Thursday, July 26, 2012

One year ago today.....

One year ago today we lost significant amounts or turf on #6, 7, & 8 Lake greens, an event that initiated a significant change at Chautauqua Golf Club. Because of this turf loss, we were given permission to remove a large number of trees that had weakened the greens so badly, and today these same greens that had been a perennial problem are as full and strong as any on the golf course.

USGA agronomist, Adam Moeller will be making another full day consultation visit in August, this time on the Hill Course. Operating off his "rule of thumb" of no trees inside cart paths near greens and tees, I would expect several to be marked for removal. After seeing the positive results on the Lake Course, I certainly hope there will not be any opposition to the removal of these trees. Holes where he will without a doubt recommend removals would be #4, 10, 14, 16 & 17 and most likely #7, 9, 15 & 18. None of these areas will require large scale removal as on the Lake Course but all will greatly benefit the playing surfaces of our greens.

A before and after view of #7 green on the Lake Course. This first picture is hard to look at, but it serves as a reminder of how quickly a weak green can fail when Mother Nature decides to be at her nastiest. We have had a summer as difficult or worse as last season and our greens have held up remarkably well.



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What is the black?

I have had several people ask what the black was on the greens last week.

The "black" is algae caused by the rain we received on Thursday followed by warm humid weather. Algae thrives in this type of weather and can be a serious problem thinning out the greens if the weather pattern doesn't change or is left untreated. Fortunately, the weather did change and the algae disappeared as the greens dried out without the need for chemical intervention. I don't like to apply any more plant protectants than is absolutely necessary so I am willing to let a situation like this play itself out to avoid extra applications.

Thanks for the questions and concerns. I enjoy being asked this type of question and want everyone to be as informed as possible.

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Monday, July 2, 2012

All Grown Up

In my 11 seasons here at Chautauqua Golf Club I have only have the privilege of having two interns. One of whom is Jimbo Hayes who is currently the 1st Assistant Superintendent at Congressional Country Club, the site of this past week's AT&T National PGA tournament.

As we all know, thunderstorms rocked parts of the Midwest and Mid Atlantic leaving an absolute mess in the Bethesda area and Congressional Country Club late Friday evening. A storm my wife, Beth, and I experienced first hand as we were sightseeing in DC.

At Jim's invitation we were in town to visit with him, spend the day watching the action at the AT&T National and I was to have the opportunity to ride around with him during the evening course prep. I don't think it needs to be said how those plans turned. Jim insisted, however, that we still stop by the club to see him and get a quick tour that morning.

What we saw, or didn't see, was amazing. By the time we arrived at 11:00 that morning the crew had all in-play areas cleaned up except #18 which they were just starting on. Let me tell you, the praise that Tiger Woods and the rest of the tournament players is giving the crew at Congressional is 100% earned and not just typical tour player hyperbole. Those men and women should be proud of what they have done.

As a turf geek, I must say that just as impressive was the condition of the turf given the number of days in the upper 90's and 100's, especially the greens. They weren't the slightest bit stressed, even under the stress of high heat and tournament conditions.

Jim started with us at Chautauqua as a lanky, blonde haired, smiling, part time employee while attending school at Jamestown Community College and stayed on long enough to decide that golf course management was his future career path. I hope Jim was able to get as much out of us as we were of him. Now, as a grown man in his late twenties, he is still smiling and loving the game of golf as he gives everything he has to Mike Guiffre and Congressional Country Club.

Jim, to say I'm proud wouldn't do it justice. Now get some rest!

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