Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Banana Slug Bonanza

The mild damp weather has brought out the Banana Slugs!
I got close to them so you don't have to......
These were taken near the lower cart path at tee #17.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's Fall!

#10 Tee Green 12/14/2010 (Click to Enlarge)
Find the cup!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Driving Range Kikuyugrass

(Click photo to enlarge)

Q: Why is the driving range turf so yellow?

A: Frost and cold temperatures have caused the kikuyugrass to go into dormancy. "Kikuyu" is a warm season grass, best known from its presence at golf courses in Southern California. But it actually grows quite well here. It can be wiry and problematic in rough and around greens, but works well in low maintenance areas like our driving range. Look for a green up of the kikuyu around Feb. - March.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Frosty Fall Images 11-29-2010

It has been unseasonably cold the last couple weeks, with temperatures down to 29 degrees. Frost delays have been frequent........

#3 (Click photos to enlarge)



Friday, November 26, 2010

Frost Information From the USGA

With the early and persistent frost this year, here is some helpful information from the USGA Green Section:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Images From Pipeline Work #10 - #12

Here are a few images of the recent pipeline work by the Stanford University Utility Dept. Preston Pipelines is the subcontractor. Click on the photos to enlarge.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Map of Water Project At # 10 Tee

Here is the link to the map of the water project that is starting at #10 tee this week. The red line shows the proposed route of the water pipeline.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Stanford Water Project #10 tee - #12 tee

The Stanford Water Department is planning on installing a new water pipeline this week. It will serve the golf course's upper pump station. The work will begin on Tuesday 11-16 at the bottom of the clubhouse parking lot by the pump house. Trenching and pipeline work will go from there across #10 behind the blue tee, along the path between #11 and #9 greens, then over to the area in front of the red tees on #12. They will be connecting the pump station to a newer University Lake Water line that comes from Felt and Searsville lakes. This work should provide the course with a larger and more dependable water service. The current service comes from a hundred year-old pipe which will eventually be abandoned. A map of the work will be posted in the Golf Shop. Some detours around the work may be necessary. Completion is slated for Wed. 11-24.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Spike Cleaners - Ideas Needed

I'm getting lots of requests from players to install spike cleaners throughout the course to clean grass from their spikes. I really do not want to do it because it creates a continual unsightly mess of rotting grass, creates a wear pattern back and forth, and is another item for us to trim around. It is becoming difficult to hold my ground because players are claiming it is a safety issue. Does anyone have any suggestions on spike cleaners? I'm trying to find the best way to implement them while addressing the above issues. I've also posted this on the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America web forum.......

Any help would be appreciated!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

0.02" Rain Last Night

Monday night's rain totalled .02". That followed 0.42" of rain on Sunday. The course is a little wet, but there are no cart restrictions at this time...........The upcoming week looks to be clear with seasonal temperatures........

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Deer Casualty on #9

With regret, we found a dead deer on #9 fairway this morning that had been hit by a car on Junipero Serra overnight. It was such a beautiful animal, I thought I would share a photo. But it should also be a reminder to use extra caution driving on JSB from dusk to dawn.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Work at #2 Tee

Click photos to enlarge.....

We are installing the water service to the new tank at #2 tee. The red tees are temporarily closed and traffic is being detoured around the work. Please excuse the inconvenience!

BTW, we received 0.36" of rain last week. They are predicting the first frost of the season for tomorrow, Wed. 10/27 and more rainfall later in the week.........

Monday, October 18, 2010

First Rainfall of the Season

Nice to see some rain finally fall on the golf course. Although it wasn't much, 0.02", it did allow us to turn off the entire irrigation system for at least two nights!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Now On Twitter!

I've just set up a Twitter account. You can follow my posts about the course at

Friday, October 1, 2010

SVGTC Water Tank Progress

Construction of the water tank on hole #2 is substantially completed. Work that remains is connecting it to the water source (non-potable University Lake Water) and installing the electrical service for the pump station. The water service connection will impact Fremont Rd. and the red tees on #2 in the next two weeks. The timetable for the electrical connection is unknown, and dependent on PG&E. Our hope is that everything will be completed by mid-November.

This water tank is required to remove the Siebel Varsity Golf Training Complex (SVGTC) from the golf course's irrigation system. The course's irrigation system was never designed with enough capacity to handle an additional 30 acres of irrigated turfgrass. It is an extremely complicated juggling act to irrigate both properties in the current configuration. When it gets hot, daytime watering must be done which hampers golf players and is inefficient due to wind and evaporation. The tank will allow us to take water during the daytime hours from the Lake Water pipeline (at a low time of use.) We will then fill the tank during the day, and pump from it at night on a completely separate system from the golf course. Since the SVGTC is built on a six-inch sand cap soil material, this will allow us to irrigate lighter and more frequently, reducing the loss of water out of the bottom of the rootzone.

