Friday, October 28, 2011

Blogs I Follow

In my wanderings around cyberspace looking for ideas and information for our blog, I have come across several others that do a wonderful job updating their respective membership.  I visit these sites somewhat frequently looking for ways to improve the Chautauqua Golf Club Maintenance Blog and occasionally steal a topic, idea, or link.  Many of these are not from our immediate area, but are from many areas of the US.  Regardless of where the they are located, golf courses face many of the same challenges - unlevel tees, tree/shade issues, drought, never ending rain, heat, disease pressure, water quality issues, environmental challenges, maintenance practices, etc. 

I have added a list of some of these blogs to the right side just under the Weather Channel.  I encourage you to check them out and see what is going on at other courses around the country.  Check back periodically as I will be updating the list as I find more, some of which may be from courses near your home course when you are not at Chautauqua.

The blog I mentioned in my last post,, is worth checking out as well.  I am certain you will be able to find some information relative to your home club/region.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Where oh where did the Poa go - Turf Diseases | Turf Diseases

This is an article taken from an excellent turf blog done by a group of turfgrass pathologists from around the US and Canada. It is an great article that nicely describes some of the problems we faced this summer up on #6,7, & 8 greens on the Lake Course.

Where oh where did the Poa go - Turf Diseases | Turf Diseases

Friday, September 9, 2011

Aerification Update

It's that time of year again when we begin the very necessary practice of aerifying greens.  I always get the comment "Do you have to do it now?".  And the answer is a very firm "yes, it must be done now".

We have always tried our best to work around the golf schedule and begin aerification in mid to late September to avoid disappointing members and guest.  The downside to this is that we are left with just a few weeks to aerify 36 holes of greens, tees, fairways and a learning center with very little good weather, shorter days and a smaller staff.  When it rains this time of year we not only lose that day  of aerification, but the following 1-3 days as well while things dry back out.

This season we got an early start on the process with both Lake Course tees and greens being done before Labor Day.  This is the ideal time of year for aerification in our region of the country.  The days are still warm enough to dry the course quickly and the nights have started to cool off, lowering the soil temperature to a point where the turf is starting to grow aggressively again and the holes fill over quickly.  The following pictures are from one of the Lake Course greens.  The first picture is of the green after the cores were removed and the second is the same green one week after it was topdressed.  As you can see, the holes are filling over nicely.  If  we had done this in mid to late September, it would take two weeks to get to this point and would have been a disruption for a longer period of time.

We were able to get through the Hill Course greens this week.  #1-8 were deep tined and the rest were done in the traditional manner but the topdressing was rained out yesterday and today.  Hopefully we will be able to get it done early next week before the holes close up too much.  After that we will continue on with Hill Course tees, fairways on both courses, and the learning center.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

USGA Turf Advisory Service Visit

Just got done with and all day Turfgrass Advisory Service (TAS) visit with Adam Moeller of the USGA's Green Section.

We had Adam come in primarily to assess our shade/tree issues on #6, 7, & 8 on the Lake Course and give recommendations for trees to be removed, but turned the day into a full day TAS. We came away with some good suggestions from an agronomic standpoint and a lot of tree suggestions. Overall, a day well spent.

If anyone has any questions about our visit, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tee Leveling

We've started with some tee leveling this month.  We wanted to get started on a few earlier in the season but the weather didn't help us very much. 

Last week we completed the red tee on #13 Hill and that should be back in play by the end of next week.  This week we are doing the gold/red tee on #2 Lake and hope to have it completed before the weekend, and back in play in two weeks.  Next week, weather permitting, we'll head to the gold/red tee on #3 Hill.

To hear the process described, it sounds relatively simple, consisting of three steps: 1) remove sod; 2) level tee; 3) replace sod.  But all three are time consuming, especially steps 2 and 3 that require a large amount of finesse and hand work.

The pictures to the right are of the tee after the sod has been removed and leveling is just starting.  And the other is of the rolls of sod taken off the tee.

On both tees we have been able to enlarge the teeing surface a little bit.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dollar Spot

Last week I mentioned that we had been holding up pretty well against dollar spot.  Well.........that didn't last long.  It sprouted up on the tees last night and with the forecast calling for rain at almost any given time until Thursday, we may see a pretty good outbreak by the time it can get treated.  But, unlike the anthracnose that hit #6, 7, and 8 on the Lake Course,  it is largely superficial at this point and will bounce back quickly after we hit it with a little propiconazole and chlorothalonil followed by another shot of fertilizer. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

What a summer!

