Be careful for what you wish for is the saying. Well that’s the case for sure in many areas of Florida. With record cold temps this winter and a drought for most of the spring, we have finally seen a good amount of rainfall in July. Here in Miami we have received about 10 inches and Naples has seen about the same. Palm Beach area has reports of 8 to 11 inches for the month.
Looking at the drought monitor map, you can see that many areas are out of the red. This is great for anyone that is trying to grow something in the State. All of the wild fires are reported to be out and things are getting back to normal in the Everglades. Lake Okeechobee is now at 10.28 feet and climbing. Many areas in Texas and Arizona are dealing with a record breaking drought of their own. These states are have some rainfall headed their way this weekend. Let’s hope they get some good rains and the turf starts growing again.
Irrigation system deterioration and reliability issues have really given Collier’s Reserve Country Club in Naples, Florida something to think about over that last few years. After 19 years of operation and weekly repairs of PVC pipe and replacing Pierce fittings, the membership stepped up and unanimously voted to replace the entire irrigation system. This 130 acre, Art Hills designed course is getting a much needed state of the art irrigation system this summer. The Club hired irrigation design consultant A. S. Altum to deliver a new system design to them. President Tony Altum had quite the task in front of him laying out a system that will help the Club maximize their water sources. The Club receives effluent water on a daily basis and it currently can’t use what it has contracted because of poor system performance. With that part of the system not working up to par they have to make up the difference with their surface water pump station. The blending of these waters with high pH, high bicarbonates and high Na gives golf course superintendent Nicholas von Hofen a challenge on a daily basis, and then throw in a few massive irrigation breaks a week and poor water quality and Nicholas stays a very busy man at Collier’s Reserve.
During the Spring, the Club hired Leibold irrigation to install the new system. Leibold will be responsible for installing 37,000 linear feet of main line HDPE piping, 65,000 linear feet of lateral piping, 1.2 million linear feet of copper wire and 2,237 sprinkler heads. They will be working over environmentally sensitive areas by attaching 2,100 feet of pipe to bridge crossings around the course and 4,000 feet of directional borings through easements. Nicholas selected the new Toro Lynx controllers and a Flowtronex pumping station with two 60 HP motors that will provide 1,200 gallons per minute.
The project started in March and will be completed by September. The course is open while the work is being done. Bill Berutti, General Manager and Nicholas decided to close only one hole a day so the contractors can get the work done without having to wait for golfers. Both Bill and Nicholas tell me that the members are extremely happy with the progress and they already see improved turf quality on the holes that have been completed. When this system is done, Collier’s Reserve will have the latest technology for irrigation systems and will surely know where every drop of water is going.
The club and course first opened in 1905 with only a few holes. In 1925, famous golf course designer William Flynn rebuilt the course and added 9 more holes. Flynn went on to design a hand full of courses in Ohio and also designed Cherry Hills (Englewood, CO), The Country Club (Brookline, MA) and Shinnecock Hills (Southampton, NY). In 1975, golf course architects Jack Kidwell and Michael Hurdzan updated the course and added some new tees. Today the course is a mature beautiful 18-hole course that plays to 6,750 yards from the championship tees. Massive Oak trees line many of the fairways and the clubhouse area. Water is in play on 10 holes with the Black River providing a interesting views on 6 of these holes. The Bentgrass greens, tees and fairways are some of the best around.
Elyria has had only 5 golf course superintendents since the doors opened. It many areas of the country, this is unheard of. I was the superintendent of a course in Naples, Florida that had 12 supers in 5 years. This tells you how special Elyria CC really is and how crazy I was to take the job in Naples. In 1988 and 1989 I worked at Elyria, under CGCS Frank Feck, as a foreman and learned how to maintain bentgrass from a master. It was great to return 22 years later and see that the course is still on track and better then ever. Current superintendent, Pat Rodgers is the one calling the shots these days and he differently has his finger on the pulse of the operation. Congratulations to the member’s and staff for keeping a piece of Ohio history alive and well.
This HD video takes you on a tour of one of the oldest golf courses in Northern Ohio.
Fairy ring shows up after a three year hiatus. Summer time is here and soil temps are at their peak and boom out comes the fairy ring. Yes, it’s that time of the year when our mushroom producing friend shows his face and tries to kill the greens.
On Monday morning we did not have any signs of fairy ring and by Wednesday afternoon we could see the rings of decline with mushrooms starting to show up. What changed so fast you may ask? We started the third round of aeration on the Tif-eagle greens and the soil temps are at 95 to 100 degree. This is all it took to let the fungi wake up and take off. Remember that there are over 60 different fungi that can be associated with the symptoms. The odds are against you not experiencing this problem in your turf management career.
I went to the office, picked up my Fieldscout moisture meter and headed back out to the three greens I noticed with the rings. I tested the moisture inside the fairy ring and then outside of the ring and was shocked at the difference.
We sprayed a strobilurin fungicide along with a wetting agent this morning and watered it in for six minutes. I do not spray any preventive fungicides and only treat when I know the problem will not go away by itself. We have not sprayed any strobilurin based fungicides for six months so it should work in one shot. I will keep you updated on the process of keeping the disease in check and when the rings disappear. I would love to hear your story about dealing with fairy ring.
