Bunker Work

We have been working on the bunkers over the past couple weeks.  Removing weeds and cleaning the edges of the bunkers has been are most recent project.  The guys went from bunker to bunker digging out the rhizomes and stolons that creep into the sand. 

This project is preparing the bunkers for more sand to top off any bunkers that may be thin.  This will probably be the last year we add sand to most of the bunkers.  We have enough sand in the bunkers now, but if they start to run low then we will add more sand as needed.  We will not add sand on all the bunkers.
If you have any questions or comments about the course or the bunkers feel free to contact me.

Justin Ruiz, CGCS

Aligning The Tees

I wanted to give everyone a quick explanation of the paint markings on some of the tees out on the course.  Dan has been marking out tees to be either mowed out or left to grow in.  Over time we start to lose the integrity of the tee design only because it is pretty difficult to mow exactly the same each time the tee is mowed.  The tees can shrink in some cases or expand in other. 

This exercise is just to bring the tees back to the original design and in most cases give us a little more teeing area to help spread the wear during heavy traffic months.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to contact me.

Justin Ruiz, CGCS

Water in Washington??

Photo courtesy of http://www.turfhugger.com/

There is nothing like having kids.  It is by far the most rewarding thing that you could possibly do in life.  As they get older and start to become more aware of their surroundings, they can think of some pretty unique things.  My wife was driving in the car and my daughter asked her why Washington was named Washington.  You know kids, always question everything.  Before my wife could explain to her a reason for the name, my daughter had already came up with her reasoning.  She said, "is it because everything is always getting washed by the rain?" 

I am enamored at the fact that even though Olympia may get quite a bit of rain, irrigation is still an important task for us as turf managers.  Spending the last ten years in Arizona water was a fighting word.  Conservation was required, not just an option.  The experience that I have gained from this style of water management has played well into my forte of asking why things are setup in a certain fashion.
Computer controlled irrigation is an important tool for us.  When the computer is programmed  properly is takes, pipe size, equipment specs, pump station flow, weather calculations, etc. and uses all this information to manage the irrigation system to operate over 1000 sprinkler heads on the course efficiently.  Without programmed computer management you run the risk of too many heads running at the same time resulting in less than desirable distribution.  Without good distribution, playability suffers and water is wasted. 
With that being said, our central control computer did not have a hydraulic tree programmed into the computer.  The absence of a hydraulic tree removes the computer’s ability to properly manage nightly watering.  The computer is only as good as the information that we give it.
Photo courtesy of http://www.toro.com/
To make a long story short Christian, our irrigation technician, is starting the tedious task of creating a hydraulic tree that will give the computer the correct information to manage all the sprinklers properly.  If you would like to read a little more in depth article on the central control computer, click here.  If you have any question about the irrigation system or would like to see what we are working with please feel free to contact me.
Justin Ruiz, CGCS

Full Speed Ahead!


The weather has not given us much remorse this past week.  Rain has been a loyal companion as we forge ahead into the start of the season.  The Men's opening dinner went well with great comments and a warm welcoming.  I mentioned a couple things that we would be working on over the next couple weeks to prepare the course for spring.

Trimming the underbrush and limbing up some low hanging branches is an ongoing process.  These areas that we can clean up help us in a few different ways.  The obvious is being able to better find and play your ball.  The not so obvious that we benefit from is allowing sprinklers to operate without obstruction, mowers to be able to travel without interuption and better air movement and sunlight to increase the health of the turf.  We like projects that increase playabilty and help us out at the same time.

Bunkers work has also become a priority coming into the season.  We have some bunker sand stock piled out near #5.  We use this sand to top off bunkers with subsoil showing, or sand that is too shallow.  The bunkers that have sand added to them will be a little more fluffy than the others until the sand settles.

Along with these small projects, we are keeping a constant eye on the greens to make sure nothing out of the ordinary pops up.  Dan found some Pink Snow Mold (Microdochium Patch) on #8 green.  As I stated on the turf page of our members website, I look at problems and try to understand them fully to hopefully be able to come up with a sound solution.  Since we sprayed a fungicide 21 days ago and it should have lasted 28 days, I asked the question, "Why?"


When we spray greens we split the course into two tanks, since one tank is not enough volume to cover all the greens.  8 green just happens to be the last green on a tank.  My inner turf nerd tells me that we need to investigate how our spray rig works toward the end of a tank.  Did we get good coverage?


