Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Almost spring

As we are rapidly approaching the last week of February I am surprised how cold it is outside yet and too think we are usually opening the golf courses sometime in March. Hopefully the warm spring days arrive soon so we can put this winter to bed.

Here in the Golf Course Maintenance department we had a staff meeting this morning to figure out exactly how much indoor work we have left to finish and what will be doing when we get outside.
Almost all of our equipment fleet has been looked at by our mechanic and staff. Any necessary repairs have been completed and all of the reel grinding is completed. We have some trailers to look at, some small tools like sod cutters, blowers and chain saws to finish winter work on. But overall I am very pleased where we stand at this point in the calendar year.

Part of the staff is putting finishing coats of paint and varnish on tee markers, hazard stakes and some tennis court furniture. Cleaning up of our sanding room/wood shop area will be done later in the week and some equipment will be moved into that area.

Once we finally get outside the staff will be working winter damaged trees and shrubs. This past heavy snowfall did do some minor damage to some trees.
We have been very busy doing planning for the next Phase of our golf course renovation project. Golf course architect Tim Liddy is finishing up construction drawings for us to review and then we will put them out to bid sometime in March. As a reminder holes 1-7, 17 & 18 South will be our focus this next August.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mid Winter Update

The January weather has been unbelievably mild for the middle of winter! However as I write this blog post I am reminded that winter is only ½ over and we can still experience some very nasty February and March snow storms.

Yesterday I had the chance to get out of the office and walk around the NE 9 holes that we had renovated last fall. With over 10 acres of sod on the ground I was a little concerned how the sod was faring with the open winter that we have experienced so far. I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised how well the sod look and how it is rooting down in many of the areas. We have had some timely rains and snow storms that have melted and kept the sod moist throughout the open periods.

The new turf on the new greens and tees that was established last fall is surviving quite well under the covers. There has been many windy, open days this winter and that is the true beauty of a greens cover – protection from those drying winter winds. There are several tees that were seeded last fall and many of those will need to be re-seeded this spring to ensure that they grow in promptly in the spring. We experienced that same thing this past spring and it should not slow down the progress towards opening that 9 holes.
We have lost a little of the new sand due to wind erosion and the lack of cover. We will address the sand depths first thing in the spring when we get out and start replenishing the sand where it is needed.

We have been in contact with the contractor and as soon as sod is being harvested in our area they will be here to finish the bunkers on #9 and #10. This work should only take about 7 – 10 days to complete.

Overall it has been a very good winter so far for our turf. We know we typically still have about 6 weeks left before we can get out and do some spring cleanup work. We hope the rest of your winter is a good one and we will see you in the spring.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Superintendent Video

I came across this video on TurfNet. It was made by the Philadelphia AGCS with support from GCSAA and Epic Creative. I think it is very well done and describes the golf course superintendent's profession a little bit. Thanks for watching it.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Week 12 Recap and possible ending

I usually sit down and write my weekly updates on Saturday afternoon, however this past weekend we worked 2 long days trying to beat the weather that is coming in tonight (Monday).

I have to say that the last 3 weeks have been a very long stretch of hard work that has stressed us all on both crews. We all have been working very hard to finish up the project while the weather has been good.

We have done a great job but we are just a little short of completing. If we have some dry days I think the bunkers on #9 and #10 can be finished. We are down to 7 bunkers that need to be completed. This past weekend all cart paths have been poured and sodded along. All of the irrigation is in and was working great until we shut it all off late tonight because we are blowing it out starting tomorrow morning. We planted 43 trees on the North course trying to fill in some voids along University Avenue and between some holes to help screen some areas. We laid all of the bentgrass on #11 fairway. We also laid bentgrass on ½ of the tees so we will be teeing off in the spring on every hole. Since last Wednesday to today we have installed 10 semi loads of bluegrass sod.

If the weather locks us out and we don’t finish it really is not too bad of a situation. I am still very hopeful that we will finish. We still have some haul roads that will need to be seeded or sodded later this year as dormant seedings or we will address them in the spring.

Just over 30 rain out days in the last 12 weeks. If we would have had last year’s weather we would have been done, however we don't need to dwell on that. I can say that I am very proud of Leibold’s accomplishments this past month. They have been committed to this project 100% and they have given it their all. Golf course architect Tim Liddy has also been 100% committed to helping us finish. He made 2 trips here last week because we were moving so fast. I am also very proud of our maintenance team. They have worked beside Leibold and have helped to make this a very successful project that everyone will enjoy next spring.

I took a few photos today to finish up my weekly recaps.

