Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Frost Damage...not just a myth!

You may recall the following picture from last year as it indicates how many footprints or steps that a single foursome creates by walking across a single green. Do you remember the answer?
? 240 steps per foursome per green!

Now the title of the post is frost damage and something about not being a myth. A number of weeks ago we experienced some low temperatures here on the Central Coast and some mornings it was even in the upper 20's. BRRR! (We are spoiled here) Frost had set up on the courses and we issued frost delays to help protect the turf. The next few photos show why we ask that golfers remain patient and not step onto the turf while we are experiencing this natural phenomenon.

This is a view of the first tee box at Dairy Creek Golf Course. Do you notice anything unusual? Maybe a different angle will help.
How about now? It nearly looks like a misapplication of herbicide like RoundUp.
A closer look reveals that these are in the shape of footprints and that would be correct. It appears that an individual took a stroll across the frost covered tee to have a look or stretch his/her legs before their round while waiting for the delay to be lifted.
These photos were taken the following morning once the damage was noticable and permanent. Nearly one month later these footprints are still visable and will be until the turf fills in because this damage caused death to these plants by crushing the cell structure inside of the leaf tissue, thus halting photsynthesis and energy production.

As golf course superintendents we realize how important this game is to the golfers and it is our intention to get you onto the course as soon as it is safe. But how damaging would this have been if this were a green? Schedules are important, but sometimes Mother Nature has her own thoughts and we beg you to understand the delays while we wait for warmer temps.
Happy Golfing!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

In Memorium


With the holidays just around the corner, we ask that you keep the Morris family in your thoughts and prayers. For those who haven't heard, Billy Morris had been ill for the past two months and was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. Sadly, Billy passed away on December 14th, at home with his family by his side. Billy has been a member of the parks family for 14 years working as a Greenskeeper II at Dairy Creek Golf Course and most recently, Greenskeeper III at Morro Bay Golf Course. Any of you that knew Billy know what a great individual he was and as you can imagine, this is a very difficult time for his family and our staff.


We also ask you keep the Galli family in your thoughts and prayers. Lee was another member of the Parks family who lost his battle with cancer October 21. When Lee retired in December 2008 he was an Equipment Mechanic II at Morro Bay Golf Course. Lee worked for County Parks for 12 years. He was a great man with a kind heart. We miss you Lee.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

Deep tine aerification...what is that?

Deep time aerification is a process that we have been utilizing for a number of years at Morro Bay GC and more recently at Chalk Mountain and Dairy Creek. The process of deep tining the greens involves the use of solid tines that are able to penetrate 6-14 inches into the soil. Normal aerification will penetrate 4 inches max. The purpose is still the same to aleviate compaction and increase the pore space in your soils for air and oxygen, thus creating a more aerobic condition for turf roots to "thrive". During years of only going 4" deep you will develop a shelf that is 4" below the turf and this shelf inhibits the turf roots from making their way deeper than 4" because the created compaction over the years; the very thing we are trying to aleviate! So by instituting the practice of deep time aerating are able to penetrate the 4" shelf and drive air and other benficial elements deeper into our greens soil profile.

The process is much more clean than a typical core aerification in the fact that we are not removing any material from soil profile, but rather poking a hole deep into the soil. The result is much less disruption to the surface of the green and a quicker healing process. Have a look at the photos below that were taken this fall at Dairy Creek.

The 5th green at Dairy Creek as the skies are clearing.
The process started around 4 am in the rain.

Here is a closer look at the tines as they slide their way through the turf like a hot knife through butter! You can see all of the water being squeezed out of the soil by the front roller that preceeds these tines. The greens were quite wet at the beginning of the process, but the benefits of this practice were quickly noted as the greens were firm and dry even as the rain continued.

A closer look at the front roller as is pressed the water out of the green!

Ah...the end result minutes after completion. Absolutely no water and ready for the sand. Actually on this day the rain would not let up and we had to postpone the topdressing to the following week to accomodate our tournament schedule. We rolled the greens that afternoon and began mowing the following day. This process actually closed up many of the holes which prevented us from filling the holes with topdressing. Instead of a heavy topdressing we came back a week later and did a medium topdressing to help fill in any depressions that were left from partially healed holes. The putting surfaces healed quickly and the holes are actually still open which can be witnessed when we cut cups and the roots are finding their way through the holes to the bottom! For the most part mission accomplished.

