Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

On behalf of the grounds staff at Glen Echo CC, have a great Christmas! Ladybug is ready for Grandmas, walk around the table and pick up a few crumbs!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Trees and the Design of #3

In the last couple of years, there have been discussions regarding Hole # 3. Most of it has centered around the use of trees in the right rough between the fairway and the cart path. Their has also been discussion with Kye Goalby the designer and architect who did our bunker renovation so deftly about some minor routing changes of the hole. Allow me a moment to give some back history.

A few years ago, a large Oak tree on the right of the cart path near the top of the hill lost most of its top and fell in a thunderstorm. When it fell, it damaged an Ash that is on the fairway side of the path in a narrow area between the fairway and cart path. I left the tree in place knowing that it would need to be removed a few years later. Well, that time has come because the tree has a split in it and must be removed. Earlier in the year, we removed a severely compromised Ash that was in the narrow area between the fairway and cart path at about 185 yards from the green. Pretty far from the green but in this same narrow rough area. Some think that if there are trees in a spot, no matter how inappropriate the location in regards to design and play-ability of the hole, another tree should be placed back in the same spot.

Part of my discussions with Kye have evolved from the design of the hole and how an architect helps to route a hole to give players the proper direction the ball should travel and the best location for it to rest if struck properly.

As you can see from the picture below, once the fairway goes up the hill it falls to the left. The red arrows show the fall line from the center of the fairway to the left. The current fairway boundary on the right side moves in that direction as well. One of the things that was done years ago which Kye and myself agree was that trees were inappropriately planted along the right side between the fairway and cart path. If your ball lands in the narrow area between the fairway and cart path, you were forced to either go over or around this tree. If you were too close to the tree, it forced a play to the left which is not the direction the hole should be played because the ball will roll off the left side of the fairway due to the slope. If the hole was being designed today, the fairway shape would be more to the right. A properly routed hole leaves areas open so that if a ball is properly struck will be in decent shape for its next shot or will be on the green. All the great architects in history speak strongly against the placement of trees too close to the line of play not allowing a ball to be advanced forward. Of course, how close is too close to the line of play is in the eyes of the beholder.

The picture below shows this hole. You can already see how narrow the rough area is anyway. The green lines my interpretation of the potential changes that Kye and I have spoken about regarding changing in the fairway/intermediate. The right side of the hole toward the top is flatter and much better for a ball to land than the left side which falls off drastically into the rough and left tree line.

This gives you a little idea of the thought process that goes into tree removal and the potential to not replace what I would consider a mistake made from our past. I think not learning from our past and now trying to move past these type of issues is a mistake. It makes the course play truly unfair, reduces the opportunity to advance a ball forward, disrupts maintenance such as mowing around objects that should not be there and take time and creates problems for future. Some would say you've made it easier, it can be easier for someone who strikes the perfect stroke to a uphill green where you can only see a flag and hope that your shot does not go off line more than a few degrees or you will be in a bunker. It plays at least an extra club or maybe two depending upon your length.

A little winter season discussion regarding tree or not to tree, that's a pretty big question??

Friday, December 18, 2015

Weather Stats For November

Weather stats for the Month of November. Some much needed
rainfall and above normal temperatures.
              Observed Value  Normal Value  Depart from Normal Last Years Value
High                61.0          55.5             5.5              50.0
Low                 42.3          38.1             4.2              31.3
Mean                51.7          46.8             4.9              40.7

Rain                6.48          3.91             2.57             2.46








Sunday, December 13, 2015

UMSL Golf Team Fundraiser For Indoor Training Facility On Campus

Just ran accros this fundraiser for the UMSL Golf Team's efforts to build an indoor training facility at the Mark Twain Center on campus. As you should already know, these talented young men and women train a majority of their time at Glen Echo. They have had Championship teams in the past in NCAA Division II and continue to build the program. This is a 3 year fundraising effort with 2 days left in the 2nd year fundraising program.

Here is the link to the fundraiser page. Below is a video explaining how the money will be used for the program.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

What a Great Summer's Day We Face Today!

What a great summer's day we face today! Oh yes, its not summer but 62 with heavy dew and fog and a high of 70, it will feel like summer being its December 12. The staff have been busy this week aerating rough as you might see some plugs here and there and red flags marking heads. Continuing to change holes weekly and mowed greens on Wednesday. Rolled them on Friday and have been chasing leaves as needed. We are getting close to the end on those pesky critters.

No major construction projects planned this winter. Normal Tree Management Plan work including pruning and cleaning up trees all over property, inspecting others and a few removals that take place every season. We do have a couple of areas where planting will be taking place as well as the nursery. We also need to begin to tree health improvement work doing some deep drilling of compost around some of our Pin Oaks in strategic locations and applying some humic acid to improve their overall health.

The new irrigation system is reaching 9 years old this spring. With new heads comes the raising of the new heads. As you might notice when and if you are down the middle of the fairway, the heads are sunk down by an 1" or more. As the turf continues to grow, this gap will become even wider making it unsafe for golfers, difficult for equipment to go over and last but not least the sprinkler head throw pattern will be disrupted by the difference in elevation. What has to happen? Each head has to be raised to level grade. There are some mechanical ways of doing this our there but the one's I have researched appear to be very difficult to use with a very tight soil like we have here at Glen Echo.

