Friday, January 30, 2015

Maple Sap is Flowing at Glen Echo

I tapped a few maple trees to day and Glen Echo and the sap is flowing nicely. Below is a video of this beautiful sight.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Friday Night Dining Message from Rob Stewart

From Rob Stewart regarding Friday night Dining.(editors note, Beth and I came to the wine dinner last Friday and it was excellant!)

 Dining choices at the Club this Friday.

Once again Matthew Daughaday will be presenting a wonderful Wine Dinner for you to enjoy.  Last Friday was a smashing success so you don't want to miss out on this one.  The choice menu will consist of a Kale Salad, Ricotta Gnocchi with Chicken Bolognese, Sous Vide Pork Loin, Grilled Teres Major and much, much more.  The complete menu with wine parings will be online soon.

There will also be an Ala Carte menu offered for those who do not wish to take part in the Wine Dinner. The Wine Dinner will be served in the Living Room with Ala Carte being served in the Olympic Room and McGrew's Pub.  (Go to and make your reservations for either the Wine Dinner or Ala Carte.

Thank you to all who have come out the last few Friday's.  The energy around the Club those evenings is something you don't want to miss out on being a part of.  Also, don't forget to sign up for Valentine's Dinner.  The menu is being finalized by Matthew today.  It could be one of the last times to enjoy his spectacular food before he opens his own restaurant in Maplewood this spring  The club is also taking Valentine's reservations for the club reopening.   
We look forward to seeing you Friday evening!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!

Well, I thought I heard the phone from my bed as I was preparing to get up not too early Sunday morning.  As I got up and realized it was my phone ringing again, I saw the recall number and it was Skip and I thought, Houston we have a problem because I rarely get calls in the winter from work. I called him back and he said I've got water pouring out of the middle of the tennis courts across 18 and 1 fairways.  I'm thinking to myself why would water be coming across that area?  The pumps are shutoff, no irrigation water is in the system. Well, Skip has been here over 30 years and I asked what do you think it is? Well, he went back into his memory and recalled that it could be a water line that was used to keep water on the clay courts in the days before the courts were running automatically. Luckily, the club was closed so he shutoff the water to the clubhouse and I said we will look at it on Monday.

We thought the leak might be only a foot or two deep so they started hand digging this morning. I was working in the office and was planning on coming up to look what they had discovered once they dug it up but before I could get up there, Skip called and said we will need something to dig deeper.  Our backhoe is too large so I went out and rented a smaller track-hoe that would fit into the gate of the tennis court area and would create a smaller footprint as we drove across the courts.  We used plywood to help reduce the track marks as the machine drove to the middle of the court. Skip dug down a few feet and we started to hand dig again. We always try to finish by hand so that the pipe is not damaged further by the bucket.  Russ found an additional cavity deeper into the court and a possible pipe but we needed to dig another 1 1/2' of material out of the hole.  We had to dig nearly 5' into the court when we finally exposed the leak. It was a 45 degree joint that had failed.  It was a 4" line that we believe fed the golf course back in the day. It had to be installed after 1928 when the existing clubhouse was built. There is no shutoff for the line that we are aware of.  I'm assuming there is a shutoff somewhere for that line but it must have been covered by now. We also found the 1 1/2" line about 2' under the surface of the courts that actually fed the tennis courts while we were digging.

We purchased a cap and One-Lok mechanism which helps to hold the cap in place.  Repair made and water is back on.  We will fill the hole back in tomorrow and will have to scrape up the mud from the clay so additional sections of clay are not contaminated.  The gravel subsurface and clay area will have to be patched once the area settles over the next couple of months. It is very difficult to walk on the courts right now because of the freeze/thaw cycles.  The courts hold moisture and become very sloppy during the day. I would expect the court to be in good shape once we put them back into play in May.

You never know what you might find on an nearly 114 year old property.

After the area was dug out. The brown material is the dirt that washed out onto the clay surface from the blowout.

Russ beginning to hand dig down into the small cavern created by the blowout.

