Saturday, April 18, 2015

Good Example of Why We Aerate Greens

A couple of excellent pictures demonstrating why we aerate greens regularly. Some might think it's just to aggravate, hogwash. Gives us the chance to modify a very tight sand profile that was placed on greens for many years in St.Louis  including by yours truly. Great for smooth rolling greens but not so much for draining excess moisture from green profiles because of the small particle size which slows water moving through.

Reduce compaction,Moisture movement, improved rooting and oxygen in the profile are our main goals with aeration.
New sand channel in 11 green looking down into the hole.

Sand channel on a new hole pulled from 11. Look at the beautiful white root which is at top of picture but of course toward the bottom in the green.

Cart Traffic #3 and Other Holes

The picture below illustrates how carts should proceed on a hole from tee. #3 has Bermuda that is slow to establish from last falls spray and also is usually wet in the spring. Our efforts are to get zoysia back into all of these spread of fIrway which requires less traffic. All carts should enter fairways from the side and not straight on from the tee like a highway ramp. Excessive wear occurs plus the look of the course is effected by tire tracks from the tees. We appreciate your cooperation.
The arrows demonstrate the path carts should take. It's is also helpful if carts take different paths to the fairway to reduce excess wear on the entrance paths.

This is another area that should be avoided. Bottom of 10 just past the right cart path. Many land below and too the right. Easy to do, drive around it. Allow it to heal. Created by shade and cart traffic.

Short Range Grass Tee Open

Short range grass tee is open for the season. 6 days a week. We attempt to mow the rough on outside tournament days. If that does not happen due to rain or other circumstances, it will close early on Thursdays so the balls can be picked in preparation for mowing.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Repairing Wet Areas On the Course

Our old golf course develops a number of wet areas in the spring and they slowly begin to dry as rain dissipates during the summer. Sometimes a wet area pops up and it is not a spring but one of the many 4" clay drain lines that cross the course from area to area.

We've had a wet area develop on #7 down in the valley and Skip and Russ did some investigating on Monday. They dug up the area and found out a clay line that carried water from the area of #5 on the course down across #7 was clogged.  It was full of mud and water was leaking out from the joints in the pipe and was coming out at the bottom of the hill. The guys dug up the area and found an old metal water line underneath it which we don't want disturb. Skips experience over the years are that we are not sure if all these old water lines on the course are not possibly still live. We also found another clay tile accidentally when digging along the first clay line. The guys cracked the 2nd clay line which worked in the end of us. The crack in the pipe allowed water from the first line to flow into it showing us that we had a good flowing drain pipe.

Years ago a black drain tile was placed in the swale to remove water from this area. We had originally planned on connecting the clay line running down from 7 cart path to the black line but the finding of the perpendicular clay line changed those plans. With the black drain line exposed we decided to place a new surface drain in this area which will help remove surface water underground quicker and more efficiently. The quicker water gets into the drainage system, the less damage it can do and the drier the turf areas can become.

Major leak coming from old 4" drain tile. This pipe was coming from the cart path on 7.

Water draining out of pipe after clog/dirt was removed from pipe.  A steady stream of water.

The right side of the hole is the black drainage pipe that is laid in the swale of 7. Next to the shovel is another clay tile we found which rand along the black pipe. The hole in the pipe is allowing water to evacuate. We connected the two clay tiles.

After back filling the area. In the foreground is a new surface drain that will  help remove surface water during rainfall. This view is looking toward 7 green. The sod in  this area will need to be replaced.

This is the view looking up toward 7 cart path and the back of 5 tee.  This area was wet on a regular basis because of the clay tile being full of dirt and probably water weeping from the hillside during the wet times.

We've been looking at a couple of wet areas on #3 that travels down from the cart path on #12(spring). We also had a wet spot or two pop up in the fairway but we believe these are all related to the spring. This situation will be corrected using a sump up in the rough above the 2 irrigation control boxes. We will run drain lines to the sump and it will then feed down along the rough of #3 to the lowest area where there is a drain line running through which will evacuate the water. Hopefully this will reduce the amount of water coming out of the hill into the fairway.

Wet area near the cart path on 12 but on the 3 side of the hole. We plan to place a sump in the aera of the first arrow and a drain line will then be trenched toward the 2nd arrow and down to the lowest point on 3 and connect to the existing drain line.

Beginning of the sump dig.  Look at the water filling the hole.

This area is out in the left middle of 3 fairway down from the irrigation boxes. We have shutoff irrigation water to this fairway hoping the spot would dry up but it has not so we eliminated that potential problem. We believe water is going back under the surface and has found another weak point moving back to the surface in the fairway. Our sump drain when completed should help to dry this area if our hunch is correct.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Augusta and Glen Echo

Fellas shot lights out the last few days and a wire to wire winner in Jordan Speith. Augusta looked spectacular as usual.

Rarely do I feel that members try to compare what we are doing here at Glen Echo to what is seen on TV during this special week at the Masters or for that matter any tournament course. Others are not so lucky in my profession with what is called the Augusta Syndrome which members question why we can't do what they do during an event.