Friday, October 22, 2010

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Now this may not necessarity be a golf related issue, but nearly everyone knows someone that has been effected by this disease through some sort of association whether you know it or not. This is a disease that most victims are not open about their situation and keep it a secret from as many people as possible, but the disease is quite common as you can see by reading the following litereature. I just wanted to add some informational content to help educate about life's issues for a change and maybe it can help someone you know in dealing with this disease. You can find much more information at

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States, aside from skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), an estimated 192,370 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed among women in the United States this year. An estimated 40,170 women are expected to die from the disease in 2009 alone. Today, there are about 2.5 million breast cancer survivors living in the United States.

If you're worried about developing breast cancer, or if you know someone who has been diagnosed with the disease, one way to deal with your concerns is to get as much information as possible. In this section you'll find important background information about what breast cancer is and how it develops.

Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that grows in one or both of the breasts. Breast cancer usually develops in the ducts or lobules, also known as the milk-producing areas of the breast.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women (after lung cancer). Although African-American women have a slightly lower incidence of breast cancer after age 40 than Caucasian women, they have a slightly higher incidence rate of breast cancer before age 40. However, African-American women are more likely to die from breast cancer at every age. Breast cancer is much less common in males; by comparison, the disease is about 100 times more common among women. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 1,910 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed among men in the United States in 2009.

Stages of Breast Cancer
The most common system used to describe the stages of breast cancer is the AJCC/TNM (American Joint Committee on Cancer/Tumor-Nodes-Metastases) system. This system takes into account the tumor size and spread, whether the cancer has spread to lymph nodes, and whether it has spread to distant organs (metastasis).

All of this information is then combined in a process called stage grouping. The stage is expressed as a Roman numeral. After stage 0 (carcinoma in situ), the other stages are I through IV (1-4). Some of the stages are further sub-divided using the letters A, B, and C. In general, the lower the number, the less the cancer has spread. A higher number, such as stage IV (4), means a more advanced cancer.

These are the stages of breast cancer:

Stage 0 - Stage 0 is carcinoma in situ, early stage cancer that is confined to the ducts or the lobules, depending on where it started. It has not gone into the tissues in the breast nor spread to other organs in the body.
  • Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS): This is the most common type of noninvasive breast cancer, when abnormal cells are in the lining of a duct. DCIS is also called intraductal carcinoma. DCIS sometimes becomes invasive cancer if not treated.
  • Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS): This condition begins in the milk-making glands but does not go through the wall of the lobules. LCIS seldom becomes invasive cancer; however, having LCIS in one breast increases the risk of cancer for both breasts.
Stage I - Stage I is an early stage of invasive breast cancer. In Stage I, cancer cells have not spread beyond the breast and the tumor is no more than 2 centimeters (three-quarters of an inch) across.
Stage II - Stage II is one of the following:
  • The tumor in the breast is no more than 2 centimeters (three-quarters of an inch) across. The cancer has spread to the lymph nodes under the arm.
  • The tumor is between 2 and 5 centimeters (three-quarters of an inch to 2 inches). The cancer may have spread to the lymph nodes under the arm.
  • The tumor is larger than 5 centimeters (2 inches). The cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes under the arm.
Stage III - Stage III may be a large tumor, but the cancer has not spread beyond the breast and nearby lymph nodes. It is locally advanced cancer.
  • Stage IIIA - Stage IIIA is one of the following:
    • The tumor in the breast is smaller than 5 centimeters (2 inches). The cancer has spread to underarm lymph nodes that are attached to each other or to other structures.
    • The tumor is more than 5 centimeters across. The cancer has spread to the underarm lymph nodes.
  • Stage IIIB - Stage IIIB is one of the following:
    • The tumor has grown into the chest wall or the skin of the breast.
    • The cancer has spread to lymph nodes behind the breastbone.
    • Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare type of Stage IIIB breast cancer. The breast looks red and swollen because cancer cells block the lymph vessels in the skin of the breast.
  • Stage IIIC - Stage IIIC is a tumor of any size. It has spread in one of the following ways:
    • The cancer has spread to the lymph nodes behind the breastbone and under the arm.
    • The cancer has spread to the lymph nodes under or above the collarbone.
Stage IV - Stage IV is distant metastatic cancer. The cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
Recurrent cancer - Recurrent cancer is cancer that has come back (recurred) after a period of time when it could not be detected. It may recur locally in the breast or chest wall as another primary cancer, or it may recur in any other part of the body, such as the bone, liver, or lungs, which is generally referred to as metastatic cancer.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Stimp readings

I have recently been asked a number of questions regarding what the stimp meter is and how it is used. Well, let me share some of the "mystique" about this tool that the USGA uses to measure green speeds.