Like most regions of the country, it's been quite a summer here in WNY. The long, hot, dry spell has put a tremendous amount of stress on our turf opening the door for anthracnose on #6, 7 & 8 greens on the Lake Course. The rest of the greens have handled it quite well with not so much as a splash of any other diseases out there.

Surprisingly, I have seen almost no dollar spot on tees and fairways yet this year despite having only one preventive application on tees and only the Lake Course fairways treated. We'll see what happens later this summer as the nights get cooler and the dew gets heavier.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Power Outage

We lost power this afternoon and power company says it will be out for 24 hrs. Not good with this heat. Lake Course #6, 7, and 8 greens are taking quite a beating with this heat and lack of roots from the wet spring.

Because of this, we will skip the morning mowing and roll greens instead. This will help ease the stress level for a very long day tomorrow. Normal mowing practices will resume Saturday morning, assuming we have power back.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


It has been a few years since we've had a summer this dry, and the next few days are going to be hot as well. Fortunately not as hot as the Midwest has seen recently (upwards of 110* in some areas), but hot by our standards.

I read on a turfgrass disease blog recently that cool season grass roots pretty much quit growing around 77*F at 4" deep in the soil. Our temp on #13 Lake Course green yesterday was 82*F at 4" deep at 4:00pm. It is going to be a tough stretch for the rest of the summer.

What does the heat this mean for golfers? Not much other than tolerating some daytime irrigation to keep the grass alive until we get some cooler weather. Also, please be patient with some of my boys who are out trying to repair irrigation leaks and wiring issues. They are instructed to be courteous and get out of the way when golfers approach, but please give them a heads up when you are approaching so they know you are there.

Drink lots of water!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Home Lawn Care

As we head into the heat of the summer, be careful of when and how you mow your lawn. Try to keep the height of cut around 3" and, if possible, mow after a rain rather than in the middle of the day during a hot, dry spell. If things are getting shaggy and you can't wait for a rain, then mowing later in the evening is your best choice as it is cooling down and has all night to recover before the next day's heat.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th!

This has been one our better 4th of July weekends for weather in a long time. Hope everyone has had a chance to play.

Enjoy your day!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Welcomed Rain

I can't believe I am saying this, but the rain we've had the last couple days has been a welcome sight and very timely.  We were finally able to get out and get some fertilizer on tees and fairways for the first time this season and, although I've been irrigating, nothing gets it going quite like a good rainfall.

I'm also hoping the showers give the rough a bit of a kick so it can start covering up the brown seed stalks from the poa annua seeding earlier this month. It can really detract from the overall appearance of the course.

There is a fair amount of concern in the region that turfgrass managers may see a fair amount of turf loss if we hit an extended hot dry spell this summer.  As explained in the previous post, I like to firm the course up and let the turf roots chase the water down through the soil profile and it was just this past week that I was able to do this for the season.  The fear is that it may have been too little, too late as the roots were already too shallow this late into the season.  This can be counteracted with more frequent irrigation and hand watering, but this also leads to more compacted soils, potential anaerobic conditions, and a dramatic increase in fungal activity, which leads to an increase in pesticide use.  But for now we'll just have to wait and see what the summer brings.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Little Firm

Every year as we get our first dry spell I like to let the course dry out to let the turf roots chase the water down through the soil profile in an effort to make the course a little more stress resistant during the summer.

Most seasons this is done in May before we get too much play and bothers too many golfers, but due to this season's wet spring, we haven't had a chance to do it until just now. It is an inconvenience and overly firm at the moment, but will be appreciated later on when our turf is toughing it out during the hot, dry weather of July and August.

We will be back to normal before you know it.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Stewart Cink on Twitter yesterday:

USOpen set up at Congressional is very tough. Even the Port-a-johns are on the edges of the slopes.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ties to the US Open at Congressional

As the 2011 US Open starts tomorrow I will be watching even more intently than normal. We have a link to Congressional Country Club in former intern James Hayes. James worked five years at Chautauqua while earning degrees both at JCC and then at SUNY Delhi where he earned his Bachelors in Turfgrass Management.

