Tuesday, December 13, 2011

GCSAA's very own Greg Lyman!

Greg is the Director of Environmental Programs for the Golf Course Superintendent's Association of America.  In this video footage he is a guest on the Morning Drive, a talk show on the Golf Channel.  The message he protrays is relemvant to anyone that enjoys the game of golf because he discusses some of the regulations that golf course operations are governed by that many golfers do not even know about and that anti-golf individuals consistently pursue.  Now many of these regulations are valid, but should not only pertain to golf courses, but homeowners and place of business as well.  Things like water usage and chemical regulations.

There is not a great deal of statistical information in this video or even reference material in general, but hopefully you will gain some awareness about some of the challenges facing your favorite course.  And also how golf course superintendents are managing the playing surfaces in an effort to promote environmental awareness across the globe.  Many golfers flock to courses across the world, but how many know where the turf maintenance facility is, let alone the person entrusted with the upkeep of the turf.  Get to know your golf course superintendent and ask him/her what he/she is doing to improve the environement at your course.

Click on the link below and enjoy the message!


"Being in a links bunker is a little like sitting in a rigid pew at the village kirk on Sunday.  'You're noot here to have a good time, lad.  Yer here to atone fer yer sins.'"

~Donald Steel, British golf architect, quoting a Scottish friend.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Frost Delays

Every year around this time I get to talk about a subject that many golfers do not like to hear about....Frost Delays.  Let me tell you, golf staff doesn't like this topic either.  The reason is that every year around this time they are required to enforce frost delays and deal with unhappy customers that are anxious to get on the golf course.  We understand that getting on the course is important to you and we will do everything to make that happen, but frost is not something that we have any control over.  Some courses will run water to knock the frost off of the grass, but this can lead to bigger issues like ice.  This was a common request when I worked in Indiana (where frost delays lasted until 12:30 some days), but the practice performed when some areas of the course are still below freezing can lead to more waiting because ice takes much longer to thaw than frost. 

The reason for the delays is the damage that can occur from foot or equipment traffic to the turf when frost is present.   With more frost days expected, this is a good time to look at the conditions favorable for frost.

Frost occurs on clear cold nights when turfgrass plants re-radiate heat (exothermic reaction). As the plant loses heat to the atmosphere the plant leaf cools. If the plant temperature is cooler than the air temperature then moisture from the atmosphere will condense on the leaf. If the leaf temperature drops below freezing then the water freezes and frost forms. This will occur even if the air temperatures are slightly above freezing. At this time of the year it is not uncommon to have frost form even if the air temperature is in the mid to high 30s.  This is due to the fact that the soil temperatures are still creating a much cooler microclimate at ground level.  Think of the scenario when you pour your favorite beverage into a glass that has been in the freezer.  FROST!

Frost itself does not cause damage, but injury does occur with traffic on frosted areas. Turf damage is generally superficial. This is not to say that traffic should be allowed on frosted turf. If traffic occurs, whether it is foot or mechanical, damage caused by crushing the leaf blade will occur. Initially the symptoms will appear purplish to black in color. The damaged turf will then progress to a straw color. If no damage occurs to the crown (the growing point), recovery will occur from the generation of new leaves.  However if the crown of the plant is damaged the plant may be severely damaged or worst case it may die.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A new link for the blog...check it out!

Our non-profit partner that we are working with to become a Zero Waste Golf Course has changed their name from EPA Inc (Environmental Protection Associates Incorporated) to Zero Waste Concepts.  You can find their link on the right hand column of the blog for future reference.  Right now I invite you to click on the link below to go directly to their site.  At the present time the website is undergoing changes and development so that we will be able to schedule docent led tours via this website as well as provide a bevy of information regarding our Zero Waste Park at Dairy Creek and various other tidbits of info about how you too can utilize Zero Waste Concepts in your own home, place of business, and school to help make a difference in the global environment.  The below link will allow you to view the informational video piece that KAlta Designs created for our Zero Waste Park at Dairy Creek, which describes our goals and how we began down this path.  Please enjoy and let me know if you have any questions or share your comments.  Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

USGA Green Section Record

Check out a recent article in the USGA greens section record.  I'll give you a hint...it pertains to Zero Waste Golf.  Enjoy!


Play each shot to the best of your abilty . . .and take dead aim!
 ~Harvey Penick, golf instructor

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Zero Waste Golf is a success!

Our Zero Waste Park at Dairy Creek Golf Course is a success.  Our first goal is to demonstrate how zero waste efforts can be accomplished at home, work areas, schools, hospitals, prisons, etc. so that we can make a global difference in the overall environment.  We are not advocating or disputing climate change, but we want to make sure that we are proacitve with our waste streams at our facilities.  Our second goal is to reduce or eliminate our inputs into landfills, inorganic fertilizers, water usage, and pesticide usage.  These goals will help us to maintain recreational opportunities for our communtiy in a truly sustainable fashion.  If you would like a tour of the facility please contact me (805) 781-1318 or jheptig@co.slo.ca.us or you can also take our self guided tour as the compost facility has been created as a park so that anyone can learn about this process on their own by reading the signs and experiencing the park at their own leisure. 

