open them up and allow for gas exchange and improve water penetration and evacuation if necessary.  Milder nights have allowed for our root systems to be in pretty good condition for this time of year which is a good thing for plant health.

If we get sustained days of heat such as 7-10 days in a row well over 90, we would change our mowing practices to every other day and roll on the other days which keeps the greens rolling consistently.  Cutting the plant is injurious and it reacts to heal itself just as if it were damaged.  Resources move from life supporting to damage control.

We also use Plant Growth Regulators(PGR) which slow the growth of the plant and will assist in ball roll and reduces the amount of energy required by the plant to survive.  Our goal is to not exhaust all the resources that the plant has stored in its cells before conditions change enough for it to provide energy to function. Exhaustion does not cause illness or disease but can open one's system up for attack.  Fungus and bacteria are laying in waiting to over run a turf plant's ability to resist invasion and also over run good organisms in the soil.  Can I here an amen from the Doctor's reading this blog!

Water resources are managed as closely as possible with hand watering being used to supplement the extra needs of the plant.  Excessive water applications overnight lead to soft conditions so we monitor our conditions regularly.  I utilize a moisture meter which has 3" probes and give us an average of soil moisture in the green.  Wet and soft conditions can increase the potential for mower damage, excessive wear, larger ball marks and outbreaks of disease.  It can also lead to turf that is more lush and susceptible to incidence of disease.

We also fertilize a little less and increase sea weed extracts and other elements to improve plant health.  Sea weed improves stress tolerance within the plant during heat stress events.  We also reduce our overall fertilizer applications because a majority of fertilizer is derived from salt.  Excessive salt within the plant attracts moisture making it not available for the plant to utilize.  The plant wilts and can die.  Also, excessive salt in the soil can clog or slow water from entering into a root.  Use of organic fertilizers due to their lower salt index is helpful during the summer stress season.

All season we manage mechanical damage by using solid rollers on our mowers instead of grooved rollers which can create wear damage on circling mowing(clean up cut).  The grooved rollers do give a tighter cut but the extra pressing does damage cells.

If the weather continues to stay mild, we will be able to change our cultural practices to a less protective manner and get a little more aggressive.  We can decrease our mowing height by that one hair width which will give you the greens in the late summer and fall that you have come to expect here at Glen Echo.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Long range tee closed Tuesday/Wednesday July 22-23

The long range tee will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday this week for construction.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may create.  Please use the short range for practicing.

Asphalt work completed

Fontana Paving was out yesterday to patch a couple of small areas on the course. Next to 3 green and at the bottom of 4 near the red tee.  106 feet of asphalt was pulled up, rock placed down and 3" of asphalt laid. We have these areas roped off for a couple of extra days.  The areas are roped off to keep cart and equipment traffic away from these spots.  Remaining funds from the bunker project paid for this work. The area on 3 was damaged during construction of the bunkers.  We still must do some dirt work and grade changes around these two areas.

Asphalt removed and rock being laid in place near 3 green.

Asphalt  being finished up before rolling.


#4 Finished

Monday, July 21, 2014

Golf Course Update

A number of things are happening on the golf course so below is your update.  I've done this in video format with a little music so enjoy the update.  This took a few hours to complete but will be much quicker in the future as I become more familiar with the set up.  I hope you've enjoyed the weather as much as we have on the grounds staff.  We are beginning to dry a little around the edges but we have been able to hold our water costs well below budget over the first two months of summer which is a good thing.  Of course that can change in just a few weeks if the rain stops.

I do need to mention a equipment hydraulic leak which many of you might have noticed if you've played over the last few days. Our surround mower which cuts our rough around our greens had a leak in a rear hose.  The operator went around 6,8,9 and 14 green before he saw the leak.  My hope is that since this is in mostly taller turf, we will have some damage but mostly just leaf die back and no suffocation type damage where the crown of the plant is saturated with oil.  The lines were probably less than an inch wide initially but did expand when he began to make some 3 point turns which caused more additional fluid to drop to the turf.  I would expect the heat over the next few days to bring the damage out more. If necessary, we will cut out any major loss of turf.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Effectiveness and necessity for tree root pruning

We have not completed all tree root pruning on the course but the areas which have been given this treatment are showing good results.
A decision was made many years ago to place a tree whose ultimate height could be 70-90' tall only 30' behind the green on #11.  The top picture shows the location of the tree and its proximity to the green.  The bottom picture shows the root pruning line that was completed less than 3 months ago.  The line was cut between the tree base and the green.  It does not take a turf professional's eye to see the vast improvement in plant health and vitality.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Great progress on Long Range Tee Today!

The staff made some good progress on the range tee today.  They were able to get 99.9% of the sod removed. Still have just a little bit along the creek side of the tee to trim away.  I fertilized the tee after they left to encourage the Bermuda to grow again and then we will spray it a second time with our mixture of killing material.

Hand removing material near sprinkler heads.

Tee is almost clear.

Pushing in piles and then pushing piles into loader and to the dump truck.

Course Report July 7th Long Range Tee Work Beginning

Long range tee work is beginning in earnest today with the removal of the first herbicide sprayed turf.
Check out the video below.