After his time here at Chautauqua, James did an internship with Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Virginia and, after graduation, on to the crew at Congressional where he has become an Assistant Superintendent.

We are all very proud of Jim and wish him and the rest of the crew at Congressional a wonderful week followed by a week of much needed rest.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Upcoming Maintenance Schedule

With a few days of good weather and lower temperatures coming at us this week, we'll be taking advantage and performing some maintenance practices that have fallen behind due to this spring's weather.

Monday we will be paving the paths on #9 Lake and #18 Hill to eliminate our severe washout problem. Between that and the large 8am shotgun start on the Hill Course, that will pretty much do it or the day.

On the other days we will be topdressing and verticutting greens, applying fertilizer to all areas, venting greens with needle tines on the aerifier, repairing cart paths, etc.

The greens venting will not interfere with putting quality but is greatly needed following the intense rolling and mowing last week during the NJCAA Championships. The venting opens up the soil to allow water and air to do their thing for plant health using 1/4 inch solid tines.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

NJCAA Championship

The course has firmed up nicely for the NJCAA Championship this week. Hard to believe considering all the water we have had this year. Everything has firmed into mid season form and the greens are quick and true providing a nice test for all competitors.

We had around an inch of rain on Tuesday morning, but with some fast and furious work by my crew the course was once again in competition form with only a two hour delay. We got lucky again this morning when a certain strong thunderstorm broke up before it reached Chautauqua County.

A big Thank You goes out to my entire staff for all their hard work in the last two weeks.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Nice Weather

Yesterday was a great drying day and today will be just as good. With the dry weather comes much improved playing conditions. By the end of the day we will have been able to get everything mowed at least once and most of it several times.

We are on our second cutting of the week on rough, even getting over areas that haven't seen a mower in weeks. Fairways have been mown every day this week and look good, with the exception of a small amount of damage from mowers and golf carts. I expect this damage to heal quickly with the heavy turf growth we are currently experiencing.

The greens have been lowered for this morning's mowing. At this point in the season they are usually down to where they will be for the season, but with the greens being as soft as they were I was afraid of mower scalping and losing grass unnecessarily. The wet conditions have also prevented us from doing our spring aerification and applying topdressing on a regular basis and the old push-up greens are a little bumpier than I would like to see them today. With some extra rolling I would expect them to be rolling great for the weekend.

Also with the drier weather, assistant Bill Peterson has been able to address the cart paths by getting some good bank run gravel in the low sloppy areas. This will make a good base for further improvements later this month.

The weather forecast looks great and I hope to see everyone out this weekend.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Looking forward to a few potentially rain free days to get ready for the NJCAA Championship next week and get the rough back under control for the members by the end of this week.

We are stepping up our mowing schedule this week in an effort to get to the conditions we normally enjoy at the end of May.

We are also changing cups less this week to save a few location for next week's NJCAA Championship.

To say it has been tough going this spring is an understatement, but keep in mind that we at least have the opportunity and desire to play golf. Those in Joplin, MO and in the flood zones have much more important things to worry about and our thoughts and prayers go out to them.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

#6 Lake green is now cleared off and the power lines reconnected. There is quite a bit of damage from the branches poking into the ground, but it will be ok after a little TLC.

The new pump station is fantastic! The variable frequency drive (vfd) is even gentler on the pipes than I imagined.

Down Tree

Came to work this morning to find there was no power to the pump house and, after checking, none at the pro shop or community building either. The reason, a tree down on #6 Lake green that also too the power lines down.

There doesn't appear to be significant damage from the power lines burning the turf, but it will take a couple hours to repair the damage left by the tree itself after the power company is able to remove it. If you look closely to the picture below you will be able to see a small pile of ashes left from the power lines. I expect there to be a dead area under the pile that will need to be plugged out and replaced.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The initial start up of the new pump station went well today. I got some funny looks as I drove around turning on sprinklers on an already saturated golf course.

Next step is to get the remaining lines filled and get the leaks buttoned up.

Location:Pump Station Success

Mow, Mow, Mow

We're mowing like crazy today to try to get caught back up. The mowers are still leaving a little bit of mud tracks but it is only going to get worse if we don't get it mowed now.

