Golf Course Management

FEB 2016

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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64 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 02.16 time irrigation techs to detect leaks, hand- water when necessary, and scout the prop - erty and recommend station adjustments. Pond fountains on the premises serve as the largest single draw, but also represent an opportunity for energy conservation, Con - dos says. The pond fountains are on timers and are adjusted seasonally to run for the minimum amount of time while still effec - tively improving water quality and all but eliminating the need for use of algicides in the ponds. Additionally, Las Positas is en - rolled in its energy provider's Smart Meter program, which helps saves energy during peak hours of the day. The IPM program is designed to en - sure the smallest possible impact on the environment. Key personnel are trained in the safe and effective use of pesticides as prescribed by the Department of Agri - culture and the state of California. Greens are rolled as often as possible, in lieu of mowing, to reduce plant stress. Foliar ap - plications of fertilizers are used rather than granular products more prone to leach - ing. Insecticide applications are limited to the greens and are applied no more than twice annually. And, other than certain herbicide appli - cations in and around the property, Condos does not make chemical applications for diseases on tees, fairways and rough. "We try to take a minimalistic approach to all of it," Condos says. "We don't water (17 greens are mainly Poa annua, and in a high desert climate at that) during the day at all, except for spot watering. We have to maintain the greens." CourseCo vice president of agronomy Scott Wackowski is impressed by how Con - dos has become a fxture on the scene and, in the process, proved it is never too late to change with the times. "He redefned him - self later in his career as an environmen- talist," Wackowski says, "and he's become a real leader in our company, getting full- force behind it. He has a real belief in what he does out there." Craig Zellers, a principal with Zellers- Plageman Just Add Water LLC, an irriga - tion services and consulting frm that has worked with Condos and Las Positas on numerous occasions, says his most recent visit to the course was not really any dif - ferent from previous visits — and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. "He is professional at work and how he treats everybody, whether it is a vendor or a golfer," says Zellers, who most recently handled a water audit and evaluation at Las Positas. "I was a superintendent; I can tell right away how much he and his crew care for the environment, how intense they are at their jobs to make everything around them better." Speaking of making things better, Con - dos is far from done in working to take Las Positas to another level. He would like to bring the First Green initiative, which fea - tures golf courses as environmental learn- ing labs for youths, to the facility this year. Meanwhile, he'll focus on what is in front of him. He constantly has an eye on wildlife, of course. Always has. Condos certainly has fun with them. Again, he always has. "We have turkeys here," Condos says, adding with laughter, "I even talk to them a bit, too." An owl box project gets the full attention of Condos (on ladder) and foreman Sergio Diaz.

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