Had a rough day at the golf course? Well, being a golf course superintendent, you might have said “yes”. Sometimes you need to knock the edge off and relax a little after mother nature has kicked your butt up and down for most of the day. I usually hit the gym to blow off some steam but sometimes only a nice vodka and soda will do the trick. I’ve tried them all, and below is my top five list:
Don’t try these at work. At home only. Remember don’t drink and drive your car or your golf cart.
Growing turf in South Florida this year has not been easy. This past winter brought with it below normal temperatures, with many areas of the state dealing with frost delays and brown turf. We just can’t seem to catch a break and the hits just keep on coming. The National Weather Service predicts the drought for this area will last well into the wet season. Here in Miami, we’ve only had 11.25 inches of rain so far this year. Naples reports in with only 10.4 inches and Palm Beach with 13 inches of rain this year. The rainy season usually starts around the middle to end of May. Hurricane season begins on June 1st and lasts until November 30th. At the rate we’re going, it doesn’t seem like it will ever rain again.
The drought monitor shows just how bad the conditions are around the state. South Florida Water Management District and local water utilities have implemented water restrictions for all golf courses in our area. Surface water usage must be reduced by 15% and effluent water usage from utilities must be reduced by 35%. These cut backs change every month because the permitted usage amount during the summer rainy months reflects the historical rain fall that is supposed to happen. One problem now, it has not rained in the month of June and usage has been cut big time.
To make things worse, many golf course irrigation lakes are drying up and the water level is below the intakes on the pump stations. The courses that can still pump water are reporting that the water quality is so bad that they are holding off on using it. The chlorides are high as the water in a swimming pool and the pH is in the 9′s. At this point there is not much you can do other than watch your course burn up and pray for rain. Courses are going to cart paths only and moving the aeration practices back because you can’t water enough to keep the place alive. This is how bad it is down here.
I have been using the Harrells Symphony wetting agent product to pull me through these hard times. We have been spraying the greens and tees with this product and the results have been outstanding. Hand watering during the day is broken up into teams for the approaches, tees and greens. The rough is left to fend for itself. Plant material is stressed out also and water wagons are being used to keep the non native plants alive during this drought.
Golfers have been understanding so far because their yards are also burning up. Let’s hope things change soon and we get some nectar from the gods.
Ask any of my former employees and they will tell you my saying. If you dress like a farmer on the golf course, they will treat you like one. As a result, I have always dressed up the part and have kept my golf shirts on the cutting edge. I have based this list off of price point, durability, cut, and style. Superintendents spend just as much time on the golf course as some teaching pros but we have different needs in our shirts. Here it is, the top 5 shirts superintendents must have.
I’m not much into the performance materials(polyester), although they do provide some better UV protection than the cotton threads. To me they seem hot and tend to have a “plastic” smell. Nike Golf makes some that don’t smell. My preferred material for the shirts listed above is cotton. Hit up your golf pro and have him get you the same deals they get from the manufacturers. You can get these shirts at cost and you will look like a million bucks watering that green.
Watching the pros play on TV this year has been very confusing. One minute you think you’re watching The Golf Channel, then you hear Johnny Miller as you get up for a glass of water. But as you come back to your TV, you see Nick Faldo in the booth. What is going on?
I decided to do some digging to try to break down who is working for who. A lot of these changes started in 2006 during the last round of TV contract negotiations with the PGA TOUR. During these negotiations, ABC was pretty much cut out of any coverage and the following guys had their schedules cut next to nothing:
Billy Ray Brown
Now the ABC team only has three tournaments to cover under the ESPN flag. They will be working on Thursdays and Fridays for the US Open and the Masters. ESPN will have all four days of coverage for the British Open this year, which is a great event to have. Sir Nick Faldo has made out the best, working on The Golf Channel, NBC and CBS. Billy Ray Brown spends most of his time on the Golf Channel.
Below is this year’s CBS Sports golf team:
NBC Sports started the 2011 season with 13 events and the final two days of coverage for the US Open, but due to NBC Universal being sold to Comcast this spring, the on-air talent has been working overtime. Comcast, which owns the Golf Channel, has rebranded the NBC Sports team look with the addition of the Golf Channel logo and has put the following list of guys to work during the non-contracted NBC Sports events:
Tim Rosaforte (Golf Insider)
Things became even stranger when Commissioner Finchem’s friend, Dick Ebersol, the powerful head of NBC Sports, resigned his position following a breakdown in contract negotiations with Comcast. The PGA Tour is scheduled to begin negotiations for its new TV contracts late this year for the cycle of 2012-16. Hand-in-hand with those negotiations will be the attempt to renew a contract with FedEx to continue as the umbrella sponsor for the Tour’s season-long points race. Are these deals going to be worth what they where back in 2006? I don’t think so.