The following picture shows a line of fairway mowers at Augusta National. To place things in perspective, there are 14 fairway units/operators trans-versing this beautiful golfing property during tourney week. Including myself, assistant, mechanic and horticulturist, there are 13 of us working the property during what would be called our main season at Glen Echo.
A picture is worth a thousand words.

Lightning, The Safety Of Our Members, Guests and Staff

I was going through a social media site the other night and saw a great post from AccuWeather regarding Lightning Safety. The link gives you the full article but thought I would pass along our procedures we follow at Glen Echo.

We use a service from DTN which supplies us with on-time lightning strikes. It does not determine if lightning can potentially occur but that lightning has actually been identified. It has a standard radar map with  a 20 and 8 mile radius from Glen Echo.

The pro shop and maintenance staff work together when a forecast calls for the potential of thunderstorms which can carry lightning. The maintenance staff are on the outside watching the sky for visible lightning or hearing thunder. The pro shop is monitoring the incoming storm to determine if lightning strikes are being detected inside the alert areas. I usually receive a call or text from the staff alerting me that strikes are moving into the 20 mile area. Working outside gives us a jump on quick hitting storms that are not expected. We will contact the pro shop requesting they look at the radar to see if something is happening when cloud formations appear to be severe.

Usually a storm will show its true colors before it arrives to our location and its pretty obvious everyone should move to a protected site. There are situations when lightning does not occur until it forms overhead and no advance notice is given. There are also occasions when the storm approaches us and dissipates or loses its energy. We are sorry for the inconvenience this may create when you are pulled off the course and then nothing happens but lightning rarely gives 2nd chances. Our jobs are to protect the welfare of members, guests and staff.

Once lightning moves into the 20 mile range, notification is given to myself and staff. I will usually move my staff closer to the maintenance building since some of their equipment is slower. The site is monitored for strikes up to the 8 mile range. Once the 8 mile border is breached, the pro shop will sound a long horn blast from an air horn to evacuate the course. The blast is not the okay to evacuate the course once your finish the hole. The blast is to proceed to safety immediately because lightning strikes have been located within the kill zone which is less than 8 miles for a majority of lightning/human strikes.

The best site to evacuate would be the pro shop and or clubhouse. A secondary/last resort facility would be the Field Bar if you are on the far end of the course. Usually a second horn is sounded at a further area out onto the course so those of you at the far end can here as well. We make every attempt to pick up walking members who are out on the course. If you do not see someone coming to your aid, call the pro shop to make sure someone is on their way for you. Maintenance members in carts on the course are able to pick up members as well. I usually send a group text or we come out and find each individual employee to insure that they are coming in. You might assist our staff as well if you hear the blast and they do not appear to react. They might not of heard the horn sound. All individuals on property are treated the same when it comes to lightning safety. We want everyone safe.

All members, guests and employees should proceed to the closest shelter. Shelter does not include tall trees as this could become a target for lightning!

Once the lightning has cleared and the course is deemed playable, another horn blast will be given to begin play. Bright sun on the back of a storm is not the go ahead to begin play. Please do not place yourself, guests, and staff in danger by beginning play before an all clear is given.  

We usually wait until at least 15 or 20 minutes since the last bolt of lightning and or thunder occurs. Thunder does not occur without lightning, allow me to repeat this in bold letters.


Just because you do not see it does not mean it is not there. A cloud to cloud lightning bolt can become a cloud to ground in the blink of an eye.

Also, remember if heavy rain occurs, the course usually will not open once lightning has passed.  It will reopen when the water has drained down enough so that our playing surfaces are okay for play. Heavy rain will usually close the course for a minimum of 45-60 minutes depending upon amount of rain. This would be another reason if at all possible that golfers should come back to the pro shop but sometimes that is not possible.

Another excellent link for Severe Weather 101. Great questions and answers regarding lightning to help you understand the severity of this deadly force. Over 50% of lightning deaths occur on golf courses and a majority of all lightning deaths are men. Do we not listen, are we too stubborn, nah that can't be it could it? There are more men participating which probably increases our chances.

I tend to be more on the cautious side of lightning and incoming storms.  Large trees, metal objects such as golf clubs and equipment are big targets in attracting lightning and wind which can snap limbs and endanger all of us as well. We appreciate your cooperation during these events.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Non-selective spray, expanded ornamental planting

There is a long triangle of lawn that borders the parking lot near the champions reserved parking spots. This  area has not been in good shape over the last few years. We have decided to remove it and expand the existing ornamental plantings. I have sprayed this area with non-selective and selective grass killers. We have roped off the area and placed signs asking you to not walk through this area. The chemical can transfer from your shoes to the putting green.

The Hollys that were planted in 06-07 have not thrived and will be removed. We will keep the 2 Fosterii Holly trees at the entrance to the walkway. We will remove the sod in the next 10-14 days and the build the bed. We intend to keep the walk paths allowing you to cut through the area to get from the parking lot to the practice green area.