Monday, March 18, 2019

Spring Greens Aeration 'DryJect'

Our spring greens aeration was completed today using a process called DryJect. We contracted with DryJect Tennessee who brought two machines to Glen Echo to do the work. The following process was used for all 19 greens at Glen Echo. Our staff did an excellent job in getting this operation completed today!
  • Greens were mowed to create a smooth surface since we will not be mowing for the next few days to allow the sand to settle into the canopy.
  • 5 gallon buckets of sand were placed in the hopper as it crossed the green and were continuously added as it crossed back and forth across the green until the green was completely aerated.
  • The machine uses a bead of water shot at 3,000 psi into the surface of the green. Simultaneously sand is injected into the water. The sand fills the space created in the green subsurface to a depth of 4-5".
  • Once the sand dried on the green surface, the greens were brushed and holes were changed.
  • Tomorrow, we will rolling the greens to help smooth out any imperfections.
We expect the greens to heal over the next 10-14 days. The holes are completely covered and should not create a great deal of disruption in ball roll out.

This process improves water infiltration/drying of wet areas, root growth, thatch control, gas exchange, smooths the surface of the greens with the excess sand that was brushed around the surface, and helps to protect the crown of the plant which is the area where the roots grown down and leaves grow up.

Trailer used to hold sand
Closer view of the process on each green.

Aerial view of the operation on 15 green. Sand at each side of the green. About 25 tons of sand was used today.


 Sand on top of the machine. The clear tubes allow the kiln dried sand to be injected under the machine and into the green subsurface. The process taking approximately 30 minutes per green more or less.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Weather I'm Right or Whether I'm Wrong

Well, it appears the end might be in sight but I'm skeptical for this weekend. Course still has some snow cover and all greens are covered and frozen. I could not get a spike down past 1/2" in the surface on the greens. Predictions of 7/10" of rain and 60 degrees could give us the final push of snow going away as well as thawed greens.  We will alert you once the thaw has happened.

And by the way, Welcome Back Party in the clubhouse tonight so plenty of activity at the club even if it does not include knocking the little white ball around.

In the meantime, think ah yes

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Weather Stats for February

Thought the weather of February was worse than it was but the first 
week of March has already made me forget about February. Just kind of
an average month of temperatures, a little below normal temperatures
and rain slightly above and snow slightly below. 18 degrees below
normal for the month of March so far. Heading up the scale to more normal 
in a few days, at least we hope. 

                                   VALUE   FROM     VALUE

AVG. MAXIMUM     43.4              45.0    -1.6     47.9
AVG. MINIMUM     26.1              27.6    -1.5     28.0
MEAN             34.8              36.3    -1.5     38.0


TOTALS           3.56              2.24    1.32     5.25

 TOTAL           23.5   1914
 24 HR TOTAL     15.6   02/20/1912 TO 02/21/1912
TOTALS            2.4               4.3    -1.9      0.8
SINCE 7/1        21.8              15.0     6.8      5.5





1.11 IN 1951).

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

2 Tee Renovation

Yesterday, we began the renovation process on #2 white/blue tee. We removed the cool season sod off of the tee surface. We left the zoysia sod on the very front of the tee to allow members to play from that area for a few more days. We have also opened the old winter tee that sits above the 2 oak trees next to the cart path. Once this next batch of cold weather has lifted, we will remove the zoysia sod from the front of the tee and begin to dismantle the front area of the tee. The top foot or more of the tee appears to be good top soil so we will cap the two new teeing areas with this soil. The clay soil underneath will be used to expand the white tee to the right slightly and will be used to fill the back of the blue tee to extend it back another 10 yards or so. The front 15-20 yards of the long runway tee will be removed making two separate tees similar to what we did last spring on #5.

We expect to finish grade completed on the tee and sod placed in early April and plan to open the tee sometime in May.

There are a number of improvements that this new teeing area will provide:

  • Overall tee alignment will be pointed to the up hill side of the fairway and not down the right side of the rough.
  • The surface will be all zoysia which requires very few chemical inputs to grow. It will require a bit more light. The first Pin Oak has thinned considerably and will need to be removed in the next year or two once it has passed on to help give this tee enough light for proper growth.
  • The overall tee will be reduced in total size.
  • The tee will be raised above grade so that water will go around the tee and not flood the tee as it does now after heavier rain fall.
  • We will be able to get a few more yards distance out of the back tee for championship play as needed.

