Thursday, August 4, 2022

Asphalt Overlay, Green Roots and New Concrete

 It was an interesting month of July we've just recently experienced. All-time record high rainfalls at the airport, a little above normal temperatures with 15 days over 90 degrees and have had 7 days this summer over 100 which is the 18th ranked summer of all-time. 

Asphalt Overlay

We were blessed when our asphalt contractor called and asked to come on property a week early. We were initially scheduled for last week which gave us 10" of rain so we are counting our blessings of the early start which helped us complete our work before we were forced to build Noah's Ark!. Over 12,000 linear feet were laid in 4 days. Overall, the work turned out well with just a slight bit of rutting at a couple of spots.

We did have difficulty with a couple areas on 11 and 12 where the existing paving gave way and rutting occurred. It was dug out and once the paving machine and roller went over it the ground was to unstable creating an uneven surface. We are working with the contractor to get this repaired but this work might be put off until the final work is completed on holes 15-18 next season.

As a part of the clean up, we have started picking up the excess asphalt laying on the sides of the paths. Staff went through holes 4-8. We also have major work along the edges of the new paths in a number of areas. We will begin to back fill these areas as weather and time allows. We will be looking at greens and tees first and then move to fairway areas. This work will not be completed until probably the winter and or spring of 2023. 

As mentioned in another social media post, the staff and I are so appreciative and grateful for the funds  being made available to improve our infrastructure to go along with the excellent turf conditions our staff strives to produce. It makes the grass look even better.

#5 New Cart Path

Green Roots

On July 4th, I took a picture of our roots and commented not bad for this date. Well, within a couple of weeks of very high temperatures and heavy rainfall a root disease broke out and helped to shorten our roots. The disease is called Pythium Root Rot. It is always in the soil but is usually in control from a number of different ways. Average temperatures with proper moisture levels in our greens. A spray schedule in the spring with monthly applications to help reduce any outbreaks and humans making sure proper air(needle tining/venting greens) and proper moisture. As these factors potentially get out of balance, the Pythium infects the roots and reduces the grass plants ability to pull in moisture and feed itself. In the end, the greens begin to thin and patches just kind of melt away.

6 inches of roots July 4th. I was happy.

We sent samples off to our Turf grass Pathologist who moved from Mizzou to Purdue and received confirmation of the disease. We drenched in some chemistry and begin to needle them to help get the product down to the root and also help to dry them out. It appears with last weeks heavy rainfall, raising of mowing heights, using walk mowers and cloudy cooler days has helped us tremendously. It appears the weather is going to moderate again this week which will hopefully allow us to get some much needed sand on the greens and brushing. As greens continue to improve we will lower our heights down and begin the work of increasing ball roll out.  


 
The arrows are pointing toward what appears to be dry spots on our greens but to the left is a larger mass forming. The areas look like they are potential dry areas but they are actual moist and wet. We have a moisture meter that gives us a water moisture capacity reading. These reading are then used to determine if we need more water in an area or not.


                                                        After needle tine and rolling.

New Concrete Walk Paths For Driving Ranges

I apologize for the delay in getting the new walk paths installed but the approximate 2000 tons of asphalt needed a home first. We intend to lay the concrete for the paths at the long range this next week and then the path at the short range the following week. This will improve the look of our practice area and reduce the need for mulching and repairing the washed away mulch.

The long range walk path as we anticipated heavy rain overnight. Took off our lower side framing to allow the water to rage into the creek and did not bring the gravel all of the way down so it would stay in place. No gravel needed toward the parking area since there is 20' of asphalt in the foreground that we can pour the concrete upon. 

Hopefully things will dry out the next few days and we will see you on the golf course.










                                                 


Thursday, July 21, 2022

Day 2 Asphalt Overlay

 Had a pretty good day today but a couple issues cropped up. Laid overlay from 15 lake crossing through 13 tee and onto 12 but then it happened. 2” waterline gave way pouring a torrent of water down into the already wet area below the red tee on 12. We were able to get our 3 trucks asphalt out and laid, rerouted the trucks and moved over to 7 and pulled down to red tee on 7. Approximately 3,000 more feet with a little over 5,000 to go. Along with the work comes some additional damage due to the overall condition of the paths in some spots. 