That means every head must be dug up by shovel down to the swing arm approximately 15"-20" or so into the ground, head raised and repacked. Down the center row of fairways alone we have 150 heads. This will be a long process. Wish us luck.

Have a great day, might see you on the course for a few minutes this morning but I've got to get home and clean the leaves up in my yard. Hurt my back at home about 10 days ago and have not been able to do much of anything. Feeling a little better so I will see what I can do outside. Have a great day.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Tree Management Plan

(This was emailed to all members but does not hurt to communicate through this route as well)

Each season during the last eight years here at Glen Echo, I have asked permission to remove trees. If its during the season and a tree has died or becomes compromised and I do not want to wait for winter, I see my chairman and or committee members and tell them of a tree that needs to be removed. They give me their blessing and its removed. I do not remove trees without a consensus on my committee.

I take my actions very seriously in regards to this work. I understand that tree removal for some is difficult. I also understand that there are people on the other side that prefer great grass to trees and expect me to do whatever I can within reason to achieve that goal. So, as a manager responsible to all members on all sides of all issues, who do I follow? Well I follow what I believe is best with my 25 years of experience in this business. I spend hours upon hours taking pictures and evaluating this work. I confer with Aborists, USGA officials, course architects and in the end I present my findings to our member committee to make the final decision and I live with their decision.  

I evaluate the removal of trees based on if its dead(duh)! Is it unsafe or hazardous. Could turf conditions be improved if there were only 5 trees in a specific area than 10 and does the tree add architectural value to the course. ie, separation of holes, protection of doglegs etc. I also evaluate trees if they create extensive clean up efforts from the mess they leave on the property. If you have Sweet gum trees in your yard and you clean them up or have someone clean them up, you understand the issues. Now put this tree on a property where people spend thousands of dollars a year to come to your property and want great conditions, this creates an issue for me. Instead of doing work to improve play down the middle from tees, to fairways to greens, I'm forced to deal with other issues. If they are near greens like 2 or 3 are, they place trash on the greens from fall through mid-spring. Walnut trees should not be on a golf course but we have four or five on our course. Trees create massive amounts of work for me and my staff and compromise turf grass in many ways. But they are necessary here because of the lack of fairway bunkers, and no doubt the right species, planted the proper distance from one another in the correct location are awesome! Yes that's right I said trees can be AWESOME!!

Normally our committee meets in October and we discuss the trees that I want them to consider for removal with a tour of the course. This year, that did not occur during the usual period. With the end of the year rapidly approaching, I told the committee that I would ribbon trees that I thought should be considered for removal over the last few days and asked that they evaluate them before our meeting. Some were quite obviously in need of removal and red x's were put on the trees by me but a number of others I thought needed the evaluation and approval of the committee. I have begun to target Sweet gums from the reasons listed in the paragraph above as well as weakened and or damaged Ash which are going to be under attack from the Emerald Ash Borer. I've also discussed with the committee an attempt to save some Ash through the use of insecticides. This would include trees in strategic play areas where the loss of the tree would leave major voids. This work will cost us a few thousand dollars each season. In the meantime, we have also planted a couple of trees in some of these areas to offset some of the older species that will probably die from natural causes.

If you do not follow my blog, you should because you would have known that we are in the process of starting a 4-6 tree nursery behind 17 green. We will grow these trees for 5-10 years and then will hire the Big Tree Spade company who could move these larger trees into an area that needed more than just a 2" tree bought at a local nursery to be placed in that spot. Once a tree is removed, another will be put back in the nursery.

So, in the end what happened. We are still evaluating trees on the list. We will be placing red x's on trees that will be removed. There are a couple of trees that I was evaluating for removal but our Arborist stated that they could cable them and delay the splitting process that concerned me. Tree removal will began when all approvals have been finalized and we have time to begin the work which for the most part will not begin until after the 1st of the year.

In the end, I can't help the folks that do not want any tree removal and or those who want all the trees removed. I will work in the middle attempting to first make sure all of us are safe. I then will use all the other tools and expertise that I have at my disposal to evaluate and balance and the desires of all
members on both sides of the issue and to move your great old golf course forward.

Thanks for your time,

Joe Wachter
Certified Golf Course Superintendent
Glen Echo CC

Friday, December 4, 2015

Carts Off Paths Weekend 12/5-12/6

Little bonus with some nice weather this weekend. Carts will be off the paths. Come out and see us and stop for cocktails afterward in the pub. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

General Member Meeting Thursday, December 3

A General Member Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, December 3rd in the Living Room. The Board would like to update you on the current financial standing of the club as well as some exciting plans for the future. If you plan to attend, please go online and sign up or call the clubhouse. Drinks will be available at 5:30 and an excellent buffet will be prepared by Chef after the meeting and can be charged in the usual manner. Hope to see all of you Thursday night.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Turkey Day Scramble Cancelled

Due to steady rain with more to come, The Turkey Day Scramble has been cancelled. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Its that time of year to put the course at rest,
we've worked very hard and gave it our best.

