Saturday, August 22, 2015

Week 5 Recap

Work was progressing very nicely this past Monday. All of the drainage was completed and irrigation team was starting to bring their pipe to the green site. Then the rains came. Almost 2” in the overnight storm. Luckily all of the drainage worked very well but it takes dirt a long time to dry out when you have a big rain.

This past Monday we were able to start removing sod on the greens that are going to be rebuilt. We removed the sod off of #2, 4 and 5. We are keeping #18 green alive right now to utilize some of that bentgrass sod later in the project. The mix that is under the sod is also being saved off of some of the greens to be used later. Here is a photo of #4 after the sod was removed and before we removed the sand mix.

Jeff Kennicker has been our spray tech here at DMGCC for over 10 years. Jeff does a tremendous job and is a big part of the fall projects. We identify an area that is going to be demoed and Jeff comes into the area and sprays Roundup on the turf to kill everything. You have to be very precise in this application because in many instances you are right adjacent to a putting green or a fairway that is being saved.

Here is Jeff doing one of the applications on #5.

Part of the LUI team moved over to #4 and #5 South. The old irrigation heads were removed from the area and the bulldozer is starting to move earth, shaping the new putting green on #4. They also started draining the pond in front of #5 green. They took their big back hoe and broke a hole in the dam to let the water out slowly. They worked their way down to the footing slowly letting the water out. The plan is to bring in a pump to get the rest of the water out, then next week they will start to install the new 36” drain tile in this area. There is still a lot of water coming through from under the railroad tracks so they will have a difficult situation while they are working on the new pipe install.

Here is a last look at #5 pond.

Part of the overflow structure has been broken out to lower the water level.

Wright Tree Service is continuing on tree removal. Golf course architect, Tim Liddy marked out trees for removal last week. If we have good dry weather this work will be completed by the end of next week.

Our plan is to be seeding and sodding on #2 green by the middle of next week. Irrigation should all be installed and the bunkers that surround the putting green will be completed.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Saturday from the PGA

Thankfully, today was a fairly normal setup after yesterday's storms. With play being suspended in the second round, our timeline was a little different since players would be starting all throughout the golf course.

Similar to last night, we had to contend with tees that marked balls that were in play at the time play was suspended. Again we just lifted the marks and immediately replaced them directly behind the mower and roller. The afternoon was normal with our regular double mow and roll.

The golf course is holding up well with the exception of the traffic stress on the collars. All the mowing and rolling that is being done really stresses the turf. That is why managing for conditions like this really isn't feasible or sustainable over long periods of time.

One neat process that started last night was the seeding of spectator walk paths. The idea is that Sunday's spectators will help incorporate the seed with all of their foot traffic, allowing for good seed to soil contact. I thought it was neat that the recovery process started before the event had even finished.

The weather for Sunday looks to be warm and windy which should put some teeth into the golf course. I look forward to an exciting finish to the championship.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Week 4 Recap

It has been a great week of work on #2 South. If you have been out here this week you will have seen a flurry of activity.

The install of the 36” drainage pipe should be completed this afternoon. There have been several green, bunker and wet areas tied into this big drainage tube. It is nice to see it dried out and LUI is working the final grades around the green. Installing this tile was a huge part of the success of moving this green to the Northwest. They have done a wonderful job and I really think the final green site is very exciting.

Architect Tim Liddy was in late in the week to work with Daniel the shaper from LUI. Daniel will be doing all of the green surround work and the bunker shaping. Daniel was the shaper on Phase 1 of the North course so he has some history with Mr. Liddy. The bunkers around #2 green were shaped and now all that is left is to do some hand raking then install irrigation, sod and sand.