Sod cutter was used to strip off the turf.

Skip then used tractor to pull sod to the center of the tee for removal.

Piled up in the center and used the loader to move into the dump truck to remove from the site.

This is the front of the zoysia part of the tee. Still available for play for a few days until we remove it. Plan to use this sod if it holds together on some false front approaches on 7, 10, 13, 15 where we are removing the bent grass.

Sod removed and soil exposed.We dug a trench toward the back to allow water to drain through the tee. This same area will be larger as we reconstruct the tee but will be where the two tees are separated.

Red arrows pointing toward the temporary tee. The left to right players have had the advantage on this hole. Now, the right handed hook players will have there turn for a couple of months until the tee is ready. Time to learn that strong left hand grip for many of us!

The actual view from the temporary tee.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Between Now and April 1st We Must All Do Our Part

This has been one winter that has forced many of us to leave for warmer climates or dream of warmer climate if you haven't been able to leave the city. We've not been able to open the course on warmer days because of frozen conditions within our greens. We finally opened today for the first time in many weeks. We could have some additional course closed weather days before we begin to mow a great deal but they should be for much shorter intervals than what was experienced over the last month or so.There are a few things that our golfing members could assist us during the next few weeks until the turf begins to firm up and grow and we are fully staffed in April
Middle of 6 White tee concentrated divot wear. Please use the edges when possible.
  • Greens will be very soft and repairing ball marks would be helpful.
  • Divots on tees and fairways could be large due to the soft, wet conditions. Place your divots back in place, even if it breaks apart. Also, step down your depression which will reduce the exposure of roots to cold and or windy conditions. Your competitors would appreciate it as well in case a ball would roll into your smaller stepped down divot. Of course this is helpful during the growing season as well.
  • Tee markers will be placed back on the tees in a few weeks but in the mean time use areas of the tee that appear more full of grass, especially the sides. Please don't place your ball in the middle of a heavily divot spot to make one more divot. Place your tee in an area of less damage.
  • Carts will probably remain on the paths for the near future and I would encourage that you leave all wheels on the path instead of pulling partially off the path. I know if you are in a group with 2 carts, you have to go around a parked cart. If you do pass, it is always best to go on the side of the path away from the fairway so you do not potentially damage rough in the close rough/fairway area. Certain areas of the course are wetter than other areas, especially bottoms of fairways. It might be wise to wait for the group to move instead of burying your cart in a wet spot at the bottom of #12 cart path.
  • Driving ranges are on mats through at least mid-April or later. Please refrain from hitting off the grass tee. If you must hit off grass, please go to another range until we can get our grass growing and open. I don't like to hit off mats as well but its what we have to do since our grass is not actively growing until late April. The less damage we do to our grass now, the quicker we can open in the spring.
Olympic Flame troubleshooting
There is a great deal of work for our staff to complete before we reach the month of April as well. Not a complete listing but some of the main work.
  • Finish all the equipment repairs for tees, driving ranges etc.
  • Clean up of all equipment and checking carts for the season
  • Continued tree removal and tree trimming.
  • Rake and clean up gum balls and other debris
  • Blowing remaining leaves that have dropped and finishing fence leaf removal.
  • Monitoring seed head production on greens and spraying.
  • Dry-ject(aerate) greens March 18-19 45 tons of sand.
  • Aerate rough and root prune trees
  • Finish applying weed grass post and pre-emergent to fairways. tees. Walk spread pre-emergent around greens and apply by fertilizer hauler pre-emergent into rough areas.
  • Repair greens surrounds with sod and other areas of course with sod and seed.
  • Clean up tree stump grindings/sod
  • Repair driving range netting by installing new telephone pole.
  • Changing holes, moving tees a couple times a week as needed.
  • Repairs to outside areas around the clubhouse including walkway lights, patio lighting, pool clean up and lawn areas.
  • Asphalt repairs as needed.
  • Growing all of the plants for this season and Becky will be busy cleaning up beds and planting spring pots around the clubhouse.
  • Clean up in and around field bar]
  • Rebuilding 2 tee
  • Rebuilding the greens nursery
  • Grass part of dam on #9.
  • Divot filling
Repairing and painting driving range bag stands. These were all home made by the staff a couple of years ago.
As you can see, we all have responsibilities that are important for the overall well being of our grand old golf course. We of course first rely upon you to come out and visit us, first and foremost but while you are here, some player etiquette in regards to the course is always appreciated.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Course Conditions

Can't really tell where we will be past Friday right now. Think it will probably be too wet but we still have a couple of days of draining to go. We have some greens completely thawed and others we can't get a probe past the surface. Today's temperatures will help with getting rid of last night's snow/ice pellet cover. Areas east to north facing will probably still have some cover on until Thursday. Greens are full of moisture and will not be able to take much as you can see from the pictures during some of the melt. Water is going off the slopped greens over the surface.