Below are some photos taken during construction of the tank (Click to Enlarge) :

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tee Aerification Underway

Tees before scraping - click to enlarge
This is the time of year when we do our fall preparation work on the golf course tees. We did a vertical mowing (verticut) on the tees last week. This helps reduce the thatch and minimize the lateral growth (runners.) We are aerating (plugging/punching) the tees this week . This helps reduce the thatch (sponginess.) We will follow the aeration with an overseeding with perennial rye grass and a shot of fertilizer. By mid-October, the tees should be looking really good and fully recovered from the work. Please excuse any inconvenience during the next few days!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Course Conditions, How to Fix a Ball Mark

The golf course is responding to the fertilizer that was applied last week. The turf is very green and lush with growth. This growth is necessary to provide a good playing surface going into winter. But the rapid growth is making the rough very difficult to play from, especially in the mornings. Mowing is taking place but the clippings are not dispersing well. Clippings are sticking to shoes and cart tires, often falling off on the putting surfaces and cart paths. Extra effort is being made to clean up the mess using blowers. We are trying to get around to clean things up, but it is impossible to follow every group. Please excuse the mess for the next week or so........

Here is a link on how to properly fix a ball mark using the Green-Save tools we provide:

Monday, September 20, 2010

Check Out This Hail Damage in Wichita, KS!

Check out this damage from baseball sized hail hitting the Auburn Hills GC in Wichita, KS!
Maybe the ball marks at Stanford are not too bad after all.........
Here is a link to the video:

Friday, September 17, 2010

Memorial for Jason Oliver 1985-2010

Jason Oliver 1985-2010

Please join us for a celebration of Jason's life on Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 3:30pm at the Siebel Practice Facility. His remembrance celebration will be lead by Reverend Scotty McLennan, Dean of Religious Life.

Jason David Oliver, a resident of Palo Alto, California, died on August 20, 2010 in Palo Alto. He was 25 years of age. Jason was born on July 16, 1985 in Portland, Oregon and was the son of Bob and Linda Oliver. He was raised and educated in Portland and graduated from David Douglas High School in 2003. He went on to graduate from Oregon State University in 2007. Jason resided in Palo Alto, California where he worked as the Assistant Superintendant for Stanford University Golf Course. Jason is survived by his parents, Bob and Linda Oliver of Portland, brothers, Ryan and Christopher Oliver, as well as his fiancé, Lindsay Frankfurt.
Here is a link to Jason’s memorial:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What Others Are Saying About Jason Oliver

From Northern CA Golf Course Superintendents Assn. President Thomas Bastis, CGCS:

On behalf of the GCSANC board of directors it is with a deep and profound sense of loss, I must inform you of the sudden death of Jason Oliver, Director GCSANC, Assistant Golf Course Superintendent, Stanford University Golf Course. Nothing is quite as painful or tragic as the premature death of a young, vibrant man with such a promising future.

In addition to his responsibilities as a dedicated assistant superintendent at Stanford University Golf Course and its golf-training complex, Jason was an ardent supporter of the profession serving on the GCSANC board of directors as the association’s assistant representative. He liked being involved and was an exceptional advocate for fellow assistants.

During his recent board tenure, Jason devoted his talent and eagerness to any task he undertook for the association. He directed the reshaping and updating of the web site. His latest task, the addition of member oriented “swap, trade and sell craigslist concept" will be opened in the future for membership use.

Remember this young man each time you visit this site, I know we shall.

Jason we love you and we will miss you greatly. Find peace with your Lord.

Thomas Bastis, CGCS

From David Phipps, CGCS, Stone Creek GC and an early mentor of Jason:

The Passing Of Jason Oliver

It pains me to report the sudden and unexpected passing of Jason Oliver, Assistant Superintendent at the Stanford GC. Jason was 26 years old. He was charged with overseeing the Siebel Varsity Golf Training Complex. Jason was a dedicated employee with an incredible passion for the golf industry. He had enormous potential and often stated his goal of someday being President of the Golf Course Superintendents of America. We will miss Jason and hope he is somehow in a better place.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ball Marks Are Avoidable - But it Takes Some Effort!

(Click to Enlarge Photo)

One difficulty with bent grass greens are their susceptibility to ball marks. It takes three to four weeks to heal an improperly repaired ball mark. If just ten people per day don't repair their marks correctly, that is 70 bad ball marks/week or 210-280 total per green. Hopefully you can see the importance of repairing every single ball mark, every single day!

It is very important that the ball mark is repaired correctly. When repairing a ball mark, think like a gardener, not a golfer. Take your time and do a good job gently kneading the turf back together. The repair, when done correctly, should look like no damage ever occurred there. There should be no brown showing and the repair should be tapped flat. This will allow the damage to heal in a day or so - as opposed to weeks.

