Sunday, April 29, 2012

Palmer C. Singleton Jr. Memorial Scramble

Today we remember Palmer, a great advocate of the game, well respected figure in the community, and a great gentleman.  Palmer Singleton was on the search committee that eventually offered me my current position here at Briar.  He was one of the first members of Briar Ridge that I would come to know and one that I will surely never forget.   Behind my desk sits a photo of Palmer and Susie, his high school sweetheart and partner in life's journey.  Palmer C. Singleton, Jr., was born and raised in Hammond IN, served our country in WW II, and returned to Northwest Indiana where he opened his practice of law, raised two children, and served as a volunteer for many charitable organizations. Palmer was an integral part of what led to the building of Community Hospital in Munster. Palmer certainly left his mark on our community. He was known as a good friend to many, a man to rely upon, a man with character.  Palmer also had a lengthy history with pro bono legal services as a frequent volunteer and advocate for legal services for the less fortunate.  Palmer was a prisoner of war in World War II.  The photo is from some of the early work in the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program, we built bluebird houses with a local boy scout troop.  Palmer was instrumental in the creation of the Audubon Program at Briar Ridge.  The birdhouse and natural area on 2 red was placed there because of Palmer and serves as a reminder of his contributions.  I hope you have a great day. 
I miss you Palmer,
Mr. Good Boss

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Flavio is proud and green side goes up!

Flavio shows off his bunker that is ready for play! It is the vision that we will add a few more of this style bunker to the course. We would like you to tell us where (be nice) we can stick about five more. We are not limited to existing bunkers either, so sharpen your pencil and put on your plaid blazer!
Sod is here!
Green side up,

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A nice edge and some sand

Wow, we may even get some rain today!
We are putting some work into the cart path edges. We don't like to do this type of work too often, as some of the path edges are deteriorating, but we are past due. I really enjoy the look that the clean edge gives. We will come back through after they are cleaned up and spray some pre-emergent herbicide to keep the weeds down.
I also have some terrible news....soon, there will be no more relief given from one white bunker. We hope to have sand in it today and then we will run a plate compactor over it.
The bunker is almost done, how did the Olympic Club do it so fast?
It is starting to drizzle,

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Eastern Bluebird and Earth Day

The photo today is of an Eastern Bluebird, a member of the thrush family and a cavity dweller. In the seventies, the population of bluebirds had declined by over 70%. The decline of the bluebird was twofold, increased competition for nesting space by non-native species such as the starling and the house sparrow, and a loss of habitat.
At Briar Ridge, you may notice some bluebird boxes on the course. We currently have three active bluebird nests and on any given day you can see the most wonderful powder blue color flitting in the trees. There is also several hollowed out branches that the bluebirds call home. If you ever see a dead branch that is not posing a safety hazard, it may be left in place intentionally to provide a cavity for these creatures.
The golf course is a unique place that can provide a community many benefits of "green space."
We have come along way from the days of the "silent spring."
Hugging a tree,

Friday, April 20, 2012

This years first

I like to get the bad stuff out of the way early. This is five red and we had a hydraulic hose break. Hydraulic oil will kill turf. We are waiting to see how bad the damage is. Extensive damage from oil sometimes has to be excavated and replaced, but we are hopeful that we were able to wash some of it out of the root zone.
The machine operator was wearing safety glasses as instructed and avoided injury to his eyes. The operator also did a good job of removing the machine to the rough.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Drainage and irrigation

Two of the most important aspects of providing quality turfgrass are drainage and irrigation. We have begun the season early this year, I don't ever remember running irrigation cycles in March.
The photo below is what we call a "sticker.". Sometimes the irrigation heads "stick" and they run for several hours. This "sticker" is on three blue. The good new is that it is so dry, the ground we absorb this water in no time at all.
Also featured in a photo is the natural aging of drain pipes, we cut this one open to see why it was not functioning. What we found was a pipe filled with dirt and rock. This one may be beyond the point of cleaning, depending on the amount of root mass inside.
Aesthetically, the golf course is brown, and some would say ugly. The USGA, GCSAA, and the PGA, have engaged in sustainability and playability efforts to promote the idea that "fast and firm," is how golf courses should play. The "fast and firm" supporters fail to realize that in areas of the country such as ours, "fast and firm" during the summer months will become "brown and dead."
Cool nighttime temps and mild high temps in the afternoon, allow me to keep the course more dry, and stress these areas. Mid-summer conditions of high sunlight intensity and long hot periods with little cool-down, do not offer this same luxury of stressing the turf.
While I support judicial water use and a new standard to support sustainability, we have a long way to go in educating the golfer and general public of what is rational, and what is fairy tale.
If you are like me, an enjoy firm and fast conditions, enjoy this wonderful spring, you never know how long it will last.
Bump and run,

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Practice areas and cart reminder

The long wait is over! The practice areas are open. We have upgraded the synthetic mat and it is awesome. The new mat is soft and is very nice to hit off and a tee goes into it extremely easy.
We do not have any of the green stakes out for traffic control. I really don't like signs, ropes, stakes, and the like, and I would prefer to not yuck up the landscape with such foolishness if I don't have to. That said, please refrain from driving and parking carts on any mounds, especially around greens and tees. Please keep all four tires on the cart path in these areas as well. Your cooperation helps us to maintain a great product.
Thanks in advance,
P.S. no, I won't tell you who drove the carts in the photos, it's my secret.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Educational opportunity

Yesterday, we presented this girl scout troop with a beautiful golf course. What they learned was that we manage the golf course to protect the water quality of our drinking water. We also demonstrated our commitment to providing valuable green space for habitat. We introduced them to our bluebird project which has been a huge success.
I hope these girls walked away with a new appreciation for golf and golf courses. I hope they may even take up the game, if nothing else, but to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors.
Your steward,

Friday, April 6, 2012

First frost!

The first frost has arrived!
We will probably have frost tomorrow as well an we will be delayed.
The new range mat is here, this is going to be a great addition.
Good Friday,

Monday, April 2, 2012

Red course, bathrooms, and history

Spring has sprung, but temps in the Midwest look a little more like average. That is if you believe a forecast, which I don't have much reason to at this time.
We will open the red as we catch up on course work. Keeping one nine closed allows us to work more efficiently. Once play begins to increase, we will open all the courses.
Another question is bathrooms. We will open bathrooms when we can be certain our nighttime temps will not dip below freezing. Historically, we will not experience nightly freezes into the third week of April.
Have a peace filled week,