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.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Melting Wonderland

The snow is finally melting. After three weeks of snow cover, the snow is leaving rather quickly. these pictures were taken on Friday of last week and most of the snow was gone on Monday. I am very happy to see this since some of our crew are returning this week. We have a lot of work to accomplish in the next three weeks, so the weather needs to be on our side.

I love the snow and always look forward to a good snow fall that provides a lot of moisture that is spread out evenly throughout the golf course. The moisture is always needed in Central Oregon. Anytime we can get a good even moisture event here in Central Oregon is a great day. But sometimes the snow just slows down our work progress especially when the snow event comes so close to our opening of the golf course. This just means that we work harder and more hours so we can be prepared for the opening.

For the next three weeks we will be busy doing the following:

  • Clubhouse landscaping
  • Working in the bunkers redistributing sand and adding sand where needed
  • Finishing the renovation work on holes #2, #7, #9 and #11
  • Finishing the fairway topdressing
  • Aerifying greens and tees
  • Cleaning up and mowing prior to opening
  • Starting up the irrigation system

We have a lot of work ahead of us but we are used to this type of pressure and we will be ready as always.


I hope that you can see the color differences in the turfgrass. What I am trying to show is the effects of our topdressing efforts. These pictures were taken last week during the melt. The grass was starting to "wake up" from the heat that is being generated from the sand and the sunny days. The heat is warming the surface and creating a warmer environment. The green grass is evidence of the warming. The greening has actually be occurring for about four weeks.

I really like to see this especially at this point of the year. The days are getting longer and the winter is almost over. Since the golf course will open April 1st, it is best to have the turfgrass actively growing. It gives us a jump on the season both with growth and color.

The green-up actually started in early February. We actually had a lot of sunny warm days during February and the grass was responding very well. My biggest concern is very cold weather arriving when the grass is actually greening up. Since the grass is somewhat growing, it is lush and rather weak. So if frigid temperatures hit with out any snow cover, this could be bad news.

This scenario came very close to occurring a few weeks ago. On February 15th, we received about 10 inches of snow on top of the greening grass. That next week, the low temperatures dip below zero for several nights along with some windy conditions. Thankfully, we received the snow before the cold temperatures. Not sure how we could avert any damage if we had frigid temps and no snow, I guess just cross our fingers.

I still believe that our practice of burying the turfgrass areas in sand prior to the winter is the best thing for our golf course. Tetherow is very exposed and wind can be our enemy. Wind with no moisture is a killer. So the sand is our only defense. We could invest in covers for our greens which may be an option for some of our greens but sometimes they actually hinder your efforts in protecting the green surface. The sand has a lot of benefits and until we see something negative from this practice, we will continue on with our winter topdressing efforts.


There is some disease present after the snow has melted. I am not that worried about the disease because it is areas that are out of play or edges of fairways or rough. All of the important playing surfaces such as greens, tees and fairways are very clean. This picture is from an area near the cartpath on #3. Even though the fine fescue is very susceptible to Pink Snow Mold and Gray Snow Mold, it grows out of the damage rather quickly.

But I really do not want to press my luck next season. I will be looking for a combination of products that we can use next year that will allow us to spray more area for the same or lower cost. Since we spray our winter disease products primarily once in the fall and hope that they last the entire winter, it is best to have all of the turfgrass areas covered. We never know what kind of winter we will have year after year. The Farmers Almanac did say that we would have a wetter winter this year. I would say that the prediction was correct.

This picture is from #7, from the looks of it we will need to spray a bit more area next fall. It is probably the worst area on the golf course. No worries, it will come back with minimal effort.

Take care and we will keep you updated on our progress.