Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Mid Summer Update

Usually by the time the end of July approaches the fairways look stressed and the rough is brown and trampled down. But a crazy combination of heat and regular rain falls and the rough is thicker than I ever remember in any summer! Believe it or not we have two rough units cutting rough 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and we still can't keep up with it. Only 6 years ago the rough was one of the biggest complaints by members. Add in the double row irrigation system and the fertilization program and we have Canadian Open rough...........almost! The only thought of change is to buy a 3rd mower!

Back in May we cut a ten sq ft patch at the 150 yard marker in the 5th fairway. This area was seeded with a dwarf bluegrass. Our goal was to grow in a new type of turf that could be grown on all our fairways in the future. The benefit to considering this change from the Bent grass is mainly due to the dwarf blue grass' ability to remain healthy without the need for fungicides. It would save the club money over the long run if we were to change this turf over. And possibly more importantly, we may lose the fungicides due to government restrictions in the future. Without the available use of fungicides, the quality of the bent grass would be unacceptable to members. This test plot has taken longer to grow in that we would have liked, but it is getting there. Once we get into the month of September we will encourage golfers to hit off it and provide us with feed back on it's potential playability as a fairway turf.

Slightly further down on 5 we all know about the poor condition of the collar at the front of 5 green. Back in March after all the ice and snow had finally left us, we had significant part of this area completely dead. In this photo of the same spot at 5 collar, not only can you see the straw brown turf which is the dead poa, but you can clearly see where bent sod had been installed in the past.

We stripped the dead turf and sodded it with bent in late early May. Sod will normally do relatively well when laid this time of year, but early heat and drought put the sod under stress, and with heavy tight soils below the sod, rooting was minimal. Even though some of the sod died out it remained relatively level and smooth allowing normal play to continue. But our program of over seeding with an aerifier trying to get grass back into this area did more damage than good, leaving us with chunks of dirt and uneven ground. The real solution is to remove the heavy tight soil with an excavator this fall when the stress of summer is behind us, back filling with lighter soil and seeding. Unfortunately that is still about 2 and a half months away. In the mean time we will try and keep it flat and level to reduce interfering with play and have painted it GUR (ground under repair) in case your ball comes to rest within the area.

Another change most members have noticed is that we have been cutting down some spots in our naturalized areas. Some people refer to these areas as fescue and although there is fescue grass in these areas, they are actually naturalized as we do not water, fertilize or weed spray in them. Our original goal when we began sending in the mower was to knock down weeds before they became too large and before they went to seed in an attempt to reduce the weeds from over running these areas. The only real problem was it looks terrible cutting some spots and not others in the same area. The challenge is we don't have the man power to cut them all completely without neglecting another part of the golf course. We will be continuing to mow out the worst of the weeds as the summer progresses. There has also been a number of areas identified as contributing to slow play as members are spending too much time walking through them looking for a lost ball. We will be cutting a couple of these areas back on about an every 3 week schedule to see if this will rectify the issue. At the same time we will identify all the areas this might benefit the pace of play and calculate what cost would be involved to make this a regular mow route in future seasons. this will allow us to budget for the extra cost of labour, fuel and equipment maintenance for future seasons.

Naturalized area on the left side of #2 has been cut down to help pace of play.

And finally, the 12th green is doing very well. Roots are beginning to establish into the root zone. We have begun mowing it, and we have sent out sample of the grass we mowed off for nutrient analysis. Just as you or I might get blood work done at the Doctors, we have a lab which will test the clippings and tell us if we are lacking in and nutrient which might slow the optimum growth and establishment of the sod.

12 green taken July 28th

Monday, July 26, 2010



The third Mix N' Mingle of the season was held on Friday Night. A good old fashioned Hey Haw Western Night.

At 6:00pm the staff were all saddled up and ready for the party to begin.

After a great meal put on by Chef Andrew, featuring Texas Smoked Beef Brisket and Country Glazed Ham. The ho-down really got cooking once Larry Berrio took the stage.
And who jumped on stage to perform with Larry, Whitevale's own Angelo Diclemente

The Social Committee continues to out do itself each month with great Mix N' Mingles. Next months theme is Whitevales Got Talent.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Women's Shotgun

Yesterday the club hosted the 2nd annual women's shotgun. The sun was out the humidity was low and the scores --

Well it wasn't about the scores.

After the round, the ladies enjoyed a complimentary wine tasting by Gallo Wines.

After dinner, the entire gang sang happy birthday to Zona.

When Tony finally announced the winner, a roar was unleashed the likes the club hasn't heard in sometime
Congratulations to the team of Georgia, Norma and their guests.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Work on the 12th green is complete

Crews began stripping off the old sod and the black layer from the 12th green at 7am yesterday morning. The sod was shoveled into a front end loader and hauled to the dump. Plywood is used to prevent the tractor from making ruts in root zone.