On a side note, we will be firing up the new pump station for the first time today. We're pretty excited.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

New practice of an Old practice

I was walking the greens the other day and noticed the leaf blades of the turf on our greens were getting a little wide, something unacceptable for good greens.

We have been verticutting regularly enough that I didn't think this would happen, but obviously it still did. So, we've restarted a new, old practice of dragging a brush across the green before mowing to stand the wide, grain-causing leaf blades up. The mowers can then clip off the longer, wider leaf blades. This will thin the greens for a period of time allowing new shoots of finer bladed leaf blades to fill in where the wide blades were. The result is quicker, smoother, more consistent greens that also happen to be healthier. A win-win the whole way around.

Brushing does not replace verticutting, but will be used in conjunction with it as another maintenance tool to keep us where we want to be.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Monday morning provided a little excitement out on #5 Lake Course. Assistant superintendent Bill Peterson found water bubbling up out of the ground in the left rough about 30 yards from the green and a closer inspection found a nice 3 foot deep sink hole about 15 yds down hill from there.

As it turned out the two incidents were unrelated, but in the same area. The water coming out of the ground was caused by a plugged overflow pipe coming from the pond. Bill pulled a couple 8-10" chunks of log out of the pipe, along with the debris caught behind it, and the water was flowing well again.

The sink hole was caused by a rotten piece of galvanized pipe. As you can see in the picture, a good portion of the pipe had rotted away leaving the soil under the pipe exposed to some erosion. All things considered, it could have been a lot worse.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Culvert Repairs

Assistant superintendent Bill Peterson was able to take advantage of the nice weather and repair both culverts under the cart path on #14 Lake Course. Both were so short that the pavement was starting to break away on the edge causing safety issues. One was removed and taken deeper in the ground and one was lengthened on both ends. The first picture shown is an example of the problem. The second picture is from a point part way through the project.

Friday, May 13, 2011

After a week of great weather the course has dried and we were able to catch up on our mowing and trimming to have the course ready for the GBO tournament this weekend. Hope everyone has a chance to get out and play.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Drying Out

It looks like the April showers have finally subsided, at least for the moment. With several consecutive days of warm dry weather we have been able to get some more mowing done. We are certainly behind for this time of year, but expect to be caught up with our mowing by the end of the week.

The constant rain has also slowed our process with some of our projects. We are repairing/replacing some of the culverts under our cart paths and haven't been able to get the equipment out to them due to the unstable and soggy ground. It is now dry enough and assistant superintendent Bill Peterson is able to start up again.

You have seen that we replaced the culvert under the path on #2 Lake Course a few weeks ago, but have not been able to do any finish work with all the rain. We will be able to complete it this week.

Bill is currently on #14 Lake Course replacing/repairing the two culverts between the tees and the fairway. With any luck, he will complete them this week as well.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

This is a picture from the same tee at roughly the same angle but not set as deep in the turf. What hole?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Different Point of View

This picture sums up the perspective from the maintenance staff early last week. It had rained for what seemed like 100 straight days preventing any real on course maintenance other than picking up sticks and debris and the forecast was calling for several more inches over a two day period. We were incredibly fortunate and missed 90% of it and we were able to get out and get greens, tees and fairways knocked back down to a manageable height and the course was quite playable for the weekend.

The picture was taken from a tee on the Lake Course at grass level. The grass on the tee isn't as out of control as it appears. Tees are mowed at 1/2" and only have a couple days growth on them. The camera lens nestled down into the turf canopy for the picture. Can you guess which tee? If I wasn't the one to take the picture I wouldn't have been able to name it.

Friday, April 29, 2011


Carts are out!

It's not dry in all places, but it is firm enough with the use of good judgement.

A couple hints for navigating the course in wet conditions:

* Always look ahead to keep an eye out for puddles and other wet areas to avoid.

* Stay on paths as much as possible.

* Keep to high ground where paths are not available.

* If ruts and worn areas are being created, drive somewhere else.


This spring has been a test of everyone's patience thus far. Mine, my crew's, and of course the golfers. Golfers are having a hard time finding golfable days and are unhappy with carts being kept off the course.

