Friday, June 5, 2015

June 6, 2015

Dr. Albrecht Koppenhoffer from Rutgers University and his team of graduate students were here last Tuesday morning collecting turf and soil samples from the Annual Bluegrass Weevil study plots on the 7th fairway. Over one hundred samples of turf and the underlying thatch layer were taken. Dr. Kopppenhoffer also, by request, took samples from outside the study area which we have been treating per our program to evaluate how “clean” we are.
If you have been following this blog, you can appreciate how much damage this hard to control insect is. Adults lay eggs in shortly cut poa annua turf, predominately in the fairways, tees, greens collars, and sometimes along the outer edges of the greens. The larvae feed inside the sheath of the turfgrass plant and after the third instar, drill out and feed on the crown, or the growing point, of the plant. This feeding kills the plant. After feeding on the plant, the larvae bury underneath the thatch layer in the soil and pupate into an adult that will mature to lay eggs, repeating the cycle several times per year. Due to the nature of the “beast”, all stages – adult, larvae, pupae – can exist in turf at the same time. Each stage requires different control chemistries and the weevil can easily and rapidly develop resistance to insecticides used to control the different stages of growth. An insecticide that works one time may not work the next. The trick is not only timing the growth stage and applying the correct pesticide, but also to change them up so that resistance does not get out of control. Unfortunately, there are very few insecticides that treat the Annual Bluegrass Weevil at each stage, so choices of control and rotation are very limited.  On some courses, nothing works well enough to prevent widespread damage. Luckily, we have not reached that point, and one of the reasons that we were chosen for this study is because we have a population of weevils that hasn’t developed serious resistance.
We have been pretty good with rotating chemistries and timing applications, but we have only been treating for five years. Courses that have been treating weevils for far longer have developed resistance, which is no fault of the superintendent. With so few controls, resistance is bound to happen at some point. Our goal is to try to keep it at a minimum for as long as we can.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

May 23, 2015

The following weather data chart sums up the challenges that we are having lately – a serious lack of meaningful precipitation. The other day, May 21, we received a slow, soaking .63” rain which was helpful but still was only a temporary reprieve, as it wasn’t enough to relieve the long term drying out that we have been, and are, experiencing.

Tabular data for barchart ... 
Starting Date
Ending Date
# of Days
Actual Pcpn
Normal Pcpn
Surplus / Deficit
% of Normal

Monday, May 4, 2015

May 4, 2015

Just a little break from talking turfgrass…

This year we have witnessed a lot of varied wild life throughout the course-
The foxes are back. There is a pair living off the 10th fairway in the brambles on the right. They have at least three kits that I have been able to see.  I see the adults hunting as far away as #15, carrying birds, rabbits, and squirrels back to the den. At times I like having the foxes around, but when they begin to dig in the fairways and sometimes on greens, I get angry with them. When they do this, we use repellants the best we can.

Over head we have seen red tail hawks – a pair has taken up residence in the trees between #12 and #11. Another pair is nesting along the left side of 15. Years ago we had a pair that was nesting  in the treed area right of the 14th hole. Our former Food and Beverage/ Banquet Manager Denise Sullivan    (God bless her always – I will always remember her) would tell me stories of their offspring coming over to her porch and scaring off the song birds she loved so much!!!

Also overhead we have sighted bald eagles, sharp shin hawks, cormorants, kestrels, and ospreys. I could list more! And in the ponds we have seen wood ducks, herons, mallards, black ducks, cranes, and kingfishers.

I could go on…

Its important to have wildlife on a golf course because it shows that we not only are taking care of the course, but of the land. A golf course that has no wildlife is a symptom of poor stewardship – not only of wildlife, but of it members. It all goes hand in hand.

By the way, soon the snapping turtles will be coming out of the 12th pond to lay eggs…Careful! They bite!

Friday, April 17, 2015

April 17, 2015

On Thursday Dr. Albrect  Koppenhoffer came to lay out an area on the 7th fairway where he will conduct field trials to determine the percentage of pesticide resistance on our population of annual Bluegrass Weevils (abw).  Dr. Koppenhoffer has come the last two years during the fall to collect abw adults from our course. Those samples were tested in the lab for resistance, and to our benefit, resistance at Greate Bay was found to be very low. With this preliminary data, he is now taking the testing out into the field – into the real world – where variables cannot be controlled. He will use the data he collects in the field to compare it with the lab data and along with the results he gains from field trials at other courses. From this study, which will be ongoing for a few more years, and maybe longer, we will receive up to date information on our levels of resistance, newer control methods, and expert advice. On the whole, and in the long run, the entire study will help the industry to better understand this small destructive insect, its habitat, life cycle, and how it can be best controlled while lessening the development of pesticide resistant populations.

Friday, April 3, 2015

April 3, 2015

Years ago, long before I came here, there was a water feature in front of the 12th green. Water was circulated from the 12th pond to the smaller finger of the pond in front of the green and spilled over a weir into the main body of water. It had been abandoned for quite some time; I believe it was maintained only for the LPGA up until the tournament returned to Seaview Country Club. Abandoned, it was a low area that the pond backed up into and since it was not moving water, became a mosquito breeding area. Although we did our best to keep it trimmed up, it slowly became an unsightly water hazard.
This spring we cleaned up the pond’s finger and rebuilt the rotted weir, and are restoring the circulation system. We are very happy how it is coming out, and are sure that it will improve the 12th hole, both in appearance and playability.