one of those weeks A Presidential Snub?

Have you ever just had "one of those weeks"? The erratic workings of the irrigation computer system reached an all time high this week. I have been battling skipped cycles and partial cycles since the middle of July. I had to sleep with a hand held radio in my apartment listening for radio tones which signal that the system is working. I would get up in the middle of the night and walk to my office and literally beat the base station into re-setting and getting some more water out. It was becoming so frequent it was almost a normal schedule. But this week it peaked and turned into daily rides around the course in the middle of the night with enough time to get home for a shower and breakfast before heading into work for 5:15. I'll save the story of how many mistakes could happen on the delivery of one part but suffice to say it was easily half a dozen. They were so repetitive all I could do was laugh. In the end the vendor stepped up and drove from RI to CT to pick up the part and deliver it to a fast ferry to get it here. Took some reprogramming and three more phone calls to get it to work but we are on our way to being back in business. At least tonight the irrigation should run without supervision.
native areas being mowed early this year to save $ in the fall

red tailed hawk was busy cleaning out the vermin

white tail deer came to shop for a visit
This would be the first time President Obama came to the island and played golf and did not play here. Seeing as how we are having a great season, despite the extreme dry weather, so I cannot imagine that is the reason he did not play. My mother thinks it is because last year I tweeted pictures of the Secret Service and this year posted a picture here of the White House staff, but since no one from the SS has ever visited me and given me the rubber hose treatment that cannot be it. So what else could it be than a straight up snub? I told all the members that asked me at the closing luncheon that you just cannot predict what a lame duck President will do. I for one will not jump on the President bashing band wagon and certainly not for playing golf. The last thing this industry needs is anyone saying someone should play less.

Don't forget it is aerifying season so be sure to check in with the pro-shop for details. Greens are closed this Tuesday 9/2 as we attempt greens/collar and approaches. We may start tees next week also if we survive greens and the irrigation system lets me sleep at night.

Rebound effect and aerifying

As we close out the summer and approach aerifying season we will once again try to time our growth regulation to create a flush of growth. You start the season suppressing seedheads for a smoother putting surface. This transitions into regular applications of a chemical class we refer to as growth regulators. These chemicals work to inhibit growth or to force the plant to grow thicker instead of taller. They reduce clipping yield which gives a more consistent ball roll for the entire day. If you are trying to give bentgrass an advantage over Poa Annua these also help by slowing down the Poa while the bentgrass creeps right over it. When you stop using the chemical you will usually get a big surge in growth referred to as the rebound effect. All the stored energy the plant has built up is released and this translates to a lot of leaf tissue. Not a good idea if green speed is an issue but if trying to recover from aerifying quickly it can help tremendously. So hopefully the timing is perfect for our Tuesday September 2nd Greens Aerifying. If early the greens will get a bit poky and you will be tempted to use hybrids to putt but that is the cost of tinkering with the natural processes of things.
Turf Maint. staff party before all the kids left

Murph testing the screen he built 

Art the welder adding new sign brackets to beach gates
received lots of attention when posted on Twitter. Fog rolling in on sunrise
You may remember me getting a visit last year from one of the TurfNet guys Jon Kiger. He spent a day shooting some tips and tricks videos as well as a vacation spoof for Randy Wilson that he turned into another Rock Bottum GC classic. Well they launched another of the tips videos today and my friends are giving me a hard time as usual. Of course everyone is loving Bert's antics as he goofs around in the background essentially photo bombing the entire video. See it here:    Bert video bomb

Long Summer

The summer season may be winding down but as many of you know we have a long way to go before the golf season on Martha's Vineyard wraps up. This time of year is especially difficult since any summer help is leaving, we lose daylight, the workload does not diminish, in fact it may increase as more leaves and acorns fall, and the play is rock solid. That last part is actually good news from a business perspective but from a bedraggled employee perspective more golfers to work around is not very appealing after a long hot summer.
I prepare for this by making sure the staff gets plenty of time off and no one gets too over worked. Of course I do not often look after myself in the same way using the reasoning of you love what you do and your hobby is golf anyway. Toss in a malfunctioning irrigation control system, (so I never know when it will actually complete a full irrigation cycle and all the sleepless nights and insurance company bureaucracy), the need to prepare my budget for next year, preparation for a potential mosquito trenching project this winter, a possible visit from POTUS and one morning off in the last month just doesn't cut it.
I actually rolled over on Wednesday morning when I looked at the radar at 3:30 am and then heard the rain. I was up by 6 and all hell was breaking loose as some staff had already come in and left and others were texting to see if we were working and the rain had stopped. The predicted 1-2" (and a nice relaxing day) looked like a bust so it was game on. Then the irrigation computer took a nose dive and most of the day was spent trying to express the urgent need for a replacement to the claims adjuster while trying to breathe some life back into the thing since it was not raining. What a waste of an extra hours sleep. We ended up getting .26" of rain and almost a full day of golfers in. Much better than the 13" Islip NY received in 4 hours.
It's past 5 PM on Friday so time to call it. This post has been a good segue for something I read over 20 years ago and enjoyed it so much I framed it and put it on my office wall. I am not sure of the original author or the date but believe it was 1950's or 60's and in New England. I changed the school from UMass to URI:


