Prime Time For Primo

Spray Primo in south Florida
Summer has arrived across the United States and golfers are flocking to their local courses expecting to see perfection. Some courses are dealing with above normal rains and others are faced with drought conditions. This seems to be the norm these days. We just can’t find a happy median where the weather and turf conditions are in sync. The Winter of 2012 was the warmest on record and many courses opened early only to get kicked in the pants with ice and snow weeks later. Here in Miami, we are 15 inches above our normal rain fall and today Naples just declared a new level of water restrictions because of the lack of rain.

Finally this week we had one day with no rain, so we took advantage of it and sprayed our fairways with Primo Maxx. This is about a month behind schedule and our turf is growing like crazy. Primo is a key product for Syngenta and it works wonders on Bermudagrass. Primo slows the vertical shoot growth and promotes lateral growth. I spray my Tif-Eagle greens every Friday with 3 oz per acre of Primo to mange green speed and overall plant health. We applied 8 oz per acre of Primo and 1 gal per acre of Harrells Minors to our fairways to shut them down and green them up. In July, we will spray them again at a 10 oz rate and in August max out a 12 oz rate. September’s application is back to a 8 oz rate.

Primo cuts down on labor, reduces the use of fuel, and stops mower disruptions during peak season of play. Turf quality improves and the roots grow deeper. Get into that chemical room today and mix up a load of Primo. You will be happy you did.

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Giant African Land Snails Invade South Florida

Photo Credit: Andrew Derksen, Florida Cooperative Pest Survey Program

First we had snowbirds and alligators, then nematodes and mole crickets, followed by grubs and white flies and now giant african snails. Yes, that is right, snails. And they are eating everything in sight. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has positively identified a population of Giant African land snails in Miami-Dade County. The Giant African land snail is one of the most damaging snails in the world because they consume at least 500 different types of plants, can cause structural damage to plaster and stucco, and can carry a parasitic nematode that can lead to meningitis in humans.

The Giant African snail is one of the largest land snails in the world, growing up to eight inches in length and more than four inches in diameter. When fully grown, the snail’s brownish shell consists of seven to nine whorls (spirals) that cover at least half the length of its long and greatly swollen body. They can live as long as nine years and contain both female and male reproductive organs. After a single mating session, each snail can produce 100 to 400 eggs. In a typical year, every mated adult lays about 1,200 eggs.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says, “Enlisting the help of the public in the early detection of these pests and diseases is critical to containing and ultimately eradicating them in our state.” Anyone who believes they may have seen a Giant African land snail or signs of its presence should call the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services toll-free at 888-397-1517 to make arrangements to have the snail collected. To preserve the snail sample, Floridians should use gloves to put the snail in a zip lock bag, seal it and place it in a bucket or plastic container. They are advised not to release or give these samples away.

Keep your eyes open for the African Snail and if you find one call the toll-free number.

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Five Gift Ideas For Your Golf Course Superintendent

All you Green Committee Chairmen need to listen up. You need to take care of the most important person at your Country Club, and not with a $5 dollar tip. The Golf Course Superintendent works day and night to make sure your course is perfect and on the right path. He deals with everything that no one else wants to deal with. Weather, employees, construction, inspectors, contractors, budgets, members, insects and the list goes on. Here are a few ideas for you to take care of your number one guy.

1. The keys to your apartment in New York City for the weekend.
2. Dump 50,000 AMEX Rewards points into his account so he can use them to travel.
3. A gift card to Sunglass Hut or Capital Grille.
4. Hook him up with your college roommate, that is a member at Cypress Point, for a round of golf.
5. Tell him thank you for everything he does and buy the entire maintenance staff breakfast at a nice place in town.

Any one of these ideas would be a big hit. So go out there and do the right thing.

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Helminthosporium Pays Us A Visit Again

Leaf Spot by Eric von Hofen
Almost over night we see the results of Helminthosporium on our TifEagle greens. This is the first time in a year we have seen any signs from our little friend here in Miami. I wrote a similar post on this disease almost a year ago to date. Last year we had record cold temps that brought on the signs of the disease. This year we have had a month of well above temps with light rains that have kept the soil around 80 degrees. This was just enough to increase the pressure of the disease and for us to see the damage. I have started a program of applying fungicides on a 14 to 21 day rotation. I will use Fore, Insigna and Daconil for control and prevention of the leaf spot this winter. It has been 16 days since my last fungicide application so I’m not surprised to see the spots pop up. I spray my greens every friday with a light Harrells fertilizer package so adding fungicides will be easy to do. I will keep you updated this winter on the progress on the control of Helminthosporium. I see a connection between the amount of sun, rain fall and soil temps when the Helminthosporium shows up. Let me know what your seeing on your golf course.