If we could all do a better job with our ball marks, the greens would play much better for all involved!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Green Speeds

I apologize for the slow greens speeds this time of year. Hopefully my explanation below will give you a better understanding of what is happening on our golf course. Although many courses around the country are suffering from extreme heat, we have actually enjoyed a cooler than normal summer here in the Bay Area.

Our green speeds are slow due to the extra fertilizer we apply to the greens in mid-summer. I have a different program than most courses because we are trying to keep the favored bentgrass as the dominant turf type in the greens, instead of the dreaded Poa annua. In California, it is very difficult getting bentgrass to out-compete the Poa annua. Since this is the only period in the year when the bent is growing and the Poa gets stressed out, I hit the greens with a lot of fertilizer to help the bentgrass push out any stressing Poa. So the greens are slow due to the aggressive growth of the bentgrass I’m shooting for. And though this is great for the greens in the big picture, I realize it is sort of annoying to the day-to-day player. I promise we will be back to better green speeds in the next couple weeks as the fertilizer fades.

Fortunately, people start their vacations and the golf course play goes down a bit in August. So it does give me a chance to feed and promote the bentgrass. Not only is the bent a far better putting surface, it thrives in our summer heat. Best of all, it uses far less water, fertilizer, and pesticides than Poa annua. And we’ve been able to maintain the bentgrass without core aeration, which is a regular disruption on most Poa courses.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Work Finally Begins on SVGTC Tank & Pump Station

Permits have finally been secured for the SVGTC water tank and pump station. Site clearing work has commenced along hole # 2. A 300,000 gallon water water tank and VFD pumping station will be installed. This project will finally give the SVGTC an independent irrigation supply. It is currently irrigated using an undersized supply from the golf course, causing numerous issues including daytime watering.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hooray, The New GM Has Started!

I'm really glad to see that Shannon Sweeney Donlon has started as the new GM. Although things have run relatively well in the interim period, we have missed having a true advocate for the golf course and its constituents. Shannon will be an important part of the Golf Advisory Committee and have a direct link to senior management of the Athletic Department.

I think everyone will enjoy her personality and her "open door" attitude. Hopefully you will get a chance to say hello to her in the upcoming weeks!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Aging Oak Tree - #15 Tee

Decaying Coast Live Oak - #15 Blue Tee (click to enlarge photo)

There are numerous oak trees around the course that are finally reaching the end of their living life. Some trees last longer than others. The long-lived trees usually have better locations, soil conditions, micro-climates, branch structure, and pest resistance. The shorter-lived trees usually have some stress from irrigation, paving, compaction, golf impacts, wounds and natural decay.
The tree above has reached as stage where its removal is eminent. It has dead and decaying branches which could be hazardous to people using the course. The tree probably grew naturally in this rocky location, but was impacted later by a cart path, a heavily irrigated tee, and numerous tee shots striking it. The bark has decayed severely and the heartwood is no longer protected. Rot of the internal hardwood will now progress and the probability of the tree falling is increasing. Unfortunately, this tree is slated for removal due to its location. If it was located out in the tall grass away from players, it would probably be left alone for nature to take its course.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fairy Rings

Fairy Ring on #6 Fairway - click to enlarge

Some people have asked me about the dark green rings seen on some of the greens this time of year. The circular pattern is caused by the Basidiomycete group of fungi that inhabit the soil. These fungi digest organic matter in the soil left behind by the turfgrass. As the fungi breaks down the organic matter, nitrogen is released. This nitrogen is taken up by the turf and results in a green up in the areas where the fungi are working. The pattern starts small and may grow to many yards across. I choose not to apply fungicides for this issue, since this pattern is primarily cosmetic. On occassion, severe drought can occur in the rings or the fruiting bodies of the fungus (mushrooms) pop up. It is a natural process and the turf normally recovers well in the middle of the rings.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Clubhouse Roof Repairs

Repairs are being made this week to the Clubhouse Roof. Leaks had developed around the ventilators and roof tiles were damaged by the fallen oak tree. Fortunately, the original roof construction was done with redwood, so most of the structural components were in excellent shape. Repairs will be completed today, Wednesday 7/7/10.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Lucky Dog's Life

Ken's dog Pirate has quite the life!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Oak Tree Limbs Fall on Clubhouse

June 23, 2010

Last week a large Coast Live Oak broke apart and fell on the Clubhouse roof. The tree was damaged in a way that it had to be removed. Many roof tiles were broken. The roof is scheduled to be repaired on July 5th and 6th. The Grill will be closed on those days, but the Halfway House at #10 tee will remain open.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Photos From The Last Week

June 7, 2010

Please click on the photos to enlarge.......

Coast Live Oak - #2

Four Point Buck on #5 - Monday 6-7-10

Robin & Stellars Jay #13

Morning Sun -Fescue Grass #3