The greens were poked and prodded and had rolled no better, we followed our program right down to the letter.

The zoysia fairways started slow but turned on a dime, they were so consistent you might of thought they were fake part of the time.

We sprayed the bermuda and sprayed and sprayed, we might think it is gone but it will never go away.

The leaves have been falling like rain from the sky,
we blow and we grind, my oh my.

Its that time of season for the clubhouse to shine,
with the holiday parties everyone having a good time.

Hopefully you are with your family today on this Thanksgiving Day,
thanks to all of you for what you do for us, it takes everyone to be on board this Big Glen Echo Bus!

We will see you not as often during the winter break,
but hope to see you back again this spring when the ice is off the lakes.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Happy Veteran's Day

Thanks to the men and women who have given us the right to say what we want without the fear of being arrested. Members, families, friends and peers who have served this great
country and continue to serve, we honor you on this day and everyday!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Happy Birthday Marine Corp

Happy 240th Birthday to our Marines out there! Would not be the country we are without your efforts in the past, today and the future!

Monday, November 9, 2015

USGA Article In Regards To Tree Management Plans

A great article from the USGA regarding trees on a golf course. Please take the 10-15 minutes it takes to read this outstanding article giving a historical record on how trees evolved on golf courses. This perfectly explains the situation we are now experiencing at Glen Echo. This does not speak of the elimination of trees but the thoughtful and considerate placement of trees as well as removal to improve overall playability, turf quality and the true cost of an overabundance of trees on a course.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Weather Stats October

A warmer and drier than normal month of October leading to some great golf weather.

We had 45 days from 9/11 until 10/27 with only .62" of rain. Our weather station accumulated 1.14" of rain slightly higher than the official report from Lambert.

20th driest October on record.

                        Observed Value  Normal Value  Depart from Normal  Last Year's Value
High                          70.9                       68.5                        2.4                            68.7
Low                           51.3                       49.0                        2.3                            50.3
Mean                         61.1                       58.7                        2.4                            59.5

                                    .98                        3.33                     -2.35                          5.08

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Late Fall, Winter Play

As the weather is changing, time for discussion regarding late fall and winter play rules.

This season we will allow carts off the paths as long as conditions are dry enough to do so. It does not take a lot of rain and or snow to place carts back on paths so when dry conditions and temperatures are comfortable, you should take advantage of this situation. A little golf, a couple cocktails and a lunch or dinner makes for a great day and helps the bottom line of the club. As freezing and freezing/thawing cycles begin to occur more frequently later in the season, cart path restrictions might become more frequent.

Also a part of our winter rules is for the practice ranges to be on mats only. I understand the desire to hit off of the ground but if we allowed play all winter on the zoysia, that area would be destroyed because of its inability to heal. We appreciate your cooperation in this matter.

I would expect frost to be on the increase as we move later into November. As a reminder, we will not allow play onto the course until the frost has lifted. One of the things we will face later into winter is frozen ground/frozen turf blade conditions from harder freezes. I don't worry as much about the ground being frozen as long as the grass blades are soft and pliable. One of the things I'm most concerned about later in the season is when the ground is frozen beneath but the surface begins to thaw. It might be a warm day above ground but this type of condition can create serious root shearing issues for us and damage our greens with every step. This type of condition will force us to remain closed until the freeze has lifted our of the green and allowed the surface moisture to drain away. I will discuss this problem in greater detail when our winter thaw occurs.

In the meantime, the staff has been busy blowing leaves everyday. From green's surfaces, tees, fairways, rough and bunkers. We also use our mowers to help grind them up once they are placed in winrows on the course. We will be breaking out our vacuum as well during the heaviest period over the next few weeks. We haul this material to the dump in the back of the driving range.

We are down to 5 hourly(Nick, Russ, Tom, Jason and Randy) Hort Becky, mechanic Dave and Skip/myself. We lose Randy after this week and Becky and Nick at the end of November. Still a lot of leaves to come off the trees. We appear to be 10-12 days behind in leaf drop so we will be deep into fall before most are down.

Come out and take advantage of this great weather over the next couple of days. It should be fun!!

Post 15 Days Since Greens Aeration

Its been 15 days since our greens aeration was completed and they are almost 100% healed. A few holes here and there still trying to close but overall in good shape. Did our first wet morning mowing today and rolling behind the mower. We have had to layoff early morning work on the greens to allow the sand to settle down a bit so we did not create a mess on the greens. Dry mowing and rolling was the order of the day last week.

We laid off the growth regulator at aeration time which allowed the turf to bounce back along with great growing weather helped in the healing process. I applied a regulator and some fertilizer last Friday before the weekend rain to reduce the growth of the poa annua and improve the growth of the bent grass. This should improve ball roll over the next couple of weeks before we allow them to get a little hairy before winter sets in. We have at least one more regulator planned before winter if weather allows help stunt the poa.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Firewood Available This Season

We have firewood available again for self-service pickup or delivery this season. Please contact me to communicate if you are picking up wood or schedule a delivery so I can charge your account accordingly. You do not have to be home to accept delivery. Staff will stack in where you need it. We will schedule deliveries between 8 am to 2 pm Monday thru Friday. Deliveries will not be available over the Christmas/NewYears holiday since most of our winter staff take vacation time during this period. All seasoned Oak split last winter.