Enjoy the following pictures below of our ribbon cutting ceremony on Nov. 10, 2011.
Our display area near the restaurant, which is where many golfers enter to grab a bite to eat or drink at the turn.

Our Mission and Vision statements for our golf facility.

We started the day with a power point presentation and video to provide some background
 for our project and how it can help our communities and the overall environment.

Supervisor Bruce Gibson talking about what the project means to our County and its communities.
A sideways shot (sorry, new technology) of our demonstration site.
In-vessel composters are the true workhorses other than Richard.

Our material bins
wood and carbon sources         green or nitrogen sources      finished compost           
Mike di Milo of Integrated Waste Management Authority
presenting info about worms and vermicomposting.
Albert Nunes discussing the operations surrounding our vermicompost
and how we screen the material.

Here I am giving a captivating talk about microbes, which was not nearly as interesting
 as our worm bins for these two young participants.
Richard McConaghay and I tossing the ceremonial compost onto our screening bins.
The ribbon cutting to officially open the site for self-guided or docent led tours.

Please contact Josh Heptig at (805) 781-1318 or jheptig@co.slo.ca.us
for tour scheduling or more information.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Oncourse Restroom Facelift

Our restrooms at Morro Bay Golf Course received a much needed facelift during the past two months. The replacement costs and assiciated perimtting were well outside of the range of money that we wanted to spend so we renovated the structures in house using some volunteer and community work release labor. There was a fair amount of rotten wood that was removed given the moist ocean climate that the course resides within. New shingles were installed, paint was applied, and new fixtures freshen up the interior areas that have not been updated since the 1950's. This was a long overdue project that help improve the outside services of the facility.
Have a look at some before and after photos below.

Here you can see this structure is showing its age.

Not our best foot forward, even before we started removing the rotten wood exterior.

A close up of the rotted exterior wood. Luckily the damage did not make its way into the structural components of the building.

Here is the clean finished product after replacing the rotten wood and a fresh paint job! To finish this project we plan to install a faux rock surface over the concrete section of this front fascade along with a nice metal logo. I'll post those pics once the work is complete.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Zero Waste Park Ribbon Cutting



Cutting Ceremony

Please join San Luis Obispo County Parks as
we celebrate the completion of our Zero Waste Demonstration Park at Dairy Creek
Golf Course.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

10:00 a.m.

Project Info: This Demonstration Park will explain how one of our County Golf
facilities is protecting the environment by utilizing Zero-Waste strategies.

Directions: Heading north or south from US-101 take California Blvd. exit. Turn right onto California Blvd. Turn left onto Foothill Blvd. Turn right onto CA-1/Santa Rosa St and continue

for approximately 5 miles to Dairy Creek Road. Turn right, follow up the hill then turn left at the Dairy Creek Golf Course sign. Follow the road to the clubhouse and golf course parking lot.

Refreshments will be served. Lunch will also be available for purchase
after the event at the clubhouse Fairway Restaurant

RSVP by November 8, 2011

to Anna Diaz at 805.781.4386
or by email adiaz@co.slo.ca.us.

For information on the demonstration park
please contact Josh Heptig at 805.781.1318

or by email at jheptig@co.slo.ca.us

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bunker Maintenance and Expectations

The other day, Albert Nunes (Golf Superintendent for Morro Bay
and Dairy Creek Golf Courses) and I were sitting down for our weekly meeting.
During our discussion we were

discussing course conditions and our golfers’ expectations. Recently he had

heard a few complaints from some of our regular patrons, golfers that we value greatly;
complain about the condition of our sand bunkers. Primarily these comments were
directed at the amount of sand in the sand bunkers and/or their relative
firmness. I have also received similar comments or questions regarding the sand
bunkers at Chalk Mountain since we renovated those hazards in 2008.

The comments are a concern of Albert's as he desires to please
as many golfers with the course conditions as possible day in and day out. He
and the staff at Dairy Creek pride themselves

in the product quality they produce especially given that our staff size is down
to 6.5 full time employees and one and a half of that quota is Albert (0.5, as
he is the superintendent of operations at Morro Bay and Dairy Creek) and Brad
(1.0, our equipment manager at Dairy Creek). This full time crew is bolstered
by 5 to 6 seasonal/intern staff that work 20 hours per week on average. I am
blessed with a fantastic crew that is dedicated to our customers

and our courses.

I wanted to discuss some of these issues as many courses have
some of the same issues. Sand material that is used to build golf sand bunkers
is selected based upon criteria established through testing by the USGA.
"Bunker sand" as it is called meets a specification that primarily
allows for the penetration of water over a certain amount of time, as well as,
limits cohesion of the material particles. These specs help to maintain
drainage by alleviating standing water after irrigation or rain events, but
also allow for a quality playing surface that does not easily washout during
rain events, create fried egg lies, or become firm like concrete.