The new green will be 90% completed by this afternoon. Once the sub grades were given final approval then the drainage tile was installed in the bottom of the green. Then 110 ton of pea gravel was hauled to the green site. This was put around the tile and it is the first layer of material in the bottom of the green. In a USGA green it is called a 4” gravel layer. Then we started to haul the greens mix. 330 ton of greens mix will be hauled today to finish filling the green cavity. This will be the 12” greens layer. This is what will be your playing surface. After the mix is installed then LUI will spend a lot of time checking to make sure it is 12” exactly. They will also compact the entire layer to make sure it is perfect. Then we will apply the pre plant and the seed. Irrigation will go around the green next week and we should have it sodded around and seeded by the 24th of August.

Next week there will be an additional 13- 15 more LUI people on site. We will move right into the next part of Phase 3. We will be doing several different things at once. Demolition of many different things will be taking place first. This is always tough for me to take. We have nurtured and taken care of this turf all season and then we demo it and start all over. But you have do it to move forward.

Tim Liddy has the new drawings for #4 and #5 almost completed and that will be our first area of major focus. We appreciate your patience while we were working on the new green on #2 South. I know we were disruptive at times and I apologize for all of the noise. This part has gone extremely well and I am very confident that you will enjoy the changes taking place.

Friday from the PGA Championships

Today was a very interesting day. The morning shift went on as usual with a double mow and roll on greens. It was very humid overnight and that had things just a little soft and a bit slower this morning.

We were warned very shortly after arriving for the afternoon shift of the chance of some inclement weather coming in. For a while it looked like the storm might pass just off to the west of the golf course. Unfortunately that was not the case.

For about 30 minutes it rained nearly horizontally with winds over 60 mph. Thankfully there was only .2" of rain with the storm and it left the golf course itself in good shape. I have seen pictures and heard horror stories of fixing the bunker washouts for a prior PGA at Whistling Straits.

After we got the all clear we headed out onto the course and proceeded with our normal double cut at roll. Once we got out, you could see that entire TV towers and large scoreboards and come down in the wind. All of the bunker crew took trash bags out and walked the entire course picking up everything they could.

One interesting experience from tonight was the fact that play had been suspended mid-round. Players had marked their balls with tees and the like, which needed to be removed prior to mowing. We would wait until the mower was almost to the mark, pick up the tee, and immediately replace it after the mower got through. We were provided a sheet with the location of every in play golf ball on the course, which was very helpful.

All in all, I still think we dodged a bullet. We could be in a much worse situation right now and I believe the tournament will still be a huge success.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Thursday from the PGA Championships

The first day of tournament play went great. The first part of the week is as much a practice round for the maintenance staff as it is for the players. It was nice to see the first day go off without any issues at all.

Speeds and firmness continue to improve each day. We used the lattice turning boards for both shifts today again to help with wear issues on the collars. Between double mowing greens, single mowing collars and approaches, and rolling greens, the collars really take a beating.

Each day collars and approaches have been mowed in the morning while tees get rolled with a squeegee to remove the dew prior to play. Fairways are mowed each morning from tee to green with a gang of six fairway mowers per side. A group follows with backpack blowers to disperse any clippings left behind.

The bunker crews rake all of the bunkers inside the ropes. There are a couple bunkers that have the rope line right through the middle of them so half is raked and half is not. Most of the rest of the morning staff is either mowing greens or doing the ProGreens work.

In the afternoon the tees will be mowed each day. Greens mowers and their ProGreens group have three greens at night due to the manpower needed to fill fairway divots.

One of the more interesting afternoon jobs is the mowing of the intermediate rough. Four of the straits course employees go together and push mow all of the intermediates for nine holes. They can get it done in under 2 hours which to me is very impressive.

One thing I haven't mentioned this week is the awesome networking opportunities at an event like this. I have met so many great new people from as close as Willow Creek right across town and as far away as England and Scotland.

I hope to maintain these relationships throughout my career.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Wednesday from the PGA Championships

Things are really starting to come around nice and it is shaping up to be a great tournament. Things are starting to dry out and speed up nicely.

We had three mows and two rolls on our greens this morning. This afternoon was double now and single roll like it has been all week.

The only change to setup today was using lattice boards to turn on to combat the wear on the collars.

Things are looking great going into the start of the tournament and I look forward to seeing how they progress each day.