We've been pretty much buried in work the past couple of days and have not had the opportunity to do much roping and staking in areas where the overlay does much up well with the soil around it. Please remember to use caution upon entering and exiting the new cart paths. We appreciate your understanding during this work. 


Blowout above 12 red tee. Luckily the shutoff was nearby and we were able to isolate  fairly quickly but not before hundreds of gallons ran down the hill.

Pulling out from the lake crossing at 15 tee.

Inevitably some damage going down the hill on 11. Brittle old asphalt ultimately won't hold up. Guys are pulling this out as I type and an extra layer of asphalt will be put in place.

Working toward 7 red tee.

Another area we were concerned about coming down hill in front of red tee on 12. Had about 20 trucks trips over this and it gave out. Luckily we routed trucks out a different way from the beginning of the day to reduce wear and tear which would have been much worse.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Day 1 Asphalt Overlay



 We had a good start to our first day of asphalt overlay at Glen Echo. I hope those of you that played were not too inconvenienced as you played your round. Laid about 3000 linear feet of pavement today which included the 5th hole from the main road, all of the 6th hole and off the tee on 7 to the main road. 8 from the main road to the green and all of 9. We did the short right path on 10 from the lake to the tee.

Our plan is to start at 15 tee tomorrow and work back through holes 14 and 13 which is about 1700 feet. I would anticipate getting 12 finished and possibly 11 but we will see. We have a lot of travel and staging of trucks with over a half of mile of travel back to our work area.


Contractor puts a seal coating down on existing asphalt to insure adhesion with the overlaid asphalt.
 
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnk85IYdc7w

 
Our contractor laying the asphalt.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8l6ePkbV-kY&t=30s

                                                 Discussion regarding carts and the new paths.

                                                             

                                                            


Monday, July 18, 2022

Overlay, Holey Moly, Petri Dish, Renovation and Bye Bye Bye

It's been quite a while since I've blogged. three months, a couple Marathons and about 15 pounds less and pff its July. 

Mother Nature was not overly kind to us in the month of June but we survived. High temperatures and a big water bill toward the last 1/2 of June and into July will make for an interesting Financial Statement for the Grounds Department for July. 

We also had a little damage to a couple greens at the beginning of last week but things seem to be turning around and a majority of the spots are healing. We have others greens at various stages of funk and lacking beauty but generally speaking we are in pretty decent shape as we begin another hot stretch of weather over the next 7 to 10 days. 

We've been doing a great deal of hand watering in the mornings and afternoons and at time it appears we are taking a step forward and 2 steps backwards. Many times you think you see some disease, you pull the sample and you send it to your turf pathologist to tell you what you've contracted and what you need to spray. On many occasions there is not a great deal of disease in the sample but Abiotic Stresses are usually the #1 contributing factor in the sample. So Joe, what are abiotic stresses? Common examples of abiotic stresses are created by severe and or adverse changes in one or more of the following conditions: 

  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Rain
  • Wind
  • Latitude
  • Soil Composition
  • Radiation(Sun)

So basically summer in the heartland of Missouri.

Your mind begins to wander as a grass grower during some of these stretches of severe conditions. "Am I seeing real issues or are we just seeing the effects of summer on living and breathing grass"? 

Your first thoughts are "I have to do something but experience has told me if you've done everything possible, the best thing to do is do nothing and allow the abiotic conditions to change to a improving plant health environment." 

Now don't get me wrong, you can't just give up just yet and say its abiotic stress and there is nothing we can do. One has to control water, continue to spray for plant health and be diligent in monitoring but patience is very important. 

CART PATH OVERLAY

Well, its that time again for some overlay on the golf course cart paths. Section 2 with the third coming next season. We will be laying roughly 12,800 feet of asphalt to over the next 5-7 days. Holes included in this run will be the completion of 4 from the Field Bar to the main road and 5-9. Also included will be holes 10 through 15 tee at the lake spillway.