Tom pushing dead material into loader which places material in the dump truck for removal.  This is the edges of the tee in the tall grass where we intend to widen the tee on the edges and front.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Long Driving Range Plan

As announced last week, the long driving range tee is being converted back to Zoysia which is our main playing surface on fairways and tees.  The following information will give you an approximate time table on our plans and what will take place during the construction work.  I will post this information in the pro shop and locker rooms.

Last Sunday, I sprayed the tee with a 10% Roundup Solution and a high rate of Fusilade II.  The Roundup is a non-selective material and kills everything that is green.  Fusilade is a grassy weed killer and Bermuda grass is on its label.  You need as much help as possible killing Bermuda.
After 6 days of Roundup and Fusilade spray.  Dying but far from dead yet.
In the next few days we will strip the tee of plant material with our sod cutter, fertilize the tee and attempt to encourage the Bermuda to grow again.  Once we get some growth back on the tee, it will be sprayed again with the same mix as we did before.We are attempting to get the material into deepest part of the plant in an effort to kill it.  I would expect this part of the project to take a minimum of 6 weeks.  The regrowth of Bermuda plus the second killing will require some removal of additional turf.

During this second removal process, we will install drainage into the tee.  It will be perforated 4" pipe with pea gravel creating the drain back fill material.  It will be kept about 6 inches from the surface of the tee.  The tee surface will then be tilled by our laser level contractor and the exposed trench lines will be back filled with the tilled material.  The trenching work should take a day or so to complete.  We also have to dig up our sprinkler heads and raise them so that they can be set slightly above grade for sod installation.

During the stripping and killing of the tee, we will begin the process of removing trees along with our contractor.  I expect to have a majority of the tree work completed before the grass is laid on the new tee surface.

Once everything is back filled and ready, the laser-leveling will begin.  The tilling and leveling will take about one day.  Could till on a day and then laser the next day.

Once the surface is prepared and ready, big roll sod will be brought in and installed by our staff.  We will also sod the outer ring of the new range tee with fescue,  This work should be completed in about 2 days.

I would expect that the tee will be completed before September 1st which should given it a chance to root and fill in.  Once the tee has firmed enough, we will be filling cracks in the sod with sand to help level these areas and fill in.

The tee should be open no later than June 1, 2015 if all goes well.

We are evaluating placing some additional netting along the teeing area to help reduce the amount of golf balls lost during the season.  We are having discussions with Barrett regarding the best potential course of action to take to help reduce the golf ball loss.

  1. June 29th, Sprayed range tee with weed killer.
  2. Week of July 7th, remove dying Bermuda grass.  Fertilize and water and begin to regrow turf.  Meet with contractor and discuss tree removal.
  3. 4th-5th week of July, spray tee again with herbicide.  Ongoing tree work.
  4. 2nd week of Aug. strip off remaining dead material and install drainage.  Raise sprinkler heads in preparation for leveling and sod work.  Make changes  in sprinkler alignment if necessary.
  5. 2nd week of Aug. finish tree work.  Install any additional netting around range tee due to lack of access after it is sodded.  Any netting along the line away from tee can be installed later in fall.
  6. Aug 18 or 25 Laser level tee   
  7. Lay sod on and around tee after leveling is complete.
September 1, watch it grow!!

Happy 4th of July

Its a great weekend here at Glen Echo for the 4th of July.  A great deal of activity at the club all weekend centered around golf but we also have the pool party and Barbecue set up for Saturday afternoon and the Dinner that evening with some fireworks to cap off the night.  Weather is perfect so come on out and play, eat and drink this weekend at Glen Echo.

Years ago, our family would gather every year at my Uncle Clarence's farm in Advance MO for a huge party.  Usually 60-80 people.  We would play softball in the field trying to avoid the cow piles, eat some great food and shoot off a bunch of fireworks.
I remember one particular year because of what was barbecued.  The winter before we had visited friends in Dallas over New Years and was actually driving back from Dallas the year of the Ice Bowl Game in Green Bay when dad hit a Raccoon about 30 minutes from our house.  Picked it up off the road, yes we were a little bit country, cleaned it and put it in the freezer for future use.  Well that use came on the Fourth of July that next summer and there was old Raccoon on the grill for the 4th.  They said it was good, don't think I tried it even though as a young boy we at a lot of game for our meat source during some pretty tough years.

Anyway, if its not a Raccoon or other wild game your eating, hopefully its a nice juicy pork steak, brat or any of the other great holiday treats  Hopefully you get to spend some time with family and friends enjoying the freedom that we have been given by so many since the formation of this great country.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Members entrance bed

As you walk into the members entrance, there is a bed to the left that was planted with ivy and vinca vine. Before construction of this area in 2012, there was an invasive weed that created issues for us.  When the beds were reworked, the weed of course was still alive.  It came up with a vengeance this season.  Too many to hand pull because once you pulled out one plant, vegetative parts were still in the ground which would then sprout.

We decided to spray over the top to chemically kill the weed.  It will probably ding the vines slightly but they should recover.
Becky allowed the weed to grow over the ivy and then lightly sprayed the weeds.

Lady and the Mockingbird

Lady and her Mockingbird friend near the practice green.  I'll have an even better video tomorrow if she comes to work.  She worked real hard today so I'm not sure if she will make it.