In 1935, successful amateur golfer Edward Stimpson developed the first version of what would later become known as the stimpmeter. Stimpson's device, basically a straight aluminum rod nearly one yard on length with a "v"-groove running its entire length, created a uniform way to roll a golf ball onto a putting surface at just about the same speed every time. Thus, the further a ball rolled from the end of the device, the faster the speed of the green. A desirable speed for a green measures anywhere from 7 to 12 feet, with championship speeds on the higher end of the scale.

The key to the device is releasing the golf ball at nearly the same height every time. This will ensure that the speed of the ball leaving the Stimpmeter is consistent. To do this, a small notch was added onto one end of the device. By placing the ball in the notch and slowly raising the end closest to the ball, the ball will release at approximately the same angle to the putting surface, i.e. height above the green, every time.

This measurement is performed on flat areas of putting greens. First three balls are rolled in any direction and the average is measured. Then you roll the balls back to your last starting point, measure the distances again and average them. You will then roll the balls perpendicular to you previous two direction and in the same fashion. After you have the average for all 4 directions (12 balls rolled) you will add up the four averages and divide by four to get yet another average, which is then your Stimpmeter measurement.

The Stimpmeter reading has no true useful value to it unless you have a dial indicator implanted into your chest that allows you to change your putting ability with the turn of a dial. The USGA and golf superintendents alike use the Stimpmeter readings as a way to maximize consistency. Our attempt to ensure that the first and 18th greens and each green in between all roll about the same speed. Each golf course should determine what it's "ideal" greens speed or Stimpmeter reading should be based upon budgets, customer expectation, green undulations, environmental factors, and health of the turf. It can often times cost more to maintain quick greens as this means a lower height of cut (well below 1/8th of an inch) although "rolling" greens can produce quick green speeds while increasing height of cut and improving plant health.

If your customers are not used to playing quick greens or if you have severe undulations in your greens your average pace of play on the course may increase, thus decreasing satisfaction. No two golf courses are the same in length or layout. And each of them has a different climate, soil structure, irrigation quality and construction, turf types, plant needs, pests, etc. Some courses even have multiple micro-climates and construction methods on the same 18-holes!

That being said I don't know how often I hear a golfer state that the greens are slow or "Our greens roll about a 12!" These statements are usually followed by another golf stating that the greens are too fast or "Our greens roll 14!" (I feel for the superintendent managing this type of course) My question to golfers asking me about green speeds is typically, "Did the greens roll true?" or "Was the 4th green slower than the 16th?" As long as the greens are consistent from one to the next and they roll "true" then we should all be able to figure them out by say our 2nd or third green, right? Especially since our mechanics and skills are so precise.

I hope that this sheds some light on the Stimpmeter. The next time you are out playing don't worry about if the greens are rolling a 13.5 like the commentators claim about the greens at the prior weekend PGA Tour event. (Often times those statements are not always correct or verified which only perpetuates this curiosity about green speeds) Try to adjust your putting swing to the speed of the practice green and trust yourself on the first few holes. The plight of many superintendents across the Eastern half of our Country at the direction of Green Chairmen or Board of Directors to increase green speeds is proving detrimental when combined with this summers' heat and humidity levels as indicated by the number of courses closing due to turf loss on greens. There is a saying that "speed kills" and this is definitely true in the case of putting green maintenance.

Friday, August 13, 2010

What Can Golf Do For You?

Have you ever been asked about the game of golf or why so many people spend their time trying to hit a little ball into a hole so far away? Or maybe you've heard, “Golf is not a real sport!” Well next time, educate the individual about the mental aspects of golf and physical endurance that is required to play at a high level or any level for that matter. Not to mention the health, social, aesthetic, and competitive benefits that golf has to offer.

Golf for the Health of it!

One of the best things and a great beneficial by-product of playing the game of golf is the exercise that you will receive. Walking a golf course from hole to hole, and tee to green is approximately 5 miles. There are basically two types of overall exercise categories. Those categories are moderate and vigorous. Golf can be considered as a moderate type of workout activity.

Golfers who walk 36 holes per week will burn approximately 2,900 calories per week! It has bee shown that burning 2,500 calories per week improves your overall health by lowering your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. A person, who weighs between 150-200 pounds, will burn between 2,000 to 2,700 calories by walking 18-holes of golf. You must burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound of weight. So playing 3 rounds of golf can burn from 1.7 to 2.3 pounds in one week!