The recent comments that we have been receiving stem from the
firmness of our bunkers. Our courses are watered with medium overhead
sprinklers and these sprinklers water our green surrounds and therefore also
irrigate our greenside sand bunkers. We consistently rake our sand bunkers at
Dairy Creek each and every day so that the sand is not too firm on the surface
and to eliminate foot prints. WHAT!? Footprints you ask? Well even though
common etiquette suggests that you are to rake out any remnants of an attempt
to remove your ball from the sand bunker, many players feel as though this is
the duty of maintenance staff and leave these areas prone to "poor
lies" for the following golfers. Please rake the sand bunkers after
playing your shots so that the conditions are ready for the next group behind
you. Now that we have that issue resolved let's address the firm sand/no sand

As I mentioned before the sand can be compacted by the
irrigation water as it waters surrounding turf areas. Many new courses have
been built with small pop-up heads surrounding their bunkers so that bunker
faces and the turf surround them are more adequately irrigated and maintained
by keeping the water out of the sand and on the sod, which prevents sand
washouts and crispy turf. With overhead irrigation, like we have, the sand can
become contaminated with fine soil particles and grass clippings allowing the
sand to become compacted over time. Through the course of play sand is also
lost from the bunkers as shots are hit and sand is thrown out of the bunker
onto the green or roughs around the sand bunkers. Consequently we have to
replenish or replace the sand over time to provide quality playing conditions.
Quality playing conditions...now there is a difficult term to define.

The expectations of golfers has increased over the past 15-20
years as equipment technology has improved greatly and the amount of daily fee
courses providing the country club experience boomed in the early to mid-1990's.
The ability to travel to a new course across town or in another community exposed
many players to conditions they had not previously experienced. When they returned
to their home course or club they began to ask why their course could not
produce the same conditions. When these
questions are asked, they do not consider the cost they paid to play

the other course which was typically much higher than what they pay for their round
at home or their monthly dues. In short they were not comparing apples to apples.

The amount of time spent maintaining sand bunkers is
considerable. On average we spend 2 hours per day raking the traps 7 days per
week. These areas are edged and defined
at least 2 times per year and that often times takes two workers 3 days to
complete 18 holes, so that is 152 hours per year raking, edging, and keeping
the sand relatively clean. This figure
does not take into account the number of times rain washes out the sand and we
spend 3-5 days reconstructing the sand profile within the bunkers
themselves. This procedure can easily
eat up 40 hours per occurrence. Luckily
we live in CA and this does not typically happen more than 3 times per year (In
the Midwest and East this can happen weekly or multiple times per week). So let’s see that is 866 hours of minimal
bunker maintenance per year. With the
cost of sand and labor alone we likely spend $30,000 per year maintaining our sand

Albert's concern is valid as customer satisfaction is high on
our minds these days given the recent economy and the number of the daily fee
courses that are now competing at the municipal

fee level to stay competitive. As the Director of Operations/Superintendent, satisfaction
is also a great concern of mine as well. This is why earlier I said quality playing conditions
is a difficult thing to determine as the rules of golf deem sand bunkers as
hazards, but many players are upset when they are greeted with a fried egg lie,
on hard-pan, or for god's sake in a footprint!
In fact many tour players aim for greenside bunkers, especially in the majors,
as a lie in bunker sand is much more consistent than that of the lush sticky

My final thought here is that each course’s budgets, customer
expectations, and course conditions vary.
You can typically rest assured that the golf course superintendent is as
concerned or more concerned about your lies across the golf course as you are
because her/his reputation and job may depend upon it. That being said you are participating in a
sport without rigid surfaces like a basketball court and mother-nature often
dictates what we do or how the turf performs on any given day. I can tell you that my staff and I are
working hard to make sure that your experiences on our courses are pleasurable,
but if you want a truly consistent playing surface fairways and greens are the
places to be.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Aerification time AGAIN?!!

This is the time of year golfers everywhere are asking, "WHYYYYYYY!? I get this questions each fall as the greens always seem to be in prime condition and then we break out the dreaded aerifiers to begin punching holes in the most sacred areas of the golf course. This is a practice that is not a very fun period for staff either as it means getting the course ready starting two weeks before aerification day by preparing equimpment and ordering supplies (sand, seed, fertilizer, and perhaps wetting agents), making a few practice runs on practice areas, fertilizing the greens to boost nutirition levels so that healing time is reduced, and adjusting schedules for staff.

This is not a task that is taken lightly given that the greens are our most precious asset outside of our STAFF! I must emphasize how important these men and women are to every golfers experience on every golf course around the world. Our crews perform some of the most difficult tasks and work some of the worst hours with little to no recognition and maybe some complaining from golfers about the pin on hole #12. The staff that I have is amazing and to think that all of the tasks we accomplish is done with 6 full time staff (that includes our Equipment Managers) and a few interns at each course only proves how lucky I am to be where I am. We have staff members that could be or have been head supers at a course of their own, but enjoy the life and luxuries that we are blessed to have here on the Central Coast.

