Keeping the bluegrass at bay this season: Annual Bluegrass or Poa annua and Silvery Thread Moss

Fighting the good fight!

These two plants are as frustrating as spring weather in Central Oregon.  The good thing is that we have the ability to semi-control annual bluegrass and moss.  Tetherow turfgrass has been growing for 5 years and it is maturing rather well.  The first hole (#3) was seeded in May 2007 and it has seen a lot of changes both in architecture as well as the maturity of the turfgrass.  With age comes a few blemishes and they are beginning to appear this season.  What can we do about these two plants?  Below is a brief explanation of what we can do to control them.

Annual bluegrass or Poa annua is a species of grass that is usually considered a weed in many cases.  Annual bluegrass grows in almost everywhere in the world.  The topic of annual bluegrass control can be very intense in the golf world.  There are many considerations to annual bluegrass control that can become exhausting when discussed.  As for Silvery Thread Moss, it is basically a nuisance and becomes unsightly.  Combine the two and the putting surface is adversely affected.    Tetherow is seeing some Poa annua establishment and we are slowing down the establishment process utilizing our knowledge and a few products on the market.

Disclaimer:  Annual bluegrass is inevitable.  Any turfgrass system ultimately becomes dominated by annual bluegrass.  Home lawns, sports fields, golf courses, parks all become dominated by annual bluegrass at some point in their life span.

The following is a list of ideas and products that we are using this season to provide the best results against Mother Nature and Poa annua:

  • Maintain fertility to a level where the fine fescue and bentgrass are competitive.
  • Promote deep rooting of fine fescue and bentgrass through deep and infrequent irrigation and the use of wetting agents.  Annual Bluegrass typically has a shallow root system so the developing plant would struggle to obtain adequate moisture.
  • Cut out young Annual Bluegrass plants from areas such as putting surfaces.
  • Use growth-regulating products such as Cutless and Embark.  Cutless selectively suppresses the growth of annual bluegrass to a greater degree than desirable turfgrasses, in our case, the fine fescue and bentgrass mix.  Embark is generally used for the seedhead suppression of annual bluegrass.  Annual bluegrass can flower and generate new seed at a mowing height of 1/8 of an inch.
  • Use a new herbicide, Xonerate, for the control of annual bluegrass.  This product is very new to the market and was registered for use in the State of Oregon in April.  Trials need to be done to ensure the safety of this product on our fine fescue/bentgrass mix.
  • Quicksilver is a herbicide used for the control of Silvery Thread Moss.  Last season we used the required amount of Quicksilver spread out over four applications, two in the spring and two in the fall.  We observed very good results from the product and will continue this season.
  • Iron can be utilized to help control Silvery Thread Moss.  Rates as high as 1 pound of Iron product per thousand square feet weaken the moss.  Appropriate timing of an iron application just prior to a Quicksilver application will be very effective.
  • Most importantly, we will improve the density of our putting surfaces. This helps control both annual bluegrass and silvery thread moss.  This season we are overseeding the greens three times with our usual fine fescue and bentgrass mix.

This season will provide the information that is necessary in order to produce a practical plan for annual bluegrass control.  Remember that annual bluegrass is considered both a weed and a desired plant.  Annual bluegrass is a weed when it begins to encroach on an existing turfgrass stand, such as ours.  Annual bluegrass is a desired plant when the natural conversion has occurred and it is now being maintained as a turfgrass stand.  The difficulty lies ahead for Tetherow.  An example of the conversion from planted turfgrass to one hundred percent annual bluegrass would be:

Tetherow (0% – 1%), Broken Top (50% – 75%) and Bend Country Club (100%)

I hope that everyone has enjoyed the golf course thus far and is looking forward to a great season.  I am hoping for great weather in May so that the golf course can really shine for our members and guests.  As always, feel free to drop me an email with any questions, concerns or comments at [email protected]

Thank you, Chris Condon, Golf Course Superintendent

Ask Tetherow’s Superintendant—Q&A with Chris Condon

Tetherow Golf Club’s Chris Condon is the vital “behind the scenes” guy to all things golf course and landscaping-related. He is the hard work behind ensuring the greens are properly maintained, invasive pests remain at bay, and golfers are happy with the speed and overall quality of the golf course. Essentially, without his hard work, Tetherow Golf Club in Central Oregon just may not have been nationally recognized and earned ranks in Golf Digest’s Top 100 Golf Courses.

Fresh from a pesticide conference which he attends annually, I asked Chris some questions about working at the best course in Bend, Oregon.

Q)     How long have you worked at Tetherow Golf Club?

A)      I have been the Superintendent at Tetherow since December 1, 2005.  I was involved in Tetherow from the very beginning, day one so to speak.  It was and has been a great experience to be involved in the project since the planning phases to today.  Not very many golf course superintendents get to be involved from day one.

 Q)     What were you doing before Tetherow Golf Club?

A)     Before coming to Tetherow, I was busy working for OB Sports.  Working for OB Sports has given me the opportunity to have worked in Oregon, Washington, California, Arizona and Wyoming.  Just before Tetherow, I had completed the opening season at the Three Crowns Golf Course in Casper, WY.  I was there during construction, grow-in and opening.