Sloppy wet in almost all other areas on the course, tees, fairways and rough. Generally a sloppy mess everywhere. Of course these are just snap shots in time. Things will get worse as they completely melt away and the water attempts to move off the greens but they will also continue to drain down.

We will evaluate things on Friday for the weekend and will let you know how its going.

7 green

10 green

11 green

12 green

18 green

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Maple Tree Tapping

The process of making Maple Syrup began many years ago for me. My father was a do it all kind of man. He was teacher, coach, and owned a restaurant. During the period of owning a restaurant in the 70's, he had a teacher friend who owned over 1000 acres of land a few miles away from St.Clair. The land was actually closer to Meramac State Park in Sullivan. On this land, I hunted squirrels as a teenager and dad would take me and my brothers deer hunting. My brother Ed still hunts on that property today with family friends.

They had a great deal of Sugar Maple trees on property with that amount of acreage. Dad would tap the trees and would use large cooper cooking kettles to boil the sap down. It would take hours and hours to boil this sap down to golden brown delicious home made maple syrup. Great fun sharing time with his friend Martin telling stories and getting away from the day to day troubles that owning a business can bring.

My 2nd brother Delmar built a sap boiler in shop class. Just a side note Delmar works for an industrial sheet metal company and did a little work on our greenhouse shaping a small vent for the heat system. He's also worked on many District clubhouses installing new duct work in remodeling projects. The shop class was taught by his friend Martin who was the owner of the property dad would extract the maple sap from the trees. The boiler had a large rectangle container on top which would hold up to 100 gallons of sap. This was quite the apparatus. It would also not scorch the sap quite as easily as happened on the open flame and copper pots. Our most successful run of maple syrup involved using this boiler. We had over 4.5 gallons of pure gold made. Before he used the large boiler, we would open a bottle and tell mom the syrup didn't taste very good and mom would say well dad must of scorched this batch.

Okay, enough of the story telling, now on to present day. Both my Brothers Delmar and Superintendent Ed tapped trees with dad over the years and since on their own with dad being gone almost 27 years. I had never been involved in tapping trees. Finally got the bug when I came to Glen Echo and decided I wanted to do something for the membership and I've done it ever since.

There's a nice link to an article on how sap flow works in a tree for those of you who are interested. Tap the link below.

We normally have about a 2 week window to tap trees in our area. Temperatures need to be above 32 degrees during the day and below 32 degrees at night. The transition zone creates pretty big swings in temperatures which are different than the northern or eastern climates where maple syrup production are much higher. If we make a large enough supply, Chef will sometimes make it available for a breakfast buffet during the season or will prepare a entree or dessert with the syrup during the season.

We have about 12 trees tapped including a couple in my backyard which produce a great deal of sap.
Below is a video of the tapping process.


Friday, February 15, 2019

Weather Stats for January

The last few days of the month put us slightly below normal for the month 
temperature wise. We were running a few degrees above normal before the
last few days of the month.

15th snowiest January on record and we had 1 day January 30th 8 degrees 
which was the lowest high temperature for that date which broke the mark 
from 1965. February is trending a couple of degrees below normal temperature 
wise and above normal in moisture.

                 2019              Normal   Diff to Norm     Last Year

AVG. MAXIMUM     38.5              39.9        -1.4             39.6
AVG. MINIMUM     22.9              23.7        -0.8             19.6
MEAN             30.7              31.8        -1.1             29.6


                 2.93              2.40         0.53            1.23


                 12.5               5.6          6.9            1.2

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Verified Closed Thursday, February 14th

Happy Valentine's Day to all the Sweethearts out there. Did verify on a few greens the freeze that is still in the greens. PG, 18 and 2 are from 1" to 1.75" thawed. Checked 1 as well without a video and it is at 1.25".

