Friday, December 18, 2009

Ralphie the giant doofus

Just a small update on Ralph.  He is a large handsome animal.  What he lacks in good looks he makes up for intelligence.  He is very handsome isn't he?  Oh yeah, he is large as well.

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Friday, December 4, 2009

Winter is here

Well, it looks like the warm weather has been pushed aside by an artic chill.  That means we will be moving to temporary greens as freezing nighttime temperatures become the norm.  We cut temporary cups in the blue nine yesterday in preparation of the forecast.
We are busy working on bunkers on the white course.  Our goal is to reduce the amount of washing-out that we get from rain events, and to improve the drainage capacity in the bunkers.  We are happy with how the project is moving along, and hope to have a video posted soon.  Stay warm,

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Little Ralph

Well, he is growing up.  Ralph is mostly good, sweet, and getting very big.  He reminds me much of Marley and the word he most often hears is "No."  Our training sessions will become more frequent as the winter draws nearer.  I actually considered taking him golfing today, but common sense prevailed.  He loves us even though we are mostly frustrated with him, I wonder why we forgive his flaws, and hold on to those of our family and friends so much that it keeps us from drawing close.  I think today I will try to see the people around me as puppies, trying to grow into there large feet and block heads.

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Number One Crew

If you are wondering what a number one crew looks like, here it is. This is the grounds staff at Briar Ridge Country Club, a great collection of hard workers, caring, and talented individuals. I can't express how lucky I'am to have so many great people to work with. It seems like we have created a unique working atmosphere at Briar, in the summer it is hot, we work long days, and constantly, we are trying to improve. Considering all of the stress and pressure, we still manage to laugh, relax, and enjoy each other. I admire the bonds that the staff has managed to make with each other. The bonds that are made at Briar Ridge cross racial, religious, and socio-economic barriers. Each of the individuals pictured, and the few who are not, all have a deep respect for one another. We have fostered a true team atmosphere in our department. I am proud of all of those who were part of our 2009 staff. I want to thank them all for a great job. They truely make a small private country club in Northwest Indiana one of the finest in the area. I hope I do all I can to make them understand what great people they are and how much I appreciate them.
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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Winter prep

Well, smoking irrigation heads can only mean one thing; winter is approaching in the North.  We are beginning to bring in course amenities, and prepare the course for the winter.  I really think we will see some warm autumn days yet, so don't give up hope.  Ralph is growing up, that is him in the photo.  Ralph is six months now, still eats everything that will fit in his mouth, and probably thinks "no" is the only word in my vocabulary.  He is starting to show signs that he will be a great dog someday, soon I hope.  Look for an article in the Times this weekend about the environmental efforts here at Briar Ridge Country Club, we have many aspects of our operation that we are proud of.  Maybe ralph can get a photo-op, that is of course if he doesn't eat the camera.

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Winter time and golf carts

Well, it looks like it is that time of year again, time to think about snow skiing and ice skating, but for my golfing friends, time to think about storing your golf cart for the winter. I always get questions about the winterizing process, this year I thought I would post a simple checklist for you.

  • Turn the key switch to the “off’ position, remove the key, and leave the forward/reverse switch in the “neutral” position during storage. Then place the tow/run switch in the “tow” position. Note: since the battery warning light does not illuminate with the key in the “off” position and the tow switch in “tow,” do not use the warning light as an indication of the batteries’ charge state.
  • Clean the battery packs, tops and terminals using a battery acid neutralizer (1 cup baking soda per 1 gallon water). Check, clean, tighten and treat battery terminal connections with a battery terminal protector spray. Tighten all battery cable connections.
  • Check the water levels in each battery cell. If water is required, fill the cells to cover the plates, charge the set, and then use distilled water to top off each cell at least ½ inch above the plates or to the level indicator.
  • Leave battery chargers plugged in during storage. If cars are equipped with an onboard computer, the OBC automatically will activate the charger when needed.
  • If the battery charger is left plugged in during extended storage, check the electrolyte level and the charger function at least once a month to ensure that proper operation is maintained. To check charger function, disconnect the DC cord (stationary charger) from the vehicle or the AC cord (onboard charger) from the power source and wait five seconds before reconnecting. The charger is functioning properly if the ammeter indicates current.
  • If AC power is off for seven days or more, the OBC will not function or charge the vehicle again until it has been restarted. To restart the computer, make sure AC power has been restored, disconnect the DC cord (stationary charger) from the vehicle or the AC cord (onboard charger) from the power source, wait five seconds and reconnect.
  • Be sure to check the batteries and charger monthly to maintain the correct water level in the batteries and to ensure the charger is operating correctly during storage.
  • Disconnect the batteries for the storage period if any of the following conditions exist: the charger cannot remain plugged in continuously, AC power will not be available during extended storage, or if electrolyte levels will not be maintained.
  • Check tire pressure and inflate to 18 to 20 PSI, or as called for in the owner’s manual.
  • Perform all semiannual lubrications.
  • Thoroughly clean the front and rear body, seats, battery compartment and underside of vehicle.
  • Make sure the storage facility has adequate outside ventilation.
  • Do not engage the park brake, but secure the car from rolling. (keeps pressure off the brake components)

Don't put it away yet though, I feel optamistic for a bit of Indian summer yet to come.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fall projects

Boy, it sure feels like late fall here.  We are taking advantage of the weather by starting some fall projects early.  Many of the bunkers on the white course are being overhauled.  Drainage projects can be found scattered about, and many other small projects are under way.  The long range forecast calls for temperatures to rise and return to normal in the coming weeks, so don't put those clubs away yet.
-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


The sunrise is always a great part of my day.  We are busy aerifying, spraying fall weeds, topdressing, and of course, regular set-up.  Our closing scramble is this weekend.  Looks like another golf season is in the books.