On the maintenance end, we have been making very tough decisions on what we should be doing out on the course. I have had to make a choice between keeping the course looking good and clean, and mowing to keep the turf at a healthy and manageable but leaving mud tracks everywhere. In the end we mowed because the weather forecast called for more rain and if it got any more wet we may not have been able to mow until next week. As it turned out, we were incredibly lucky and avoided the heavy downpours other areas received and, with the strong winds, we have been able to dry out significantly and get some areas mowed twice this week.

Here is a link to a nice article from the USGA explaining the difficulties most golf courses in the Northeast are dealing with. You may have to copy and paste to your browser. It doesn't appear to be coming up as a direct link.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mid April Update

It has been a long tough month here in Chautauqua County.  Temps well below normal and constant rain and snow showers have slowed any major projects.  Everything has been mown and most of the sticks and debris in the rough has been picked up at this point, some areas a second time after last weekend's heavy winds.

Other than being wet and cold, the course looks good and is just waiting for some players.  We have some die hard junior golfers from local HS teams that have been out nearly every day this week, but even the golf nuts on my crew have only been out a couple times this year.

We are replacing the culvert under the cart path on #2 Lake Course this week. The old galvanized pipe was rotting and caving in.  In the attached picture I have circled a hole in the path that kept sinking and was a health hazard.  The old pipe is out and we have replaced it with a double wall plastic pipe that should last another 50 years or more.  The area will be graded and reseeded after it dries out a little.

The new pump station will be here tomorrow morning at 9:00.  We will get it set in place and the pumps attached tomorrow and the electricity hooked up sometime in the next couple weeks.  I expect to be fully operational by May 6th.  I will post a slide show of the whole process from demolition of the old pump house to the final piece of siding put on the new pump house when the project is completed.

Home Lawn Crabgrass Control

Forsythia in bloom, shown above, is an excellent indicator of when to apply your crabgrass prevention weed and feed.

If you do it yourself, please read the label carefully before application and calibrate your spreader to make sure you are putting down the proper rate. More is not always better when it comes to chemical applications and too little will just require more later.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Let's Play

Both courses are mowed, open, and carts are out.  We've had a good week and managed to work around the rain quite nicely. 

Please remember to repair ball marks, replace divots, rake bunkers,etc to keep the course enjoyable for everyone playing behind you.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Driving range open, see Troy in the Pro Shop

Every year the opening of the driving range is delayed due to drainage issues in the landing zone. Balls plug and get lost, ball pickers and mowers get stuck and make a mess, etc.

In an effort to get you on the range earlier we have opened the range at the learning center where the ground is firmer than in the old range.

Stop in the Pro Shop for more information and to get your ball machine tokens.

It's Golf Season!

We really caught a break Monday and Tuesday this week with the rain breaking up as it got to us.  It rained a little, but not enough to slow us down as we get out on the course for "spring cleaning".

As of this post, all Lake Course greens, aprons and tees have been cleared, rolled and mowed, and Lake Course fairways have been cleared and rolled.  Cups have also been changed for the first time this season on the Lake Course and the Hill Course will be done Thursday.  Hill Course greens have been cleared, rolled and mowed and Hill Course fairways have been cleared and some rolled.  Tees will be done Wednesday if we can get lucky with the rain for a third straight day.  There is still a lot of debris in the rough, but that will be cleaned up once the main course areas have been completed.

The course really came through the winter well and is off to a good start for the season, even if we are behind in growing degree days comparatively for the season.

Hope to see everyone out here soon.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I was wrong about getting out on the course by today.  We had a good 4" of snow yesterday.  This afternoon's warm sun melted most of it, but now the course is covered in runoff water and will delay any spring clean up efforts by at least a day.

Carts aren't permitted on the course yet, but will be out as soon as we dry up a little.  Due to the drainage work in the last few years we have been able to get carts out earlier in the season with little damage to the course and I am optimistic that the ground will firm up pretty quickly once we get by our current wet weather pattern.

Monday, April 4, 2011

April Update

April is finally here and, with the exception of a few dark corners, the snow is gone.  Today is upper 50's and rain which should help get some of the frost out of the ground.  Tomorrow is upper 30's with a chance of snow.  But then the forecast starts looking a little more normal and there is hope we can get out on the course for cleanup, rolling and a first mowing on the greens.  Tees, fairways and rough will follow greens.

We are just about done with winter maintenance on the equipment.  The only pieces left are waiting for repair parts to arrive so they can be assembled.