  • Our plans are to begin on Tuesday, July 19th on holes 5-6, 7 tee to main road and 8 approach fairway back around to #9 green and the main road.
  • We will then pull out from the right cart path along 10 lake back to the main road. From the bridge on 10 approach back to the main road, 8 bridge tee back to main road. 
  • 15 tee from the lake bridge back through 13 tee/12 green. 
  • 12 green to the Field Bar, From Bridges at Field bar back to Cart path behind 7. Connect 4 and 7 back to the main road and we are complete.

I will make daily updates on Social Media and this blog.

Myself and staff members will be in the area helping to direct trucks and members/guests as we are working through the project.

Of course after the asphalt has ben completed, our staff will then begin the process of making smooth transitions between the new height of the path and the old grade along the side of the paths. This work will be ongoing through the rest of the summer and into the fall and winter as time allows. Of course cooler temperatures of fall and winter are more conducive to new turf survival but we will do what we can on the most severe drop offs to reduce the potential of accidents and or damage to carts or members in their carts. 

Just a reminder when operating the carts in the new asphalt areas, drive your cart at an angle so the cart wheels enter and exist with all tires hitting separately. This can reduce wear and tear on the new carts and protect our members and guests from injury. It would be wise to reduce your speed at entering and exiting the paths until we have opportunities to get these areas leveled. We will uses stakes and roping and or caution tape to alert you of any excessive differences in the height of the pavement and the exiting grade along the paths. 

 Asphalt Work July 2022 - YouTube

Contractor was out today grinding the areas that will have new overlay so they will butt up against them properly. This allows for a smooth transition between the new and existing asphalt.

HOLEY MOLY

We started fairway aeration a couple of weeks ago and has since been sidelined due to the aerator lift cylinder needing replacement. It has since been repaired so we will try to finish the remaining holes on the front 9, 1-3 and #7 over the next week or so as weather and work responsibilities allow for its completion. 

Below is a video of our aerator a couple of weeks ago. Many holes in those fairways and soil plugs pulled out onto the surface of the fairways. The rain on the weekend of July 9-10 helped clear up the soil on the back 9 and the Sunday  rain assisted to dissolve the existing soil back through the turf of the completed holes on the front 9. 

 Fairway Aerating - YouTube




PETRI DISH

This morning was a Turf grass Pathologists dream morning. High humidity, a layer of fog and warm. As I drove out the paths at Glen Echo this morning there were large patches of disease areas becoming active on the ends of the grass and down at the soil level of the turf. There were many plants with white mycelium which is where fungal disease is usually active. Its usually at the tips of blades due to guttation water coming out of the plants pores which is laden with nutrients that the fungus feed upon  Our superintendent text chain was lit up with photos of various levels of activity early this morning. 

One of the activities that assists in reducing this disease is the actual mowing of the grass and or rolling. These practices help to reduce the wetting time of the leaf which assists in reducing or stopping the additional formation of mycelium. Of course fungicides reduce this impact as well but we cannot afford or have the time to spray all of the rough to reduce this disease activity. We attempt to keep our greens, collars, smaller green and tee surround areas from infection which can look rather unsightly or weaken the plants.

Dollar spot on cool season grass. Phot credit LSU Ag.

TEE RENOVATION

The tee renovations of the blue and red tee on hole 9 and the special event tee for 17 made near the patio I believe turned out looking really good and were ready for play within about 18-20 days after completion. It appears they are holding up well and provide great playing surfaces for the future. We plan on expanding the drop zone tee at 9. Enlarging it slightly and leveling it in the next week or two. Our first effort was a bit rushed and was not the quality of work that we attempt to create when we renovated it last season.

9 Red tee

9 Blue tee


Bye, Bye, Bye


Music and video by NSYNC.

Well, we aren't talking about NSYNC but we are talking bye, bye, bye to the continuous mulching of the walk paths to the practice areas with new brushed concrete coming soon. Moles, washouts from rain were just some of the problems experienced on these paths over the years.

We intended to complete part of the paths this week but the asphalt contractor was available to come a week earlier so that project will get priority and we are on hold. We also have high heat coming in again this week so we have to make sure we have enough staff available to keep an eye on our greens, maintain the course and assist with the asphalt project We hope to start this work next week.
The paths will be 5’ wide and brushed to assist in reducing slipping.
Top photo is short path at long range. Bottom left is long path at long range and bottom right photo is short range. 

