Monthly Archives: September 2011


Posted by: Tyler

Hello folks!

It has been a of couple busy weeks with two big tournaments at the Plateau Club. We held the annual Member-Guest tournament and Pacific Northwest Pro-Am. These are the most exclusive tournaments of the year and the course was in great condition. The greens were firm, fast and smooth. The fairways, tees, and approaches were all in great condition. The Turf Dept. started two consecutive days at 4 a.m on Friday and Saturday in order to double mow, roll greens, hand rake all the bunkers and set the pins before the players hit  the course for an 8:30 a.m. shotgun on all 18 holes. Friday night we came back at 5:30 p.m. to mow the fairways, roll greens, hand water the greens, mow the intermediate rough and re-stripe the green and tee surrounds. It was a long couple of days but was a great experience. Superintendent Jim Myers put in a lot of pre-planning and coordination to get the golf course in shape for this huge tournament. The whole staff did a great job and all the members and their guests were extremely pleased.

Striping the greens.

This week I want to talk to you about the art of fertilization on a golf course. When I say the “art” of fertilization I mean it! Each superintendent has his or her own bag of tricks to fertilize the golf course. The main issues with fertilizing are timing, the product and application rate. When preparing for a tournament, a careful plan must be set and followed months prior to the event. While most courses like to see dark green, healthy grass across the entire property, that is not always the case for a tournament. Players are looking for playability over aesthetics. I am not saying that the fairways and greens will be dirt brown so they are fast and firm, but there may be some brown spots here and there on the fairways in order to achieve those conditions. Fertility on fairways doesn’t occur very often at most golf courses except before large tournaments such as a Member-Guest or Players Invitational. This is due to the high cost of fertilizer and labor needed to apply the product. At the Plateau Club, fairways were sprayed two and a half weeks prior to the event with a  21-0-5 liquid formulation at a rate of 50lbs/acre. This allowed the fairways to “green” up and get healthy a week prior to the event and taper off in order to be firm and fast on the day of the tournament. The difference between a successful and an unsuccessful fertilization can be a matter of a couple days. Timing is crucial!

Fertilizing greens is a whole different story. Fertilizing greens depends on weather conditions, grass type, tournament schedule and cultural practice timing. For example, Mike Magnani who is completing his internship at the highly exclusive Cypress Point Golf Club fertilized the greens with a 21-0-0 application at a rate of 100 lbs/acre after a double verticut. This is a high rate of Nitrogen to apply to the greens and perfect spacing needs to occur in order to avoid striping and burning. Of course Mr. Magnani pulled it off like a champ. As far as tournament fertilization is concerned, a different approach will be taken with regards to the product, timing and application rate .With higher expectations for faster green speeds, fertilization usually occurs as early as three to four weeks prior to an event so they are on a hard taper on the days of the tournament. At the Plateau Club, greens were fertilized three and a half weeks prior to the Member-Guest tournament with a 10-4-16 Micro Grade fertilzer to keep the greens healthy throughout prior weeks. An application of Iron was made five days before the tournament in order to add some green color and keep them hearty for all the traffic that the tournament would bring. At the end of the tournament the greens were looking thin, and not perfectly healthy due to all the traffic and stress. An application of 10-4-16 was made to the greens and approaches the day after the tournament to allow recovery from a stressful month of hot weather, little fertilizer and lots of use. The greens performed excellently and all the players were impressed.

So you may be wondering, why not fertilize a week before the tournament so the grass is extra healthy and green? The problem with fertilizing this early to the tournament is that when the grass is pumped full of nutrients and fully healthy, it is near impossible to achieve fast and firm conditions. When they are pumped full of nutrients they grow more throughout the day making the speed lower and harder for the superintendent to mow at lower heights of cut. There are many deeply scientific and complicated reasons for not fertilizing the week prior, but these are the main reasons. Fertilizing occurs on a detailed schedule by superintendents in order to achieve a good balance between playability and aesthetics. Fertilization is a true art form and all superintendents go about it differently.

I am going to be volunteering at the Boeing Classic at TPC Snoqualmie this week and am looking forward to a great experience. The Boeing Classic is a PGA Senior Tour event with names such as Fred Couples, Loren Roberts and Brad Faxon in the field. I look forward to writing about my experiences at this tournament next week. That’s all folks. Talk to you soon!

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Posted by on September 13, 2011 in Uncategorized


A Summer in the Midwest

Posted by: Mitchell

Howdy All!

After a short 3 day, 1800 mile drive to Ames IA, I made it safely.  The drive was beautiful and I got the chance to see Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, and Iowa. The drive out here was easy with great weather, but I am a little nervous to make the same drive back in the snow in December.

Driving through Wyoming on my way to Iowa!

At the moment I am a soybean breeding intern for Monsanto in Huxley, IA and I am amazed each and every day how much of what I learned in school has helped me in this internship.  I am working for the portion of the company that grows out the plants in a field trial and then uses the harvested seed to see what genetic information the plants carry.  We are working with mostly second or third generation plants and once we have harvested the seed we will send it to a lab where they will analyze the seeds using specified genetic markers to see where genes lie on the chromosome.  Every day I work in both a lab and in a field which is great for keeping a good idea of what the project entails.

Really though, once you get past all of the scientific mumbo jumbo the real question is… how is it? The answer? It is awesome. Since I have been out here I have seen so many new and different things in plant breeding. I work on a small team and every day I have the chance to do anything from taking notes about plants in the field to reading research articles about my project that I am working on, to helping figure out what seed will be pushed along down the line for further R & D.  It is a great company to work for and has given me a much clearer view of what I want to do for a career in agriculture. As I am sure you have all heard before, getting an internship while you are still in college is so important for understanding what you want to do for a career.

In less work related news, since I have been in the Midwest I have had the chance to tour Wrigley Field, catch a Cardinals game, tour the Budweiser factory, see a Dave Matthews concert in Chicago, see 5 states at once from the top of  Willis Tower, and most importantly take a picture in full dress in front  of the American Gothic house!

Got the awesome chance to get a guided tour of the most historic pro ball park ever! Wrigley Field!

Looking down at Chicago from the top of the sears tower.

View from behind home plate at the St. Louis Cardinals Game.

The famous painting, American Gothic. I went to the house that was painted in the photo; it still stands today in Eldon, Iowa!

Here I am, at the exact house in Eldon that is painted in American Gothic!

Until next time guys, have a great rest of your summer and I will give more updates from the Midwest soon!
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Posted by on September 2, 2011 in Uncategorized