Delivered wood is about 40% of a cord since my truck bed is 4x6x2 in dimensions.

Full pickup load for self pickup will be $ 75.00.
Smaller loads SUV for self pickup will be reduced to $ 40.
For delivery inside the 270 beltway, the charge for wood and delivery will be $ 100.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Driving Range Protective Net Nearly Completed

The staff has installed the wire border and put all the netting up on the Long Range Tee over the last 2 days. We have some additional work to do in the morning and hope to have the mats open by noon on Friday.
Netting rolled out and staff installing rope border.

Guys had to run the rope in and out of the netting so it can be attached to the wire.

Hanging netting on wire that was installed yesterday. 5/16" wire stretched across the top,down the poles and across the bottom where the net is attached to it using carbiner snaps that hold them in place.
Additional view of guys up on the lift. Skip and Russ doing this work.
Attaching more snaps in place. About every 3'.

The maintenance building side of the range that was finished for the most part on Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Greens Aeration, The Full Story

Our fall greens aeration is our most concentrated project each season which requires using every staff member to complete this task. It is our most important project because it helps to improve the health of our greens more than anything else we do to them besides watering.

As mentioned in the past, deep-tine aeration provides the following benefits:

  • Drainage through and improves water's ability to penetrate into the profile both to get through it and into the areas where water is needed by the root system.
  • Gas exchange, oxygen into the soil and the release of harmful carbon dioxide which can build up in the soil.
  • Space for roots to grow, expand and improve.
  • Allows us to modify the sand profile with a coarse sand that provides improvement in all the areas listed above.
  • Improves the biological health, good microbes in the soil.
  • Thatch reduction by mixing sand with the thatch helping to dilute or break down the thatch.
Our process included:
  1.  Placing the sand on the greens. Approximately 1-2 tons per green based on their size.
  2.  Aerating punching about 110,000 holes 8" deep, 5/8" channel in each green.
  3.  Applying a soil amendment product to the green. Earthworks Renovate Plus
  4.  Blowing the sand in the holes
  5.  Brushing the sand in the holes and helping to spread the sand uniformly across the surface. .
  6.  Rolling to close over the holes and smooth the surface as best we can.  
  7.  Applying organic fertilizer. Earthwork Replenish 5-4-5
  8.  Changing the holes since they were damaged during the process.
We will need to brush the greens again to help work excess sand into the profile. We will roll regularly to help smooth the surfaces until we mow again which will be in a few days once the sand has settled.

Greens Aeration Complete

With perfect drying conditions, we were able to complete all 19 greens on Monday. We will be rolling this week and brushing/mowing as well. Full report coming.
#1 green with holes filled.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Frost Delays/Aeration Videos From the USGA

The first light frosts are possibly going to hit the course this weekend. In most cases, it will probably only touch the rough grass in low lying areas. Right now our soil temperatures are high due to the lack of moisture in our turf. The warmer the soil, the less chance the dew will get cold enough to form frost but I expect if it gets down to 35-36 there will be some frost.

As we get closer to November and the potential for the first hard frosts of the season, time for a little refresher of why we are so concerned regarding not walking on frosted playing surfaces.

My goal is to get you out on the course as quickly as possible in the morning. No one wants to have a tee time at 8 in the morning and have to wait around until 10 to start playing golf and I know the pro shop staff wants you out on the course as well. In most cases, if you are delayed getting out on the course for frost, me and the staff are delayed in getting our work done so we can go home after our 6th day of work that week. I am pretty conservative when it comes to getting staff out to work on frost days.

The biggest issue for us right now is the lack of sunlight early in the morning. Sunrise this morning was at 7:10 a.m. We find with early season frost that it sometimes doew not fall until right at sunrise. As the sun comes up, cold air is pressed to the ground and frost sometimes forms. We have to be very careful sending staff out in the dark during colder weather. We are probably going to push our start time back this weekend to be on the safe side.

Light frost effects are usually not as severe but we don't want to do anything that can reduce the turfs ability to prepare properly for winter. Hard frosts can include plant cells being frozen. When walked upon or driven on by a cart, the cells rupture and are damaged. The plant must use its energy to repair this damage. Sometimes its too late in the season and the grass plants could potentially die or be injured severely enough that they come into spring in a weakened state.

When we say there is a frost delay, that is for all playing surfaces including the putting green and range tees. In many cases the mats are frost covered and slippery and it would be wise not be hitting balls from them until the all clear is given.

I attempt to give the pro shop an estimate when I believe the frost will lift. This is a general guideline. Sometimes its quicker, and sometimes it takes longer to get everything cleared.

I've also included a video regarding aeration which will be coming up next week. Most of the video is showing pulling a core but we will be doing a deep solid tine which I explained its purpose a few days ago. Full video on our work coming early next week so stand by.

