Sunday, July 31, 2011

Put on the brakes

To this weather already! Not to the joyriders. Soil probes revealed to us this am, that the water is not moving very fast. We want to see the greens dry up at the surface. Firmer surfaces mean smoother surfaces. We are noticing more ball mark scars an foot-printing on the greens. Saturated soil surfaces also mean that the roots have limited air.......not good. A good shallow spiking may be in order this week. Our spiker is a tremendous tool, it allows the surface to "breathe", and gives us a playable surface with one rolling. I really love that machine. Good luck to the Presidents cup participants, come on out for the shootout.
Congrats to Geoff and Meghan Walker, and Terry and Sharon Werner on on more fledgling!
How you feeling today T?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Soft conditions, major divots, ugly ball marks.

We have received several small rain events, while not a single one was particularly earth shattering, their combined effect is significant.
The next video in our series will talk about divots, how to repair with sand, and when to replace. Look for a link on the right hand side of the world of turf blog, or on the briar ridge turfgrass Facebook page.
The soft conditions require extra care. Please make turns gentle in the fairways, and avoid low areas, and saturated areas along the paths.
Please avoid practicing on the course in conditions like these. Soft conditions mean extra large divots, as you can see in the photo. This damage looks like damage you would see from a scramble, but is fresh from yesterday (I know because I smelled it).
Have a great Saturday,

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thurs. Showers off and on

It is looking like we may have the slightest delay, if we do, it will not be significant based on the current radar map. The problem is that the atmosphere appears to be unstable until about 9:00am, so predicting is very difficult. It does appear that the chances of rain after 10am reduces greatly (20%).
this continues to be wonderful weather if you are a fungus that targets turf. We look forward to lower temperatures, but right now they don't exist on the ten day forecast.
My hair is already grey enough,

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Jacket time

You know it's been warm when.........68 degrees feels cold. That's right, I'm freezing right now. Although we would like to see nighttime lows below 65, I will take 68. Lows at night help the turf recover, and keep certain disease pressure low. The last (I don't know how many, I've lost track) number of days have been a petri dish of conditions for turf disease. Widespread reports of Pythium were abundant, while we experienced outbreaks of dollar spot and brown patch. All major turf areas now are up to date with plant protectant applications, and we feel good about the conditions that came through the first wave of 2011's attempt on my sanity (or what is left).
Turf managers, I predict will see the impacts of the heat and moisture today and tomorrow, meaning......turf areas that were compromised will be observed expiring in the coming day.
In English, turf managers will lose grass today and tomorrow.
Chilly but smiling,

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

58 hours

We now have the parts to make the repair to the six inch main irrigation pipe that is broken on 9 blue. We were very lucky on the timing of this one. This leak was easily isolated as well. The only area without water is a portion of 9 blue. We hope to have it repaired and backfilled by the end of the day.
Cross your fingers,

Monday, July 25, 2011

When lightning strikes

Yesterday, while under the delay for the President's cup, we were shook with a close lightning strike. Lightning has struck two (that I know about), trees this year. Lightning is a very real and serious threat to personal safety that is being ignored more and more here on the golf course and the practice range.
The power of these strikes are phenomenal, and the debris that was scattered as the charge vaporized the moisture in the tree, is impressive.

Visit the briar ridge turfgrass Facebook page to see more photos of the strike.

Please remember to follow recommended safety procedures when on the golf course during threatening weather.
All clear,

Sunday, July 24, 2011

No, no, no,

Every year has it's challenges. The last year that saw back to back one hundred degree days at o'hare field was 1995. That was a tough year to grow golf turf. 2011 will be another one for the books to compare to 1995. The only thing worse than the heat for our turf is excessive moisture. The radar shot is from this morning and this is expected to hit us at 7:00 am. We will be smack in the middle of preparing for day two of President's cup. As if the weather the week before this event was not tough enough! We will be updating the Facebook page with condition and delay info.
Hanging by a thread,

Saturday, July 23, 2011


We got pretty lucky overnight. We received only minimal rain which will not result in any immediate cart restrictions. Any rain today, may make us reassess. Good luck to the Presidents cup participants.