The day of aerification starts around 3:30 when the aerifier first breaks ground on our putting green. That's right, we start in the dark using lights and our own wit and senses as this process starts. It is somewhat of an eerie situation when you are all alone on an aerifier in the dark of night when you can not see beyond the lights of your rig and all you hear is the noise of the equipment. You never really know what is lurking about in the openness of the golf course.

We usually punch 3-4 greens before the rest of the staff begins the process of cleaning up cores, dropping sand, and brooming the sand into the holes. This fall we will not be pulling cores as we use this time of year to attempt to push our roots deep by using a solid deep time aerification approach. This process fractures and heaves the soil beneath the turf, thus loosening the soil particles allowing better flow of water, nutirents, and also better penetration of roots. Consequently, this process also takes less time to healas the amount of damage is lessened. This helps us to keep more golfers on the courses and maintain revenue streams.

The day ends near dark and the staff is tired and ready for some nourishment and rest of their own once all of the equipment is cleaned up and properly stored. But they will be back tomorrow to help push the sand around a bit more and water it in using hoses and irrigation. We keep the mowers off for the first day to help not pick up any sand with the equipment, which helps reduce the loss of resources and also reduce the wear and tear on cutting units. Mechanics hate sand and I wonder how they ever enjoy our beaches around here?

We will then begin mowing with a set of reels we call Sand Sharks. These reels are used for a 2-3 days until the clippings in our catch baskets are pretty free of sand particles. Again mechanics HATE sand. After that period we send out a brand new set of reels and gradually work the height of cut back down to our traditional 0.130. The first day with this mower usually requires a double cut to smooth out the surface and stand up the lazy Poa Annua leaf blades. A week or after the initial aerification we will come back with another round of fertilizer to help push the roots of the mature turf and new seedlings deep within our soil profile so that they will handle the wear of play during the year. We do go through this process again in the spring by pulling cores, but the fall allows for the best root growth as the temperatures are typically moderate and stress levels are low. Those elements coupled with the fact that cool season turf grows optimally during the fall and spring, fall deep tining, at least in my mind produces the most opportunity for deep healthy root development.

All of this allows our turf to be in the best possible condition this same time period next year and the year after that too. I understand as a golfer this process is not well appreciated from a playability stand point; but if we did not aerify at all the health and playability may decline during the summer months when high use compacts the soils. With compacted soils, water penetration is reduced, air pore space is reduced, and nutrient absorption is also reduced. All of these factors work against the health of the plant and can result in dead turf and nobody wants that in the middle of the summer!

Morro Bay was aerified a week ago and the greens will be back to normal this weekend. Dairy Creek is scheduled for aerification October 4th. We apologize for the inconvenience and we will take all of the "atta boys" you are willing to give next spring and summer when the greens are healthy, smooth, and enjoyable. Thanks for your patronage and check out the video below from Pace Turf for more information regarding aerification.

"Reverse every natural instinct and do the opposite of what you are inclined to do, and you will probably come very close to having a perfect golf swing."
~Ben Hogan

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Video Tour of Our ZERO WASTE Golf Compost Operation at Dairy Creek Golf Course

Please see the attached video for a guided tour of our Compost Facility that we intend to utilize to become a zero waste golf operation. Let me know your thoughts and comments....enjoy!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Morro Bay Club Champion

Golf Club Crowns New Champion

By Jack Beardwood


orro Bay resident Les Wade shot a two round 151 then held on to win the Morro Bay Golf Club Championship, held Aug. 16 and 23 at the Poor Man’s Pebble Beach. Wade said he felt the pressure as he entered the second day of the event with a 3-stroke lead over San Luis Obispo resident, Cullin Rutherford, a Cal Poly student who took second with a 154. “I had to sit with it (the lead) for a whole week,” said Wade. “I’ve worked hard to get my game into the shape it is, so it’s very rewarding to see it come together for this tournament. My ball striking was really good today. I made a couple of clutch putts.” He also made three birdies on the final day. “I think it’s an excellent tournament. Very competitive,” he said. “The course is in excellent condition. And I won. It’s pretty hard not to like a tournament that you win.” He said it is the first time that he has won a club championship.

Rutherford previously won a club title in Nevada City, Calif. “It was close right up to the last hole,” he said. “It’s a great tournament. He (Wade) played great the whole time. It was good to play a fellow walker. Everybody else was in carts.” Rutherford said he has been a club member for a few months. “It’s just a great group of guys,” he said. “Everybody was very welcoming. I love the golf course. You can’t beat this area. You can’t beat the views. It’s the best course in the county.” He has a message for Wade: “I’m going to win it next year.”