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Country Club Capitalization – Are You Doing it Right?

Cooling Tower [Read more…]

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Rolex Celebrates 40 Years of The Explorer II

New Rolex Explorer II by Eric J. von Hofen

New Rolex Explorer II Watch

Rolex has done it again…they have designed another instant classic. The new Stainless Steel Explorer II Oyster is bigger and bolder than its 40 year old cousin. This new classic watch has increased the case size from 40 mm to 42 mm with the same scratch proof Sapphire Crystal that looks like a picture window. The dials come in Black or White and that is it. The new Explorer II boasts a stunning orange 24-hour hand that jumps out at you when you see it in person. The old Explorer had a red 24-hour hand which looks great with a white dial. Rolex does not make the 40 mm size anymore so hold on to one if you have it.

New Rolex Explorer II next to the old Explorer II by Eric J. von Hofen

New Rolex Explorer II next to the old Explorer II

This picture shows just how much bigger the new watch is. Its bigger and more expensive, if you can find one. The new Explorer costs around $8,000 which is $1,500 more than its older cousin. Rolex has controlled the release of this new watch with the same precision it takes to build one. Thousands of people bought and paid for their new watches and walked out of the store empty-handed. Rolex released and shipped all of the purchased watches at the same time around the world in early October. They used this tactic to prevent the second-hand market from ruining the demand and pricing of this instant classic. Now that Tiger Woods is back on the payroll at Rolex, I’m sure this is what he will be wearing off of the links. For more history and fun facts on Rolex watches stop by Jakes Rolex World. Its the best Rolex site I have ever seen. Check it out.

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New Rules for IRS-Recognized Nonprofit Country Clubs Will Be a Game Changer

New York City by Eric J. von Hofen

Home of the Nonprofit - New York City

For years people have tried to figure out how nonprofits work and where the money trail goes. The IRS feels that enough is enough and that more transparency needs to take place. There are thousands of nonprofits in the United States and, believe it or not, Country Clubs will have to play be these new rules. The IRS has beefed up reporting requirements with respect to compensation, and these new requirements will apply to Country Clubs and other nonprofits alike. The changes were prompted by audits showing discrepancies in what nonprofits across the country were disclosing. In 2012, after the Club’s taxes are filed, the lists of the top money makers and their compensation amounts will be be made public. This reporting will be done on the new IRS Form 990. Will you be on the list and ready for that public relations nightmare?

GuideStar Logo

GuideStar Monitors Nonprofits

This information will be streamlined directly to the web site. According to GuideStar, they have a database of more than 1.8 million IRS-recognized nonprofit organizations. Many people use this web site to monitor their favorite charities to see the good work that they are doing and where the money is going. Well, now your members will be using this site to see how much you are making. This “SuperLeak” will have many golf course superintendents running for cover and wanting to give up that company truck. I think that this process will forever change the mystery of what the top guys in the country are making. No more speculation or rumors on who got what in the last big deal. The GCSAA will have to rewrite the results of their compensation study to show the facts.

I hope there is a silver lining around this cloud, and that Country Clubs will see the value of their top people and take care of them. But I feel that there will be some losers in the deal and they will be compared to the guy down the street and the cuts will follow. This is truly a game changer.

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Prep for overseeding in the Desert
During the month of October, golf courses in the sunbelt areas of the country are faced with a huge task. Overseed, yes overseed. This process is different in each region and requires a ton of work for it to be successful. In the desert regions, winter nighttime temps drop into the 30’s and 40’s and warm up into the 70’s during the day. These temp changes make the Bermudagrass go dormant and turns it brown. Overseed is a must during the winter months when golf demand is at highest point of the year. The goal with a desert overseed is to completely cover the bermudagrass with ryegrass. Period. Any areas of bermudagrass still thriving in the fresh new ryegrass stand will stick out like a sore thumb in December. These courses will be growing this new crop for the next 7 months then they flip the switch and grow bermudagrass for the rest of the year. I wish it was that easy. These superintendents work magic during this process.
Verticut prep of fairways for overseed
In Florida, I call this seeding process interseeding. The goal here is to have 60% stand of bermudagrass and a 40% stand of ryegrass. Only areas in north Florida have nighttime temps in the 30’s and the rates might be higher. South Florida has only a hand full of cold days a year that knock back the bermudagrass and seed is not needed. With seed comes the stripes. Many clubs that push for green at any cost want to see a bang for their buck. “Hey Sup stripe it up baby”. Somehow they think that your growing bentgrass and they want the place to look like their club up north. Just relax and play it as it lies.