If you have any questions about turf disease, bunkers or thinning and trimming, please feel free to send me a message or contact my office.

Justin Ruiz, CGCS

Week of February 28th

Finally a full week of turfgrass viewing weather. 

The second week was full of surprises.  I am definitely getting my feet wet literally and figuratively this week.  Looking a little closer this week at our trouble greens (#5, #10, #11, #12, #13), I found what I thought was cutworm damage.  Small spots with turf trimmed right above the crown.  A closer look with a knife revealed European Cranefly larvae.


Cranefly are usually not a huge problem in our area unless you have quite a high population.  Also, Cranefly are usually found in the taller cut turf.  They are not usually found on greens.  As everyone knows, our trouble greens all have a similar issue with the lack of sun.  Especially in the winter months when the sun is low in the sky.  No matter if you are in Arizona or Washington, insects seem to have the same opinion about weak turfgrass.  They love it!  Ten green was by far the most affected by Cranefly.


Cranefly are commonly called "mosquito eaters". These guys look like a Shaq mosquito.  Although harmless as an adult, the larvae which lasts most of the year (November-September), can become an issue.  Depending on the spring weather we may take the opportunity to treat #10 green preventatively to avoid any extra stresses coming into the pythium winter.

If you have any questions about cranefly or comment concerning the course feel free to contact me.

Justin Ruiz, CGCS

Winter Turf, Welcome to The Northwest

I was excited to come back to the Northwest.  I grew up in Eugene, Oregon and I am honored to graduate from Tom Cook's program at Oregon State (Go Beavs!).  When I went through school we talked a little about pythium root rot, but it was never explained as an issue.  It wasn't until recently that cool weather pythium has hit the mainstream media in the Northwest.

I spent time researching this disease in anticipation of starting at Indian Summer.  There is not much information on the subject and it is still fairly controversial on why it has become a problem just recently.  Our local universities are scrambling to get research done and hopefully answer some unanswered questions.


I have been a very logical, science oriented individual when it comes to turfgrass management.  Most turfgrass issues can be explained with basic science and turf physiology.  Anticipating issues becomes easier once you know how things interact with the plant and soil.

For the longest time root rot pythium was hardly a problem.  Now it has become fairly devastating to turf during the most difficult time of the year for recovery.  Less sun and cooler weather slows turf growth down to a crawl.  This makes recovery difficult, and the plant's ability to respond and defend itself against any infection.  I am sure you have seen this with unrepaired ballmarks.  During the cooler part of the year it is imparitive that we do the best we can to repair the greens quickly and properly to give the greens the best chance to be healthy come spring.  You would be suprised at how disease will target a ballmark that was neglected.


If you have any questions about pythium or ballmark repair please contact me.

Justin Ruiz, CGCS

My 1st Week

My first week here at Indian Summer was kind of frustrating due to the snow covering the turf on Wednesday through the weekend and still hanging around on the next Monday.

Dan has done a great job showing me around the property and explaining how things are layed out on the golf course. It has been a lot of information to digest in such a short time. With Dan's help and cooperation from the weather, I can get my bearings and start to figure out the course layout.
This last week was also frustrating for the crew. With the snow coming down and not much to offer for projects on the course, the crew was able to clean up our maintenance shop quite a bit. The organization helped give us an idea of what we have that is usable and what is no longer needed. Unfortunately the crew had a short week making my introductory period a little longer. I am very happy with the friendly welcome that everyone has given me at Indian Summer. The knowledgable and friendly crew has helped during my transition and I am grateful to be able to join such a great group of people.

I understand now why Dan has received the manager of the month award from Oki Golf because of his professionalism and outstanding work ethic. His hard work these past months have made my transition that much easier.  When I started last monday he explained the history of disease to me and the results that were given recently from Washington State University Extension Office which came back positive for pythium infection on a couple of the greens. This "cool weather" pythium is a relatively new problem in the Northwest and can be devastating as you have seen. Dan reacted appropriately and applied a plant protection product to avoid severe damage. Although 10 and 11 greens are a little thin, without Dan's quick reaction it could have been much worse.  I am excited for this upcoming season and to be able to work with a talented Assistant Superintendent like Dan.

I hope to meet each and everyone of our members over the next few months and as the weather gets better. Please feel free to stop me on the course, email or call me with any comments, questions or concerns.

Justin Ruiz, CGCS
Direct Office: 360.459.3772

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