Preparations For Greens Aeration on Monday, October 19th

Over the next few days, we will be increasing the watering of our greens to push moisture through the profile. I sprayed a couple of wetting agent/penetrate products that will assist with getting the water through the layers on our greens. This material will also suppress dew helping the surfaces dry quicker during aeration allowing us to get started quicker in the mornings. We are trying to get moisture to the soil layer which was the original surface of our greens when they were built many eons ago. If this layer is too dry, the tines stick and heaves the turf forcing us to shorten the depth of our aeration which we don't want to happen. The deeper we go with aeration, the greater the benefit for our turf. 

The original depth of our greens is 5-6" below the surface where you are currently putting on. Modern greens keepers have used sand to help smooth the surfaces and improve drainage. We have 18 of these greens at Glen Echo. With no rain and watering lightly to keep ball roll out long and smooth in the last 30 days, we have gotten drier down in this soil layer than we should be. We also fertilized our greens last week and have not applied the regulator we used over the last month that assisted us as well. All these things in combination will allow us to get our work completed in a timely and efficient manner and should assist us with healing. I would expect the greens to be in good condition in the next 10-14 days after we have aerated.   
The soil depth is about 2-2.5" deep at the bottom of the hole with the sand between 5-6" in depth . Right at the point of the arrow you can see an old aeration hole going down into the soil layer. Our goal with the aeration is to create channels down into the soil layer allowing moisture to move through the bottom of the green. This also creates channels for rooting and gas exchange with the good Oxygen entering the root zone and the bad when too much has built up Carbon Dioxide can escape from the soil. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Weather Stats for August/September

Some interesting statistics over the last couple of months.

Weather stats for August and September.
We've had .98" of rain in the last 34 days at Glen Echo's weather station.
5th wettest August on record.
8th warmest September on record with 75.1 degrees.
Tied for 5th longest streak of days (8) with the maximum temperature at or above 90 degrees between 9/1-9/8.
For the period May-September, avg days over 90 is 38.4, we've had 49 days over 90 so far this season.
2nd wettest summer June-Aug on record of 23.94". Wettest was 27.22" in 1915.
34th warmest summer June-Aug on record at 78.7 degrees. Warmest all time was in 1901 at 82.7

                               Observed Value    Normal Value   Depart From Normal   Last Years Value
Avg Max.                        86.7                       87.9                        -1.2                             89.0
Avg Min                          68.8                       69.4                        -0.6                            71.6
Mean                               77.8                       78.6                        -0.8                             80.3

13 days over 90 degrees

Avg Max.                       84.9                      80.2                          4.7                             80.3
Avg Min.                       65.3                      60.6                           4.7                             59.8
Mean                             75.1                      70.4                           4.7                             70.0

10 days over 90 degrees


                 Aug               6.67"                      2.99"                      3.68"                            5.06"
                 Sept              3.11"                      3,13"                     -0.02                              4.20"|

Friday, October 9, 2015

Tracking in Fairways

Green committee meeting last night and a question was posed regarding tracking lines or vehicle lines in fairways. Normal for this time of year with us blowing leaves off fairways on a daily basis. The fairways have not been mowed in over 10 days. Mowing will clear up traffic lines as well as the darker green color of the grass but no growth equals no mowing. Went out this morning to see if we would get any grass mowed but not tall enough to cut anything off. Depending if you are on the tee or the green and looking out toward fairway, the off colored grass is laying over and more pronounced in its look because of its lack of dark green color and its length.

No more traffic than normal. That is one of the issues we face with tree lined fairways and 3-4 rows deep in trees. Now if you remove more ..........., less leaves to blow, less traffic on fairways. Have a great day! 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Greens Aeration Scheduled Monday, October 19th

Its getting near that time of year to aerate our greens. I hold off as long as I can but we cannot delay any longer if I expect the greens to heal before winter sets in. I have the staff scheduled for October 19th and a rain date for the next Monday the 26th if conditions are too wet. We usually get 14-15 greens completed and do our other 4 over the next couple of days hopefully before play catches us. We utilize our Deep-tine aerator with a 1/2"diameter solid tine to a depth of 8". The holes are filled with sand to assist in the healing process and help with smoothing out the ball roll. More discussion on the benefits of this process once we get to the date. It should take a couple of weeks for greens to heal and sand to settle. I know the greens have been extremely quick over the last few weeks which is the most important reason for this delay. Dry/windy conditions, heavy growth regulator use, and regular rolling have given us extended ball roll out. I appreciate your understanding during this most important work we perform on our greens each season.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Lift for Range Nets, Lift for Tree Management Plan

Hardware to install range netting is arriving in next couple of days. To install the hardware, we needed to rent a lift to assist us with the work. I decided to utilize the lift for a month and complete some tree management work a little early. Ground is dry/firm and grass has slowed a little allowing us to do some other work. 

