Saturday, April 15, 2017

April Showers

A busy week on the golf course as staff dodged rounds of thunderstorms to continue spring maintenance. The majority of winter debris has been raked and removed from the rough, and staff has moved on to bunker prep, mulching, sod work along with preparing the golf course for the fast approaching summer.  The course is beginning to shape up, and the weekend weather looks almost summer like, good news for golfers and turf alike! 

Light sand topdressing and brushing this week helped to smooth greens and fill un-repaired ball marks. 

Staff removed contaminates and verified sand depth in all bunkers this week. At this early stage of the season bunkers will be "raked by machine" to conserve labor.

Thin areas of rough were slit seed this week. As air and soil temperatures rise we expect a quick fill in of these areas.

Areas of rough were mowed for the first time this week.  Cold, wet weather has hampered both turf growth and mowing schedules.

Drainage repair and additions never seem to end. This area behind the 6th green is scheduled for additional work next week.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Opening Weekend Update

As expected the bentgrass greens, tees and fairways came through the winter in fine shape, and all playing surfaces have been mowed several times at this early stage of the season. The rough suffered some damage particularly in poorly drained and shaded areas but we are expecting full recovery as soil temperatures warm this spring.  This weekend looks to be a busy one for both golf and maintenance as perfect weather lines up with our opening Spring Sweeps!  

A new fountain was recently added to the 18th hole lake. Landscaping, cart path replacement, curbing and sod work will all take place this spring further enhancing the view from the clubhouse.

Another week, another 2" rain, and another game of finding the clogged drain. Mother Nature seems to be making up for the lack of snowfall this winter!

Goose dog Mick supervising pumping efforts.

Wet fall weather, lack of insulating snow cover, high winds, temperature swings, shade and poor drainage seemed to all play a role in thin rough early this spring.

Widely varying growth rates of different grass varieties are readily apparent early this spring. With a little TLC from staff and a little help from Mother Nature these small voids will fill quickly. 

Several rounds of fertilizer have helped to "jump start" the rough, but what we really need is the forecast of warmer temperatures to hold! 

Some rough areas were completely unaffected this winter, regardless from what we can seen we expect a quick recovery of 95% of the thin areas and the worst areas requiring some seed and sod work.

Greens weathered the winter in fine shape.  Today (4/7/17) marked the 4th mow of the season.

Fairways have been mowed twice to date with another mow scheduled for the weekend if the golf course dries enough.

Pothole repair on the granite cart paths as we prepare for carts on the paths this weekend.

Friday, March 31, 2017

1.8" Rain, Drainage Repair In Action

In our previous post we reviewed a few of the drainage repairs and improvements completed over the winter, and as part of the Range Renovation in the fall.  Today (March 30, 2017) these improvements were put to the test as we received 1.80" of rain in a short 24 hour timeframe.  

Part of the Driving Range Renovation scope of work was replacing, repairing and upgrading the drainage systems.  In this photo the main-line running from the 9th fairway to a basin behind the 5th green was completely replaced.  So far the results are positive for both the new driving range and the 9th fairway as the pictures below taken before and after the drainage repair show! 

9 Fairway - Before Drainage Repair - August 2016, 2.0" rain

9 Fairway - Before Drainage Repair - August 2016, 2.0" rain, pumping required to remove standing water. 

9 Fairway - After Drainage Repair - March 2017, 1.8" rain, no standing water, no pumping required.

Nearly 1500 feet of damaged 8" pipe running along the 2nd fairway and between the 14th and 17th holes was replaced in-house over the winter.

14 Green/Bunkers - Before Drainage Repair - August 2016, 2.0" rain

14 Green/Bunkers - After Drainage Repair - March 2017, 1.8" rain

2 Fairway/Bunker - Before Drainage Repair - August 2016, 2.0" rain

2 Fairway - Before Drainage Repair - August 2016, 2.0" rain, pumping was required to remove standing water.

2 Fairway - After Drainage Repair - March 2017, 1.8" rain

These repairs and upgrades are a great start to improving drainage, playing conditions and reducing golf course downtime, but we still have much to do.  Some of this work can be done in-house and some will require long range planning, study and most likely professional engineering.  The Grounds Committee and Staff are committed to this type of planning and continual drainage improvements on the golf course.

March 2017 - Alleviating the "lake" on the 6th hole after a 1.8" rain will require more in depth study. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Fall / Winter Projects

Fall Drainage Projects

The mild fall weather provided the perfect opportunity to replace several main drain lines that drain three different areas of the golf course. The existing drain lines were blocked by tree roots and debris and during any substantial rain storm these areas would  flood and often become unplayable until excess water was removed by gas powered pumps.  