Josh Heptig, superintendent of the county’s golf program, won the previous two events. He reportedly has been dealing with a shoulder problem. Wade was proud that at age 67 he was able to hold off the Poly student. “This is a game where an old guy can play with the young dogs,” he said. “It’s an amazing game where you can still be competitive.” A retired computer engineer, Wade couldn’t say enough about the course. “Morro Bay Golf Course is one of the best kept secrets in California for coastal golf. The ocean and bay views are superior to any course I’ve played.” He has played in Canada, Ireland, Washington, South Carolina and North Carolina.

It is not known how long the club championship has been contested at the golf course that was built 85 years ago. A plaque in the clubhouse has the names of champions as far back as 1971. Randy Kleinhammer, who won in 1994, 1980 and from 1996 to 2000, appears to have been the biggest winner. Dean Greene II won five straight from 1986-1990.

Rutherford, who hails from Nevada City, won low gross for the first flight. Don Albin of Los Osos won the low net at 139. In the second flight, low gross was Morro Bay resident Phillip Davis (169), while Don Hanak of Cambria won the low net (139). In flight three, Peter Wightman of Morro Bay was low gross champ with a 183, while Dave Dabritz of Cayucuos shot a 145 for low net.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Virtual Golf

We recently bought our way into the virtual golf arena by purchasing a golf simulator. The equipment is really pretty simple. Well let me take that back a bit...it is simple to use, but the set up and configuration was quite a bit of work for our IT staff to tweak and perfect. The final results are spectacular. We will be able to utilize the equipment during our rainy season, trade shows, and various events in which we participate.

There are a number of courses that an individual can play as well as a great practice demo that helps by showing graphics and information that depict your impact positions. The club face angles related to your target and trajectory are nice information to have as well as ball speed, trajectory (high or low), spin rate, clubhead speed and a number of other factors that determine the overall result of your ball flight.

Below you can see photos of our first use at an event, which was the SLO Farmer's Market on Thursday nights in downtown San Luis Obispo. The event was a hit and we gave away buckets of range balls to each participant and our contest was a closest to the pin on the 6th hole at Pebble Beach. The winner was actually a young man visiting from Germany as he knocked the 140 yard shot stiff to within 2 feet. Not bad for his first swing of a golf club ever! Kent Lauble our head pro gives some mean lessons as he instructed the new golfer on how to hold and swing the club. So if you are looking for a new coach give Kent a call. All in all it was a great event and fun was had by the Farmer's Market patrons and our staff alike. Click on the link below and you can see a video of the simulator in action!

Here Donovan Romero(right), our Pro Shop Manager at Morro Bay, assists one of our
participants hit into the 7th hole at Pebble Beach

Here you can see the screen with the clubface characteristics
and ball information from his previous shot.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Work day #2 was a success

Last Month the Morro Bay Golf Club held their first club work day and we planted flowers and afixed yardage plaques to the cart paths. Those plants are thriving and the plaques are adding to the experience of our customers by providing them with yardage reference points throughout the course and some color to the landscape other than the typical green you will find on every golf course.

This month we are attempting to add more yardage reference points by placing yardage plaques on the irrigation heads. The club members broke into groups of two and headed out with GPS devices, clipboards, and paint pens in hand to record the gps guided measurements for each individual irrigation head 250 yards or closer to the greens. We had the assistance of 8 members this month and each group recorded the measurements for three holes each, so we were able to finish 12 holes leaving us with 6 more to complete the course.

For the time being the yardages were written on the heads with the paint pens, but that will not last very long (maybe a month). We will finish these measurements with our staff or during the next work day scheduled for September 27th. Albert and I will be researching the most cost effective way to attach these distances to the heads and possibly taking donations to help defray the cost of the materials and production. I have attached some pictures below that show the process and results of the work by these dedicated members.

Mike and Larry are maximizing their efficiency by slitting up and and each taking a different task.

Bill and Jim are working more as a team and contemplating whether their GPS is providing the proper measurements based upon our current yardage placement efforts.

Here Les is showing off his caligraphy skills by writing a temporary yardage on the head.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Green Golfer Foundation: Exclusive unpublished photos of World's First ZerO...

Below is a link to the blogsite from a member of our non-profit partner that is trying to establish a foundation much like the surf-rider foundation, but for golf. Have a look at the site and narrative that accompanies the photos. I returned from a trip to Pittsburgh to find out that our crew has been busy upgrading the facility and that the 500 gallon brewer is nearly complete! We are all so excited and ready for our goals to become a reality. More soon...so stay tuned!

Green Golfer Foundation: Exclusive unpublished photos of World's First ZerO...: "Welcome to Dairy Creek Golf Course, the first zero waste golf course in the world This is the view from the clubhouse deck looking out o..."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bird watcher's paradise!

