Posts Tagged ‘Summer’

A Moment of Gratitude

To this day, I really don’t know what happened. I’ve heard some stories and have a few paper trail type details, but that’s it. After a string of 2,000 mile weeks, a notable in the golf world fumbling the ball and blaming everyone else including me and a bunch of other little and big things, I started not sleeping. For me, that’s nothing new. I’ve not really been into sleep that much and for what it seemed, my body didn’t need much.

But then came one big hassle after another and not only was I not sleeping much, for about 7 days I didn’t sleep at all. That program might be OK for some crazy backwoods tweaker who has nothing to do but shoot at stumps all day and has the help of meth to make the body do things, but for me, I continued to work and didn’t supply more than the usual foods to my system along with a bunch of coffee and some Red Bull. When the rubber band snapped on this program, I found myself now not knowing who or where I was. Actually, I didn’t find myself, others found me.

It’s been 12 months since all of this went down. I get what happened now and have heard most of the stories. Some much needed time off and some good treatment and things got straight pretty quickly and I emerged a different person. But taking a little time off during August is kind of one of the things that lots of Turfheads, myself included, don’t really like to do. But in this case, I didn’t really have a choice.

“What I remember most about that time, is the outpouring of love that I received from my friends. Most of whom are Turfheads. Because, that’s who I usually choose to hang with.”

What I remember most about that time is the outpouring of love that I received from my friends, most of whom are Turfheads. Because, that’s who I usually choose to hang with. And without fail, each and every one of them asked me why I didn’t speak up or ask them for some support. Truth? When you are in the middle of the pickle jar, you don’t know you are really the pickle. And that’s the truth. I didn’t ask for support, because well, I didn’t know I needed it.

There’s not a day that goes by that I’m thankful for the community that I’m fortunate enough to call myself a part of. I’ve seen the folks in our business go far out of their way to take care of each other. A lot of that comes from the fact that when you spend most of your days working without a net, it feels good to help someone else. That’s not rocket psychology, it’s just a human truth.

Every one of us has experienced some kind of life drama. Everyone does. And everyone discovers surprising and unknown facts about themselves. That’s what revelation is. I consider the revelations that came to me in a very difficult time to be of huge value. I learned a lot about Dave Wilber. Some stuff I didn’t want to know and other things, surprisingly wonderful.

It’s August. And most of us know that August has an ass-kicking way to teach us things. If you’ve grown grass at any level and haven’t had some kind of lesson in this form, then it’s really not a matter of “if”, it’s more about “when”. I’ve gotten more than a few of those experiences. The technical lessons are there. Don’t ever spray that again… etc. But the emotional lessons are a bit harder to see. There isn’t a winter turf conference for these lessons to be examined. So that’s why I’m grateful for my friends and my support network and the Great Mystery of Faith. Therein lay the education that I most often need.

If your world and your August are giving you a beating, there really isn’t any shame in reaching out for support. I wish I had known this. But at the same time I’m eternally glad for the lesson and humbled by the opportunity to share it here.

Summertime Feeding?

The common question that I seem to be getting in the last few weeks has to do with feeding greens. While there can’t be a universal rule set for all the different climates we all work in, there are a few things that I like to see happen for best practice summer stress conditioning.

For me, consistency is key. Set your feeding schedule and stick to it. Sure, sometime things happen, but when we are doing it right, there isn’t much Nitrogen involved and so growth isnt a big deal.

Speaking of growth, it’s best if you are under some kind of regulation. My field work shows that best practice summers always have some growth regulation and that program is set and doesn’t change much.

Phosphite Rocks. There’s a lot to be said for Phosphite. If you don’t know, ask about this. I happen to be a huge fan of Grigg’s PK plus product, but there are others and the important part is that it’s there and in the program.

Carbon and Calcium round out the soluble/foliar picture. Getting both in the tank is a good thing and for me, nothing beats a good complexed Calcium product. Choice #1 is Earthwork’s CalVantage. Again, there are others, but this one works more wonders than anything else we have trials with.

So a solid stack spray might look like this:

  • A complexed Nitrogen around .1 pounds of N with a solid Carbon base.
  • A Phosphite.
  • A complexed Calcium.
  • Perhaps some Seaplant Extract, De-salinated Seawater or a solid bio blend of molasses, fish and humic acid.

There’s something to build from there. Of course you can add and re-rig to your heart’s content. And in some cases some situations call for a lot more. And, don’t bother telling me the world is flat and these type of materials don’t work. We are way beyond that.

But there isn’t an excuse for doing nothing. That’s the worst program there can be.


Roll Your Greens, Mow The Clubhouse Lawn

I’m a huge fan of rolling and it’s time, you monkey, to roll!

And I think that this time the art of doing something that a lot of us have said was good is actually going to be backed by the Science. At the Sierra Pacific Spring Symposium 2011 (where Herr Maestro Mac was the Keynote Speaker), Oregon State’s Dr. Rob Golembiewski (aka G11) talked about his work with rolling. Yes, Frank, we have Turf Schools out west with running water and indoor plumbing and everything!

You can see a presentation a lot like the one he gave to use that day, here at the OSU field day. And for the most part, I was on the edge of my seat, because for years, I’ve known that rolling is good and that we just mow too much sometimes.