A Sport for the Ages

Another benefit of playing golf is the friendships and interactions that are developed on the golf course. Generally, golfers team up in pairs or play their golf game with three other individuals. This foursome provides an excellent opportunity for individuals to interact with each. Golf is possibly the only sport that can bridge generations by allowing a foursome of golfers to include four generations all competing against one another on equal ground via the handicap system. This interaction is usually highlighted through the telling of jokes, the sharing of stories, conducting business, getting to know each other in an informal setting, etc. All of this is conducted in a non-threatening, but competitive environment. This type of interaction will prove to be therapeutic as well as an opportunity to bond with other individuals.

Aesthetically Pleasing

Golf provides you the opportunity to walk on some beautifully manicured properties and take in all of the natural surroundings. On a golf course you can start to really take in the beautiful scenery that surrounds you, plus breathe in the fresh air while having time to think and clear your mind. While playing golf you have the ability to witness all of the beauty that Mother Nature affords us. Wildlife abounds on most golf courses and you can witness the many marvelous creatures as you stroll the fairways in a serene environment while just enjoying the day or deep in thought.

Walking the golf course can give you a chance to start to focus on some of the simple things in life. Golf provides an opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of the daily grind. It gives you time to reflect on what is really important. It allows you to shed all of the stress that you may harbor from your workplace or in other stressful environments. Some of the stress could be from work or can even be problems that you're facing at home. Being outside and enjoying the game of golf is an ideal way to relax and recharge.

Even though the game can provide its own challenges you can really reflect on what is important to you. Walking the beautiful green grass, enjoying the surrounding environment, breathing in the fresh air, allows a person to clear the mind.

Competitive Spirit

If you are a competitive person then the game of golf could be for you.Golf is about improving your skills and beating par. The competitive person will always want to add some distance to their tee shots, try to have fewer strokes during a round and always chasing a hole-in-one. The game of golf definitely fulfill the needs of a competitive person. You do not always need an opponent to compete in golf as you can set personal goals for yourself and these goals can be different for each golf course you encounter. The beauty about golf, and maybe the fascination, is that no matter how well you play you always leave shots on the golf course that would have made your score that much better.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Where there is smoke there is fire!

If you have played Dairy Creek recently you may have noticed the charred ground to the right of #4 or the right of #17. This burned area was not part of our regularly scheduled plans, but rather a surprise happening on a Friday afternoon. The fire began on the 4th hole about 150 yards from the green. The origins are not known, but it has been speculated that it may have been a spark from a club on a rock or possibly a cigarette ember. The wind was blowing quite a bit that afternoon and within minutes the fire spread down the hill-side and back up toward the 4th tee boxes. luckily the fire did not spread laterally very much and continued back up the hill behind the 4th tees on its way to 17. Once it hit #17 the fire ran out of fuel (dry grass) once it butted up against the maintained turf. Irrigation heads were turned on to protect the course and trees along the edge of the rough and Cal Fire and their crew were quick to answer the emergency call. They arrived with the full arsenal of fire trucks, fire crews, a large dozer, and helicopters and airplanes dumping fire retardant. Crews began back burning the blaze to control its path by removing any additional fuel material and overhead aircraft began dumping the retardant materials to knock down the flames. Once the fire was under control crews began walking the area and turning the soil over to extinguish any lingering smoldering plant material as well as operating the dozer to turn over the soil at the perimeter of the burned area in an effort to contain any flames that may have reignited. The crews did a fantastic job and were tireless workers in their full gear on this warm day! Here are a few pictures from the days events. Our hats are off to the fire crews and the amount of time they spent assuring our community that the fires were extinguished. The fire began around 2:30 and crews were still on site until dark! Thank you.

The scene as you entered the drive to the parking lot.

The clarity as you reach the 18th tee box overlooking the 17th hole.

Not exactly crop dusting...but similiar! One of these white Cal Fire trucks was turned pink from this activity. They appreciated the free car wash from our irrigation system near the cart path.
The unsung heroes! These guys were present start to finish and were there until dark or a bit after. Thank you SO much!!

The perimeter clean up to make sure the fire did not spread any farther to the north. They brought this big dozer on sight with a low boy trailer right through the same area you take your golf carts to the parking lot. If you saw the huge ruts in the lawn that weekend this guy was the reason. It was an amazing job by the driver not to do any more damage as I was expecting cracked concrete. My hats off to a job well done!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Women's Golf Clinic at Dairy Creek

Ladies, if you are looking to increase your enjoyment in the game of golf, if in the past you put your clubs away to persue other interests, or even if you have never played golf before, but were always curious...then head out to Dairy Creek Golf Course on June 30th.