We have some additional cold and moisture driven weather over the next 6-7 days and will then hopefully get the freeze out of the greens and will be ready to have some members and guests out on the course. On the email version I believe the video does not show up but you can hit the link for the green to see the video.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Same Story Different Week With Course Being Closed and Winter Dormant Zoysia Spray

Well, sorry to be the bearer of bad news but conditions remain  frozen and or thawing here at Glen Echo. Just beginning to thaw today and I only give it a 1/10 of 1% chance of playing on Valentine's Day so I guess some would say there's a chance. Looks like snow and some colder temperatures over the next few days so golf looks like a no go for a bit longer.

We were out spraying some fairways, tees and approaches with our dormant herbicide spray. The turf must be dormant because we are spraying a non-selective product that injures and or kills green weeds and or grass. We are trying to kill any poa annua that has germinated on these surfaces and it also will kill any knot weed that has germinated. It appears the knot weed is still sleeping from the cold weather. If allowed to grow in the fairways during the spring, poa annua seeds profusely adding the more plants and can get rather clumpy before the fairway units beginning mowing. It also can invade more shaded areas and slow the health and progress of the zoysia Poa becomes active pretty quickly during warmer, sunny weather in the winter to early spring. A few days in a row over 45-50 and it becomes active. The plants will absorb the spray from the warmer weather as it becomes more active. Even if the temperatures turn cold, the chemistry is designed to stick on the leave of the plant and when it becomes active a few days later it will begin to kill the plant. The spray will show up over the next 2-3 weeks by yellowing the plants and will turn orange, brown and then die. Poa annua has a long growing period and reproduces millions of seeds. It loves moisture and shaded areas for the most part but will live in full sun is well so it is very adaptive.

We put a second product in the tank that helps to prevent crab grass and goose grass which germinate into the spring and summer. The product we utilize binds itself to the soil which allows it to be sprayed now and is on the soil surface when needed during April,  throughout the summer. Microbial activity begins to break down the product by the end of the summer but the zoysia is rather tight and keeps the soil surface shaded. Thinner areas of zoysia can develop some weed infestations because the soil is exposed to light and more moisture which can germinate weeds. We try to place enough product on the surfaces that will prevent weeds from germinating through August into September.

We were able to spray holes 1-7 today and the tees associated with those holes.

Below is a video with discussion regarding this spray application.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Week of February 12th Course Conditions

I would expect the course to remain closed this week due to the excessive moisture we have received and the frozen conditions. The warming trend will be short lived with another cold snap beginning Friday and continuing through the weekend. We will continue to monitor conditions on a daily basis.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Course Closed Through Saturday, February 2nd

The golf course will remain closed through Saturday, February 2nd. We will evaluate Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning to see if conditions allow for opening on Sunday. The Driving Range will be open to come out and hit some balls during the weekend. I've been in contact with others clubs in town and some are closed and a few others are open but are on temporary greens.

 I've posted 3 videos below which show our situation on various greens throughout the grounds as of 1 PM Friday.

Practice Green

7 Green

11 Green

Monday, January 28, 2019

A Big Blast From the North and the Impending Thaw, How That Effects Golf Green Health

We've had above normal temperatures for the most part during the first 28 days of January with nights being well above normal and day temperatures a couple degrees above. This next blast of cold air the last four days of this month will bring our temperatures closer to average.

I'm sure everyone is anticipating the impending cold that will be followed by a warm up in the forecast below. I believe we have a 1 in 4 chance getting the course open this weekend.

Before we get too excited for a potential course opening this weekend, allow me a moment to discuss the yearly freeze/thaw issue that takes place with our greens.

We are getting to the time of year, probably a month or less before our first mowing of the winter/spring season. With cold temperatures like we will be experiencing over the next few days and no snow cover, the freeze is going to move pretty deep into our sand layer of our greens. The greens need to thaw at least 2-3" and the top of the green surface must be free of significant moisture.

Consequences of Greens Not Being Thawed Deep Enough
As the greens begin to thaw just an inch or two, the thawed part of the green can shift from golfers walking causing the area where the thaw and freeze meet to break or shear the roots off. Our roots this time of year are about 4" deep on average.  

Reducing the length of the roots forces the plant to regenerate new roots in the spring forcing it to catch up with non-damaged plants. Roots not damaged are growing deeper and branching more which  contributes to a healthier plant throughout the spring  and into the summer. The damaged plants see a total surface area of the roots reduced from this damage. The damaged plants must play catch up the rest of the spring and into the summer. If summer conditions arrive early like they did last year, there is less growth potential available for recovering plants and no storage of excess energy. 

