Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Course Conditions

Finally, the warmer weather has arrived on a consistent basis. This will really help the golf course get into the condition that we have been waiting for this spring. I cannot believe that it is already the second week of June. Time flies. The golf course conditions are pretty good and we expect to see the conditions get even better as the warm days continue. We have been busy with many projects since the last posting.

But first an important message to all members and guest about the upcoming MOSQUITO season. We are very unfortunate to have issues involving the mosquito population that has been experienced the past few seasons. In an attempt to lower the population, we have implemented a few strategies to decrease the possible population. The ponds on both holes #3/#6 and #13/#15 were stocked last fall with Bluegill and Black Crappie species of fish. Both lakes received an estimated 600 hundred fish. These fish will hopefully feed on the mosquito larvae before they hatch. Another strategy is to decrease the presence of any standing or stagnant water on the golf course property. The water features both on holes #4 and #5 and in front of the tees on #6 have been left to dry up and stay dry until after the mosquito season. Lastly, both lakes have been and continue to get treated with Healthy Ponds Mosquito Control. This product use a bacteria to grow and be ingested by the mosquito larvae and then disrupt their digestive system. Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis is the bacteria that help control the mosquito population. We are trying and making a strong effort to control the population. Please be prepared to experience some mosquitoes because it is virtually impossible to eradicate the entire population at Tetherow.

Our renovation projects are finally growing in and nearing completion. I expect to have all of these areas ready for play at the end of June. This should not be a problem as all of the areas are really doing well despite a cold spring. Be ready to play on the new green areas on holes #2 and #9 along with a new angle to #7 from an additional tan tee. Finally the new addition of fairway on #11 will please everyone who plays or has played Tetherow. This addition will really keep an errant ball in play. Much different than last year on #11.

#2 Green addition and green surround. Looking good

#7 new Tan tee

#7 Tan tee

#11 During seeding

#11 two weeks later

The greens are experiencing some thinning in areas predominately on the edges of the greens and on the undulations. Last year we did a combination of seeding and diatomaceous earth in order to create a favorable growing environment for turfgrass. We had some good success but not enough to solve the issue. This season we are doing something a little more aggressive.

A 1/2'' solid tine is used to create a hole in these thin areas where we fill the hole with fine fescue seed and diatomaceous earth and a little sand. With the increased amount of diatomaceous earth, these areas will definitely hold more moisture hence creating the favorable environment need to healthy turfgrass. In the past seven days we have completed the back nine greens that required this treatment and the process went very well. We have seen a lot of germination in these areas. Now comes the hard part. Maintaining the new and old turfgrass. We will use an approach that is very tedious but well worth the effort. Spot treatments of fertilizer and wetting agents will be used to "grow-in" these areas until they maintain themselves.

1/2'' Holes

Applying the diatomaceous earth

Brooming in the diatomaceous earth and seed

Before and after

Other items that have kept us busy besides the normal day to day preparations of the golf course are:

  • Weed eradication

  • Spraying wetting agent wall to wall using Aquatrols 16/90

  • Iron trials where we have sprayed a target green with four rates to see how the fescue holds up. We have sprayed to applications of 4 oz., 8 oz., 12 oz. and 16 oz. respectively. So far I have not seen any turf loss. The whole goal of the trials is to see how much iron we can apply in order to use it has a moss control. Our carfentrazone-ethyl applications have done very well after two applications. A third application is scheduled for next week.

  • Below are a few pictures to show you what weeds we are targeting and how our iron trials are doing.


Must get rid of this asap. Someone important at Tetherow keeps asking me about it.