Friday, July 22, 2011

How can you help?

Our turf is going through an exceptional stressful time. Please help by taking an extra moment to consider where you are driving your cart. Avoid common traffic areas such as the typical landing zone / cart path areas. The average player drives to the typical spots, and returns to the paths in some common areas. Simply paying attention to the quality of the turf that you are going to drive over will help us to come out of the "heat dome" weather pattern in great condition!
Hope the light at the end of the tunnel is not a train!
Choo choo,

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Something likes the heat......

and it is crabgrass. This little guy likes the voids we make in the practice tee! We are in a pickle, because the typical defense for this monster is a pre-emergent herbicide. We do not want to broadcast pre-emergents on the practice tee, why? Well, we are constantly overseeding the range to account for the use. We typically treat the crabgrass on the range post-emergent.
I have not checked a label, but my experience tells me that nothing good can happen from herbicide applications when the temps are 90+.
I was having a good day until I came up here, was actually thinking the place looked good.
Please practice from the larger crabgrass plants today.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Briar research

You may not be aware, but here at briar, we are conducting University quality research. In fact, on property right now are two experimental products, that we were chosen to receive for experimental purposes. We are seeing some interesting results that will help superintendents make management decisions in the future. We are committed to making the game more affordable, more enjoyable, and more environmentally friendly. If you know of any retired or semi-retired Phd's, please send them my way.
I had to talk about something other than the "oppressive" heat.
Stay cool 4ever,

Like the high school throwback?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Water management

The current weather pattern is a challenge, some parts of the playing surfaces are dry, and some are good. Now we employ the intensive practice of hand watering. My staff is dragging one inch hose to areas that are in critical need of additional irrigation. Flavio is pictured here turning on water, notice the dry and wilting turf right next to the irrigation head! What you don't see in the photo is the tree that is 20 feet behind it, which may be causing some of the issue. Couple a high traffic area with competition from tree roots, and whammo, the turf loses.
We don't want too much water in this heat, wet wilt will kill grass too.
Say that three times fast!
My friend had a good quote yesterday, " I want a job that if I wake up and it is 80 degrees, I don't care."
I thought that was funny, then again, I have been in the heat a while.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The mad putter.........

Has struck again. It is only a matter of time until they get bored with the practice green and move on. This job is never dull!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The week ahead

This coming week looks like a nightmare. High heat and soaring heat indexes, with thunderstorms. Talk about keeping turf managers on their toes! Not only that, but presidents cup is coming.
We are carefully managing our water, essentially turning the system off and relying on hand watering. Too much water is the recipe for disaster, and will kill more turf than it will save.
How bad is the coming weather?
Last night I had a dream I was sending samples of a green in that was literally dying in front of my eyes. The only turf left was about half the green, and the other half was black soil. It wasn't exactly our course, but it was a third green, which just happens to coincide with a green in which I had the lovely experience of managing basal rot anthracnose on. You may not know what that is, and that makes you one lucky human.
We have raised mowing heights on greens in preparation, .015". That may not seem like much to you, but it is life for Poa / Penncross greens. The good news is.........charge those birdie putts!
Wish us luck!
Restful nights,

P.S. The photo is of 3 red, and it is fine, I checked.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Tree hugger

Yep, that is a tree root, yep.... It is in a green. Stealing nutrients and water, at the expense of the surrounding turf. It is not that I dislike trees, they have a place. If a tree is out of place, then it is a weed.
No need to email me back, I know I am evil,

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Vantage point.......the cartpath.