Our golf staff will be hosting a $10 clinic that will include workshops like:
-The Benefits of Golf
-Short Game (including bunker play)
-Iron Play
-child care services (if indicated on registration)
Your entry fee will also include breakfast on top of all of this great information and instruction.

Please go to our website to find more information and registration forms or you can also visit any of our golf shops and ask about siging up for the Women's Golf Clinic! Gather up all of your friends and come spend your morning with us and nature at Dairy Creek June 30th!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Congratualtions Brian Wiggins!

The San Luis Obispo County Amateur Championship contestants were up against Mother Nature this past weekend. The wind was whipping hard both days, but none the less some great scores were posted and a familiar name was atop the leader board after all of the scores were posted. Congratulations to Brian Wiggins as he posted a score of 145 to claim the title!


Championship Flight
Brian Wiggins 145
Levi Garcia 146
Jeremy Moreno 149

First Flight (Net)
Bob DeSoto 140
Doug Kerr 142

Second Flight (Net)
George Dodge 148
John LeJeal 148
George was declared the winner after a one hole playoff.

Thanks to all of the contestants for your participation!

Monday, May 17, 2010

San Luis Obispo Men's City Amateur

Aerification is complete and we are ready for all contenders! The San Luis Obispo County Amateur is this weekend so get your registration forms filled out. The first round of the tournament will be held at Dairy Creek Golf Course in San Luis Obispo and Sunday's final or second round will be held at Chalk Mountain Golf Course in Atascadero. The courses are in great condition and we are expecting some fantastic weather so click on the link below or call Chalk Mountain (805) 466-8848 or Dairy Creek (805) 782-8060 to reserve your spot to try to become the next San Luis Obispo County Amateur Champion!

Friday, April 23, 2010


I know that this is no news to any of you in the industry, but what a spring! Spring is typically a busy time of year with all of the pre summer prep with pre-emergent herbicide applications, spring fertlization, aerification, irrigation mobilization and servicing, verticutting, rain delays, preventitive fungicide applications. This list could go on and on, but I degress. Let me shed some light on these topics reltaing to what we have been up to since I have not posted here for nearly 6 weeks.

As I said staff has been busy. At Dairy Creek, we are finally emptying out our storage areas that were full of pre-ordered fertilizers to help produce quality surfaces for the entire course. We applied a product called Polyon that will help feed our fairways, approaches, and immediate roughs with roughly a 1/10th of a pound of nitrogen through September. I have had great results with this product in other areas of the country and we are trying it here as well. This should help us reach our goal of consistency and save money at the same time since we will not have a need to fertilize again until our late fall fertilization. We will be making an application every 6 weeks or so on our tees boxes and green surround roughs. The GREAT thing about all of these fertlizers is that they are slow release fertilizers similar to the newer varieties that your local home and garden stores are beginning to carry. In the golf course industry we have been using these types of fertilizers for years because we want to save money (labor and material) and also because we want to be good stewards of the environment. If we apply products that do not last long and are not completely used up at the end and leave a long term residual we are wasting money and hurting the environment we intend to protect! It is my intent and that of my staffs to protect our water ways, water sources, and the fantastic wildlife that helps make our courses so inviting. I think you would find those sentiments coming from nearly every golf superintendent in the world! Aerification will take place the 4th of May.

Morro Bay just finished an aerification and we are nearly healed. We are in the process of repairing our aerifier so that we can fininsh aerifying the collars and move onto Dairy Creek at the beginning of May as stated above. We verticutt our fairways this spring instead of performing this task in June/July. Our intent was to get ahead of the Kikuyu grass and not to be in the way of the tourists and regular golfers during the peak of the season. We will be using a plant growth regulator this year to help control the thatchiness of this turf species as well in our effort to maintain efficiency. This thatch reduction will hopefully have the ancillary effect of reducing water inputs due to having to water enough to get through the thatch and into the soil where it will have a better result, not to mention that it will eliminate all of those whispy white seed heads that show up late in the day after mowing. We have expanded some of our habitat corridors to increase our wildlife populations. I understand that this may result in a few lost balls! For this I apologize, but we will continue to monitor these areas and make adjustments accordingly with the game of golf and you the golfer in mind. Again we want to exist in harmony with the environment and its inhabitants reaching the goals and missions of the Audubon program in which we are certified.