More digging.

The actual pipe and the joint that failed.

After cutting out the joint. significant crack around most of the joint.

Repair made by Skip and Tom, water on and not leaking at this time.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Dormant Fairway Pre-emergent/Poa Annua Spray

Our winter pre-emergent/winter weed application is taking place this week.  You will notice a little dye on fairways marking these areas. We will be spraying the warm season tees next week and doing some touch up around greens.

Normally the app is done in February but no snowfall and moderating temperatures pushed our decision a little early. You never know when a big snowfall might come and push the application late into winter. We are using a generic glyphosate product called Prosecutor Pro.  The glyphosate kills poa annua that has emerged since last fall.  Poa has become active when temperatures for a few days in a row go into the upper 40's-50's. The effects on the poa will become more visible in about 2-3 weeks if temperatures stay moderate. The plant begins to yellow and then bronze and dies.

The pre-emergent is called Ronstar(Oxidiazon) which is the best product to use on warm season fairways. It protects our turf from crabgrass/goose grass outbreaks. It is pricier than other products that we use on our rough but it does the least harm to rooting and is the best goose grass control product. Our fairways are probably the next most important area of the course besides greens so the extra expense.

We have sprayed and used granular product in our rough from year to year depending upon our work schedule. Prodiamine is the chemical name of the product that we use and probably most of the lawns are treated with in St. Louis.  We use this around our tees, greens, a lap or two around the rough and in our club lawn/highly visible areas of the club. There are areas that are more out of play that we do not treat because they are out of sight/mind and not necessary to be completely clean. Wall to wall applications are not environmentally nor are they fiscally responsible to be applied.

Our total acreage sprayed is a little over 25 acres plus a couple of acres of tees and warm season surround areas.
Yours truly spraying 2 fairway on Wednesday.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Friday Night Dinner and Special Wine Dinner from Matthew Daughaday/Andrey Ivanov

This sounds pretty tasty for a January Friday night.  Regular Dining Available as well.  Please see Rob's letter which came from an email sent earlier this morning.  
From GM Rob Stewart
Dear Glen Echo member,

This Friday at Glen Echo offers a special treat as guest chef Matthew Daughaday serves up a spectacular four-course dinner complete with wine pairings. The meal promises to be a sneak preview of the new restaurant Daughaday will open later this year with partner and wine expert Andrey Ivanov.

Created just for Glen Echo, the menu will offer two choices from each of the four courses and a wine selected to match. The entire menu is below.  Matt, formerly of Taste restaurant, and Andrey will attend the dinner to talk about the food and wine as well as their new venture. 

This special event starts at 6:30 p.m. and will be served in the Living Room. The cost is $75, with a food-only option offered as well. Seating for the Wine Dinner is limited to the first 72 reservations.  For reservations, please click here

We'll also offer a more casual menu in McGrew's Pub for those not attending the dinner. For dinner reservations for that menu click here.  That menu will feature steaks, seafood, sandwiches, salads and more, so there should be something for everyone at the club this week. We hope to see you here!
Guest Chef Wine Dinner

Course 1

Warm Mushroom Salad
shittake &  oyster mushrooms, goat cheese panna, roasted grapes, walnut vinaigrette and frissé
[2010.  Château Soucherie, "Clos de la Perrières".  Chenin Blanc.  Savenierres, FRA]
Roasted Cauliflower Soup
pickled apples, black pepper croutons, crispy bacon
[2013.  Estate Argyros.  Assyrtiko.  Santorini, GRE]

 Course 2

Red Wine Braised Chicken with house made fettuccini
cremini mushrooms, lardons, parsley and lemon
[2012.  Daniel Bouland, "Delys".  Gamay.  Morgon, FRA]
Maple and Soy Glazed Pork Belly
shaved brussels, preserved lemon, dates
[2012.  Kiralyudvar, "Sec".  Furmint.  Tokaji, HUN]

