Friday, June 24, 2016

A Visit From Lady, One of Her Pet Peeves, Where Carts Should Be Entering Fairways!

Time for Lady to make an appearance again. Hello my beautiful girl!  We continue to have carts using walk paths as goat paths from the tee areas to the start of fairways instead of entering the fairway from the side. A video from 3 years ago and current picture of what we are asking are below. This is a pretty simple request that will improve our turf, reduce watering and wear and tear in these areas. 

Carts should enter fairways from the sides as the top 2 arrows demonstrate. Entering from the bottom looks terrible at the least plus look at the wear and tear and weaker turf conditions.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Its Been Interesting, Exhausting, and Just a Wee Bit Frightening

As Asst. Skip reminds us from time to time, don't be scared. Well, the month of June has been interesting but pardon my French, it has scared me just a wee bit with regular member play and the upcoming schedule of events taking place from mid-July and into August. Right now we are in the top five of warmest Junes' on record but it appears there is a break coming by the middle of next week. With predicted highs over the next few days we will have 18 days over 90, our average is 10.

Well, why am I loading up with weather stats? Its not a new month.

June is usually one of the best summer months for ball roll out. I think we were doing pretty well early in the month but then came this blistering weather and things have changed a bit. We needle tined a few weeks ago to open up our greens and allow them to breath a bit. Good thing we did because they sure needed it. Well, we did it again the last couple of days and we have been having to put some serious moisture to our greens in the last 5-6 days. High temperatures, wind and lack of rainfall, .14" in the last 20 days has created some serious challenges for us. Our biggest challenge has been the occurance of Localized Dry Spots(LDS) These are areas of the greens where the sand in non-wettable or hydrophobic(repels water) I won't bore you with more detail but if you want it click the link highlighted above.

We use wetting agents of various types to offset these conditions. They might not completely eliminate the issue but they assist us with getting moisture to the areas as needed. The product I was using this season was not doing the trick so I went out last Monday evening after an outing and sprayed a new combination of products on the greens. This spray required the products to be watered in heavily which we did and we have continued to do with hoses to play catch up with the moisture levels of our greens and get the number of dry spots reduced. Now we slowly have to back the water off and let the greens begin to dry again as we appear to have rounded the corner slightly.

Excellent ball roll out conditions occur usually with drier greens, lower humidty, little rain and plant growth regulation. Smaller leaves creating less friction, the heavier or moisture laiden the air slows roll, lack of rain which keeps flushes of growth from occurring and regulation which also slows growth during the day all contribute to roll out. As you noticed at the US Open on Friday, greens conditions were much different than what they were early in the week than right after the rainfall and improved considerably over the weekend with drying wind and some increase in mowing and rolling activity on the greens to increase speed. I will not sacrifice plant health early in the summer with excessive rolling or double/triple cutting. For regular play and activities, it is not good practice with the lack of infrastucture and age of our greens. As mentioned in the past, I prefer to work at this time in my life than not.

Okay,  you've taken 3-4 paragraphs, what's your point? The point is I'm sure some of you are wondering what's happened to ball roll out in the last 10 days or so. Well, ball roll out went out with the bath water as we had to adjust our practices to meet this early summer stress of heat and no rainfall challenge. Future predictions of a hotter than normal summer also come into play here. We've had to reduce our sand topdressing program for a couple of weeks which improves ball roll because of the high heat Even though we have needle tined the greens and there is not major disruption to the surfaces, it does slow ball roll out. Of course the heat has caused us to modify some of our mowing schedules and we have given the greens a couple of days off last week from mowing and once this week.

My main focus is to get through the full year without turf loss. Can that be done in some difficult circumstances, sure but it will require a gentle hand to our greens from time to time and we are going through a gentle time right now. I would expect a change in the weather next week to more average temperatures will help us improve the quality of the surfaces and ball roll out. The expectation and challenge I place on myself and staff is pretty high. I very much understand the significance of our place in history, our yearly Invitational and the Metropolitan Amateur in which only comes around every 15-20 years. I look over to the right column and see the countdown clocks ticking for a couple big events so yes I get geeked up to with these events.