Chalk Mountain is in great shape as it usually is during the spring, fall, and winter. Not to say that the course is rough during the summer, but with the soils and water we are encountering on that course the summer presents more struggles. So from a turf managers standpoint we don't look bad, but staffs have to work much harder. Chalk is in the process of verticutting greens to remove excess leaf material and thatch in preparation for aerification. The irrigation upgrade has been helping to decrease water usage by improving coverage and efficiency and the course conditions are showing the results of these improvements. Since the renovation, irrigation programs have been tweaked and we will continue to tweak these systems in our attempt to provide consistency to all playing surfaces.

The rains this year have really hampered the amount of play that we have experienced at the three golf courses; however the water has flushed the soils and provided great playing conditions, so grab your bag and head to the course!

"When you get those dudes thinking, they're in trouble"
~Pete Dye, the course architect, on desiging PGA venues

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Customer appreciation day

The event this past Saturday was a complete blast and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting all of the golfers on the 13th tee and on the putting green for the mini golf challenge. Congratulations to Mark Anderson and his closest to the pin accomplishment of 13' 11.75". Mark will be receiving a pass for a month of free golf. I will post more results later next week as well as photos. Here are pictures of the mini course I set up on Friday for the event as well as some other recent photos. Enjoy the fantastic weather we have in our future and I will see you on the golf courses!

Creating the routing. No Nicklaus or Pascuzzo and Pate, but not bad if I say so myself!

Adding the hazards and obstacles!

The masterpiece is complete and ready for Saturday.

The view from the 4th tee box, dogleg right par 3 with a risk/reward opportunity to cut the corner if you dared!

The finishing hole had about 12 feet of break and could barely be stopped in play with a perfect shot, just ask Kent Lauble :) We later decided to add a lateral hazard behind the hole to speed up play for Saturday.

Local residents playing through.

What an absolutely gorgeous morning! This is the view from behind the 17th green at Dairy Creek.

Just after sunrise and ahead of the mowers behind the 13th green at Dairy Creek. Richard, this would be a great picture for your "what hole is this" on your facebook site.

Struttin' their stuff! You can hear these guys all over the course at Dairy Creek and a few at Morro Bay too. Who says golf courses are BAD for the environment?!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Golf Course Etiquette

I played golf yesterday at Morro Bay, as I occasionally do, to see how the courses are playing and to get feedback from our customers. I was happy with the conditions of the course as far as quality of cut and general aesthetics, although some people mentioned that some of the rough was a bit tall. I agree, but the mower can only cover so much ground in a day and we have had quite a bit of rain recently, so bear with us as we play catch up. The greens were exceptionally good in my opinion and the crews' hard work is paying off. We are using some new methods to control the Poa annua and it's seedheads including rolling 3x per week and topdressing occassionally. The greens have responded very well creating a smooth surface, a few bumps here and there (read on I will address this issue below), firming up quite a bit, and rolling about a 9.25-9.5 on the stimp meter. Yes that is right near 9.5! Now that is not too fast by the standards of the best golfers on flat greens, but on Morro Bay's greens it is nearly too fast. With all of the slope on the greens and the influence of Black Hill and the Pacific Ocean I guarantee it is nearly all that you want to handle and the greens will test the best of putting strokes. The players in my group were putting balls off of the greens and we had the occassional 5 putt. From my perspective that is dangerous as we loose pin positions and potentially increase golfers frustration.

Addressing the bumpiness of the greens...there are so many ball marks that are not being repaired and those that are repaired have not been fixed properly to the point that the repaired marks are dying or being scalped by mowers. It is part of a golfers responsibility to fix your ball mark and I like the adage of fixing at least one more. Yesterday I was fixing probably 20 marks per green and probably could have fixed 20 more, but we had to move to the next tee box. To speed the repair of the damage it is important to properly fix the ball mark. Many times people will use their divot tool and pry the soil up to fill in the depressed area. This does more damage than not fixing the mark at all. The reason is as you pry the turf up the lifting tears the leaves from the roots effectively killing the plant and ultimately leaving a dead brown spot on the green in a week or two. That brown spot will then take at least 2 weeks to heal and fill in on our Poa greens at Morro Bay and maybe longer on a bentgrass green. To properly fix the ball mark you should insert your repair tool into the turf at an angle toward the center of the ball mark. Instead of lifting the turf you should do the opposite and push the outsides of the mark to the center of the mark. Continue this process all of the way around the ball mark until the cinter of the mark has been filled in with good healthy turf. This procedure will allow the ball mark to heal within hours and maintain the true ball roll that we all desire. It is every golfers' responsibility to leave the golf course in better condition than you find it and it truly helps many of those putts around the hole find the bottom of the cup!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Customer Appreciation Event - March 13!!

