Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Earliest Irrigation in memory.

This is one for the books, but I placed a chart into the irrigations systems pressure chart recorder. March 29th! The earliest irrigation fill, air purge, test, repair that I can remember. (It is the earliest I can recall the ice on the pond vacant.)

I’m always concerned about filling then pressurizing plastic piping surrounded by frozen soils. The irrigation was slowly filled on Monday and pressure was limited to the point that elevated heads could be turned on to remove air from the system. Filling the system with our smallest pump takes several hours. In this day and age of cell phones It never ceases to amaze me that golfers call and complain about water running, puddles and SOMEONE should do something about it right away, but I did appreciate the call that informed me of a massive spiral cracking of pipe on the third green at TC.

Today when you figured that all frost would be gone we found several heads along the shaded tree lined fairways and greens on #11 & #16 that would not actuate (turn on) as they were frozen. How do I know they’re frozen you ask? They look like the pond fountain until they thaw to the point that they pop out of the ground or they don’t turn on at all. It is at that time you “back off” for fear of breakage. I did manage to break and launch one destroyed frozen sprinkler head on #17,

Due to the windy warm extremely dry weather, I will be watering the course to avoid anymore wind burned turf as we experienced last spring under similar circumstances. Ah, the rights of Spring!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Welcome back: 2010 golf season begins.

Welcome back. As I haven’t truly gone public with my blog by the time you read this the golf course will be open for play. We opened Bull’s Eye on Wednesday March 24th and Tri City on the 17th of March.  (Peg and Sue had the first tee time of the year.)  Now you will see the mountain of work before use as we clear roughs of the numerous boughs snapped during the Christmas Eve’s rain/ice storm. All primary playing surfaces; Greens, green banks, bunkers, approaches, tees and fairways are to be cleaned before we tackle the mess in the roughs. So please bear with us.

We’ll chip away a couple of holes a day and should have the place cleaned up by the 15th of April.

The first thing that you’ll notice new this spring will be a change in flags as we moved away from our custom stitched flags to a less expensive print screened logo flag. This was the flag style we used in the early 90’s. We also used a shrink wrap product to freshen our flag poles to make them look freshly painted.

Three changes not as apparent will be that of the retirement of Leland ‘Ole’ Olsen who’ll be living in Arizona year round to be closer to his family. I’m guessing Ole has been with me for a good dozen years. Ole’s sense of humor will be missed by all. On a sad note Gary Fries suffered a very severe stroke on December 4th 2009. Gary is currently in extensive rehab in Madison at the UW Hospitals. Gary worked full time Spring/Fall taking the summers off so that a college student could earn some tuition money. You never know when it is your turn as Gary was one of the best fit person’s on our staff. A “short” bike ride for Gary was ten miles….one way. Thirdly, Brian Matthews has applied for medical disability that will limit the number of hours he’s allowed to work while his case is pending.

At present we do not plan on replacing these men with new hires as their replacements. It is intent to bank these labor dollars to beat budget numbers with the hope that we can avoid another layoff next winter.

Mark Kienert, CGCS

Friday, March 5, 2010

Man's Best Friend; May she rest in peace.

On Monday March 1st, 2010 I had to do what most pet lovers dread as I made the decision to put to sleep my long and faithful companion dog Sadie. We all know that day will come but are never ready for it when it does. She was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma on the jaw and was given anywhere from two weeks to six months to live. It was a very sad day.

For the past thirteen years, Sadie came to work with me each day. She would “run” the course with me as I made my initial morning tour. Chasing squirrels and birds forte, however she did manage to find the wrong end of a skunk once down on #10.  I made it a point to steer her in the opposite direction after that.  It was her job to keep all critters at bay keeping your course safe for you to play. I can still see her chasing "full tilt" an eight point buck down #13 fairway and I’ll never forget how I had to “point” her nose at the geese down on #18 until it registered in her brain that those were just bigger Robbins that could be chased too!

Some of you may remember her as “Miss September” 2005 as she was a featured dog in a national calendar ad for Lebanon Turf Fertilizers. I entered her into the contest to see if we could win $2500 for turfgrass research. She came in second. If there were more women working in the profession, she would have won hands down. Men like their bird dogs better than cute and fuzzy I quess.

In the summer she spent her time under the spruce trees at the end of the range when she was not working. In the winter months her time was spent getting out of the way of my feet under my desk. Seldom did I see her “soil” your course. She had a penchant for saving her duty for my lawn at home. Some how I know I’ll miss those “land mines” this summer as I mow my lawn.  She's gone but it will be a very long time before she's forgotten.