Saturday, September 23, 2017

Bad Bees

We've had this warning sign up for at least a week now.  There are some angry bees living in the pond's rock wall on 15.  We've used about a dozen cans of bee spray to no avail. These bees are "dug in" like an Alabama tick. The rock wall has deep crevices and the main nest is deep inside one of them where we can't get with the bee spray.  You can see here that we tried to burn them out with a propane torch.  Again this didn't work because we couldn't get the hot flame deep into the crevice.
So then we got out the boat so we could get a better angle of attack.  We cut back all the ferns so we could pin point the entrance to the nest.  Yes we do have a bee suit and thank goodness.  I can't imagine attempting anything like this without a bee suit.  A couple years ago we had a really nasty hornets nest that made us close a few holes to golf for several hours.  That was the incident that told me we need to have a bee suit just in case something like this comes up.  So anyway we were pretty sure we had taken care of the bees after all this effort.
Yesterday however they reappeared and they were now very unfriendly.  We got the boat out again and tried even harder to burn them out.

We got the rock wall so hot that I'm worried we've killed some grass on the green by now.  I guess we'll see but I'm sorry about the bees.  We are trying our best to get rid of them.

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.