The Golf Channel definitely has the most events around the world to cover, as well as the biggest payroll. Their main focus is PGA TOUR events and 40 plus European Tour events. That is where the money is. They also cover all of the Champions events except the Senior Open and the Senior US Open. ESPN has those. Golf Channel has 12 of the 28 Nationwide events and 23 of the 28 LPGA events. Their staff is listed below. I have added their job titles, as well as the programs they host, for you to follow along:
Tom Abbott (LPGA Tour Play By Play Host, European Tour Studio Host)
Billy Andrade (PGA Tour On Course Reporter)
Billy Ray Brown (Champions Tour On Course Reporter, PGA Tour On Course Reporter)
Steve Burkowski (European Tour Studio Host)
Curt Byrum (Champions Tour Lead Analyst, PGA Tour Lead Analyst)
Brandel Chamblee (Golf Central Analyst, PGA Tour Lead Analyst)
Kay Cockerill (Nationwide Tour On Course Reporter)
Jay Coffin (Grey Goose 19th Hole Panelist)
Jane Crafter (LPGA Tour Lead Analyst & On Course Reporter)
Nick Faldo (PGA Tour Lead Analyst)
Jerry Foltz (LPGA Tour On Course Reporter, Nationwide Tour Play By Play Host, PGA Tour On Course Reporter)
Terry Gannon (PGA Tour Play By Play Host, LPGA Tour Play By Play Host)
Matt Gogel (PGA Tour Tower Analyst & On Course Reporter)
Brian Hammons (Champions Tour Play By Play Host, PGA Tour Play By Play Host)
John Hawkins (Grey Goose 19th Hole Panelist)
Kraig Kann (Grey Goose 19th Hole Host, Golf Central Host)
Erik Kuselias (Morning Drive Host)
Rich Lerner (Golf Central Host & Reporter, PGA Tour Play By Play Host)
Todd Lewis (Golf Central Host & Reporter)
Mark Lye (Nationwide Tour Tower Analyst)
John Maginnes (Nationwide Tour On Course Reporter)
John Mahaffey (Champions Tour Tower Analyst)
David Marr (Champions Tour Play By Play Host & Tower Analyst)
Win McMurry (Grey Goose 19th Hole Contributor)
Frank Nobilo (Golf Central Analyst, PGA Tour Lead Analyst)
Peter Oosterhuis (PGA Tour Tower Analyst)
Phil Parkin (LPGA Tour Tower Analyst, PGA Tour Tower On Course Reporter)
Craig Perks (Nationwide Tour Lead Analyst)
Judy Rankin (LPGA Tour Lead Analyst)
Mark Rolfing (PGA Tour Tower Analyst)
Tim Rosaforte (Golf Central Insider)
Charlie Rymer (Golf Central Analyst)
Steve Sands (Nationwide Tour Play By Play Host, Golf Central Host & Reporter)
Val Skinner (LPGA Tour On Course Reporter)
Holly Sonders (Morning Drive Host)
Stephanie Sparks (Nationwide Tour On Course Reporter)
Kelly Tilghman (Golf Central Host & Reporter, PGA Tour Play By Play Host)
Scott Walker (Golf Central Reporter)
Whit Watson (Golf Central Host & Reporter)
Gary Williams (Morning Drive Host)
Are you even more confused? That’s 58 people on 5 networks to bring us our golf coverage here in the United States. What do you think, is that enough? Will we see this get cut again when the TOUR’S TV negotiations end for the 2012 contracts and the money is not there? I hope for the sake of the charities involved with the PGA TOUR the money is there. The TOUR does so much for charities each week and many cities depend on the traveling circus each year to make ends meet.
Over the last few months I have noticed a trend while attending and watching professional golf events on TV and around the world. I have even shot out a few Tweets about it and I think I have hit a nerve with some people. Question: Should fairways be striped or not? It seems like I might have lost my mind or I don’t know which country I’m in. This year there have been more courses on the European Tour that have striped their fairways than courses in the United States. Also the European Tour players are dominating the world rankings. This picture above is from the BMW PGA Championship on the West Course at the Wentworth Club in Surrey, England. What is going on? Are we slipping?
We all know this course. Torrey Pines has hosted some big events over the years and it’s one of the greatest layouts in the world. Does that fairway look inviting to you? When I see this in my travels, I think damn, another victim. The asset manager or penny pincher strikes again. I can just hear it, “mow them all in one direction and we will save some money”. Or “we can say we are going green and cutting back”. Whatever! I think courses have lost their eye on the goal line.
I have played courses in Scotland, like this one above (Kingsbarns), and thought they did a great job with the mowing lines and patterns. The checker board look would be just too much.
This picture shows the 16th hole at Doral during the PGA TOUR event in 2005. Guests paying $350 to pay the Blue loved the look and expected it to look like this.
I heard Jack Nicklaus tell a story in person about when he played the Masters in the 80′s. He would pick a white mowing line and hit his tee ball at it to get a few more yards of roll. I grew up watching the Bear and loved the stripes at Augusta. Then they were gone. But Jack still wanted the fairways at Muirfield Village checker boarded. I mowed those fairways at Muirfield in the summer of 1990 and have to say they were perfect. Each pinch point and landing area was laid out perfect. You could never hit a white line of the tee because the pattern would not allow it. Let’s see how they will look and play this week.