Anywhere the black layer was thicker than the sod cutter depth, the layer was removed with shovels and fresh greens mix was added to tie in the grades and level out any low spots. This process know as "floating" is multi layered and uses different tools and equipment and can be a painfully slow process, but is extremely important to getting the finished grade or greens surface to where we want it before any sod is installed.

This is the black layer we sod cut and shoveled out

Once the green surface had been shaped and leveled out, the crew began laying 6000 sq ft of Bent grass sod which was grown on the same root zone as we have on our 12th green. This reduces the layering issue we have when bringing in sod grown on soil slightly different than the soil in which it is installed on. The cultivar of Bent grass chosen is called A-4 which was developed through Penn State University and did extremely well in trials in Augusta Georgia, hence the "A" in its name. This turfs ability to better withstand the heat and humidity will make it an excellent choice for the environment at 12.

The last step is rolling the green to smooth out any imperfections. The roller the sod crew brought with them was used in two different directions, but did not quite accomplish the quality I want to see. So on Wednesday July 21 I have a 18oo pound roller coming in. We will used plywood sheets between this roller and the turf to protect the sod and prevent the roller from sinking into the green. This will give us an excellent roll and give us as close a smooth surface as we desire. This green will still need to be top dressed and aerified before it is exactly where we want it for speed and smoothness in ball roll. We hope to have this green back in play in 4 weeks. Until then please admire it from the bluegrass, we would like to keep all traffic off this green giving it full opportunity to grow strong roots and become established before it see any traffic. Like a young child this green will need extra water, small amounts of fertilizer at regular intervals, and general "babying" in the weeks to come. The first mow will most likely be mid next week.

The finished product

Thursday, July 15, 2010



The extent of the damage to the turf at 12 green is now obvious. Our goal now is to get this green back in shape and open it as soon as we can without subjecting the turf to a set back due to the traffic of regular play. The two simple options are to aggressively over seed, which will take at least two months to grow in, or sod it. If we were to seed, even 2 months from now when the green is looking much better, the turf would still be very young and not stand up well to the traffic once open. The turf would most certainly slide backwards exposing the young seedlings to regular play. And more importantly, we would still have to deal with the black layer.
This photo taken on 12 green this morning
clearly shows the black layer at the surface of
the green which is the root of all our problems.

Sodding on the other hand brings in mature grass plants which only need to root into the existing root zone. If we sodded this green, opening it back up to regular play in 4 weeks is a very realistic time frame. The other big consideration is the black layer which is the real problem, and is the cause of the turfs failure. The heat may have been the straw that broke the camels back, but the black layer is the real culprit. Sodding may be a more expensive way to proceed, but, it will allow us to physically remove this layer with the sod cutter as we strip away the old turf.

It has been approved by the Board of Directors to proceed with striping and re-sodding this green. I have already had a contractor that I have worked with in the past on site and made a plan to have them in on Monday July 19th to strip away the turf and the black layer, and resod the entire green and collar. We will still have to get on a regular aerification plan with the new turf in order to keep this green healthy and able to stand up to the traffic, and what ever "Large Marge" wants to throw at it. You will also notice over the next few week some areas on other greens getting aerified as we need to treat isolated areas which are beginning to show stress.

Monday, July 12, 2010


The 2010 Men's Member Guest
The 2010 Men's Member Guest was held last week. Festivities started on Thursday afternoon with the Annual Shoot Out. This optional event saw 27 teams of 2 participate.

The Shoot Out was won by Pat Scanga and his guest Ken Thompson. Just like the Master's - no shoot out winner has ever gone on to win the Main Event.
(I'm not sure why everyone is looking in different directions but .....)

The 2009 Champions - Kim Blake and guest John McBride (shown above) couldn't defend their crown.

The Par 3 competition traditionally held on Friday morning was washed away by heavy rains. The Course was under water at 11:30am but the Main Event teed off at 1:00 and enjoyed an outstanding afternoon.

The 2010 Champions were Keith MacIssac and his guest Don Fox. They had a amazing score of 56 net. The Gross Champions were Mark Brewer and Todd Crowder who shot 59.
Everyone seemed to enjoy the great meal that Chef Andrew and staff prepared. Kudos also to Glenn Hogg for heading up another great Event.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