We are also very much concerned about everyday play here at the club. We have dedicated members still coming out regularly in 95-100 degree heat and challenge this beast of a course with her unlevel lies at every turn. We want the conditions as good as they can be under the existing circumstances.  I appreciate your understanding as we hopefully round the corner next week and become a little more seasonable with our weather and course conditions.

One of our spring and summer touches with nature each season at our urban club is the birth and growth of our yearly Red-tailed Hawklet. She/he had one of our gray squirrels in its clutches.Did not realize it until after I stopped the video and it flew into a tree with its prey.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day out there to all the dads. I hope you have the kind of day that you want and deserve.

If your pop is still here, give him a call, a hug, a kiss on the cheek, a high five, a low five, some knuckles, a noogie, or a hand shake!

I was lucky enough to have my dad for 34 years. He provided me with everything and more! If I'm half the man he was then I have surely accomplished a great deal in my life.
Happy Father's Day Dad! We miss you everyday!!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Excellent Read Regarding Oakmont and Superintendent John Zimmers Jr

Article in this months Golf Course Superintendent Magazine regarding the man who has been in charge of the property over the last 17 years John Zimmers Jr.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Company Truck For Sale

Looking to move the 2005 Company F150.Ad on Craiglist.

Parked next to cart building.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Hydraulic Leaks Around 5 Green on the Surround and in Rough on 6

Our green surround mower had a fitting come loose on the wheel drive around 5 green. The operator went 2 full laps around the rough part of the green when he spotted the leak. In his haste to get back to the shop, he drove across the rough in front of 6 green which will cause further damage. We went out and wiped down the area from any excess fluid.

I would spray it down but a majority of the area is hilly and would become a slippery mess and issue for anyone playing that hole. The area is pretty obvious so just be aware and refrain from stepping on the areas if at all possible. Hopefully, it appears a majority of the oil was up in the leaf layer of the plant and did not come into contact with the crown near the ground. We will have some yellow areas appear in the next couple of days and no doubt some of the turf will die. We will evaluate any turf loss and replace what we need to replace as soon as possible. In the mean time, please watch your step in the left walk off area of the green and around the back and right side as well. I will go out and circle this area as ground under repair. Please take a drop away from the damaged area so we do not transfer any excess oil to the putting green. We wiped the lines down to remove the excess oil but some of the leaves are still very saturated.  I apologize for this inconvenience. We will discuss with the staff regarding what to do when there is another leak which we hope is a long time from now.

Back of 5 green. The arrows are pointing at the oil line. 3-4" wide or so.

Walk off area to the left side of 5 green. Area is a little wider at the bottom. The mower pulled up and backed up doubling the size of the area. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Well, There He Goes Again, Fairway Bermuda Eradication Time Again!

I know, does'nt have a darn thing to do with Bermuda grass. Lady at Invitational 2013 or 2014
Yes, I am going again President Reagan! Time for the 2nd app to the fairways of our Bermuda eradication program. Sprayed 10 acres today through Hole 10. I will spray the remaining fairways on Monday. I did not apply in some weaker areas and intermediates where the Bermuda is too heavy. As you've seen in other posts and other forms of social media, the staff have been laying a great deal of sod in many places to improve our zoysia coverage. We have  a little more to do but for the most part that will end but we will continue to add some sod where we have some especially thin turf areas from our nursery over the next few weeks.

Some might question why spray again? Our fairways are a little weaker than other places in the district.  We have spent a great deal of time, sweat and money in sodding and treating our fairways with chemicals to reduce this weed's competitive edge. It's important to continue the program or the gains we've made will have been wasted.

I would expect the turf to begin to show its effects from the chemical early in the week and the Bermuda will begin to be effected more severely within the next 10-14 days. In about 2 weeks, the Zoysia should begin to change from a lighter green to its normal
green color. We will also be fertilizing our fairways early next week which will encourage the Bermuda to take in the chemical and help the Zoysia return to normal.

We will discontinue spraying because of our busy July schedule and will commence again after the first week of August and the Metropolitan Amateur Championship.

10th Fairway with indicator foam to mark the passes to insure overlap does not occur.