4 oz. of Iron

8 oz. of Iron

12 oz. of Iron

16 oz. Iron

Going Forward

  • June 16 - Spray greens with fertilizer

  • June 21 - Spray greens with fertilizer and carfentrazone-ethyl


  • June 28 - Spray greens with fertilizer

  • June 28 - July 1 - Spray wall to wall with fertilizer and iron for next weeks tournament

  • July 1 - Open renovation projects on holes #2, #7, #9 and #11

  • July 5 - Spray greens with fertilizer

  • July 10 -16 - PNW AMATUER

  • July 18 - Fertilizer greens with granular organic product

  • July 18 - Topdress greens

  • July 18 - 22 - Fertilize wall to wall with NX Pro product

That is the tentative schedule for the next month and a half. Along with these listed items, expect just normal daily golf course maintenance.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Course Conditions

The golf course is playing very well these days. We have been getting a few warm days along with some cool rainy days. Actually a good combination of weather for the fescue and the playing conditions. When the days are warm, you can see or sense that the fescue is starting to grow consistently which is good to see this time of the year. With the occasional rain storm, we have not needed to water very much so the golf course is playing firm and fast. The forecast is more of the same, nice days and possible rainy days.

Two weeks ago we applied our first application of carfentrazone-ethyl for moss control. I noticed a slight discoloration of the moss and no effect to the fescue. Our second application is scheduled for this week. We should see a noticeable discoloration of the moss after a few days of the second application. Along with this weeks carfentrazone-ethyl application, our trials for the optimal iron rates for our greens will start. I will make sure to take pictures. This should be very interesting to see what our "near death" rate of iron is on our fescue.

Below are a few pictures of our seeding progress of the renovations that we did this winter/spring. Hole #11 is scheduled to be seeded this week and when that is done, we are finished with our construction projects and now we switch to the grow-in phase of the projects.

New tee on #7. The light colored area is the new tee a week after seeding

The back of #2 green a week after seeding

Seeding the back of #2

Seeding #2

So now that we are almost completed with our renovations we will turn our attention to a few other projects. Since this July we are hosting the Pacific Northwest Men's Amateur Championships, we are going to really pay close attention to the playability of the golf course. Our biggest concerns are the green speeds, the firmness of the approaches and the bunkers. Currently, the green speeds are very good and should have not much work to do on the greens. As for the approaches and bunkers, they are very close. We will topdress the approaches and pay close attention to the water regime they receive in order to maintain a firm playing surface. The bunkers do not have much work to do, but we will need to maintain a nice and clean bunker edges along with maintaining appropriate sand depths. Not that big of a deal for us but just want to keep a close eye so that we do not have a lot of work preparing for the tournament.

On a personal note, last week I played in the Washington Open with my owner Chris van der Velde and as a team we finished in a tie for third place. Not to shabby for the both of us. Chris had a total knee replacement last fall and this was his first stroke play tournament since the procedure. As for me, I have played a total of six rounds since last October which three of those rounds were during the tournament. I really enjoyed playing and thanks to Chris for inviting me.

Monday, May 9, 2011

This past week, we hosted the Tetherow 4-Ball which was a huge success. The golf course was is very good condition despite the weather the week prior. It actually snowed on Thursday the 28th of April and we had cold temperatures that weekend. The weather for the 4-Ball was great, warm and sunny.

Course conditions are coming right along. We have seen a very good response to our fertilization we did a few weeks back. The staff has been busy since the tournament getting all of the golf course details accomplished. Our details are all the areas that are done using weedeaters, edgers, rotary mowers, etc. all of our hand work. When the details are done, the golf course looks very sharp and tidy.

This week we will finish the irrigation installation and hydromulch the renovations on #2, #7 and #11. Since it is May we can start the seeding process. Actually, I am not sure it is May because today we woke up to snow again. In any case, we are moving forward with our seeding and just push those areas pretty hard so they are in play sooner than later.

We have a lot to accomplish in a short amount of time but it should be no problem. We are just starting our growing season so our efforts will pay off very soon and quickly. There are a few issues that we need to address this month. For example, we have an increasing population of moss on our greens which we will be addressing using iron applications and carfentrazone-ethyl as well as improving the thinning areas on some of our undulations. Coulee Prince, our assistant superintendent came up with a watering idea for our large humps and bumps which we are considering on trying. I will keep you updated on that in the future. Since we have much to do in this month below is a schedule for the month of May.