Tee markers, ball washers, etc are all being inspected, repaired and painted, and we have brought in all yardage markers for some updating and painting.  A nice improvement from what they were.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Home Lawn Tips

As the snow melts and your lawn starts to show again, you may notice that the grass looks funny.  It is probably matted and look like it has a gray or brown appearance.  For those of us in the North, it is most likely caused by Gray Snow Mold, a fungus that is enhanced by extended periods of snow or leaf cover.

Aggressive raking to break up and remove this dead leaf tissue will allow more sun and air to get to the live portions of the grass plant and promote quicker recovery of both the health and appearance of your lawn.  Sure it is hard work, but your lawn will thank you later. 

I like to follow this up with a good rolling.  I roll for two reasons: #1, and most obvious, is that it smooths the lawn, and #2 it gently pushes the crown of the turf plant back into the soil where it will be better protected from some of the harsh conditions it will face throughout the year.

Think green!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

It's still March

Last week we enjoyed a brief stint of warm weather and saw most of the snow leave the course.  Some areas snuggled up to the tree line, like #15 Lake and #7 Hill still had a lot of snow, but most other greens were open.

This week March has let us know it is still here with a few inches of snow and temps staying below 30*.  Stay warm and know that warmer times are close.

When the snow finally goes we will be out to clean debris off the course, get it rolled, and get in our first mowing of the year.  I was thinking that we were going to get that done before April 1st like we did last season, but with the snow and cold we are looking at a typical start up in the first or second week of April.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


We're finally starting to see some turf as the rain melts the snow.  From what I have seen so far, we have come through the winter pretty clean on all areas treated with snow mold fungicide.  I was a pretty nervous on how much snow mold fungus we were going to have this spring after losing our traditional funicide to the EPA last fall and, by necessity, using a new combination to get us through to April.  From what I have seen to this point, I am cautiously encouraged that we came through very well, maybe even better than in the past if the rest of the course looks like the portions I can see now.

I expect to much more bare ground by this afternoon and hope to make it out for a quick sloshy inspection tour.  Don't get too excited, though, by tomorrow afternoon we'll be back under 2-4" of snow again.  Let's hope for no more than that.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Snow Melt

No, don't get too excited. While we had a nice round of thunderstorms and rain come through very early Monday morning and a nice warm day yesterday, we still can't see any significant grass.

Flooding was the theme for the day yesterday. Road ditches, streams and ponds were all flooding. So far we managed to escape any major damage, but there is still a lot of snow to come off and we may see some by the time it is done melting.

the only real set back from the heavy runoff is that the irrigation pond filled up faster than the drain line could take it away and we were not able to start digging the pond dike to install the intake line for the new pump station. Hopefully by the end of the week or the beginning of next.

Stay dry!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pump Project Under Way

The irrigation pump replacement project is in full swing. Last week the old pump house was demolished, the old pump station was taken away, and site work has begun in preparation of the new station. Site work will continue as a wet well and intake line are installed and the pad for the new building is set.

We have also taken this opportunity to renovate some pipe routing just outside of the pump station in an effort to improve water flow efficiency and gain some gallons per minute in some of our pipe routes.

I'm not the only one glad to see this project started. My wife is happy to see my "mistress" be replaced in hopes that the new model won't keep me away as much.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Green Industry Show

Last week I had the good fortune to attend the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) Green Industry Show (GIS).

While there I was able to take in some education seminars, most notably a in depth one day class on drainage.  I learned some new techniques and re-learned some information I had forgotten since I graduated 19 years ago.  Good stuff.

Wednesday and Thursday were spent on the trade show gathering information on new products and getting updates on products we currently use.  Usually there is at least one product that really catches my eye, but it didn't seem to be there this year.  The most noticeable difference from the last time I attended nine years ago was the amount of technology used for everything we do.  There are now systems for monitoring equipment and cart fleets for needed maintenance, irrigation control software now allows users to operate, monitor and troubleshoot like never before and from anywhere, and a greens mower operated completely by an on board gps system.

It was nice to be able to attend again and I look forward to going in 2012.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Golf Course Industry : Trees on the golf course

This is a really nice video clip of the problems caused by trees on the golf course.  If you think back on this past summer, you may remember that we have already addressed some of these problems.  We will continue to do so this season as well.

