Sunday, September 30, 2012

Closing scramble

Today is our closing scramble. What a year 2012 has been!
For golf course managers, it has been the most stressful of years. The weather extremes tested the best of turf health programs. Cultural programs, fertility regimes, and irrigation practices were tweaked and re-tweaked. The thing that made 2012 really difficult was that there were days that exhaustion and frustration took over. Crews left golf courses after long shifts knowing turf loss was imminent, but they had done all they could. I remember telling a colleague that superintendents would not lose their jobs due to turf loss in 2012, but for succumbing to the stress in some way, shape, or form.
Thanks to everyone for your support this year, hope you have a great finish (like the one in the photo;-).
My staff and I appreciate all the kind words and comments. We really enjoy our membership and believe we have the greatest club in the county!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Trees and turf, oil and water

The Midwest drought continues. While we should be focusing on projects such as aerification, we are continuing to hand water areas in the fairways adjacent to trees. Turf quality is impacted negatively by tree roots.
One way that we give the turf some relief is by root pruning. This process involves cutting a trench along the edge of the fairway, cutting the roots that encroach in the turf area.
As golf is a game that is played on turf, the turf quality and health should take precedent when deciding on tree location. Growing quality turf in any situation where the conditions are compromised is going to require greater resources ($$).
Golf courses have some of our countries most stately trees. The effort to properly maintain trees must be put forth to have trees that are mature, healthy, and stately. If a property has more trees than it can afford to properly maintain, the ability to have beautiful mature trees that enhance the landscape, gets increasingly difficult.
Contrary to popular belief, I like trees. I really like the stately tree that stands tall among the landscape. We have some phenomenal trees here at Briar that are lost in the forest.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Oh bee-have

It is feeling more and more like fall here at Briar Ridge. The trees on the golf course are turning colors, and the last of our fall plants are flowering. The native areas on the golf course have more meaning for me now than they ever have.
The flowers shown below are the last nectar flow for our bees. This important food supply will boost the honey production that we will soon harvest. Mr. Valvanis and I were excited for this years harvest. We were expecting over fifty pounds of honey as two of our hives were strong. Then reality set in.
We witnessed first hand what we believe is colony collapse disorder. Our second hive weakened by bees failing to return from daily gathering made the hive susceptible to intruders. The intruder in this case was the wax moth (TBD). We lost the entire hive and over twenty pounds of honey.
What was gained however, was a very real understanding about the environmental situations we are facing. We knew about colony collapse, read about it, but it just wasn't real. "Not here," I thought, problems exist somewhere else, for other people, in other lands. Not so.
I have a new appreciation for the land I steward, a boost that I needed.
The areas with wild flowers will be cut down, as soon as the flowering stops.
Protecting our resources,

Friday, September 14, 2012

Ball mark repair

Cooler temperatures are here!
This means that the turf growth will slow, and so the recuperative potential for the turf is reduced.
This time of year, it is more important to repair the regular damage that the course endures.
Not only is it important to repair ball marks, but to repair them correctly. If your ball marks look anything like the ones in the photograph, please stop fixing ball marks. Your helping is not helping.
Remember to never lift any turf in the process of fixing a ball mark.
I am always available to demonstrate the correct way to repair a pitch mark. I promise to do so with kindness and compassion, no ridiculing or belittling will take place.
You can also view this process in the privacy of your home by visiting my youTube channel at theworldofturf.
Happy Friday,

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Aerification change

What do they say about the best laid plans?
We do not like to change our schedule, but when opportunity knocks.......
We have the opportunity to aerify some greens a week early. This is a great change of events for us because earlier aerification typically means that they will recover quicker. Aerification is an intense labor endeavor and we have a great video of the process at theworldofturf youTube channel.
We will begin with the white 9.
We will keep you informed.
This process is very important to the quality of our putting surfaces.
Thanks for your support,

Saturday, September 8, 2012


The canopy of a tree is the engine that drives survival. Trees convert light into energy via photosynthesis. I will spare the details about electron transfer and ATP, remember those terms? Anyhow, the larger the tree, the more energy they require. Optimum health is achieved when a full canopy develops. Over-planting and crowding of landscape trees, compromise plant health. Proper spacing is important for a tree to be able to develop its proper shape and to utilize as much sunshine as possible.
It is important to thin areas to allow certain trees to mature and thrive. Overcrowded areas can eventually become treeless, as no single plant is allowed to be healthy. In the presence of intense competition with other trees, plants shoot toward the sunshine, never developing a proper canopy.
Enjoy these examples.
It's a beautiful day,

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Introduction to trees

This is the beginning of several blogs on the topic of trees. I would like to set the record straight, I love trees. I think they are wonderful. I even really enjoy certain species and have favorites.
The definition of a weed is a plant that is out of place.
When plants, regardless of their "woody" nature, are out of place, they are weeds. Here at Briar Ridge we have many beautiful trees. We also have plenty of unhealthy and overcrowded ones as well.
Topics that the next few blogs will cover are; tree forms and deformations, canopy, rooting structure, competition, framing, likely hood of long term survival, destruction of assets, playability, and how trees are used in golf course architecture.
I have included some photos as examples of the topics. Can you guess which ones represent which topics?
How many trees do you see with a healthy canopy and proper form?
In the words of my friend, "this is going to be exciting!"

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Aerification time

We are entering the most important time of the year for growing quality turfgrass. Fall is the time that we engage in cultural practices such as verticutting and aerification.
We will be aerifying tees and fairways Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays through the fall.
Greens aerification is scheduled for the week of September 24th.
We appreciate your understanding through this time. It is through these efforts, that we are able to produce high quality playing surfaces.
We have begun on the red fairways, and it looks like rain.
Oh boy,