#6 Green 100 yards out

#7 from behind the back tee

#10 from behind the pro tee

#12 with the new bunker completed

#10 Left, greenside bunker that we were working on today

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Week 11 Recap

7 days! First time since the start of this project that we have worked a full week with no rain. It is amazing how much you can accomplish when you have no rain.

I mentioned it before but I would like to say it again, I am very proud of the efforts that our maintenance team put in the last 2 weeks. Not only have they maintained the golf courses but they have worked a lot of extra hours helping to build the wall on #12.

On the wall we were able to drive all of the tie backs into the bank to secure the top of the wall. This required us to drive steel plates over 2’ under the ground level. These plates were 3/8” steel that measured 2’ x 2’. First we had to build a tool that attached to concrete breaker to see if we could drive them. It took several different trial and error attempts but in the end we succeeded. Every post had to have a tie back that was installed 12’ back into the bank. Then a ½’ steel rod was installed into the plate and a hole was drilled at a specific elevation through the post. Then a washer and nut were placed on the outside of the posts and tightened.

Once rods were in place we started the major tasks of back filling the wall. Again we had very specific instructions on how high the material was to be installed and what we had to use. First the entire inside of the backfill area was wrapped with a non-woven landscape fabric. 2’ washed stone was used to backfill up to 18” from the top. Again fabric was placed across the top of the rock and then soil was added to the top. It was a very laborious and tedious job but in the end we great luck in getting it all into place.

North Course Superintendent, Nate Tegtmeier waiting to drive plates in.

South Course Superintendent, Tim Sims and Patti Henry from Elder Corp driving plates.

Backfill Layers

When we were up to grade the final job was to cut off the tops of the posts and install the top cap. We finished this on Wednesday afternoon of this week. Quite a process in a very short time period. End result is a beautiful bulkhead that can be seen from several different holes.

On Thursday our staff headed to #8 fairway and finished grading and picking up the rocks on the fairway expansion. We then did a dormant seeding on the fairway and then we covered it with a special
erosion netting.

Andy Rhylander drop seeding fairway

Straw erosion control being installed.

During all of our work this week Leibold also made some major end roads. Almost all of the tees are now built. Good thing because on Friday we had a semi load of new Bentgrass sod arrive from Chicago and our staff sodded several different tees. We will finish this morning sodding #10 tees. By doing this we will have 2 sodded tees on every hole to play from next spring. We are also are seeding and covering all of the other tees as they become available to us.

#7 Tees

The major irrigation pipes that were bored under #12 last week were attached to the North pump station on Wednesday and Thursday. We are now connected once again to both pump stations and that is a very comforting feeling since we have only had 1 station for over a month. While it was not needed it is just good to have it in the rear view mirror.

New bunkers were built on #11 fairway and #11 green during the later part of this week. Dozers and excavators moved to #7 green on Friday. Also a new greenside bunker was built on #6 green and sodded on Friday.

Overall this was one of the best weeks of the project. It is great to work with some true professionals that work very hard at their trait.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Week 10 recap

Just over 10 weeks of work have come and gone since the project has started. We have officially had 30 days of rain in that period. Despite the rain, progress continues and looks very good.

Irrigation is doing quite well. Almost all of the main line irrigation is now installed. They have some installation to do as new tees finished getting built, so for the most part they are on the downhill side. This past Thursday the irrigation crew bored under the area between #7 pond and #12 pond. They then pulled a 10” pipe under everything in that area. It will be nice to not see pipes hanging on the bridge crossing in that area. I was amazed that they can pull a 10” pipe under everything for that distance. Very impressive.

Construction is now officially done on #14. Everything that was demoed is now sodded or seeded. It looks very nice. They are moving on to finishing the bunkers on #6. The fairway bunker should be completed today. The greenside bunker was roughed in yesterday and approved by architect Tim Liddy. They will now move to the fairway bunkers on #8. They also have a crew working on tees. The tees on #7, 12, and 13 are now all moved or reshaped. Drainage is done around the tees, and irrigation is being installed. The crew will finish laser leveling the tees and then they will be finished.

Our staff has been very busy working in the mud on #12 pond. We started last week installing the upright poles around the pond. Once completed we wasted no time, we started to install the horizontal whaler boards. Then the vertical back boards. Landscape fabric is installed behind the structure and then it is all backfilled with clean stone. This coming Monday we will be installing tie backs into the banks on every post. All of this work is being completed according to the plan provided us by the engineering firm. It is a very complex structure to build but it has gone very well. It really has been very difficult to manage and control all of the water from the property but that is now all behind us.

I would like to tell the golf course maintenance crew that they are one of the best group of guys that I have had the pleasure to work with. Not many crews could or would endure the mess that they have encountered this past week and 1/2. Their hard work has really paid off and we now have a very beautiful bulkhead.