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A way-past due update from the West

Damn, sometimes life gets so far ahead of you that it's hard to catch up!

Sorry for the lack of posts for the last several weeks, no excuses, other than just being lame.

California has certainly had one of the weirdest summers I can remember having a slow, cool start and ending with record high 100s in southern California in October. I think it wasn't too bad overall judging by the total number of samples we had in the diagnostic lab. Anthracnose and summer patch were pretty active this year on Poa greens, but diseases like gray leaf spot on rye were not big troublemakers this year. Hopefully as guys start aeration, they'll have a chance to relax a little after this summer, well, unless you have rapid blight (see below).

As far as the desert guys go, there could be some bumps ahead on the road for overseeding. Last week, we had a few days in the 90s with rain and night time temps in the 70s; this next week, the night time temps could stay above 68F for a few days during the week, so keep an eye out for Pythium during the overseed.

It's Back!!!!
Rapid blight is starting to pop up on Poa greens in California as temperatures start to mellow; leach greens prior to aerification if you can as the sand topdressing can really flare rapid blight if it's salty. Application of fungicides like mancozeb, Compass or Insignia will ceratinly help, but salt is the #1 issue to deal with.

NCGA's 2010 Assistant Superintendent Bootcamp

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending this event in Monterey, CA organized by Mike McCullough at the NCGA. There were about 35 attendees there who got to hear presentations from speakers such as Mike Richardson (Univ. of Arkansas), Bruce Wiliams (Valleycrest), Ty Murray (California Highway Patrol), Andy Staples (Golf Resource Group), and Brian McRae (The Preserve Golf Club) as well as group discussions with Tom Junk (Robert Talbot Co.), Jimmy Becker (NCGA), Bob Klinsteker (San Francisco Golf Club), Drew Barnett (Philadelphia Cricket Club) and Earl Kennel (Monterey Peninsula Country Club). Here you can see Mike McCullough addressing the group at the NCGA HQ at Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach.

Quick summary and highlights of speaker presentations (boiled down to the syrup) that I was able to attend (apologies to the guys who I didn't get to see talk!):

Mike Richardson: 'New Technology to Enhance Your Course'
- Technology is everywhere, use these tools for environmental measurements, mapping applications and even your iPhone to stay ahead of the curve for turf management.

Frank Wong: IPM Planning for Disease Management'
- Check out GCSAA's new IPM planing tool:

Bruce Williams: 'Networking'
- 'It's not just what you know, but who you know as well' --> creating sucessful networks is a part of having a sucessful career.

Ty Murray: 'Transporting Hazardous Materials'
- Lock it down and label it when you're taking any hazardous materials on the road or face the long arm of the law.

Mike Richardson: 'Foliar Fertilizer Programs'
- Regular foliar applications of low rates of nitrogen fertilizers give you more consistent plant growth and quality; think urea - it's effective and cost-efficient.

Frank Wong: 'Optimizing Fungicide Applications'
- Mike Fidanza says: Flat fans nozzles using 2 gal water/1,000 sq ft give you the best overall disease control; extra water is need to control soil borne diseases like fairy ring.

Brian McRae: 'Outside Influences on Your Career'
- Bad stuff can happen to you; it may be out of your control, but personal relationships you make in the industry & the networks you establish can often help save you or at least soften the blow.

Andy Staples: 'Sustainable Golf Courses'
- 'Sustainability' and green projects have the most impact on golf course design and operations when ther is a real cash value or benefit associated with them; green projects for the sake of 'feeling good' aren't as likely to be as sucessful as green projects that can save (or make) a course a real dollar amount.

Drew Barnett: 'Blogging'
- Use this medium to keep your membership aware of why things are happening on your course; it's a way to show that you're looking out for their long term interests.

Bruce Williams: 'Developing Skills that Make You a Desired Commodity'
- "When your girlfriend (or wife) asks you 'does this make me look fat?' the answer is obvious, but sometimes how fast you answer makes all of the difference."

*Probably the most important thing I heard at the meeting! Bruce was talking about having an updated resume ready and being ready to respond when opportunity knocks on the door.

NCGA Seeks Interns for 2011
Speaking of opportunities, the NCGA is looking for interns for next year. If you're just getting into the industry and want some experience in California, check this out:

Applications are due November 1st!

OK - that's about it for this week's entry - I'm in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing from October 10 - 22; hopefully I'll have things to share from the far far West next week!

Until then, signing off from the right coast... (PS - my sabbatical is officially over when I get back from China, so expect me to be back on the left coast regularly starting in a few weeks).

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