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Chelsea Piers -“THE” place to putt and drive in New York City

Golf Club at Chelsea Piers New York City
Chelsea Piers is a series of historic piers on the West Side of Manhattan in New York City that was a passenger ship terminal in the early 1900s. It is located in the Chelsea neighborhood, on the northern edge of Greenwich Village and the Meatpacking District.

The Golf Club at Chelsea Piers offers a year-round outdoor golf driving range, a teaching academy, two full-swing simulators and two private event rooms. The driving range has four tiers, is weather protected and heated and utilizes a Japanese-technology automated ball tee-up system. Each floor has 12 bays on it. On some days you better be ready to wait. You have to make a tee time on the weekends.
Chelsea piers in New York City

The piers are currently used by the Chelsea Piers Sports & Entertainment Complex. The new complex includes film and television production facilities, including those for CBS College Sports Network and Food Network, a health club, a day spa, the city’s largest training center for gymnastics, two basketball courts, playing fields for indoor lacrosse and soccer, batting cages, a rock climbing wall and dance studios. In addition there is an AMF Bowling center, and two full sized ice rinks for skating.

This place has something for everyone. This HD video shows you the only place to putt and drive in New York City.

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Hurricane Irene track
Just what you want to see on your computer screen on a monday morning, your course is in the cone of death. That’s right a hurricane might be headed your way. After a look at the computer models and a peak at the ocean water temps map, you have to start to make some decisions. Living in South Florida, you have to become some what of a meteorologist and keep your day job as a golf course superintendent. I have gone through at least five major hurricanes and over a dozen tropical storms in the last eighteen years. I have put together a plan and procedure booklet that lays out what to do to protect the course and employees while a hurricane is headed your way.
High ocean water temps feed hurricanes
Phase 1 – Hurricane Watch means a disturbance is approximately 24 hours away. This is used with the understanding that hurricanes are quite unpredictable and forward movement can drastically change.
– The superintendent must commence the collection and place indoors all lose objects such as trash cans, benches, flags, tee markers, etc.
– Check trees and shrubbery and remove limbs which may damage utility wires or other property.
– Remove coconuts from trees.
– Top off main fuel storage tanks.
– Fill all mowers and carts with fuel.
– Turn off all power supplies to pump stations.
– Back up the irrigation programs from your computer and take it with you.
– Go over generators and start them.
– Update your employee contact information and explain that you will call them when to report to work. Let them take care of their families and homes and you will have a better chance of them coming to work when you need them. Send them home early.
– Assist the clubhouse staff with the installation of shutters over the windows.
– Take a video of your maintenance building and each hole of the golf course. I did this at Doral, when we had hurricanes Wilma and Katrina headed our way, and the videos turned out to be worth a few million dollars. Doral lost thousands of trees and the videos showed what we lost.
– Check your chainsaws and have extra blades.
– Have your outside tree crews on stand by and expect them charge full price. They have been waiting for this storm all year.
– Make sure you have a cell phone charger for your car or truck. Cell phone towers work 8 hours on batteries, so if the storm is that bad you only have a few hours to call staff and tell loved ones that you are alive. Even if you phone is charged, it will not work them those towers shut down.
Phase 2 – Go home and take care of your family and home. If a Cat 3 or more is coming your way, send the wife and kids out of town. You will lose power for days or even weeks. They don’t need to deal with that and your attitude that the golf course is being blown apart.
Phase 3 – Comunicate with staff and members during the storm and after the storm moves through. Your clubhouse will become a safe haven for members and staff to get there life together and take a warm shower. Use Twitter to do this and get the word out if you can open the clubhouse.
Phase 4 – After the storm, take video, count the trees down, and don’t turn on your pump station. You will burn it up because the power supply will be dirty. Wait a few days to turn it on. Review the course and reach out to staff and start the clean up.

Good luck and let’s hope you don’t need to use my plan in your career.

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