I hate that I do not have any photos to share, but I wanted to at least tell you about my experience yesterday at Dairy Creek Golf Course. Albert, our golf course supervisor for Dairy Creek and Morro Bay, and I took a drive around the course yesterday to check out a few fairways to see how we could reshape them to make the course a bit more user friendly. Keep your eyes peeled as these changes will be happening soon if not yesterday.

The real reason for my post today is to talk about the avian specimen that abound on the course! People that complain that golf courses ruin or destroy the environment may be somewhat correct during the construction or grow in of a golf course due to the amount of disturbances, increased watering in some instances, and the techniques to establish turf and landscaped areas. However, once established these areas can be havens for an abundance of wildlife and plant life and Dairy Creek is the perfect example.

During our drive we left our Turf Center and headed backwards on #9 cart path. At the white tee box there was a Mallard hen with her 5 ducklings grazing on the grass and enjoying the sun not far from the ponds edge. We continued across our maintenance path alongside of the tee boxes on #2 and the puddle ducks were thick on the pond's edge adjacent to the tees along with a few Egrets as well. We headed cross country from there and drove through the rough on #2, across the 7th fairway and back to the path up to the restrooms behind the 4th green where we encountered a wild turkey hen bedded down in the tall grass. Upon closer inspection she hopped up and we discovered she has a lame leg and was struggling to put some distance between herself and the two of us so we left her to rest and possibly recover from her injury. I saw this same bird on Wednesday afternoon when I was out with the turf professors, from Cal Poly, taking soil samples last week. At that point I did not notice her injury. She may make a recovery or become a source of food for a larger predator like a mountain lion or coyote and continue nature's food chain.

Albert and I stopped at the 5th tee box to examine the 5th fairway and look at ways we could reshape it to make it more attractive to the eye in hopes that more balls will end up down the middle. On this tee box I came across a gopher snake last week that was heating her body for the day ahead. We then continued towards the tee boxes on #4 and took the maintenance path over the hill to #17. This hole is looking great especially considering it has the least amount of top soil of anywhere on the course. We continued backwards on #17 to the restrooms then to our maintenance path behind #13 green to #11 tees. During this drive we passed many of our raptor perches, which were in use by many birds of prey and a few crows trying to get a look into the unmaintained tall grass areas we have across the landscape of the golf course.

Albert had me take a look at their mornings work, which was carving out a fairway on #11 approach and rough across the creek. They did a great job extending the approach into a fairway and carried the closer cut of turf up onto the mounding right of the green so that shots that hit this area would possibly carom onto the green. We took our maintenance path behind #11 towards the cart barn and came across a large group of California Quail. This group was actually a mother with her, it seemed like at least 20 chicks, scratching at the ground and then scrambling for cover in the tall areas surrounding the cart path in that area. The little guys were really small and could not have been much older that a week or two. Hopefully many will survive to increase our population of this species on the course as they provide a great food source for many predators up the food chain, which will eventually increase our population diversity.

All in all it was a great day on the course, which I relish a lot these days, since I am mostly confined to my office performing more managerial and financial tasks. As I got in my truck I was surprised that we had not seen any other turkeys than the hen near the bathrooms on #4, as we have as many as 300 wild turkeys on the property at their peak of the year. Just before I drove through the gates of the golf course I waited while two turkey hens cautiously escorted their 11 poults, baby turkeys, across the road. Ahh...the circle of life! During your next round make a point to look around and enjoy the nature that you are in and share your experiences with your non golfing friends as they may have th opinion that we are destroying the ecosystems, polluting ground water sources, and reducing our wildlife populations. Let them know that we are stewards of the environment and it they would like to chat give them my information as I very much enjoy educating people about what we do for our golfers, our community, and the wildlife which we are thrilled to share our lives.

Friday, July 15, 2011

First Morro Bay Golf Club Member Work Day

Last Tuesday, July 12, we held the first ever Morro Bay Member Work Day. The event was our kick off event so we made it fun and simple yet productive. We had 7 individuals help install some plant material around the stairs leading up from the bag drop area and also at the forward tee box on the 15th hole. We had another 5 individuals adhering yardage markers onto the cart paths throughout the course. After all of the hard work libations and discussions of future projects were had on the outdoor patio with all involved. If you are interested in helping during the next work day it will be held Aug. 9th at 2:30 pm. We have a lot of good projects to complete that will enhance all experiences at the Morro Bay Golf Course and provide a way to give back to a course that has provided us with so many memories and friends throughout the years!

Learning the tricks of fixing a yardage marker to our asphalt cart paths. It's really not rocket science, but it's close...just ask Albert, our golf supervisor.

Here is most of our motley crew standing above the newly planted landscape areas.

Thanks for everyone's help and dedication!

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Dairy Creek Flyover

My wife and recently were traveling by plane and happened to fly right over the top of Dairy Creek and Morro Bay as well, but I couldn't get to the other side of the plane as we were still climbing in altitude (darn aviation rules!). Below you can easily distinguish our 88 acres of maintained turf among the brown area that used to be the Gilardi dairy farm.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Brewing some good stuff!