Course 3

Pan Seared Trout
crispy chili potatoes , kale, roasted peppers, onions and sauce vert
[2012.  Michel Gahier, "La Vigne de Louis".  Trousseau.  Arbois, FRA]
Braised Beef
roasted winter vegetables
[2010.  John Duval, "Plexus".  Grenache, Shiraz, Mataro.  Barossa Valley, AUST]

Course 4

Bittersweet Chocolate Pave
brown buttes caramel, whipped cream, almond croquant
Olive Oil Cake

lemon custard, whipped cream, sugared pistachio

Friday, January 16, 2015

Passing of Beth's Mother Fleta Roth

Fleta and Beth
On Sunday evening at our home, Beth's mother Fleta Roth passed peacefully from a life she lived for 97 years and 11 months.  Fleta, Beth and her two brothers moved to St. Louis from Louisiana in 1952 and lived with her sister and her husband in a house across the street from Norwood Hills East Course until around 1990.

Fleta's family includes 3 children, 9 Grandchildren, 13 Great Grandchildren, and 9 Great Great Grandchildren.

Even though it was time for her to go, you rarely ever heard her mention anything except being determined to continue to live life.  Vision was poor, walking on her own was no more, but she had a strong desire to be on this earth.

Our house is now quite.  Fleta stayed with us for almost exactly one year since leaving rehab and her own apartment, yes that's right her own apartment last year.  No oxygen machines, no busting-ling activity from her aide during the day helping to get Fleta ready to face the world, and especially no Fleta.

She has a great memory of her life and told many stories from long ago.  She could also get digs into you from time to time. Sometimes pissing you off and other times leaving you laughing and shaking your head at how did she come up with that one.  Excuse my phrasing but she was full of 'piss and vinegar' which pushed her to nearly 98 years.

We know she is in a much better place. Even Lady has been walking around looking for Grandma. It's going to take us some time getting back to normal in the Wachter household.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Oops, I jumped the gun!

I mentioned in my most recent post that Matt Daughaday will be cooking the next 3 Friday nights.  I understand now that he will cook the 2nd and 3rd week for our members and guests.  It was mentioned that he will be here the 1st night.  Sorry for the incorrect information.  We will still have a great dinner service available Friday night so come out and see us.  Last years January Friday nights were a smashing success!

Driving Range Tee Amenity Improvements

The Long Range Tee should be drastically improved this year with the leveling and installation of the zoysia sod. Golf Pro Barrett had asked if there were funds available, he would like to see some new bag stands purchased for this season. Cost of these stands can range from $ 100 to well over $ 300 for the top of the line wooden.

We were first thinking we would purchase 10 but after assessing the cost, the staff decided that we could make our own as a part of our winter work projects and could make enough for both tees. We have less than $ 25.00 in materials and a little over 2 hours labor in the project including staining the stands. We inserted a cup holder on the top of the stand as well as some slots to allow clubs to be laid against the stand.

We plan to make 25 and the range tee donations will pay for the cost of the materials. On a daily basis, we will use ten on the long range and about six to eight on the short range tee. The extra stands will give us a full supply for larger events.

The metal stands will still be used at the all weather mats and to supplement the wooden stands if needed. The stands will be brought in each winter to store away and refurbish as necessary for each season. Our prototype is below.  We also intend to replace the dividers that are currently used on the tees. They will be built from slightly larger materials.

The guys cutting the materials in preparation for full production of the stands.

Completed stand, looks great!

Ah, looks even better with that bag/color scheme and a cup holder.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Upcoming January Thaw/Friday Evening Special Dining Service

As many of you have already seen, the forecast for the upcoming weekend appears to be pretty good

Well, that's pretty good air temperature wise but not necessarily good for greens since they are currently frozen.  Most recommend that play does not occur on frozen greens.  In most cases here at Glen Echo when greens are frozen, it is usually too cold for most to play anyway.  The worst condition to play on from a plant health standpoint is when the top 1-2" are thawed and the rest of the green is frozen.  This leads to the surface of the green shifting side to side with each step made and the roots that are growing through the profile being sheered off at the freeze line.  What we then have is a root that was 3-5" long sheered and is only 1-2".