May 2011

May 9th - 12th - Finish renovation projects
May 10th - Spray greens with foliar fertilizer using Floratine products
May 11th - Spray greens with carfentrazone-ethyl
May 13th - Hydromulching on #2, #7 and #11

May 16th - 22nd - Normal maintenance practices and experimenting with iron rates for greens
May 17th - Spray greens with foliar fertilizer using Floratine products

May 23rd - Fertilize Tees with GroPower 10-0-10
May 25th - Spray greens with carfentrazone-ethyl
May 26th - 30th - Normal maintenance practices

May 31st - Knife tine and topdress greens
June 1st - Knife tine and topdress greens

Thursday, May 5, 2011

We have a Winner!

Congratulations to David Phipps for correctly answering the question. Yes indeed, the tool or "sod spatula" was used to keep the delicate pieces of fescue sod together while doing the renovation work on #9. The idea came to me before we started sodding #9 remembering back to our other sod jobs on greens and how the end result was not as smooth as I would have liked. The reasoning behind the sod spatula is that the edges tend to fall apart while handling the sod and that the fine fescue does not knit together as well as other turfgrasses. I wanted to imitate the large wooden spatulas that the pizza joints use. It really worked. Thanks to Marty our Equipment Technician for building the sod spatula.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Win A Free Shirt!

The contest is still going on. We have had two guesses so far. They were both incorrect although one of the guesses is on the right track. The other guess thinks we live in the Artic and we need to make snow shelters. We do get cold and have our fair amount of snow but not that much. Keep guessing and someone is bound to get the correct answer. Good Luck!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Win A Free Shirt!

Before my blogging begins, I would like to give a free shirt away to the person that can tell me what this tool has been used for at Tetherow. Just think about what we have done in the past and what you have read in the past and you should be able to figure it out. The first person to leave the correct answer in the comment section will win a free shirt. Good Luck!

It is almost May and during the last week of April, the golf course is getting a little bit better but we are hoping for a good weather week. These past few weeks have been very frustrating mainly due to the weather. It has not been very good to us. We have not received the needed weather to coincide with the golfing rounds we were expecting and the golf course quality. It actually looks like it is fall again.

This past week, we put out a wall to wall application of fertilizer to our greens, tees, fairways and roughs. We used a new product on our fairways and roughs this year. A Lebanon product with an analysis of 20-0-10 with 60% methylene urea was applied at a rate of 1/2 pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet and it was honestly a very good product to distribute. We will see how it actually reacts in a few weeks. The greens and tees received the same organic product that we have used since day one. Gro-Power 10-0-10 was applied at a rate of 1/2 pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet. This week we are planning on spraying our greens and fairways with a micro nutrient package to help green the turfgrass up in preparation for the Tetherow 4 Ball.

#9 Renovation

#9 Renovation is finally completed. We actually completed the sod work last week and I am very happy to have this project finished. It actually took longer than I expected mainly due to the weather and that we were opening the golf course at the same time. We have received a lot of good comments about our work and many of the members are happy to see that additional green space has been added to make the hole a bit easier. Like our other projects, we will have the new green and bunker ready for play two weeks prior to the Pacific Northwest Men's Amateur Championships in July.

I am really looking forward to opening the section of green that we added mainly because it will take a lot of pressure off of the other parts of the green. We saw a dramatic improvement on #3 green when the new section of green was opened. The previous areas for pin locations were severely battered and thinning due to the excessive traffic. We have seen the same wear patterns on #9 so the additional green surface will be a huge benefit. You can see in the picture that the new green side bunker was sodded. We grassed all of the original bunkers during construction to minimize contamination. Once the green is ready to open, we will spray the sand line and install the bunker sand. I truly believe that this process is an effective way to "line" a bunker and we will probably do this in the future to all of the bunkers a few at a time.

#7 Renovation

In addition to #9, we have started the construction of a new tee box for #7. The "Tan" tee box is a very popular set of tees and we have two tee boxes on #7 that we utilize for the "Tan" tee but the space is not large enough to handle the traffic. So we are adding approximately 1500 square feet of new tee space so that we can provide better conditioned turf when the "Tan" tee placement is used. Once the subsurface is finished and a 6 inch sand cap is placed we will utilize the sod from a nursery green to sod the final product. This will allow us to have a quicker grow-in period especially since the "Tan" tee placement is so popular.