Monday - Want to spray bad dollar spot on greens.  Cushman won’t work.  Sprayer won’t work.  I don’t want to work.  Nobody else wants to work.  Two of the crew stayed home and did not work.  Just had a phone call the Junior Golfers are to have a shotgun start on both nines at 8:30.  Hung up in caller’s face.  Should not have had that last beer last night.  Mowed greens and tried not to notice that the cups needed changing and the dollar spot is even worse than I thought.  Did not mow 13.  Hate it.  Between the winterkill, oil spill kill and the disease, we ought to tow it to the S.P.C.A. and have it put to sleep.  Chairman left message in the pro shop to get in touch with him at once.  He better not hold his breath.  Hit 95 by late afternoon.  Late for supper, wife mad, supper lousy, I’m mad.  Watered ‘til dark.  Showered and went to bed.  Wife sexy - I’m not.

Tuesday - Went in at daylight - the air feels like a police dogs breath.  Got the sprayer working.  Can’t figure out why the chemical companies package dusty chemicals in bags that are impossible to open without getting it all over yourself, and the sprayer, not to mention breathing it.  The cheapest cereal on the market is packaged in easy-to-open-and-close containers.  We all should go to granulars - that would snap their eyes open.  Fairway tractor stuck in wet spot right next to the huge localized dry spot the crew calls Iran.  Why are there so many cars in the club lot?  The Pro shop says it is a ladies member-guest transferred from another club that had a fire in their kitchen.  I think I will set one in ours and let them eat at Burger King. Went  home early - slept through supper.  Wife mad again, too tired to be mad.  Mowed rough ‘til dark.  Showered and ate cold, leftover supper.  Felt sexy - wife still mad from early evening.  Lost interest.

Wednesday - Slept late, went in at 7:00.  Changed cups 18 greens, hit 14 rocks.  No record, but close.  Thirteen green has a disease that looks like vomit - on close inspection it is vomit - what a relief!  You can always hose off vomit.  Birds working on greens - how many cutworms does it take to fill up a crow?!  I think their mother was raped by a rooster the way they scratch with their black toenails and dig with their beaks.  The member who owns the ice cream plant told me we need more sand in the traps - I told him his maple walnut needs more nuts.  He said “times are tough” - I agree.  Went in the club for a cup of coffee and the manager asked me if I knew anything about the septic backing up.  Left without getting the coffee.  Fairly normal afternoon except we are down to one Cushman.  Are flat tires contagious?  Home for supper at the right time for a change - no one is home.  Note says heat a T.V. dinner.  Go down to the Old Eagle Inn and wash a steak down with a half-dozen ‘hinnies’.  Finish mowing rough.  Wife mad.  Don’t care, sleep on floor after watching Sands of Iwo Jima.  Love Big Duke.

Thursday - My yellow crud is back.  Every year it comes the end of July.  Interesting light green spots get weaker looking then turn yellow ... then gray ... then dead.  Some say it is Fusarium, some say Anthracnose, some say funose.  Wife says it is my imagination.  My assistant got rid of the persistent red leaf spot patch on the practice green, he cut it with an eight-inch patcher and threw it in the pond.  Sure is wonderful what they teach you at the University of Rhode Island.

FRIDAY - In at dawn again and fell over the barn dog before I could get a light on. Friday is the day we do EVERYTHING. Assistant late again. Sometimes I wonder about him. He wouldn't even hold still when I had to cut the bubblegum out of his hair. Got mad because I cut his headband. This is the day I was going to spray because I missed last Friday that should have gone down the Friday before that. Maybe Monday. Maybe by then the cutworms will have turned to moths and have flown away. Looped around the course in the pre-dawn light and saw four joggers, a mushroom picker, two ball hoppers in the pond, three members walking dogs, an old Italian lady cutting dandylions and a partridge in a pear tree. Threw a rock at the last mentioned. I love the course this early in the morning - so quiet, peaceful and tranquil. I think I'll call the state troopers and have all these people arrested. Picked up the remains of a big beer party by the fifteenth and then went to work.

SATURDAY - Everyone in the world loves weekends except Greenkeepers. More turf disasters have happened on Saturday and Sunday than all the Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays put together. Right off the bat four pins and a dozen markers missing and the usual moronic messages written in the sand traps. Why can't they write inspirational messages or the weather report? A neat group partied last night. All imported beer, an empty Southern Comfort bottle and two Cutty Sarks - members' kids. Went to look at a very large pupa dangling from the tree by the ninth and after gazing in wonder for two seconds realized it was a tampon. Left it there, maybe it will hatch.

SUNDAY - Greens mower failed to show till I had mowed five greens. I would have fired him but then I would have had to finish. Things looking pretty good today. Can't wait till Monday to see what the hell will happen next.