The first area we addressed was the area located on the east side of #6 near the fairway bunker. The new drainage ties the main lines from holes #6 and #7 to the new pond near #5 tee. We also added various lateral drains in the rough on #6 near the fairway bunker to assist in draining the lower areas.
Standing water east of #6 Fairway bunker after a heavy rain

Excavated trench through the fescue mounding connecting #6 mainline to #5 lake

The second area we replaced was the main lateral drain line that drains #14 fairway and the large greenside bunker at #14 green. The 6” clay tile traveling through the rough between #14 and #17 was filled with tree roots and sediment, restricting drainage to the main drain tile along the east side of #2. The addition of new drainage allows for #14 to quickly drain after heavy rains, and allows additional lateral lines from #13 and #17 to drain more efficiently.
#14 Fairway flooded due to failing drain tile

6" drain tile filled with tree roots & debris

The third and most important drain line is located along the east side of #2. The 8” main line was replaced allowing for the water to drain completely off the property. During substantial storms the entire east side of #2 along with the bunkers at #2 green would flood and have to be pumped to remove the standing water. With the replacement of the entire mainline, this area now will drain without the need of any pumps. 
East side #2 flooded and unplayable

Excavating 8" drain tile filled with tree roots & silt

Winter Tree Work
During the few frozen days we’ve experienced this winter, we have continued to remove unsafe, damaged and dead trees throughout the golf course. 

Dead & decaying tree due to insect damage

 #7 Brush Clearing
We also took advantage of the off season to open up the areas around the black tee and the auxiliary tee at #7. Clearing these areas will allow for sunlight and better growing conditions for both tee complexes. The remaining stumps will be pulverized and cleaned before topsoil and seed are added this spring.
Tree & brush removal west of #7 Black tee

Tree & brush removal east of #7 Black tee

 Winter Detail Projects

As part of our winter routine, we spend time repairing and staining our wood course supplies. Bag racks, trash cans, benches, and tee markers spend the majority of their life in the elements, making winter refurbishment a necessity.  We give all our Ipe wood fixtures a light sanding, and replace any worn parts before a sealant is applied to extend the Ipe wood's lifespan.  

Light sanding to all our Ipe wood accessories

Ipe wood trash can stained and ready for the golf season

Winter Equipment Maintenance
During the winter months our staff spends considerable time completing preventative maintenance to our equipment fleet. We also devote a significant amount of time grinding and setting up our mowers so they are sharp and ready for the golf season. We focus on fixing any major mechanical problems along with changing all fluids and filters in each piece of equipment. The time spent gives a considerable benefit in prolonging the life span of our equipment fleet and prevents down time during the golf season.

In-house repair of utility vehicle saving thousands in outside costs

Ernesto installing a newly ground reel on the fairway mower

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Spring Projects

When we opened the golf course in mid-March we were looking forward to an early spring season.  Unfortunately the early season warmth has turned into a cool wet spring to date.  This past weekend we even experienced some light frost, which is somewhat abnormal for this date.  The good news is the long range forecast shows significant improvement with temperatures near 70F and a somewhat drier pattern.  Several spring projects are underway as we prepare for the season, details are outlined below.    

With the full driving range tee reconstruction on hold, grounds staff applied a heavy sand topdressing to the tee in the late fall of 2015 before over-seeding with 007 bentgrass.  The tee was then covered for the winter.  We expect the tee to open mid-May.

Work is underway on a new private lesson tee and junior area to the southwest of the main driving range tee.  The junior area is designed to accommodate the influx of youth golfers, kids camp and alleviate wear and tear from the main driving range tee.  The private lesson area will allow for undisturbed one on one instruction with the golf professional staff on a grass surface that mimics on course conditions.

Repairs to the sewer and storm water systems were completed over the winter to close out the MWRD (Metropolitan Water Reclamation District) swimming pool permit.  Over the next few weeks grounds staff will be backfilling and sodding disturbed areas near the 18th tee and clubhouse lawns. 

Extensive drainage was added to the approaches on 2 and 14 early this spring.  These two areas have historically been the wettest approaches on the golf course and experienced some turf thinning late last summer due to water logged soils.  So far this spring the drainage has been performing well and the approaches are quickly drying after rainfall.

Two Maple trees were removed from the right side of the 11th green this winter.  The first tree was dead, and the second was casting extensive shade on the green causing the grass to thin.  Removal of these trees left an opportunity to reroute the cart path further to the east and also install some lower plantings between the green and cart path.  Grounds staff is currently moving irrigation and with some dry weather will continue cart path relocation and regrading east of the green.

The stone curbing project continues throughout the golf course in high traffic areas.  Late last fall Grounds Staff installed curbing near the halfway house, 14 green, 10 tee and 5 tee.  This spring staff is working to backfill behind the installed curb and level the sod to the top of the curbing.  An asphalt contractor will be on site later this month to repair any areas of asphalt that were disturbed during installation.