The more total area of rooting the plant has, the more energy and moisture they can absorb throughout the spring and into the summer. Usually excess energy is produced and the plants can store some of this excess energy within the plant. The plants store this energy for use during the summer when growth slows and photosynthesis does not produce enough energy to maintain a healthy plant. The longer the plant has energy, the better it can ward off the severe stresses of our 
St. Louis summers. 

Consequences of Water Near the Surface
If the greens have not thawed deep enough to allow the moisture to move through the profile, the greens become spongy and very soft. During late winter play, if we allow play on greens that are very soft and spongy, foot traffic imprints into the surface of the green and may take a couple of weeks for it to come out. This condition can also contribute to large ball marks and damage from just walking on the green. There is also some potential for equipment potentially scalping the surface if this thaw occurs closer to the end of February. We always try to roll our greens in early spring in an effort to reduce the potential for scalping from puffiness and or foot imprinting.

The staff will be monitoring our surfaces and will alert the pro shop when play will be allowed on the golf course including the practice green. For those of you who like odds, I would place our chances of opening at 25%.

The staff has spent the last few days splitting wood, cleaning up tee markers, refurbishing some tables for Golf Pro Mike, cart maintenance, and checking out the internal workings of the ball washers. I've attached a few pictures of their work below.

Sanded and stained but not quite finished.

Shiny and new!

3 Tables in all were refurbished.

Sanding of old material from tee markers

Beginning the coating process.

The walk on area from the pro shop to the practice green was renovated
this past fall. We prepared a little taller stake to attach our nylon rope which will
 allow us to rotate the entrance and exit area from the practice green. Proper
 water, soil structure, aeration, rotating the wear pattern and removing the large sweet
gum should  help improve this area tremendously.
Guts pulled out of the ball washers and being cleaned. Washers were professionally
repainted 4 years ago and look like new  to this day.

Cleaning up the chairs next to the practice green.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Plans for 2 Tee Renovation

Over the next few months, we will be renovating the 2nd tee at Glen Echo. There are a number of issues with this tee that need to be addressed.

  1.  It's alignment is pointed down the right side of the hole which makes it extremely difficult because as you know the hole slopes significantly from left to right. 
    Red arrow shows existing line of the tee. Green arrows shows the approximate direction the tee will be pointed.

  1. The tee surface is cool season grass which creates more inputs of resources; water, fertilizer and fungicides.
  2. It is at grade which allows water from above it to over run it causing less than ideal softness during rainy periods.
  3. It is much larger than necessary for our amount of play the course receives. This also takes more time in maintaining.
The plan is to turn the one long tee into 2 tees similar to what we did on #5 last spring. There will be a swale between the 2 tees to allow water to go around the tees and the tees will be pointed in the proper alignment.

The staff will be removing the front part of the tee which is currently covered in zoysia. Approximately 10-15 yards. This tee height zoysia will be cut off and used to replace the false bent grass front on #7, #10, and #13 until it is gone. The bent grass sod will be used to replace sections of collars that are damaged.

We will strip off the top 6-8 inches of soil and save it to cap the new tee services raising the level of the tees-6-8" so that it will be above the cart path next to the tee helping to move the water around the tee. We will of course strip off the remaining sod on the tee service and dispose of it.  Once we've stripped off the zoysia and removed the growing layer of soil, we will then remove the remaining soil. 

We intend to expand the blue tee back about 10 yards or so and will have to expand out the right side of the two new tees which will help us align the tees properly and also make them slightly wider. We will make the egress to the tees simple for our players and easy to access. The surrounds of the tee will be laid in fescue which will give great contrast to the new tee.

The pics below are a general idea of our plans. Ultimately we will have two tees approximately 17-20 yards in length and about 8 yards wide. We will be removing some of the scrub trees or pruning along the metro side to assist with afternoon sunshine for the zoysia grass. I mentioned to the green committee that the first Pin Oak on the left side of the tee has become compromised and appears it will expire in the next year. The 2nd tree appears to be in good shape and should not create any issues for the tee. It's limbs have been raised high enough to allow early day sun.

The tee should be completed by early April and will be open for play we hope by early May. There is a winter tee that is above the 2 large pin oaks about 40' from the existing tee that will be used once the renovation begins.

Okay, better quit for now. Gotta go get some bread, milk and eggs for the upcoming snow apocalypse!

White tee

Blue Tee