Ok so, first off, a lot of you reading this don’t have a roller. Step One…get one. They are out there in all kinds of flavors and prices and ways to make it work. It’s essential gear right up there with cup cutters and food for the goose dog. Seriously, the modern golf course needs a roller or two. Simple.

Oh, and did I mention that you might actually be able to raise your HoC and keep some speed for the Ladies 9-hole championship in August? You actually might.

Step Two (which might be Step One for some of you) use the thing(s). I don’t get why dust collection is OK for rollers. Use them. Dr. G11 and some others are saying every other day rolling and mowing, especially during stress periods is a good thing. So train up more than one guy on the crew to run the thing, change the oil and get it out of the back corner of the shop. It deserves a better spot, right up near the Bar-B-Que Grill (or Brisket Smoker if you are in Texas).

Step Three, park the mowers. Like Lemonaide with Ice Tea, we tend to think that we can’t have one without the other. That’s just not true. Especially with greens under good growth regulation or some other form of management that has the baskets on the greensmowers less full than ever. You really can lay off the mowing when you aren’t growing much grass.

That’s it. Three easy steps to a much easier time this summer. Oh, and did I mention that you might actually be able to raise your HoC and keep some speed for the ladies 9-hole championship in August? You actually might. But don’t believe me. Do the work with the stimp meter and roll some balls and see for yourself. I think you’ll find out what a lot of us have known for a while now. Especially since rolling equipment has gotten so good.

Derby Time! Time for a little Stress Management.

Whoa! All The Way!!

What Does It Mean, Man??

If there is one constant in the world of Turfheads, in some way, somehow, summer brings some kind of challenge. Like stuffing in the Thanksgiving Turkey here we Turfheads are, right in the middle of it. And there isn’t a soul on the big blue marble that can tell us that it is easy. It’s not and my hat goes off to each and every person in our crazy business that endures. We all deal with it in different way. Complain, ignore, panic, brash confidence, total paranoia, comfortable numbness.

I had one of those days a couple days ago and one of those weeks before that. If the windshield in my vehicle could record and playback the foul temper that it witnessed when I thought I was alone, I’m sure that I’d never be let into most civil circles again. It sucks when I let stuff get to me, but it also makes me the monkey that some people love. I know that in my passionate rage, there comes blindness. In those moments I swing at a lot of high pitches, agronomically and socially and that in turn makes it worse. Been there? No? Bat crap. If you answered No, you are either dead or you actually work at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

And therein lies the greatness of we Turfheads. We care. We give so much of a crap about things that we can honestly get together with our peers and argue with great vigor the ins and outs of Hundredths of Inches of cutting height, Tenths of Pounds Nitrogen, Half of a Foot of  Speed, Parts Per Million of Nutrients no one has ever heard of… you get the drift. To be good at what we all do, you better make the small stuff your new best friend. I love it. I geek hard and I love it. But when the heat is on I often forget to geek about the right stuff.

We give so much of a crap about things that we can honestly get together with our peers and argue with great vigor the ins and outs of Hundredths of Inches of cutting height, Tenths of Pounds Nitrogen, Half of a Foot of  Speed, Parts Per Million of Nutrients no one has ever heard of… you get the drift.

A friend who I’ve been social networking with online (since way before anyone ever thought up that term) shared this video with me:

And actually, I had heard the crew on the radio show that I often listen to making fun of it, but I didn’t really catch the whole idea because I was so busy yelling at the windshield. You need to watch this and at first, like me, you might just kind of write off the person behind the camera as either on the best drugs a hippie can grow, or just a plain loon like the videos once circulated of some Pyromaniac getting off on a burning building. Now watch it again. Go ahead. Yes. He’s crying. I get it. Watch again. Exactly. He’s moved. Amidst the windchimes and  undoubted hemp macrame, he’s totally astounded and overwhelmed. I’ve come to find it admirable.

Rainbows are cool. Nature is cool. And we Turfheads have the ability most every day to experience natural beauty every day. Regardless of your beliefs about how it was created or how it gets engineered, we are fortunate to be near these kind of things. And really, I have to admire my new Mountaintop Friend for being in a place where is was so stoked and so passionate about something that he just yawlped about it and posted it on YouTube to make an even bigger effort at yawlping. Sweaty-toothed Madman or not. That’s an effort.

Know what? That guy’s crazy video has spawned a whole (I hate to use this word) viral culture. People have made songs, like this from the “Autotune The News” gang:

and tee shirts and all kinds of other creations in response. The original video: nearly 8 million views. That’s cool. All the way!

I get a lot of phone calls this time of year asking me how to get through whatever challenge is being served up. And one of the things that I know for sure is that people who don’t take a moment and look at good stuff are in real trouble. They have to be told how to look at things through new eyes. And when that starts happening, it is amazing how many things get into focus. Our product, the playing surface needs to be babied along. It needs aggressive tender loving care. It demands respect. And the good stuff, the small stuff, the infinite details need to be looked at as gifts. “What does it mean?”, asks our video friend. What an awesome question to ask when any event moves any of us to take notice.

And when all else fails, and summer oatmeals your brain… when you just turn into a stupid monkey, at least you can now be a Rainbow Monkey. Oh my God!!! What Does It Mean??

Fall Aerification and Recovery Program