We have closed the 12th green until further notice. Eliminating all the traffic this green normally deals with which include golfers, mowers and greens rollers will help give the turf a fighting chance. It is unfortunate that the green will be out of play for the men's member guest event, but it is imperative we do everything in our power to prevent the green from getting worse. We continue to use a large blower to circulate air over the green which has enabled us to bring the temperature down 5 degrees. When we do resume mowing it will be at a higher height of cut which will also reduce the stress on the turf.
Since yesterday I have brought in 3 different people who all have a high level of education in agronomy and turf grass growing experience to look at the green and see if they have any suggestions or input which we may not have been thinking about. All 3 agreed with the practices we have been implementing. We also pulled turf samples out of the green and sent them to the University of Guelph who have a very complex disease identification lab. Most turf diseases have visible signs of their growth when they begin to infect turf grass. A couple of diseases have no visible signs and can only be identified in a lab under a microscope by highly trained technicians. If there is any disease activity, I should know by later today and we will be able get any necessary fungicide applied. If the weather forecast is accurate with a break in the heat and humidity, we will aerify this green first thing Friday morning removing some of the organic layer just below the surface. The holes that will remain will be 1/4 inch in size, but relatively close together. At the same time we will introduce bent seed which will help in the recovery.
I have left a turf sample on the counter of the pro shop for everyone to see this layer I have been referring to for so long.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010



There are two very unique characteristics of the 12th green we don't currently have with any other green on the property. One is the lack of air movement. Even with all the trees we removed during the renovation, there is still no air movement around this green. We can all feel it as we stand on this green and it is easily measured. The temperature at the canopy on the 12th green was recorded at 41.6 degrees C at 10:30 am today. 41.6, that's 107 on the old scale. And in Alabama and Florida where they get 107 degrees, they don't grow bent grass. They grow bermuda grass, because bent does not do well at 107 degrees!

So why do we have 17 awesome greens, and number 12? Well, this is the real problem, and we have talked about it before. The 12th green has an organic layer on the top 2.5 centimeter of the soil which acts like a sponge and holds water, suffocating the grass plant. Looking at the green from a short distance some people might think it needs more water because of the colour of it. In actual fact there is too much water being held at the top of the soil. Adding more water is the worst thing we could do.

Look at this picture.

What do you notice?

This is a plug pulled from 12 green at about 2pm today.

The top 2.5 centimeters has an obvious black layer. This is the organic layer. It's black because it's anaerobic! We may have other greens that hit 107 degrees, but they can breathe because there is no layer. And if we put some water on them to help cool them down, the water can percolate through the root zone. The 12th green on the other hand holds water around the crown of the plant preventing it from getting the oxygen the plant requires.

Last year we filled this green with holes and the green recovered. This spring we made the perfect plans for the continued aerification to prevent this issue. But the weather during the scheduled aerification was extremely hot and we had to cancel or we would have had 18 greens which we would not be able to keep moist and cool and would have lost significant grass on these green surfaces. The 12th green has been opened up regularly with a small solid tine, and with a slicer to help get oxygen to the roots all this year, but this only helped in a minor way, the extreme heat was too much for some of the plants.

So what are we doing about it? In the immediate short term we are using very light misting of water to help cool the plants. We are also using a blower to blow air over the green surface. These two practices have helped us bring the temperatures down, but it does nothing for the organic layer. As painful as it is we must start pulling a core on a regular bases from this green to physically remove this layer. The misting I mentioned is just a very small amount of water just enough to hit the leaves and then evaporate, which dissipates heat. Much like we might splash a little water on our faces to cool down.

The best thing in the short term is if "Large Marge" could bring the heat down for us.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Senior Invitation 2010
The 8th Annual Senior Invitational was held on one of the hottest days of the year!
The weather was not the only thing that was hot! Low Net of the tournament went to Tony Reffle of Cedar Brae who shot a blistering 63. Whitevale's own, Dave Walker was the Low Gross Champion with an equally impressive score -1 - 71.
Other Notable Whitevale scores:
1st Flight - Low Gross - Mike McGarragle
- Low Net - Barry Catterall
3rd Net - Jim Cherry


Husband & Wife Tournament

The Annual Husband and Wife tournament was a great success! There were 27 couples competeing this year.

The Event is an alternate format - a true test of any relationship!! The low score went to the team of Barb Rogers and Peter Schuch who carded a round of 67. Tied for second was Anne & Tom Hill and Joan & Bob Store who both shot 67.5

Close behind at 68.5 was Georgia & Craig Colquhoun.

Thursday, July 1, 2010



Our Flag Day Tournament kicked off the holiday under what can only be described as perfect weather.

The morning ladies had a brisk start to the day but as the sun came out, so did the smiles.

Of course, on Canada Day we also hold the Men's four-ball tournament. Here are some pictures of the groups competing in the morning draw.

We'll start posting some results as soon as they come in.

Congratulations to the winners:

The Men's Better Ball Net Winners:

1st - Warren Crossey & Glenn Hogg with a 59

2nd- Craig Ferns & Mark Burrell with a 61

3rd - Bob Adams & Walt Lemon 62

Gross Winners:

1st - Ryan Trimble & Mike Linday 69

2nd - John Trimble & Glenn Davis 71

The Ladies Flag Day

1st Place - Joan Store

2nd- Dee Steinwall

3rd - Jennifer Hogg

4th - June Atam

Congratulations to the winners and to everyone for participating.