 Q)     How did you catch the Superintendant bug?

A)     I have worked in the golf course industry since I was 16 years old primarily to become an Evans Scholar (the movie Caddyshack is about the Evans Scholarship).  After earning the scholarship, I continued working at Broadmoor Golf Course in Portland, OR.  It was during college that I began working on the golf course maintenance staff and that was all it took.  One summer on the crew and I knew exactly what the future held for me.  I have been working on the golf course maintenance staff since.  Caddyshack is somewhat of a biography of my life only by coincidence.

Q)     When did you start golfing?

A)     I guess I was about 10 years old when I started golfing.  I did not actually become a decent golfer until late in high school.  I am still trying to become a better golfer.  If I did not work so much and play more I might actually surprise myself on how good I could be.

Q)     Who is your favorite golfer?

A)      My most favorite golfer was and still is Payne Stewart.  If I had to pick a current golfer, I would say Luke Donald.  His style of play closely resembles mine except that he is #1 in the world and I am #1 in my own mind. 

Q) What makes your tick at work?

A)  I was asked this during the interview process by David McLay Kidd.  My answer was and still is, I like to watch the grass grow and I love to watch a sprinkler run.  Those two things make me want to come to work on a daily basis. 

Q)     What makes you tick at home?

A)     Relaxing at home.  I enjoy a good meal, good drink, a funny movie or tv show and listening to music. 

 Q)     What is the most interesting part of your job?

A)     The interesting part of my job—and the most challenging–is figuring out how to get more done with fewer people and getting things done without anyone seeing us doing our job.

 Q)     What make working at Tetherow Golf Club unique?

A)     Working at Tetherow is definitely a unique experience. Because Tetherow is in Bend, Oregon, we are managing fine fescue in an arid environment which is the most unique.  I know of only one other course in a similar circumstance out of all the golf courses in the United States.  Definitely the look and style of Tetherow is very unique because I am/was in charge of how the golf course ultimately looks.  But I would say the most unique thing about Tetherow is those who are involved from Chris and William to the entire staff.  I have not been around a more passionate group of people who just want Tetherow to succeed.

 Check out Chris Condon’s article about his pesticide conference in January’s newsletter as well!

–Kelsi Shelton

Chris Condon on Maintaining a Beautiful Golf Course

Happy New Year!

I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season and that you are looking forward to a new year full of exciting new adventures.  Enjoy the rest of the winter season because the golfing season is just a few months away.

The Tetherow golf course has been overwintering rather well thus far.  Our topdressing program has been progressing smoothly and we have taken some extra precautions on a few of the greens in order to prevent any turf loss during the winter.  You may have noticed that portions of the greens have been covered.  The covers came from my good friend and Superintendent, Scott Moffenbeier at Broken Top.  Thank you very much!

This time of the year is just as important as the golfing season.  It gives us an opportunity to reflect on the previous golf season and to prepare for the upcoming season.  It is a time for us to service the equipment and reorganize the maintenance facility.  Winter allows us at Tetherow the time to make adjustments to our golf course maintenance plan according to our approved budget.  And most importantly, it allows us to attend continuing educational opportunities provided by the local and national golf course superintendents associations.

Education generally starts in December with The Pest Management Seminar hosted by The Oregon Golf Course Superintendents Association in Portland, Oregon.  In past years, this seminar was intended to provide all certified pesticide applicators with continuing educational credits required to maintain certification.  This year was different.  The seminar was split into two parts and the individual could chose between two days of recertification credit approved seminars or one day of credits and one day that involved specific golf course topics minus the credits.

The pesticide accreditation option had many interesting topics such as; “Broadleaf weed control in Turf”, “Best way to control weeds and algae in ponds”, “Fungicides: How to choose a proper fungicide for least resistance/best control” and “Pesticides: Differences between perception and reality”.  Day two of the seminar included golf course specific topics presented by a few leaders in the academic world including Joe Vargas, Ph.D. from Michigan State University and Rob Golembiewski, Ph.D. from Oregon State University.  Both were very engaging speakers full of information and insight into the golf course management world.  Topics for the golf section included; “Physiology and culture of Annual Bluegrass” and “Thinking your way through problem solving in Turfgrass Management and more” along with updated research information.

Along with the subject matter introduced to us during the seminar, events such as this allow us the opportunity to learn about new products and regulations, network with other golf course superintendents, exchange ideas about integrated pest management with other professionals as well as enjoy the company of friends. A lot of what a golf course superintendent knows comes from the interactions we have with other golf course superintendents.  As with anything, we generally learn from our successes and failures.

Future educational opportunities will include the Wilbur Ellis University in January and the Golf Course Superintendents of America Conference and Trade Show in February.  As always, feel free to call or drop us an email if you have any concerns, comments or questions.

Thank you,

Chris Condon

Golf Course Superintendent

Caleb’s Tips to Winter Golf Success

Snow on the 1st green makes it official: Winter has arrived in Bend, OR!  Although Tetherow’s championship course will be closed during the winter months, we’ll encounter many great breaks in the weather worthy of dusting off the clubs.  Our practice range will be open all winter (pending weather) and we encourage you to come out and hone your swing in the off-season.  A Bend, Oregon winter is no reason to let your golf game get rusty.