The video is a USGA product printed in the online magazine called "Golf Course Industry".

Please click on the link below to see the video.

Golf Course Industry : Trees on the golf course

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chautauqua Institution on PBS January 31 at 10pm

We have had an increase in visitors on our blog recently that may not know that the Chautauqua Golf Club is a part of the Chautauqua Institution. Some of you may know what The Chautauqua Institution is, but I think it is a reasonable assumption that many of you may not.

The Chautauqua Institution is a community/destination that blends the arts, education, religion, recreation and youth activities into one incredible place during the summer months. Although Chautauqua is open all year, the bulk of its activities are packed into a 9 week "season" during the summer. Any person from any walk of life can find some form of entertainment, recreation or relaxation here at Chautauqua.

It is so diverse that I really cannot describe it in a blog. I encourage you to check out the Chautauqua Institution's website at for a much better description of what it is about. And for more detail tune in to your local PBS station on January 31st at 10pm eastern time for well done documentary about us. If I remember correctly PBS shot over 70 hours of footage to make this one hour film. It should be very interesting.

Friday, January 14, 2011

What? No golf today?

I was going to take a nice scenic picture of all the snow on the course, but received this picture in an email this morning and liked it better.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mid January Update

All is quiet in Chautauqua as the snow continues to fall. The thaw just before New Years was nice to get rid of a lot of snow, but still not enough to be able to see large amounts of bare ground.

Mid January here in the CGC maintenance world means finishing up golf cart winter maintenance and repair and Bill and Dan making the transition back to the main shop to begin work on the equipment. Off season care on golf carts is very repetitive and monotonous and by the time they get through roughly 160 golf carts (rentals, ranger, maintenance, etc), they are anxious to start something new.

Off season maintenance of our equipment has become a little easier in the last couple of years thanks in large part to our policy shift toward buying new equipment instead of used. We have fewer major repairs to do on our mowers since they are considerably newer and Father Time hasn't taken his toll on them yet. We still have several older pieces, and always will, but we are slowly making progress.

What does this mean to you as members and golfers? It means a well maintained golf course. There are fewer breakdowns and unsightly hydraulic leaks which lead to a better kept maintenance schedule.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful offseason.

Monday, January 3, 2011

2010 Year in Review

The 2010 season had a great beginning with a March snow melt and a "first mowing" date of March 31st. This is 2 weeks earlier than we have been able to mow in the nine years I have been at Chautauqua Golf Club. This allowed us to get an early jump on course cleanup and our mowing schedule. The good late season weather from 2009 that allowed for a great leaf cleanup paid off in lessening the amount of work needed this spring.

The early start meant we were able to get an early start on our projects as well. The new blue tee on #15 Lake Course was shaped, irrigated and sodded in time for the NJCAA Championship as was the paving of some cart paths.

Bunker renovation and drainage continued to be a part of our focus and we tackled several with the cooperation of Dennis Dixon of Chautauqua Institution's buildings and Grounds division who lent us the use of their small excavator for several weeks during the season. Thank you, Denny! We were able to drain and/or renovate six bunkers during the season and sand added to several others as well.

Trees were pruned on several holes where they were restricting fair tee shots and the same company, Great Lakes Tree Service, ground several stumps throughout the course.

The woods between #7,8,& 9 Lake Course were thinned. The crew chipped away (no pun intended) at the project for several weeks and the area not only looks better, but will allow more air movement across the area and promote healthier turf on those greens.

After the early good weather, the season turned nasty from a turf health standpoint. Hot, humid weather with little to no rain dominated mid season making sustained turf growth very difficult. With the exception of some pythium (see an earlier post)disease loss in #5 Lake Course fairway, we managed to survive this period relatively good with little turf loss in non-rough areas.

We were also able to continue our trend toward buying new equipment opposed to older used equipment. Buying new has increased our productivity by keeping the equipment on the course instead of in the repair bay of the shop, a trend we intend to continue. This season's purchases included a new rough mower, a bunker rake, and a leaf blower. This fall also brought the news that we were approved to install a newer, larger, and more efficient irrigation pump station in 2011.

The season ended just as it started, with great weather for the respective season. This past November was one of the best in recent memory and several golfers took advantage.

Thank you to everyone for a great and enjoyable 2010 golf season and I look forward to another great season in 2011.