Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Course Closing/Opening Decision, Science/Experience Tells Me Next Week

As mentioned in the email blast I sent to all members, I expect the course to remain closed until early next week at the earliest. This is not a set in stone decision. If you are a gambler I'm guessing a 20% chance of opening. I feel the existing freezing weather conditions over the next few days, scientific evidence regarding playing on thawing greens and what I've seen with my six years of experience at Glen Echo leads to this decision. Below is the reasoning that I use in making this most difficult  decision.

At this time, the greens are frozen solid and still have snow/ice on them as do many parts of the course. The snow/ice must melt, the moisture must drain from the surface/thatch and the sand layer must thaw completely before opening this time of year.

When greens begin to thaw, the surface will hold moisture like a sponge.  The thawing must go deep enough into the sand profile allowing the water to evacuate from the thatch/surface area. Walking on soft and water logged surfaces could create severe imprinting of footprints into the surface of the green.  These footprints could lead to bumpy and uneven surface for the first days and or weeks after they occur.

Another issue we face with thawing surfaces and frozen profiles is the potential for root shearing or tearing that can occur. The thawed surface moves under our feet as we walk and the frozen subsurface stays in place. This action can lead to long over wintered roots breaking at or near the surface. Instead of the root beginning its spring growth long and healthy, it must begin anew and use excessive amounts of energy to heal and grow.

A majority of excess energy is stored in the fall to early winter in a grass plant.  This energy is stored in stems and the crown of the plant. A healthy plant uses less energy.  A plant damaged in late winter and or early spring uses more energy than normal and can deplete stored energy. As the heat of summer increases, roots slow and or stop their growth.  A root that is fully mature simply makes for a much better grass plant that can withstand more stress.  A shorter rooted plant is subjected to more water stress, disease incidence and wear and tear issues from the work and play that takes place on its surface..  

Opening greens to early can be deadly for a green consisting of millions of 1/8" tall plants. The plants get walked upon, driven on by equipment, struck with balls from hundred of yards away, mowed, attacked by disease/pests, and pounded by unmerciful heat.

I will check the greens each day over the weekend as they begin to thaw. We still have aeration holes open on the greens that could help us drain more effectively. I appreciate your understanding during this process. Below are a number of holes and greens so you can see where we are so far with our snow/ice cover.  I will provide updated photos on Friday.

10 green

2 green

3 Fwy

3 green

7 green

6 green

9 green

4 green

Monday, March 2, 2015

Weather You Want to See It Or Not, February Stats

Whether you want to see the weather stats or not for February, here they are.
Editors note( post originally said winter on record, made the corrections to February)
10th coldest February on record
10th snowiest February on record
Record high for the day on 2/7 of 71 degrees.  Previous record of 70 from 2009.
Record low maximum of 18 on 2/19. Previous was 19 in 1929.

                              Observed Value   Normal Value  Depart from Normal  Last Year
Avg Max                        36.6                      45.0                      -8.4                     36.5
Avg Min                         16.8                      27.6                    -10.8                     18.3
Mean                              26.7                      36.3                      -9.6                     27.4


   Rain                             1.74                      2.24                    -0.50                    1.48

   Snow                          11.9                        4.3                       7.6                      5.8

Just as a reminder, last year on March 2-4, we had temperatures of 25-7, 24-4 and 39-14 so not a lot of difference in the two years. It will get better, mother nature promises that it will!

Great Effort By PGA National Staff After Storm

Article of the effort and work it took to repair PGA National for Sunday's play.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Good Trip/March Is Coming In Like a Lion

In Like a Lion needless to say will refer to what we will be experiencing over the next day or so with the beginning of March. Cold temperatures this past week have still kept a fairly decent amount of snow on the course and the inches we will receive by Sunday night will impact us even further.  We will be getting a nice day on Tuesday which will help melt some of this stuff away but the rest of the week does not look good until next weekend.  

I'm giving fair warning to you now. I expect that once the snow has left the greens, the course will remain closed until the freeze has come out of them so we are not creating excessive imprinting and root shearing near the surface of our greens during this important time of our greens transitioning from winter to spring.  I will continue to keep you updated during the week with blog posts and twitter messages that can be followed directly on twitter or on the twitter feed at the top right corner of the blog.
The siege of the Alamo began 3 days before we arrived 179 years ago.

Well, I thought my trip to San Antonio for the annual conference would be both great professionally and personally. Nice weather would allow some enjoyment outside during breaks and great evening walks on the Riverwalk going from social functions and back to the hotel. Still warmer than Stl but only one really beautiful day we got to experience.

Professionally the show was excellent. Excellant presentations I saw over a couple of days from my peers as well as researchers from all over the country.  Poa annua, plant defense activators which assist plants in combating diseases, water management and managing course for environmental/business sustainability were just a few of the topics.