If you are a SLO Golf Card holder your membership allows you to take advantage of a spectacular event! AND if you are not a SLO Golf Card holder get out to either Chalk Mountain, Dairy Creek, or Morro Bay golf courses and buy yours by Friday March 12 so that you can get signed up for this appreciation event.

I say event because that is truly what it pay your normal weekend green fee and you compete in a golf tournament with nearly $5,000 worth of prizes and give-a-ways (Month of free golf, clubs, clothing, balls, hats, Hole-in-one prizes etc.), take part in various contests before and after the tournament (i.e. miniature golf course putting contest on the putting green), 6" holes in the greens, some greens with multiple holes, fantastic food, and LOT'S of FUN!!

This event was scheduled for the 27th of February, but the date was changed due to weather concerns and the forecast for the 13th looks like 75 and sunny! Dairy Creek will be the site again this year and the course is looking as green as ever and the greens are rolling well. We had some cancellations due to the date change so you are in luck...grab a friend and join the party for our second Membership Appreciation Event. I look forward to seeing everyone on the 13th.

"Hit it hard, go find it, hit it hard again."
-Arnold Palmer

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

We're finally off of the paths at Dairy Creek!

Mother Nature is finally bringing some quality sunshine, warm temperatures, and wind to help dry things out. We were able to get the carts off of the paths yesterday, however there are the occasional cart path only holes and we ask that you really pay attention as you are motoring around as there are still many soggy areas out there. Thanks for your help!!

Our staff has been working hard to get things back into condition after the storms, as we have not been able to get equipment in certain areas to keep things mowed down. They have done a fantastic job! The clover is running rampant across the course and we are working to chemically remove this troublesome ball eater as weather patterns allow for safe effective applications.

If you are not a SLO Golf Card card holder then make sure to buy yours this month and get signed up for our Membership Appreciation event held at Dairy Creek GC February 27th. The event was a big hit last year and we have made improvements to this years format so get signed up and find out what the membership was raving about last year! I will look forward to seeing everyone on the course!

"I never pray to make a putt. I pray to God to help me react good if I miss a putt."
~ Chi Chi Rodriguez

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New trees

Some time ago we had a malfunction with our drip irrigation that supplied water to our trees on the left side of the driving range at Dairy Creek Golf Course. This resulted in the death of a number of Cypress and Redwood trees as we did not realize there was a problem until it was too late and the trees were declining in health. We recently had a number of trees donated by the San Luis Obispo Botanical Gardens for the course and here are some pictures of staff planting these marvelous trees. I would like to thank the Botanical Gardens and please enjoy these photos!

Jack Pot!!!!

Loading up the trees for installation...

Setting the posts...

Tethering the trees and adding the finishing touches!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Morro Bay Damage

Morro Bay as a whole has faired well from the storms. We have the typical damage to our netting, down branches, scattered debris, and 40-50 of the new small trees that blew over. We expect this kind of damage following high winds.

And then there is the tree damage...

The larger tree damage...
And the SERIOUS tree damage.

Luckily for the golfers and myself we have a tremendous group of guys who work diligently to take care of the mess and put things back in order!

This will be a work in progress for the next couple of weeks, but rest assured that staff strives to have everything cleaned up ASAP!

"The only shots you can be sure of are those you've already hit."

-Byron Nelson, former PGA Tour player

More Dairy Creek Storm Pics

At the time of my last post the pond levels had risen 44"!! That's right, nearly 4 feet of water has run down all of the hills, through the creeks and into the ponds. We have opened up the sluice gate in the dam to help control the levels of the water. The ponds are back to their original full capacity and water is still moving into the ponds from all directions.For safety sake we will be on the paths for a good while, but we will get you onto the turf as soon as it is safe and not a potential hazard to the conditions of the turf.Any damage that we incur at this time fo the year greatly hinders our ability to provide quality playing conditions during the peak of the season. We appreciate your understanding and patience during this period of saturated soils. Morro Bay golf course will be open for cart traffic and nearly puddle free within hours of ceasing rain events. These sandy soils drain so well it is absolutely amazing!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A lesson about making one from three...

This is not just giberish, but rather a look at how Dairy Creek Golf Course was designed to retain water and run-off on site. We typically have three ponds on the golf course within the areas of our 1st, 2nd, 7th, 8th, and 9th holes. After this years rain events we now seemingly have one large lake. Thus, making 1 from 3. See for yourself. My thanks to Bob Yetter our Park Ranger III at El Chorro for taking these photos for me.