Some of this work involved removal of a couple hazardous trees, Sweetgums which were nearly hollow at the base. A majority of the work will involve removal of deadwood and lower hanging limbs, especially with our Pin Oaks. These limbs are usually heavily shaded from the branches that shade them from above. The branches become weak and will usually die creating more deadwood issues for us if they are not removed. This will also assist us during the year when wind comes through Glen Echo and knocks dead branches from what seems like every tree on property. The branches must be picked up which takes labor away from more important areas of the course. It is difficult to pick up every branch when then leads to dull mower blades. 

The staff worked along right side of 1, between 18-1 and 17-18. Twelve hours of pruning for 2 people and an additional 64 hours cleaning up the debris. All brush was chipped for mulch since it was Oak and larger branches were saved for firewood to use in our shop or for members fireplaces once its seasoned. We try not to waste anything with this work.

Pin Oak along 18 between 17-18. Removing some of the lower limbs that will ultimately die from being shaded. Also deadwood that we can reach.
Skip on the platform a little closer to 18 green.
Some additional pruning along 18.
Sweetgum wounded pretty severely about 100 yards off the tee of 15 between 15-16. One of two Sweetgums removed in last couple of days.

She had to go.
Right side of 13 about even with 14 tee. Showed soft tissue along the bottom and poor growth over last couple of  years. Did not think it was completely hollowed out.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

White Pines Losing 2nd Year Needles

If you look out in your backyard or have been out on the course, you are beginning to notice the annual dropping of 2nd year needles of the white pines. This is a natural occurrence and nothing to be alarmed about. But if you see the tips of your branches or all needles turning brown, your tree is experiencing some other more serious issue. Contacting an arborist in this case would be recommended. 

As the turf mowing has been slowing, we have been in the process of removing some very weak smaller ash trees and other damaged trees I've identified to The Green Committee. My seasonal staff only have until the end of October until they are finished for the season. We are utilizing them to help with this removal while our year round staff are involved in turf renovation work. 
White pine beat 12 tee. You can see the inner needles turning brown.
2nd year needles at the red arrow. New growth at the tip on the right.

Rough Seeding Near Completion

Russ has been drill seeding our rough most of the week. We have about 6 bags of seed left to finish a few more spots. 

A couple interesting tidbits. There are 225,000 seeds in a pound. We will have sown 563 million seeds to improve our rough. In a couple of weeks you can begin to count them.

2 Weeks Left Before Grass Range Tees Close

You have 2 weeks left in our grass range tee season. In an effort to protect our range tees from long term injury, the grass section of the tees will close after October 18th. The turf is beginning to slow its growth and will not be able to recover from divots until next year. Excessive wear going into dormancy could lead to winter injury and delay opening next spring.

The grass portion of the tee will open again next spring when the turf greens up and is actively growing. We appreciate your understanding.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

End of Summer Blues, End of Summer Fairway Height

I guess we all get the end of summer blues with winter looming in front of us. With the cloud of winter facing us, Tuesday was the last day we mowed our fairways at their normal .625" summer height. The fairways are slowing their growth and its times to prepare them for the long winter and early spring ahead. We are raising our mower's height and reducing our mowing frequency to once per week while they are still growing. This will also include our tees and approach areas that are warm season as well. This will allow the turf to thicken and grow slightly longer as it prepares itself for winter. Part of the that preparation is that it is storing some extra energy to get it through dormancy and the cold weather ahead. This will also allow it to grow out of the chemical treatment that we sprayed a couple of weeks ago. It is tolerant to the chemical just like we are tolerant to drinking 6 Mountain Dews in a day but it is probably not the best thing for us if  you know what I mean.

At the same time the Bermuda is taking a substantial hit because of the lack of green leaves which reduces its ability in producing energy for survival. You've probably seen some intermediate in areas turning pretty brown aw well. Most will probably come back because it was only sprayed once but areas such as 10 were sprayed with both the fairway and rough product. Our goal is to remove some of these areas next spring and replace with Zoysia.

Adios summer fairways, you've been great this season. Time to take a well deserved rest!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Drill Seeding Rough

We've been attacking the first cut or two of  Bermuda in our rough with herbicides to reduce its competitiveness over the last month or so. With this reduction means we will need to start some new seedlings of Fescue in areas where we have less than adequate cool season turf, thus its time to start drill seeding our rough. We will be drilling in high traffic rough areas around greens and fairways in an effort to get a stand of grass before winter sets in. It is difficult for young seedlings to make it in our environment with a great deal of shade, mowing/blowing equipment and cart traffic. Hopefully we will get the turf up and growing before the main onslaught of leaves start to fall. By then it will have been fertilized and we should be in good shape for next season. We hope to get this grass up and growing in 10 days or so and look forward to it competing with the Bermuda that survives the winter and from the various chemical treatments it has received. Video below explains our process.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

What Are Those Lines On The Greens?

The lines on the greens are from vertical mowing(verticutting) we performed on the greens on Monday. The mower has approximately 32 blades on each unit with 3 units on the mower. These blades cut into the surface of the green at a setting that we chose. We set the mowers about 1/4" below the surface which is not real deep but will do its job.