This photo was taken from the cartpath on 9 blue. Look closely, there are two carts. The irrigation system here at Briar is not equipped with surround heads for the greens. These mounds, are the first and second most severe areas to dry out. Please observe our policy of keeping carts on the path, or, off the mounds on the opposite sides of greens and tees. We, as golfers, play a huge part in determining the conditions on which we will keep our golf course.
Here comes the heat,

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chances are.......

because I wear a silly grin..... No, not really. Chances are, if you are reading this, when you fix a ball mark, they don't look like this. This area will not heal this year.
Improperly fixed ball marks at this time of year, are with us until 2012.
Please, pass this along, and visit my blog page to find a video on how to properly fix a ball mark. Also, just because your ball doesn't stay on the green, does not mean that you did not damage the surface. Play close attention to where the ball lands, and chances will be more fun to play golf with.
I do wear a silly grin,

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Rays of sunshine

I think these are so cool, they don't quite translate in my photos. Looks like we have some great weather to enjoy the outdoors! I have thought a lot this week about golf and the future of the game. It seems like the time commitment is a common theme and barrier for some who don't play the game. I have some of the fondest memories of walking nine holes with my family. We didn't play the greatest courses, and I didn't have the best equipment. I don't know what it is about the game, but I love it, and I am a little concerned for it's future. How can we appeal to the next generation? Like the sun finds a way through the trees, I hope we find a way as well.
I am making a video about changing hole locations. Visit the blog site for a link to it.
Busy killing fungus,

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Another great day for golf

We are in a string of great days! The other evening we saw a fox, two deer, and a skunk (which could be the mascot for my golf game). The greens have fully recovered from aerification, and the ball is rolling fine. If you notice any strange hops or bounces in the ball, it must be the device.
We have a couples chapman at 1:30 today. If you enjoy a true test, the chapman may be for you, it is also a difficult golf format.
Straight drives,

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Let me try this again

We are busy putting water in areas that we consider to be high priority areas.  Please pardon our hoses, but they are a necessary evil.  If we were to use our sprinklers to keep the green banks green, the putting surfaces would be super saturated (good name for a band, Erwin McKone and the super saturated putting surfaces...... Yeah).
The bent poa mix on the greens cut at .120", has a very different water requirement than the surrounding blue / rye rough that many people believe is cut at 4 inches.  The differing water requirements mean that we must choose which one we will use when determining irrigation programming.  We water with the irrigation programs for the average green requirement.  Notice the average statement.  This means that some of the greens are not receiving adequate irrigation from sprinklers, which is why we hand water.  If our goal was to eliminate the labor intensive hand watering practice, we would have to program the irrigation system to water adequately, the driest areas on the putting surfaces, making the average areas greater than adequate (or soggy).
Wow, I just blew my own mind,

Sent from Erwin's phone, please excuse grammar and punctuation.

Sent from Erwin's phone, please excuse grammar and punctuation.


Well, I guess if you are going to come out in the evening and make a mess by shooting off fireworks on the course, the least you can do is leave me a glass. Awesome!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Air supply

No, not the cheesy 70's band, but some healthy air for the greens. I wanted to follow up yesterday's photo with a pic of the holes that the weidenman makes. The steel rod in my hand was inserted into one of the holes to check the depth, we are clearly getting down below the root zone. Today we will roll all the greens and I will update the Facebook page with a photo or two.
I have seen our first insect repellent kill on six red, a two for one!!
Looks like a stretch of some fine golf weather.
Tee it high,

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Give me air!

The wet spring and waterlogged soils result in poorly aerated soils. The fix........ The weidenman. We are punching some fine, pencil like holes. Hopefully we can get the red and white done today and finish up on the blue tomorrow. These holes will have very little effect on ball roll. We will roll greens and they close up nicely.
We are also topdressing the blue today, and hope to finish the white and red later this week. We are behind this year in our topdressing practices. Topdressing with sand is what I believe to be the key to true rolling greens.
I would love to chat some more, but we are busy!
Birdie putts,

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Lightning crashes

We are still very wet from the monsoon season. Even though there is no standing water, saturated soils are present. Please keeps the carts in the rough and on the paths, and only cross the fairways at 90 degrees.
The photo is from seven red and the lightning hit two trees. Please seek shelter when the lightning detection system is activated!
Stay safe this weekend,

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Fourth of July weekend

We are open.
Fairways are wet, but toughs are dry.
We will be carts in rough only. If you take the cart to the opposite side of the fairway, please go around the green and do not cross the fairway. Hopefully the heat will stay away, the things we don't want when we are really wet is 1. Too much nitrogen and 2. Heat.
We don't want to be growers of fungus.
Have a great holiday!