Thanks for your time. Come out and see us when you get a chance!




Friday, April 15, 2022

Rob Stewart Visitation

Our friend and former General Manager, Membership Director, Clubhouse Manager and Assistant Golf Professional will have a visitation on April 23, 2022. This will give everyone a chance to see his mother Donna who spent a number of years as our Field Bar attendant. Roland Sanchez our Housekeeping and Men's Locker Room manager has spent many hours with Donna assisting her in finding places for Rob's clothing and other affects. Our staff spent one afternoon moving her to her sisters house in Florissant. Donna could not take some of her furniture so we've been selling some of it on Facebook which we will give to her once its been sold. Donna is doing as best she can but truly misses her son. She said she has received many kind cards from many who have relayed a story to her about Rob that she has truly appreciated. Many gave to the Go Fund Me account that was set up to assist her with moving and placing Rob to rest. I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to assist Donna over the last 3 months.

https://hutchensfuneralhomes.com/obituary/robert-rob-paul-stewart/


     



One of the things Rob loved doing the most was representing the membership of Glen Echo and telling the world about her historical significance to St. Louis and to the game of golf. He is accepting the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame Award from Greg Marecek.

Friday, April 8, 2022

Edge, Vertical, Install, Removal, and Notch

We have not had the greatest weather over the last few weeks. A few dry days, then some cold and wet weather. Staff have been changing the pace more than Adam Wainwright to get things completed for the season at Glen Echo.

EDGING OF BUNKERS

The staff began the arduous task of edging bunkers and moving sand around in them this past week. They completed Holes 1, 3, 4, 7, and 5 with a little more work to be completed. I have a video below which will give you an update of the work and what it takes to get to the finished product which I will bullet point below;

  • Edge the lower side of the bunkers. Use a sharpened sod shovel to reform the edge removing the sod that has grown over the old edges. Shake the excess sand from the sod.
  • Locate the depth of the various areas inside the bunker to determine which areas need sand and which locations need some sand moved to the more shallow areas.
  • Shovel the sand or if there is room use the blade on the bunker rake and push into place.
  • Rake the bunker and move to the next. Took 4 staff members all day to work on about 11 bunkers.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLbqJOOWHfY

Completed



VERTICAL MOWING OF GREENS

This past Monday we took advantage of the golf course being closed and vertically mowed our greens. We have a set of reels that goes on our normal greens mower that mows up and down instead of a lateral mowing that we do on a regular basis. There are 37 blades on each mower that cut straight down into the canopy of the turf. These blades are about 3/4" apart and cut through the top of the surface of the green cutting longer turf blades and pulling up small amount of thatch in the process. We only set our cutters to about a depth of 3/8" so the healing process is pretty quick. The purpose of this practice is to help stand up the blades of grass and cut off the longer leaves of bent grass. Bent grass from its name lays over and can become longer relatively speaking. The longer the blade, the more friction placed on the golf ball which slows the balls roll out.

Once we've vertically mowed, we then use a drag brush to stand the turf up and spread the sand and thatch around on the green. The regular mower than mows the green picking up a majority of the excess leaves and thatch material. First video is of the vertical mowing and 2nd is the regular mowing to clean up the material off of the green. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGZBxOAWgPM

Vertical mower, as you can see the blades are in the vertical position.



 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJZCu9mnPn0


FENCE INSTALL

The fencing along St. Mary's Lane was made up of a lightweight aluminum fencing which is difficult to stand up against a large area mower. Of course its important that our mowers stay away from the fence as well but at times it would bump up against it and stretch it out of shape. We will be installing an 8 gauge galvanized fence from the Wallingford gate down to the entrance to the club. A majority of this work is complete. We need to bring in another roll of fence to complete the project.

Staff stretching the fence along St. Mary's.

Look from the installed side.