Whether it’s working on your golf game at our practice facility or squeezing in a round of golf at one of Central Oregon’s lower elevated golf courses, the key to winter golf in Bend is staying warm.  Here are a few tips which help ensure an enjoyable winter golf experience:

–          Proper Attire: We’ve all heard the old adage that we lose 90% of our body heat through our head on cold days.  While that percentage may be a bit high, you’d be amazed at how much more enjoyable it is to play or practice in cooler conditions when wearing a beanie or ski cap.  Other must-haves include all-weather gloves, a good windbreaker and numerous layers of clothing.

–          The “W” Word: Verify the forecasted wind for the day.  A breezy day in the winter can lower the wind chill 10 to 15 degrees.

–          Properly Insulated Beverage Containers: There’s nothing better than a hot cup of coffee or cocoa to take with you on a cool, Bend winter day.  Look for bottles that are made with Stainless Steel double wall construction and that have a vacuum insulated flask.  This construction keeps hot drinks warm for several hours, and the stainless steel construction ensures that you can wash the “coffee” taste and smell out of your bottle.  There are two great local manufacturers: HydroFlask, which we carry in the Tetherow Golf Shop, and Weld Drink.


On behalf of our entire staff at Tetherow, happy holidays to you and your family.  We look forward to seeing you on the way back from Mt. Bachelor during the winter months for aprs ski drinks and snacks!


Caleb Anderson, PGA Head Professional, Tetherow Golf Club

Tetherow’s Members Shine

Felder in "Chicago"

Did you make it to Cat Call Production’s  “Chicago” in September? If so, you saw one of our very own members, Erin Felder, dancing her heart out as the Hungarian character, Hunyak.

Felder started ballet when she was in the 2nd grade. Her part in Chicago was actually the first time she has danced since high school.

Erin’s motivation to audition is inspiring.

“I try to do something that scares me every year. Last year I tried out for ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ but did not get cast. The audition process was more anxiety producing than I had anticipated.”

Yet Felder is not one to be defeated. When she heard that this year’s production was “Chicago”, one of her favorite shows,  she threw herself at it. Her goal, she says, was “simply to audition”.

“Dancing brings a joy to my soul like nothing else, except for figure skating.”

In order to get the lines down for her Hungarian character, Tetherow member Susan McLean connected Erin with a Hungarian gentleman. He taught Erin the correct pronunciation, inflection and timing. “I felt proud to really know and understand that the words were authentic.”

Now, with a successful show behind her, she has been inspired to take dance classes again for the first time since high school. If you did not get to see Erin in Chicago, your chance to see her perform could be next spring. She plans on auditioning in May for the upcoming “Producers”.

In the meantime, she is appreciating more time with her family, who was awesome in supporting her 100% while she rehearsed three to four hours a night, five nights a week for four months.

“I could not have considered this adventure without their support.”

Erin and Jesse Felder have an 11 year old son, Kurt, and a 10 year old daughter, Virginia—who is a budding tap dancer and actress herself.

Now that she has a bit more downtime, she is excited to get back out on the course at Tetherow and perfect her game for next season.

Many Tetherow members came out to support her, and she really appreciates all the support and interest that members have shown, during the process and afterwards.

“It is a great community at Tetherow and my husband and I are so proud to be a part of it!”

Kelsi Shelton




Bruce Jaqua: Sept Winner of Golf at Tetherow Golf Club

Congratulations to Bruce Jaqua, who won a foursome of golf at Tetherow simply for signing up for our e-newsletter! We are excited to host him and his son on their next golf outing. Here’s what Bruce has to say about himself and his lifelong love of golf:

Tetherow Golf Club Sept Winner“I am a single parent of a 12-year old son and my work involves me designing and developing programs to assist low-income individuals and families to become self sufficient to release his or her need for public assistance.  My interest in golf goes back to being 12 years old and playing golf in the front yard with my grandfathers hickory shaft clubs and plastic golf balls.  I then began riding my bike 8 miles round trip to a local 9-hole public course with sand greens.  For two dollars you could play all day.  I then played golf in high school and was on varsity for all 4 years with my best round for 9 holes being a 38/two over.  After spending 12 years as a Rescue Diver in the Marines I retired and went into the civilian world.  After working various jobs for a few years I decided to spend a year practicing my golf and when I got down to a 6 handicap I moved to Arizona in 1997 to attend and complete my AA in Golf Complex Operations and Management from the Golf Academy of Arizona.  I worked as the playing/teaching professional for Gold Canyon Golf Resort for 3 years outside of Phoenix, AZ and played on the Southern California Tour, Buy-Com Tour, and Southwest Tour, a year at Eagle Crest in Redmond, and a year at Aspen Lakes in Sisters.  I then became a single father and I had to leave the golf world.  I am now in the point in my life where I can start fantasizing about the Champions Tour as I am only 3 years away.  To do this, I need to start playing again on Championship courses again.  I live at Eagle Crest but I can pretty much shoot par there every day.  I need a greater variety… I can’t wait to play Tetherow!”