Bentgrass from its name and nature grows upward and then sideways as much as we allow it. The bent over growth habit makes it difficult for our mowers to get a clean cut. Vertical mowing helps to improve our overall cut by cutting off longer blades and standing the turf upright. The reduction of longer blades ultimately reduces drag or friction on golf balls improving ball roll out. We topdressed and brushed the greens as well which also helps our mowers make a better cut. The brushing stands the blades up even more and gets the sand down into the surface of the green. The sand protects the crowns which are the place where roots and stems originate. The sand goes down into the channel, mixes with the thatch helping to dilute the total amount of thatch that is accumulated from leaves and roots dying. The verticutting also thins the turf slightly which encourages the plants to generate new leaves.

The excess blades piling up after the mower goes over it.

Longer blades being cut or stood up in preparation for brushing and mowing. As with all cultural practices performed on greens, speed might slow slightly for a couple of days but should improve as we mow and roll. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Red Oak Trees With Issues

Contacted Tim Gamma today regarding Oak trees on property that are showing some significant stress. Some of this occurs from drier conditions that we have faced over the last few weeks. Send him a picture of a large Pin Oak between 8 and 10. He stated its a classic look of Bacterial Leaf Scorch that is effecting Oaks all over the city. The link from Missouri Botanical Garden discusses bacteria and how it effects the tree. Tim said for the most part trees will survive the issue unless it has other significant health issues.

Bacteria moves throughout the tree through the Xylem, Phloem, that is why you see whole limbs being infected from where it attaches to the trunk to the top.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

3rd and Final Fairway Spray on Bermuda Completed Today

Today I finished spraying the fairways of our Bermuda Eradication spray. I also sprayed 4 acres of rough on the front 9 as well this afternoon. I need to spray greens surrounds and the back 9 in the next few days. More reports will come your way as the work is completed.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

You Don't Need Fantasy, You've Got Reality

Marketer, heck yes, when you spend as much time as we do as growers of turf, you want people to see your product being used. Who needs #Fantasyfootball when you as a member of #Glenecho have this! Killer weather and conditions. Set the DVR and come see us. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Course Update and The Lady Open Pictures and Video

Between club championships, group events, outings, and some nice play days, a great deal has been happening on your grounds over the last couple of weeks.

Our last application of our Bermuda Eradication products took place on Wednesday on holes 1-12. Higher winds and play in the mid-morning time frame prevented me from spraying all 18 holes. They will be completed early next week. Along with our last application of spray, we will be raising the height on the fairway turf in the next couple of weeks as we prepare it for winter. I will be watching temperature forecasts and growth rate of the turf to determine when this will occur. The latest would be sometime around the first week of October.

The herbicide called Pylex we used on the rough is doing great work on some of the areas but will need to be applied again next week. We then intend to drill seed Turf-type Fescue into these areas to improve our cool season competition and give us better turf cover. We also need to make another application on our collars, approaches, and green/bunker surrounds. These late season applications will hopefully set up the Bermuda for some winter kill.

We have 5 cool season tees, 2,3,5,10 blue, 11 white and 14 left tee. We had a disaster in crabgrass management on a couple 5,11 and average at best on 2,3 and 10. We used our walking drill seeder and drilled rye grass into all the tees except 2/3 which have a mixture of bent grass and poa annua. The rye-grass should give us improved cover and has damaged the crabgrass. We will definitely be on top of getting these tees sprayed next season to eliminate this issue.

The 8th main tee has shown some improvement over the last few weeks. I deep-tine aerated it 4 times over the last month and we put about 300# of compost on it to improve it over all health. The aeration should help reduce its moisture level over the winter and improve its overall health. We might also close it down some this winter and move play up to the red tee just to reduce traffic. We do this on a number of our smaller tees to help reduce wear and tear when the turf is not growing.

Becky is in the process of replacing the verandah planters with Mums for this fall. It think the planters looked great this summer and added some contrast to this area and the clubhouse in total. We plan on putting some tulips in them for the spring to give some great color to the balcony as life begins to awaken from a long winter's nap.

We will also be evaluating the long range tee for wear and determining a closing date for it sometime in October. I continue to encourage those of you who like to practice to use the long line method of divot removal from the tee than completely clearing a 1 or 2' square area of turf. That spot will not grow back until at least next June if completely removed. We intend to finish placing the netting on the poles and shortening the poles to a  little under 30' before the end of October. Trying to close the range during the season and doing the work with all the other work was not realistic for our crew to manage.

Randy rolling the greens. What are the greens stimping is the question posed. Probably too fast for most of us.

As you may have noticed this past week, the best greens of the season should take place over the next 30 days as long as the rains don't get too heavy.We are looking at completing our deep aeration on the greens the week of October 19th or 26th depending upon weather conditions. This should give you at least 4 weeks of unencumbered joy on this lightning fast greens.(Yes my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek) Cooler temperatures, lower humidity, longer nights all contribute to great ball roll out and many challenges on our greens. We hope many of you take advantage of the next month. The battle of the leaves is usual at a smaller level until the end of October or early November anyway.