TREE MANAGEMENT PLAN

Over the last few weeks, we've removed another 5-6 standing dead Pin Oaks that succumbed to the Wasp Gall that have invaded our property. We still have 2 to remove on the right of 2 and a dead Sycamore along Lucas & Hunt as weather permits. We had hoped to have all ground out stumps filled with soil and covered with sod but have not been able to get this accomplished because of the lack of lengthy periods of dry weather.

NOTCH ON THE BELT

As most of you know, I've been on a journey over the last few months to improve my physical health and along with these efforts my mental health is improved with the release of hormones and other positive effects of the weight loss, proper eating and exercise helped to create.. My participation in the GO! St. Louis Marathon was an accumulation of efforts since December 10th that have led to weight loss of about 33 pounds and exercise in which majority of it included walking of over 300 miles. During the 12 week challenge with over 130 fellow superintendents, vendors and family members, we lost over 2,200 pounds and I lost 33 total but only 23 during the start of the event on January 1. As I continued to push myself to beat personal bests in waling distance and pace, I decided to do the 1/2 Marathon at the end of February. A couple weeks later after walking along with some jogging I went over 16 miles and the die was cast to try for 26.2 miles. 

My desire is for this to be a permanent change in eating and general exercise which. I still have a goal to get down to 170 pounds(11 more to go) and be at my college graduation weight. I appreciate the memberships support of me during the period. Its been a great experience to date.



I hope to see you out on the course soon.




Friday, March 18, 2022

Pound the pavement, Pound sand, You talkin about practice!

 Well, its been quite some time since I've made a blog post so let's get after it. 

POUND THE PAVEMENT

That's been my phrase since I became motivated to change my health regimen at the beginning of December. Thirty pounds lost with a goal of another fifteen over the next few months. Diet generally has changed with throwing wheat out of my intake. Pretty difficult initially when I consumed 6-8 servings a day which a majority of it included bread, donuts and cookies. Active here at the club and on my job but a lack of control and will power with food intake has been an issue forever for me. Hopefully, after discussing potential retirement in just a few years, its time for a permanent change in healthy eating and some regular movement away from the job.


POUND SAND

Over this past week we have brought in over 60 tons of sand to place on and or into our golf greens here at Glen Echo. We contracted with a company to perform the Dryject operation on our greens and begin to do our deep-tine solid aeration using our Verti-drain aerator. We used about 35 tons of sand in completing this operation.


Dryject machine injecting sand with a 3000 psi bead of water and sand into the green about 5". You can see the staff filling 5 gallon buckets of dry sand to load the machine. It takes about 2 buckets or more across the green before it will run out.

3 x 3 spacing after completion. Greens were brushed and rolled after this picture was taken.

We are planning on deep-tine aerating our greens on Monday, March 21st. We do not all of them completed in one day so decided to get some of the greens completed this week. We did greens 15, 17, and 18 on Wednesday and completed greens 5-6, 8-9 on Thursday. The aerating process included the following;
  • Sanding greens ahead to reduce tire rutting
  • Aerate greens
  • Apply soil enrichment fertilizer
  • Blow sand in holes
  • Brush greens and change holes
  • Roll greens and apply an organic fertilizer

Skip apply a heavy coating of sand on the greens before bringing the tractor on the green and punching hole. Takes about 2 loads of sand per green, approximately 2 tons.


Russ using our Verti-drain deep tine aerator on our greens. 3" spacing approximately 7-8" deep with 1/2" tines.

Staff using our new articulating blower and backpacks to move sand into the holes in the greens.

YOU TALKIN ABOUT PRACTICE


Pro shop purchased 8 new mats for long range wet, off season practice area. Our staff power washed the concrete, removed the old mats and installed the new mats. The mats accept a regular tee so you will not have to hit from the rubber tees. We are providing a rubber tee on the mat for anyone who does not want to tee as high as a standard tee. These will also be available for groups to hit from as well during our tournament season. I've included a video regarding the new mats as well as a discussion regarding when will be opening the grass tees. Probably will be at least a month or more. 



Thank you for being a part of this great club. We look forward to the upcoming season of golf here at Glen Echo. Remember you can follow regular daily updates on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook regarding the property we manage for you. I will give you as many details as you can stand.