Sunday, September 3, 2017


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, median tenure for wage and salary employees is less than 5 years.  Think about that and now consider that August 2017 marked Kelly McGee's 30th year with the Tacoma Country and Golf Club.
Kelly McGee

As it says in the dictionary, one does not receive tenure just by holding a position for some length of time.  One receives tenure also because he or she has the right to keep a job permanently.  Well let me tell you that Kelly McGee has most certainly earned that right. I should know.  I've known Kelly for 24 years and worked with him for 22.  I first met him when I took the Assistant Superintendent position at Tacoma in 1993 and he is still now as he was then.....dedicated and consistent.  He tries hard at every task he's given.  He's never late to work.  He'll come in on a day off when we're short handed, and there isn't a single thing we do on the golf course that he isn't good at.  People like Kelly don't come around very often.  He is truly an asset to this fine golf club and I look forward to working with him for many more years.  He's super healthy, able, and willing so I don't see him retiring any time soon.  How did we celebrate Kelly's anniversary?  We got him a nice gift to commemorate his tenure, bought donuts for the staff, and I sent him home for the day with pay.  We also gave him some gift cards to the cinema and some restaurants with instructions to take his wife and spend a day on the town.  In addition to his tenure at Tacoma Country and Golf Club, Kelly served with the Army reserves so with all sincerity I say to Mr. Kelly McGee ........"THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE".  

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Where are the Rings?

Here's a picture of the 6th fairway taken during the summer of 2015 which clearly shows we were battling some serious fairway diseases. Look at the way the turf is pitted and the dew pattern is very spotty.  The diseased turf was tested that year and the results showed we were suffering from an attack of Fairy RIng and Waitea Patch.  You might remember that we employed some new strategies for the following summer and that suppressed both diseases for a short time but the Fairy Ring did break through.  Here's a picture from last year showing some pretty unsightly turf on the 8th fairway.
Well I'm happy to report that this year we finally got a handle on this pest.  Here's a picture of the 6th fairway in the same area but taken just the other day early in the morning.
Notice how uniform the dew pattern is.  Also, keep in mind we just went through the driest summer stretch of weather in history.  We had 55 days without rainfall and above average temperatures.  Those conditions favor the development of Fairy Ring but yet we aren't seeing any.  So what did we do?  Well we took no chances this year.  We did everything we could think of to increase our chances of suppressing the disease.  First of all we core aerated last fall and pulverized the cores so as to return the sandy soil back into the turf canopy.  Essentially that is tilling the soil which redistributes the diseased soil and aids in a natural type of disease suppression. Secondly we made preventative applications of plant protectants in the spring and timed those applications perfectly with the rising soil temperatures.  Lastly we were much more diligent with the injection of wetting agents into the irrigation water.  Essentially we were applying wetting agents every day just by irrigating.  Here's a couple more pictures taken early in the morning showing the uniform dew throughout the fine turf areas.
8 fairway
14 fairway

I can't say enough how excited I am about the successful suppression of this pesky disease. I really look forward to next year as I think the fine turf will be even better as we will have overseeded with chewings fescue a couple times before then.  Many of you have expressed that the fairways are the best they've been in ages and I would have to agree but there is still much room for improvement.  

On a side note, are some of you wondering what these dead spots are on 13 and 14?

Well lets just say this is one of those things that just happens and is almost completely unavoidable.  What happened is we were spraying fertilizer on the fairways and the center spray boom malfunctioned and wouldn't shut off.  The center spray boom is not visible by the operator so unfortunately the problem was not noticed until some turf had been overdosed.  It goes to show that fertilizer can make things pretty, and green but it also can be a good herbicide in higher doses.  And, what about this dead spot on the putting green???

This dead spot could have been avoided.  It was caused by a spilled drink during one of our recent events. We understand accidents happen but the Committee is exploring the idea of serving all adult beverages in the future using one of these very classy spill proof containers.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Course Care 101

Here's a familiar sight for this time of year.  A thoroughly trampled bunker and some of my staff out hand watering fairways.  We've been so busy trying to get caught up yet, we are just at the beginning of what's bound to be one of the busiest summers in our long history. Membership is the highest it's been in ages and today's membership is a very "golfing" membership.   Don't get me wrong, nothing makes me happier than seeing golfers enjoying the playing field at Tacoma.  At the same time, nothing is more frustrating than seeing some of the unnecessary damage caused by golfers which only makes the golf experience less enjoyable for everyone.  

I'm not really talking about ball marks and filling fairway divots.  I'm pretty sure everyone is tired of hearing the same old lecture about the proper way to fix ball marks and lets face it, some people fill divots and some people don't.  So, I'm not going to talk about ball marks but if you haven't seen the video I made several years back, you should watch it since It's still very relevant HERE.  When it comes to filling fairway divots, we have so many people that love to fill divots that it kind of makes up for the people that don't like to fill divots.  
I do want to talk about practice tee divots because it's clear that some people still don't get it.  The other day I came out to see this horrific damage to the practice tee.   The amount of turf consumed here could easily have been reduced 50% by simply practicing properly. Thankfully right next to this carnage was this........
...........this is a really good picture.  Almost everyone that hit in this area tried to hit in strips thereby reducing the amount of turf consumed.  Maybe this is obvious but I'll point out that when you consume less turf, you leave behind more turf.  This means the next time you go out to hit golf balls on the practice tee, the more likely it is that you will find some nice turf.  In addition, the less turf consumed, the less time and money we spend repairing the damage which means more time and money we can use elsewhere to improve your golfing experience.   I understand that some people simply just don't know how to take divots properly. That's really the bottom line.  It's about education.  Again, if you haven't seen it, watch this video I made back when I had less gray HERE.  
Lastly I need to touch on something that I haven't spoke much about, but is of growing concern.  We all know Tacoma may have the best bunkering on the planet, but these bunkers are taking a beating, and it's caused by the golfers..............the one group of people that you would think "care" about the condition of the bunkers.  What I'm talking about is one very basic rule of bunker etiquette, but at Tacoma this simple rule is even more important.  The rule is "Enter and Exit the bunker properly".  
Check out this bunker face on #9 green.  Someone decided to enter the bunker or exit the bunker in this area and they collapsed the face of the bunker.  Now we have a condition which needs repair.  This kind of repair is something we do not have time for this time of year so it will just remain this way for quite some time.  The problem is that before this damage occurred we had a bunker face which released the golf ball properly.  Now we have a bunker face which may swallow up a golf ball and create an unplayable lie like in this picture.
This is a reality at Tacoma.  Our bunkers are true hazards and if you play here you will find that you need to deem the ball unplayable from time to time.  I call that golf.  It's much more interesting and exciting golf when the price of a bad shot can be very costly.  I can't stand the modern type of golf I see where being in a bunker is no penalty at all or even worse, being in a bunker is the better lie than not being in the bunker.   With that said, none of us want to deem our ball unplayable.  It is a very costly price to pay.  Missing a green by a few feet should simply mean that more often than not, your going to have to pull off a good recovery shot to make par.  I'm seeing more and more of this type of damage because people can't take that extra few seconds to use the low side of the bunker for entering and exiting.  Before you know it, the unplayable lie might become the norm.  None of us want that.  Please people, enter and exit properly!  Enter and exit at the low side of the bunker.