The tea is steeping and will be done in the next 48 hours. The video is not much but you can check it out on Youtube below. I hope that everyone has a great Father's Day weekend and enjoy watching the 110th U.S. Open. It does not seem like 10 years ago that I was helping our crew battle the pressure and elements preparing the course at Southern Hills CC. I really feel for the guys sticking it out this week as the greens already look a bit stressed during yesterdays round and sleep will not be something those individuals get a lot of until Monday night.

"If you were playing Jack Nicklaus, you knew that he was better than you, he knew that he was better than you, and you knew that he knew that you knew he was better than you."

~Chi Chi Rodriguez

Thursday, June 16, 2011

20 Facts You Didn't Know About Golf.

Here is a list I came across the other day on LinkedIn.  It is from the website www.intotherough.co.uk.

1. 125,000 golf balls a year are hit into the water at the famous 17th hole of the Stadium Course at Sawgrass (pictured).

2. The longest drive ever is 515 yards. The longest putt ever is a monstrous 375 feet

3. Phil Mickelson, who plays left-handed, is actually right handed. He learned to play golf by mirroring his father’s golf swing, and he has used left handed golf clubs ever since.

4. The chances of making two holes-in-one in a round of golf are one in 67 million.

5. Tiger Woods snagged his first ace at the tender age of eight years old.

6. Balls travel significantly further on hot days. A golfer swinging a club at around 100 mph will carry the driver up to eight yards longer for each increase in air temperature of 25°F.

7. The longest golf course in the world is the par 77 International Golf Club in Massachusetts which measures a fearsome 8325 yards

8. The highest golf course in the world is the Tactu Golf Club in Morococha, Peru, which sits 14,335 feet above sea level at its lowest point.

9. The longest golf hole in the world is the 7th hole (par 7) of the Sano Course at the Satsuki Golf Club in Japan. It measures an incredible 909 yards.

10. The largest bunker in the world is Hell's Half Acre on the 585-yard 7th hole of the Pine Valley Course in New Jersey.

11. The largest golfing green is that of the 695-yard, 5th hole, a par 6 at the International Golf Club in Massachusetts, with an area in excess of 28,000 square feet.

12. The driver swing speed of an average lady golfer is 62mph; 96mph for an average LPGA professional; 84mph for an average male golfer; 108mph for an average PGA Tour player; 130mph for Tiger Woods; 148-152mph for a national long drive champion.

13. There are 336 dimples on a regulation golf ball.

14. The first golf balls were made of thin leather stuffed with feathers. Tightly-packed feathers made balls that flew the farthest. Feather balls were used until 1848.

15. The youngest golfer to shoot a hole-in-one was Coby Orr, who was five years old at the time. It happened in Littleton, Colorado, in 1975.

16. 22.8% of golfers are women. Source

17. Golf was banned in Scotland from 1457 to 1502 to ensure citizens wouldn't waste time when preparing for an English invasion

18. The term birdie comes from an American named Ab Smith. While playing 1899, he played what he described as a "bird of a shot", which became "birdie" over time.

19. The word golf does not mean "Gentleman Only, Ladies Forbidden". This is an internet myth. Read more here

20. Don't feel bad about your high handicap -80% of all golfers will never achieve a handicap of less than 18 .

"If you wish to hide your character, do not play golf."

~Percy Boomer, golf instructor

Monday, June 13, 2011

US Open at Congressional Country Club

U.S. Open Maintenance at Congressional Country Club

With the 2011 U.S. Open scheduled for Congressional Country Club June 16-19, the competitors are preparing themselves for a stiff competition to identify the best player at the championship.

While watching the U.S. Open on television may make many golfers envious of championship playing conditions, this work involves many extra volunteers who help the maintenance staff accomplish the countless tasks to put the course in shape. Thanks to the support from equipment companies and highly-qualified volunteer labor, maintenance tasks can be performed daily, and often many times per day. Every area of the golf course is maintained to provide the best possible playing quality, but these conditions are just temporary. This level of conditioning cannot be sustained week-in and week-out without such tremendous support.

Congressional Country Club

Course Fact Sheet


Width: Ranges from 18 to 35 yards, averaging 25 yards wide in the primary landing zones.

Grass Type: Predominantly Penncross creeping bentgrass along with other varieties interseeded over the years.

Mowing Height: 0.345 inch


Grass Type: Penncross creeping bentgrass

Mowing Height: 0.345 inch


Grass Type: Greens were rebuilt in 2009 to USGA Guidelines for Putting Green Construction and established with a blend of Penn A-1 and A-4 creeping bentgrass.

Mowing Height: 0.10 Mowing Height for collars and approaches: 0.310 inch

Target Stimpmeter Reading: 14-14.5 feet

Irrigation Practices: Only hand-watering on the greens. The goal is to achieve firmness without compromising the health of the grass. Soil moisture levels are constantly monitored with hand-held testers and in-ground sensors. Fairways and tees are irrigated on an as-needed basis. Wetting agents have been applied due to sand topdressing of both fairways and tees. The goal is to achieve even wetting when irrigation is applied.