Trade show Floor

Shared Hospitality Night with Mississippi Valley Supt Association(STL) and Hear of America Supt Assoc(KC)

I'm in print on the trade show floor. One 100# of bentgrass seed in a contest in Nov/Dec.  Lets hope I'm not forced to use it but only use it in the fall to encourage higher bentgrass populations.

Nice presentation from San Antonia Water System regarding water conservation.

Trade show has lost some of its size from the glory days but large enough with a lot of ideas on equipment and supplies that we might consider using over the next few years. We made a significant equipment purchase 2 years before I arrived and a majority of that equipment is heading into 9 years of age.  Some have aged slowly with lower hours and still has some good life but a few pieces are getting near retirement in their career at Glen Echo.

We will be making purchases over the next few years to spread the impact of our aging fleet on the finances here at Glen Echo.  Staggering purchases keeps everything from aging all at once creating a significant impact on the club's finances. It is not beyond the possibility of purchasing some used equipment with lower hours that will help to reduce the impact to our bottomline. Some of our equipment can cost mid-20's to over $50k for our rough mowers and fairway units.  Just as automobiles, equipment does depreciate in time and some of the initial impact from being new can be offset by pieces purchased from leases after 3-4 years.  Still plenty of life available for us to utilize.

Part of that equipment we will need to replace includes member golf carts which we need to begin rotating newer carts into the fleet over the next few years. We;ve made a substantial battery replacement over the last couple of years and need to put a few years on these batteries to get our value out of the purchase but don't want for them to become too aged where we have to start replacing them for the 2nd time. Carts the size of our fleet can cost upwards of $250k or more.

Well, I better close for now. My weekend and time to go check the parking lot and drive.  A party this evening in the clubhouse and need to make sure the roadways are safe!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Course Update/A Little Trip

Snow still covers the course and with the cold temps over the next couple of days, I would expect the surface to turn hard as a rock. I'm guessing that the course will remain closed this week. I would expect once the snow leaves and the greens begin to thaw that we will be closed until the greens have thawed allowing the moisture to move away from the surface. I will keep you updated as the melting and thawing begins.

I will be spending a few days in San Antonio this week at our National Superintendent Conference.  Education, equipment/supply show, and networking with some of the brightest minds in my field will be at the forefront of my week.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

More details on Fridaynights during Lent

From Reid Warren.

This Friday night marks the start of Glen Echo's always-popular fish fries during Lent. For the next seven Fridays until Easter the club will offer hand-breaded cod fried or baked along with hush puppies, pasta and cole slaw. The price of the fish fry  is $15 and includes unlimited refills.Of course in addition to the Friday night fish fry the club will serve up several other tasty treats each evening. This weekend's menu also includes an herb-crusted veal chop, pan-roasted duck breast, stuffed tilapia, Greek burger, soups, salads and other items. For reservations you can go to the website or call the club .
As a reminder, the club is currently open for lunch and dinner Friday, Saturday and Sunday through the end of March, with a Wednesday night happy hour offered at the bar next month. We'll see you at the club. 

Improvements to the Veranda(upper patio)

The Veranda(upstairs patio) has been pretty much void of color/greenery over the years.  From time to time we would place some pots up there but the space is very large in scale and the pots were too small to fill the space.

We've been in a carpentry mode so I contacted Becky a month or two ago about the potential of us building some planters that could make an impact in this area.  We evaluated it and thought it could provide great improvement to this under utilized area of the club.

The boxes will sit on the large brick/concrete railing around the outside of the veranda.  The planters will begin on the right as you walk out onto the patio.  The first will be 60" long. A second at the corner will be approximately 60" in total length, Three 69" boxes staggered above the willow room and Board Room and a 140" long spectacular double planter will be above what was the Family Room. The boxes will be 13" tall and 17" wide.  Substantial enough to grow nice sized plants and deep enough to prevent the soil from drying out too quickly during the heat of the summer.  We intend to place a automatic water system on each planter to assist Becky in managing these large planters.

The Veranda is a large space that is underutilized at the club.  We believe the boxes and the color of the plant material will not only enhance this area but will also give the clubhouse a great look from the course and or the Marvin Pearson Lane as members and guests drive toward the clubhouse.

Becky plants our urns and other pots on a 3 season schedule.  I think for this season, we will probably plant these for the summer season and will evaluate for additional seasonal plants after we've had a chance to determine what will work best.

Finished planter before staining.  They are 3" taller sitting on the table then what they will be on the railing.  We offset them 3" so the sides will overlap the rail providing some safety for the box as it sits on the wall of the patio.

Tom staining the box.  We used treated cedar to reduce the wood decaying prematurely.

No this is not a coffin, its the inside view of the planter.  60" long.  We lined to planter to protect from decay and also placed 3 drain holes in the bottom with hose attached to catch the water and drain it away from the brick/concrete so it does not stain it.  This planter will be above the ground patio.  We have 3-69" planters for the club lawn side as well as one two section planter which will be 70" a piece for a total of 140".  They should be spectacular. 

Skip and Jason working on the corner planter that will go above the ground patio.