We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you out on the course. Lady had a great time at her pool party as did all the dogs that I could see. I'm sure there were some tired pups that night. She only had to growl down one youngster who was just showing her some love but was a little to rambunctious for her taste. After a tough day, the enthusiasm that our pets show to us can give us pause and comfort from the difficulties we sometimes experience during our work time.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

It's Echofest Week

The Echofest, our Men's Premier Member/Member Tournament begins on Friday with 2 rounds and a full Lobster dinner/auction on teams. Saturday includes 2 rounds and Shootout to determine our overall winners. 2 days of food and drinks and 4 rounds of golf. As of yesterday Matt was still looking for a couple of players to even out our field.

Staff is geeked up for this event. Mowing rolling today with s light topdressing and brushing. Hopefully a flood stays away in next couple of days. Temperatures appear to be outstanding for later in the week. Course should be in outstanding shape for this event.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Bermuda Eradication/Expanded To Rough(As you have seen if you've played the course over the holiday)

I mentioned in video posts last week that we were expanding our Bermuda Eradication work to the rough with some newer herbicide chemistry called Pylex. Some might question why would you ugly up areas of the golf course like we have when the course was near perfect.

  • First off, the club spent 1/4 million dollars to install Zoysia 20 years ago. We need to protect that investment. 

  • We've spent well over $10k over the last few years spraying fairways, adding Zoysia and the labor required to install the new sod.

  • The efforts on our fairways must extend into our first cut of rough because Bermuda wants to move into areas of least resistance. It will continue to try to push into fairways. We must push it back or at least keep it at bay. There is probably one grass more aggressive than Bermuda and its poa annua which is most adapted in shade.
  • Bermuda grass is subjected to winter kill in our area about every 5 years or so. This damage leads to delayed green up of our fairways. Reduction of Bermuda in our first cut of rough is also important because of the difficulty in playing out of this grass in the late summer. The less Bermuda, the better playability and for our members and guests.

The last week of August I sprayed varied rates of a product called Pylex from BASF. The rates were from .25 oz/acre on bent grass collars/approaches to 1.5 oz/acre to our main rough. I used our large area spray unit on these areas to insure proper calibration and application. The white color of the leaves is caused by the disruption of chlorophyll production in the plant which gives the plant its green color. It has less activity on cool season grass but there is some activity. Also the secondary herbicide I used also has activity on the cool season. 

Parts of collars on 3,4,5,6,7,9,10,11,12,13,18 were sprayed. 

Rough was sprayed on 1,2,3,4,10,16-18. Bunkers/Green surrounds were sprayed on parts 4,5,7,9,10,11,12,13, and 18. 

This chemistry has serious activity on Zoysia as well which is a warm season grass. Greens collars such as 1-3 will require backpack applications in the next few days because of close proximity of Zoysia directly off the green. The rough was sprayed with an additional herbicide called Turflon which can reduce the amount of white discoloration caused by Pylex but it does have additional activity on the Bermuda and will turn it red. I've sprayed 6 acres of first cut rough and about 1 acre of collars, tees, and green surrounds. 

The rough areas I intend to drill seed Turf Type Fescue into these areas in the next couple of weeks to encourage additional cool season grass and discourage the Bermuda. I will expand the applications to additional rough in the next week to 10 days as well as other green surrounds. We do not have an unlimited supply of this material so don't fear, I will not spray the total course with this material.

This is an area near the dogleg of #1. This was a much lighter rate of Pylex that was applied without the Turflon added. Its having an effect but a slow one at that. You can see the Bermuda beginning to turn white.
This is an area on the right of #1 where I usually dilute and spray extra product out of my tank. You can see the green strip of no activity where I skipped an area in the rough. The cool season rough is tolerant of the spray but the mid-90 temperatures of this week has made its activity on the cool season turf a little more pronounced.

This is the area off the tee on 16 on the left. This is a 1/2  rate of Turflon. With warmer temperatures predicted, I decided to cut the rate in 1/2. More activity on the cool season grass than I wanted but it should calm down over the next few days with rain and cooler temperatures.
This is activity on the 2nd tee on some crabgrass which is cut at 6/10" about twice as tall as our collars. Pylex has activity on multiple grassy and broad leaf weeds which is an added benefit.
Goose grass on 2 tee. Great activity on goose grass.
This is the back of 5 green. The red is Bermuda grass. Most of the white on the right side is activity on the Fescue around this green but I expect this to come out in the next week or so.

This is activity on the right rough on the tennis court side of 18 near the right bunker. It has smacked the Bermuda in the mouth!
This is activity around the right bunker. This was sprayed without the Turflon material.
This is behind 18 green where we have some Bermuda as well.
Part of our Fairway eradication has involved sodding as well. This is over the hill on 10 about 125 yards from the green. Guys removing sod on Thursday and installing new.
In the same area installing new sod.
Removing old spots.
Additional spots waiting for more sod on Friday.
Repaired areas beginning the healing process. Did not remove every little spot of dead Bermuda. Expect the Zoysia to fill in the smaller areas by next season. If we spray and kill more Bermuda next to these areas and larger patches are showing, we will cut them out next season. 180 yards of new Zoysia in this area. 360 total yards laid this week. Well over 20 pallets of sod plus some removed from our nursery as well this season to repair treated and or winter killed Bermuda.