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Monday, September 21, 2009


We notice that the tee markers are being scattered around the golf course at night.  Strange things routinely happen on the course, since we are in the middle of a housing development.  So, we shrug it off and proceed.  
A couple of days go by, and I notice that the traffic ropes are cut.  The cut on the ropes are perfect, like someone has scissors.
Coyotes.................they don't like to jump the ropes and will chew them in half.  I have witnessed the cutting ability of the canine with the late Henry.  Henry would chew through a nylon lead in a heatbeat.
Sure enough, upon examination of the tee markers, little teeth marks.  The coyotes must have pups and they think my tee markers make great chew toys.  crazy dogs!!!
-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Time to aerify

So it begins, greens aerification has begun.  We started with the white nine today, and will resume next monday with the blue and red nines.  This years process is a little different in that we are attempting to impact to upper layers and create more uniformity in the higher soil profile.  Playability should improve quickly, we have fertilized prior to aerifying and the shallow aerification keeps the surface firm.

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Looks like the end of summer, more to come.
-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Why the summer seems long

I just had to take this photo, I mean...................................
Seriously!!..............This is why in August, usually the second week, I feel tired, cranky, and miserable. We all want to break the rules, right? We would like everyone else to follow them, but when they inconvenience us, we think they don't apply. I don't think this type of thing bothers me as it once did. I have realized that 100% compliance is impossible and unreasonable. If the majority of people follow the restrictions, then policies have served their purpose.

There is still a part of me that is amazed by some of the things I see, but I try to remember the 100% compliance theory. I wonder how my overall happiness would be affected by accepting 80% success, not just at work, but at home and with my friends. I wonder how often I set my expectations for family and friends at unreasonable levels only to be disappointed, not because of the fault of anyone, but simply because we are human beings and we all falter now and then. Today I will be more open to the needs of others, to understand my role in their lives, and the need for us all to be flexible and compassionate.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Papa Smurf

Well, this is me today. No, not because I wore a red hat, and I didn't grow a beard. I did turn a fairly large percentage of my body blue today. I was reminded of why I delegate jobs that require someone to take their time and be careful. Ladies 9-hole guest day is tomorrow. I thought it would be nice to dye a couple of our ponds that were cloudy. I thought of this great idea near the end of the day and figured it would only take a moment. Well, it takes more than a moment and working with concentrated dye is something you need the time to do. It is not a game to rush through. I hope the ponds will look good, I ruined a pair of pants, and I have blue on my forehead, forearms, and both hands. The real kicker is when I thought it would be a good idea to put it into a hand sprayer and spray the ponds. That worked until the nozzle blew off and I was amidst a blue cloud. No good deed goes unpunished.

Papa Smurf.

Image via Wikipedia

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Golf inside the ropes

This could be the coolest round of golf I have ever played. The ropes and stands were up, the tents and grandstands in place, the only thing missing was large galleries. This photo is on 16 at Deere Run. How cool.
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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

President's Cup Winners

Congratulations to the 2009 Briar Ridge President's Cup winners Jim Mohan and Fred Vukas. I hope all the contestants had a great time. I would like to thank Dave Miloshoff and the rest of my staff for a job well done, they did a great job and we received many positive comments.
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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Really, Really??

First day of Presidents cup here at Briar Ridge.  An irrigation head that was supposed to run for 3 minutes, ran for 8 hours.  Where do you think it is located?  The practice tee of course.

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A little help

I really, really, really could use some rain. Today is ladies guest day (the 18-holers) and this weekend is our Presidents cup. I don't want to appear picky, but an inch of slow steady rain today at 1:30pm would be nice.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Home Stretch

Well, this is it. The next six weeks are the toughest on the turf. We will now see if we have grown enough roots to combat the summer stress period. We have prepared all we can and now it is a race to cooler nights and shorter days. Survival for a grass plant does not always mean living through the year. Some of our turf has evolved other methods for survival. Poa annua, or annual bluegrass for example, sets seed and puts energy into the flower stalk to ensure next generations. This is the equivalent of running away and is the last thing I would like the turf doing when the growing gets rough. It is this process which makes Poa so successful at growing in difficult conditions like low growing, shade, and poorly draining. Poa only has to live long enough to leaf out, flower, and set seed, not exactly what I desire growing on my greens.