#2 Renovation

After the completion of #9, we began putting the final touches on the renovation project on #2. The renovation of #2 was mostly completed last fall and the sod that was laid down survived very well over the winter. Now we are just completing the fine grading around the future green making sure that the tie-ins are good and the surrounds are rock picked before we start the seeding process. Next week is the Tetherow 4 Ball and once that is completed we will start the seeding process. I am scheduling a seeding date of May 6th which is the day after the completion of the tournament and maybe the weather will have improved by that time. We have such a short growing window that if the weather is not optimal then the germination process goes very slow. We will put down a preplant fertilizer prior to seeding which will comprise of a slow release 16-16-16 product at a rate of 1 pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet along with a 10-0-10 organic based fertilizer at a rate of 1 pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet. This combination worked very well during the initial grow-in of Tetherow. Along with the preplant, a 10 pound per 1000 square feet rate of our fine fescue blend and a 0.65 pounds per 1000 square feet of colonial bentgrass will be hydromulched using a rate of hydromulch of 4 bales of hydromulch per 1/4 acre. We only have two months for grow-in for both the seeded and sodded areas. The renovation of #2 needs to be in play two weeks prior to the Pacific Northwest Men's Amateur Championships that we are hosting in July.

I am hoping for better weather this week and next because we have the Tetherow 4 Ball next week. I would really like to showcase the golf course but without warm weather most of our efforts of fertilizing, topdressing and our maintenance practices go unseen. For those who read other golf course superintendents blogs, one theme is always talked about, WEATHER. It truly plays a huge role in our efforts to provide a quality golfing experience.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Opening Day April 1st, 2011

April 1st, 2011 was our Opening Day of the 2011 golf season. The weather was the best day we have had all spring. The temperature was nearly 70 degrees with clear blue sky. It was a very good day to show off the golf course to everyone. The prior day we had a member preview during which nearly 25 members enjoyed the golf course prior to opening to everyone. The members could look at the renovation work that we have been working on, on holes #2, #7, #9 and #11. The comments were very favorable to the slight changes that we have been making. To reassure everyone, David McLay Kidd has been involved in every change from start to finish. We appreciate having David so available to Tetherow in order to continue improving the golf course. Even though we have experienced some of the worst weather this winter and early spring that I can remember the first days of golf were the best. All it takes is a little bit of sunshine and warmer days to get the golf course looking pretty good. I can finally see the turfgrass starting to wake up from the long winter and beginning to look like Tetherow once again.

Course Conditions

The golf course is actually in great shape despite the brutal wet weather. The putting surfaces are very close to conditions like we experience during the peak of the season. They are getting greener and growing day by day. The tees and fairways are also beginning to awaken. Like I have explained in the past, the heavy topdressing during the winter provides the elements for an early green up of the golf course. There are some pictures later in this post concerning the topdressing. We are actually not to far off from peak season conditions. We have the month of April to get course conditions to a premium. The first week of May is the Tetherow 4-Ball where many of the best golf professionals in the Northwest arrive at Tetherow for three days of match play. The Tetherow 4-Ball was a great success last year and I presume that this year will not be any different. As we continue to work on golf course conditions, we still have a few unfinished projects to complete this month.


We have continued our composting efforts this year. The purchase of a chipper/shredder will help our efforts to produce the essential elements for compost. Compost is generally a mixture of "green" and "brown" waste. The "green" is our grass clippings and other similar bi-products and the "brown" is the bi-product of chipping woody materials. Show above is a pile of tree limbs that have been chipped directly into our composting pile ready for a thorough mixing. I have to thank Scott Moffenbeier from Broken Top Club for the tree limbs. Since we do not have many trees at Tetherow, I asked if Scott wanted to bring his limbs over for our composting. He does not have to pay for removal of the limbs and we get our "brown" waste. A win win for the both of us.

#9 Renovation

The #9 green renovation is coming along nicely. This past week we completed the profile and David McLay Kidd came and approved our work. Now we can start sodding. The pictures can tell the rest of the story.