This reduction in root mass does not hurt us now but can create issues for us in the summer when we need fully developed root systems.  The plants must work all spring long to gain the total mass and length that they had going into winter before they were damaged instead of increasing in size and improving in overall health.  We can also get foot imprinting in the greens since they are like sponges during the thawing process and moisture cannot release through the profile.  Heavy imprinting can severely effect green smoothness for weeks at a time if the greens are played upon.

So what are you saying Joe ?  I would expect the course to be open early in this warm up process but potentially being closed the later we go into the weekend because of thawing greens at the surface but frozen below.  I would not be surprised if I do not have to shut the course down on Sunday but we will evaluate the conditions each day to determine the current condition of the greens.  Western facing and or greens in open and receive air movement could thaw quicker than greens that are shaded and or north to east facing due to the angle of the winter sun.

Be assured I will give our members every opportunity to come out and play.

Also a reminder that the club will have a special dinner service the next three Friday evenings; January 16, 23 and 30.  Come out and hit a few golf balls and eat some great food produced by Matthew Daughaday, yes that's Mr and Mrs Daughaday's son who is one of the top Chefs in our city and received great acclaim at TASTE in CWE.  He has left that position and is in the process of opening his own restaurant in 2015.  In the meantime, he will be giving us a treat over the next three weeks.  It would be most helpful if you made a reservation for this special event since the club is closed during the week to assist the staff in planning for the evening. I think Beth and I will be sitting in on these 3 nights!

Monday, January 12, 2015

December Weather Statistics

December weather statistics were pretty good for us
at Glen Echo. Much improved over November with
some good golfing weather during the month.
Better golf weather and the holiday season activity in
the clubhouse led to the club beating budget for the month,
always a good thing going into the club winter shutdown
and showing a positive trend year to date to last year.

Weather Stats
                            Observed    Normal   Depart from Norm   Last year
Avg Maxi                 44.6            42.5                 2.1                      42.6
Avg Min                   33.1            26.9                 6.2                      29.2
Daily Avg                 38.9            34.7                 4.2                      33.4

Rain                         2.72"           2.84"             -0.12"                   1.96"
Snow                          .2"             4.4"               -4.2"                     5.6"

Records for the month

Tied for the 28th warmest December at 38.9.
Tied for 26th least amount of snowfall at .2".
Rainfall for the date of 12/5 of 1.35" was a record for the date that was previously held from 1960 at .90".

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Very Cold Outside, Time for Indoor Prep Work

Extremely cold outside today but still plenty of work to be done on the inside in prep for this season. We make every effort to extend the life of our course amenity materials such as tee markers, ball washers  and other items that are out on the course every year.

The guys are beginning this season's prep work by sanding off the varnish from our tee markers. Once this is completed we are putting a coat of wood stain on them before we dip them in a Marine Spar Varnish to protect them from the elements outside.  The extra Spar Varnish protection gave us 2 years before refurbishing plus gave them a nice, shiny look throughout both seasons.

Russ and Tom sanding off the tee markers yesterday.  With three and sometimes four sets of tees, we have well over 100 markers to clean up.  Jason staining and Lady providing the tough leadership in the background.  Thank goodness I have her.  She works cheap, hamburger at lunch and a couple cookies during the day.
Additional work inside includes painting distance markers(barber polls) on the driving range, dividers for hitting stalls for the grass tees, bag stands for range and benches that are located on each hole. We will probably need to paint the metal tee signs as well which are beginning to lose their paint.  Our plastic ball washers are fading and are looking pretty shabby.  We are going to have them painted professionally giving us many more years of life without having to replace them.