Grass Type:

o intermediate rough – primarily perennial ryegrass

o primary rough – predominantly turf-type tall fescue.

On each side of the fairway, a 6-foot wide swath of intermediate rough running the length of each hole will be mowed at 0.875 inch. The same mowing height is used for the bunker tie-ins.

On greens with a primary rough, the mowing height is 3 inches.

For the sixth consecutive year, the USGA will use graduated primary rough. This setup creates a tougher and more challenging recovery shot for those who hit their drives farther off-line.

The first cut of primary rough is 6 yards wide and mowed between 2.75-3.25 inches, depending on the length of the hole.

The second cut of rough is mowed to 4 inches, depending on the turf growth rate. This height extends to and beyond the gallery rope lines.


Maintenance: New sand has been added to all bunkers. All bunkers are hand-raked.

Maintenance Crew:

Congressional C.C. crew size: 55

Number of mechanics on staff during the Open: 3Pg 3 TGIF Record Number: 182513 Green Section Record Vol. 49 (23) June 10, 2011

Number of volunteers: 120. Most are experienced golf course superintendents and assistant superintendents who volunteer their time for the week.

Where the volunteers are housed: Nearby in housing at American University.

How the maintenance crew and volunteers are fed: Breakfast, lunch and dinner are prepared by the Congressional C.C. chef for the entire maintenance staff and volunteers.

Typical hours worked during the championship: Morning shift 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. Afternoon shift 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Staff is on property throughout the day in case of rain.

Miscellaneous Maintenance Points:

Amount of extra equipment on hand: Six walking greens mowers, four walking collar mowers, eight turf rollers, four walking tee mowers, 19 five-plex fairway mowers, three rotary rough units with 9-foot cutting width, two rotary rough units with 6-foot cutting width, one reel rough unit with 6-foot cutting width, two mechanical bunker rakes, 22 maintenance carts and 36 squeegees.

Typical mowing schedule during the championship: All principal in-play areas will be mowed every day. Greens, tees and fairways are mowed twice a day.

Soil moisture: Monitored by in-ground soil sensors and hand-held soil moisture meters. The greens are also equipped with an underground water evacuation system.

Soil Firmness: The firmness of the greens will be measured each day (morning and evening) using the USGA TruFirm system to monitor soil firmness. A relative range has been determined for each green to gauge the receptiveness of the green in holding an approach shot.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The SLO Life (check it out it is Dairy Creek Golf Course!)

San Luis Obispo was recently rated THE happeist place in America and 2nd in the world and the footage here clearly defines why. This video is not truly golf related, but Dairy Creek was the site chosen for adding golf to the promo. It was great working with Ben the videographer with Cana films and his acting staff (well done Ben and thanks!) If you are ever looking for a little slice of paradise come to SLO and look us up.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Landscape upgrades which add serious curb appeal

Recently we hired a new staff member, Frank Dutra, who previously owned and operated his own landscape company in our County. Frank has been doing well and his work efforts have been making a statement with our customers. Before you ask what Frank has been doing on the greens to make people stand up and take notice let me fill you in about what Frank has been doing to help our facilities undergo recognizable changes.

With Frank's background and experience in landscaping we put his talents to work revamping our plans to imporve the landscaping at Dairy Creek GC. We started the project nearly a year ago, but have not had the time or energy to complete the task. When Frank came aboard the timing was perfect! He started along the walkway entrance to the building after staff poured the new mow strip at the base of the rock wall. Once that was complete he moved across the front lawn to totally rework the landscaping in our large beds. Here have a look!

Dave Wilkerson is our concrete expert with years of experience utilizing these materials. His experience has been instrumental to many projects we have completed around our courses.

Sometimes you just can't keep a hard working guy in his office! This Albert Nunes our Golf Supervisor out with the crew getting his hands dirty.

Here is the front lawn and landscaping all completed. Now it's time to let Mother Nature do her thing!

On to the front entry sign...here is Dave setting the forms for the concrete.

The concrete is in and the Grizzly Youths are planting the new material as per Frank's design.

We are awaiting bark mulch, landscape boulders, and some river cobble to finish off the look. Keep watching this area as you drive in for your next rounds of golf at Dairy Creek.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

2011 SLO County Amateur Championship Results

Congratulations to the winners of the 2011 SLO County Amateur Championship

Justin Warthen is the SLO County Amateur Champion


Patrick Sumner is the 2011 SLO Net Amateur Champion

Champion Division


Justin Warthen**


Rory Doll


Levi Garci


Alex Romo


Brian Walker


Drew Perolio


Tim Toste


Net Division


Patrick Pumner**


Lew McDaniel


Bob White


John Tanner


Tom Biggs


** won in playoff