Chris van der Velde and others looking over our work

Spreading out the sand layer
Installing the sand layer

Topdressing and Spring Green Up

#9 Look how green the turfgrass is due to the sand topdressing generating heat. We have only fertilized the greens to date. This greening is what I like to call "artificial heating".

#4 For comparison, the fairway has not been topdressed yet. We have had to postpone any topdressing efforts due to the amount of rain and snow that we have received. With all the moisture, the fairways are very soft and we needed to postpone the topdressing to prevent creating ruts in the fairways. Not very green when compared to #9.

#15 The tees were topdressed and the fairway was not. You get the picture.

So now that the golf course is open and members and guests are enjoying the course, we need to switch our efforts from construction back to maintenance. We still have a few construction projects to finish but with the added staff we will be able to do both construction and maintenance. We look forward to the golfing season and hope to see you out on the golf course.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Back to work

The past few weeks have been very nasty. There has been numerous rainy or snowy days. Not the best conditions to get a long list of projects completed before we open March 31st. Anyway, after one last vacation to Sun Valley for some perfect spring skiing, I cannot wait any longer. On Wednesday the 17th, David Kidd, Chris van der Velde and I had a brief meeting concerning the outcome of the renovation project for #9. The following pictures show our progress since that meeting. We are in complete construction mode for the next few weeks.

Along with the pictures of #9, there are pictures of the crew hard at work on the bunkers and in the shop. Five of our regular staff members returned on the 7th of March and they have been working in between storms on the bunkers. They have been adding sand, redistributing sand and giving them a final check prior to the golf season. They have done an excellent job especially during some very rough weather conditions. I really appreciate their perseverance and the dedication they bring to Tetherow.

Starting to core out the new green extension on #9

Progressing nicely. I am continuing to core the new green while Coulee checks the grades

Scoping out the new bunker site. We intended to replace the original bunker only a smaller version, but after some thinking, David suggested to place a bunker on the left side of the green. This will actually allow us to use the front left pin location more often. A slight adjustment to the green while installing the bunker will make this pin location less frustrating than before. Before, many players would actually putt off the green when the pin location was in the front left position. Ultimately we are striving to increase the playability and enjoyment of the golf course with these small changes.

Continuing the coring of the new green.

The weather is not always on our side. Snow then Grapple then Rain then Sun. We experience it all in just one day.

Sometimes my pictures do not come out so good. I believe it is because of two reasons. The first reason is the weather is always lousy when the photographs are taken. The second is that I am a subpar photographer. Maybe I should learn some photography tips in my spare time.

The new bunker is taking shape.


This process at times can be very frustrating. Many of the bunkers have been loaded by drifting snow throughout the winter. We need to remove the snow before any actual work can be done. This particular bunker is on #9. You can see there is about three feet of snow that needs to be removed. Cosmo is always on site to lend a helping hand.
Next year I think it would be good for us to place some snow fence in strategic areas to prevent the snow from accumulating in places such as the bunkers. This would allow us to use our time more wisely come late winter and our bunker renovation process will go much faster. Another solution is something that we already do, and that is cover the bunkers after we close the golf course. The past few years we have had most of the bunkers covered and it has made a big difference in the amount of sand that is lost during the winter. We found a company that may help us out with collecting more material to cover our bunkers. We would use scraps of lake liner to use in the bunkers and eventually we can have a cover for every bunker. It used to be that covering greens was the most important task prior to winter.

Hauling and dumping sand.

Spreading the sand.

Once the sand is uniformly distributed, a small compactor is used to finalize the surface and ready it for play.

Adding the final touches to the bunkers.
Inside the shop

Marty and Coulee hard at work designing a trailer to haul all of the driving range supplies. This year we are going to prepare and maintain the entire practice facility from setup each morning to breaking done the facility each evening. This trailer will help the person setting up the tee prior to play more efficiently. I am always trying to think of ways that we can best utilize our time.

I have received many compliments on the blog site. Many of those compliments are coming from others in the industry who say they follow the blog and really enjoy reading what is happening at Tetherow. THANK YOU very much for your kind words and I will try to continue to provide useful and entertaining information about our efforts at Tetherow.