We will also be replacing the Vinylguard (shrink wrap) on our flag sticks/bunker rakes.  The flag poles and bunker rakes are fiberglass.  Over the years, the fiberglass breaks down from the UV rays from the sun and can render these course amenities useless.  The shrink wrap material is heated, shrinks to the surface and creates a renewed smooth surface allowing us to use them well past their normal life time.  The material only costs about  $4 per stick to replace.  A new flag stick is over $18. We also in time must cut off the top flag holder and the ferrule which goes down into the hole on the green.  You can do this once, maybe twice before the poles must be replaced.  Our  flag sticks are 8' and cutting off the top and bottom can remove 4-6" off of a stick which can cause depth perception issues when hitting at the green/flag.  Normally, we replace the bottom ferrules and threaded tops at the same  time which keeps the same consistent height throughout the course and at each green.

Friday, January 2, 2015

A New Year Has Arrived!

A New Year has arrived upon us like a new born child experiencing the world.  Unknowing, eye opening, mysterious, bewildering, amazing, enlightening, and yes at times just plain frustrating as we lie on our back looking out upon the world/new year.

Little by little we figure out how to move our legs/arms, make sounds, roll over, get on our knees, get up to our feet and then walk with help.  The day comes where we take our first steps on our own and then begin running and we never stop.  So goes the life of our Country Club starting anew in 2015, just as a newborn child, we are preparing to get on our feet and begin running for the upcoming year.
As I was going through my twitter feed the other night, I saw a tweet from Chris Brogan who provides leadership development and business strategies for individuals and organizations.  He made a blog post/tweet regarding  my 3 words for 2015 and asked his followers to join in the fun and what could be a thought provoking experience for the beginning of the new year.

A lot of great suggestions, business buzz words of all types but my three words were pretty simple as a golf course superintendent/manager at Glen Echo:


Allow me a few moments to give my thoughts why I chose the three that I did.


As a manager, I must sell the product I'm producing not only to my existing membership and guests but to future members and guests.  It is important that I use my influence to explain what our staff is doing to contribute to your positive experiences at the club.  Positive experiences mean a continued use of the club.  Every time you are out with friends or business associates and Glen Echo is mentioned in some form or fashion, it is my hope that a smile comes to your face and your thoughts go to your next potential experience that you have at the club and that it is shared with all that will listen.  Yes selling does mean increasing our revenue levels.


I was given great example of how to provide service to others at a very young age by my my mother and father while working their jobs as a teacher/nurse and community volunteers.  Very simply put, it is my hope that we provide a level of hospitality and service that will allow you to relax and enjoy the time that you and your family spend at our club.  

In the fall, our members were surveyed and some very valuable feedback was given to us.
Mr. Hardcastle sent out a letter a couple weeks ago with some generalized data regarding the survey. The Board and Strategic Planning Committee have been evaluating and making detailed plans regarding this information.  Additional discussions with membership will be taking place in the near future.

We appreciate the positive comments the golf course received but we did also have some areas of improvement or concern that were mentioned.  You know I'm one that is not satisfied in things staying status quo.  We are always looking at ways to improve our facilities and operation.  I will be discussing the golf course evaluations in future blog posts.  Some we can address fairly quickly and others will take some time and need to be developed in a Master Plan.

It is important that you know we want to meet or exceed every one of your expectations and provide great service in whatever area of the club you are utilizing.


Our members will not be satisfied if we have not first sold a great experience through our efforts as well as providing great service.  Hospitality which is the backbone of our business is defined as being cordial and generous in our treatment of our members/guests.  I know you have many choices on how to spend your discretionary income and I appreciate the fact that you have chosen us.  Of course we must also be trained in proper techniques, dedicated and highly motivated so that our members/guests are completely satisfied.  Laughing and being cheerful/friendly is just a part of being Santa Claus, if you can't deliver the packages to the right houses you will have disappointed many people.

Over the next few months as we begin to make our plans(move our legs), implement our plans(start running) evaluate our progress and make necessary changes/improvements (pick ourselves up after we have fallen), I hope each of you will be encouraged to spend more time with us because you have received the type of hospitality that you deserve from our staff and this great Golf and Country Club.

Great Health and Prosperity to you and your family this year!