Standing on the 7th green looking at the 8th green and down 9 fairway.

Standing on the back of 7 green looking down 9 fairway and #1 to the left

"Some of the most interesting holes are those where the best line to the flag is not direct... Every player who does something more than slug a ball, who thinks as he plays, appreciates why greens are built in this way."
- A.W. Tillilnghast, the course architect


Many soils in the area are heavy tight clays that do not drain or percolate well. This results in saturated soils after light rains, not to mention the heavy stuff that has been coming down lately.

If you are tired of the "cart path only" restrictions come out to Morro Bay. Our soils here are pure nearly pure sand and the water just runs right through leaving a firm moist turf that rarely puddles. These soils make "cart paths only" a rare occasion. So round up your favorite foursome and come on out, when the rain clouds aren't hanging around we have some pretty spectacular views this time of year. The twilight rounds are graced with some fantastic sunsets!

See you on the course!

"...assistant greenskeeper, about to become the next Master's champion. It's a's in the hole!"
- Carl Spackler (Caddie Shack)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The beauty of rain!

OK, so rainy weather is not conducive to playing golf, but we drastically need it here on the Central Coast. I have only been here for a little over a couple of years and it is crazy that we survive with only 12 - 2o inches of rain annually. I am from the Midwest and I am used to getting that much rain in the month of July!

Besides filling our lakes and ponds across the region, the rain means a great deal to caring for the turf on our courses. Even if you irrigate with great quality fresh water, nothing beats the water provided by mother nature! During your next round of golf following the storms make an effort to notice how healthy the greens and tees look. Those areas on your favorite course that usually look beaten up and stressed will more than likely look green and revived. With the amount of rain that we are expecting the soils that the turf is grown in will receive a good "flushing".

Most newer putting greens and many newer tee boxes are constructed as perched water tables. This means the green is built and then cored out to a depth of 12-18 inches and filled with drainage, a gravel layer, and then sand. This is referred to as a USGA green. California style greens are built the same way but lack the gravel layer. Chalk Mountain Golf Course was actually one of the first golf courses built as a California style green and USGA greens evolved later over time and experimentation. These perched water tables are constructed so that water is held within the sand until the sand reaches saturation. At this point the sand releases the water all at once and the water enters the gravel layer and out the drainage, which in turn creates a vacuum-like situation leaving the sand layer moist with just the right oxygen content for turf and root growth.

Many golf courses are using some stage of effluent water, like Morro Bay, Dairy Creek, and Chalk Mountain. This water source helps us to conserves fresh water usage and actually is filtered as it moves through the soil and is returned into the ground water. These waters are filled with salts and other contaminants that actually can hinder plant growth over time and actually cause death. "Flushing" is a practice superintendents will utilize to help rid the soils of these salts, as the salt ions will attach themselves to ions within the water and actually leach down and through the soil profile allowing other ions like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (fertilizer components) to take their place.

The rains we are receiving are helping to clean our soils up and at the same time allowing our root systems to breathe with decreased effort. It is unfortunate to have so many consecutive days of rain keeping the golfers at home or at work, but aside from providing California with a precious resource, our turfs are reaping the benefit as well. Hey we could be living in the upper Midwest hoping that we will be thawed out by May! I hope to see you all out at the courses as things begin to dry out.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Continuing Morro Bay's 4th hole facelift

We have began moving material to improve and increase the tee box area for the 4th hole at Morro Bay over the last couple of days. Our intention is to level the area making it more conducive to better shots and increase the area available for the blue tee area. In the end the tee will be level from front to back and more uniformly retangular in shape. The slope on the south side of the tee is fairly steep and a bit tricky to mow with our equipment, so the tee will be narrowed so that the south slope of the tee is lessened. Tee boxes will be placed on the front of the tee until we are ready to demo that area and then the tees will be placed on and adjacent tee box on the south of the existing tee box.

We stripped some sod from the tee box to complete our bunker project up by the green and the earth moving has begun using our dump truck to haul soil from our turf maintenance area. There will be a temporary ramp on the cart path leading to the 4th tee until our soil hauling is complete. Sorry for the inconvenience, but it will not last long and should not effect your day on the course.

Here are some pictures as we begin this project.

The cart ramp/dump truck bridge to the 4th tee

Stripping the sod from the 4th tee to complete the sodding of the 4th greenside bunker.