The next week looks like a good one, moderate rainfall events with seasonally average temperatures. Perfect for getting out with friends and teeing it up!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The best part of my job

Work can be so frustrating, in fact, my next post will probably be about the kids who ran a cart through the bunker last night and tore the lip of it off. But today, I am thankful for the people, most of them anyhow, who I work for. Golf, contrary to what the PGA Tour, club and ball manufacturers, and the USGA want you to think, is not about power, distance, and par. Golf is about fun, creativity, and people. When you put a funny shaped stick in your hand, and try to knock a ball into a hole while avoiding natural obstacles, you should be having fun. Each and every shot is different, being creative and learning new ways to use the crooked stick is how golf should be played. Trying to hit the ball straight and far each time can be frustrating and down right boring. The most satisfying of shots come from a recovery of some sort where the ball flies curving and soaring, running to a safer position on the course. Getting together with friends and laughing is the kind of golf I like to promote. I will never be on the PGA Tour, and I will hit some terrible shots in the future, but I will not let that make me a miserable person to be around. I love to play with friends and members because of the time that is spent getting to know them, and hopefully giving them a great golf experience, even when we are hitting the ball sideways. I love this game, because it shares so much with the philosophy of life. It challenges us to not sweat the small stuff, to be creative with the challenges we face, and to appreciate those around us.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

That strange glowing orb in the sky

We have had a day and a half with no rain, we will see what today brings. Yesterday was the first day in a week that one of our fairways was mown. We have been very cool and wet, now the heat is here along with humidity. This weather is perfect for growing fungus. The flowers seem to be enjoying some warm weather, as well as the mosquitos. Don't forget to arm yourself with bug spray. Remember, bug spray kills turf, please spray yourself on the paths.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mother Nature sent me to my room

This week began very good for us. We managed to get many things done that the rain actually helped us to accomplish. We put down grub control in fairways, made applications of CaSi and Gypsum to greens, fertilized some weak areas, and even aerified greens with pencil tines (tines about the size of, you guessed it....pencils, nice playable surface immediately following. The golf course was looking good and we had caught up with the mowing of rough which some members claimed they had lost balls, clubs, and family members in.
Last night brought about another 1 3/4" of rain. This is where the good beginning met the not-so-good middle. We had just finished putting the bunkers back into shape, and now we are wot pumping them again. We are clearing drains and pushing water. Rain is in the forecast for the next three days, hopefully it misses us.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Day by Day

Everyday is an adventure for my staff and I. We never quite know what we are going to encounter. All types of things throw us curve balls; weather, vandalism, mechanical breakdown, and even human nature. In this business, the only thing that happens rapidly is crop failure. Turf grass can go from green to brown very quickly. When turf death happens, recovery is a slow process ranging from weeks, to months, to even years.

Today, while talking with a young man about a young woman's battle with cancer, I was amazed at his maturity and wisdom. It was comforting to me that there remains well raised young men and women, as the media attempts to disembowel my faith in mankind. This young college student when discussing the future of someone he cares deeply about, was not bitter nor discouraged. The conversation ended as he simply stated, "we just have to take it day by day."

Growing turf for a living is strange, it is a great deal of pressure to produce extreme conditions solely for recreation. I constantly have to remind myself that I am not saving lives out there, it is, in the end, just grass. Golfers, if you know any, get very serious about conditions. They want the greens fast now, the rough cut now, the bunkers fixed now. I cannot fault anyone, my customers (members) have paid their money for the product. They would like it now, not next month, or next year. It is very easy to become influenced to the now pressures, giving in and becoming frustrated at the snails pace that progress and even life's journey trudges on at.

The now pressure slowly creeps into your life if allowed to go unchecked. It appears non-threatening at first., "I better do this right now, or I will forget." Pretty soon, the now slips into your non-work schedule, unhappiness is the first warning sign. Everywhere your critical eye looks is something in need of improvement, picking out the smallest task and accomplishing it gives no or little pleasure for the progress is minuscule compared to the list of to dos.

My job requires a great deal of observation, I am constantly on the lookout of the details gone awry. This approach is mainly critical, looking for the areas in which to improve, so that we can take the course "to the next level," which is another post some other day. Combine the critical eye, with the now syndrome, and you get "everything looks like garbage, and I need it fixed by the end of the day today" disease.

Until a young man speaks to you........

I am guilty of impatience. I want it now, I want to know it will all be OK. I want to live in a house you see in the movies, where friends drop by and everything is in its place. I want the tournament course you see on t.v. that is pristine and perfect. I want to be completely organized, have my golf swing perfect, and a chiseled sculpture of abs.

Sometimes, most times, we can't have it now, and we don't know how things will turn out. We have to wait, be patient, and take it day by day. But, if we pay attention, we can realize that we are not in it alone, the voice of wisdom is spoken to those who listen. We must have faith that it is fine to take it "day by day." That the real joy is in the now and that includes the people not the things that surround us.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rain, Rain, Rain

Massive rainfall swept through Northwest Indiana today. Course is closed all day. This am between five and six-o-clock, rain was pouring down between 5-6 inches an hour. All the bunkers have washed out, but hopefully all the cottonwood mess got knocked off the trees.

Barney has a new friend, his name is Ralphie. Ralphie is quite the handful, I don't know what we were thinking. He is very cute, sleeps alot, I think he will be a great dog.