Tuesday, January 30, 2018

What we do in the winter

Here in the golf course maintenance department we get asked this question a lot. I thought I would update you on a few items that we are currently working on and how things look.

We had great snow cover on the turf during the periods of extremely cold temperatures. We were very thankful for that and also I am very glad that we made the decision to irrigate the turf in late December. I had an opportunity to tour the golf course late last week and the turf at this midway point looks to be in very good condition.

Now to the inside of the golf course maintenance facility. Blake Helland our equipment tech has been extremely busy working on every piece of equipment that we have. Blake's job is to bring each item in and service it. Very similar to taking your vehicle in for a oil change. Blake also inspects the units at this time and repairs any safety items, fixes any mechanical items that need attention. This could be a 3 hour time on one item and the next item might take several days.

Superintendent's Nate Tegtmeier and Mitch Meyers along with 1st assistant Craig Connell are busy finishing up the reel grinding and re-assembly of the units. Once this is completed they have to attach them back to the mowers. They have over 70 mowing units to do this to. Bearings are checked and replaced. Reels and bedknives are ground to manufacturer's specifications and then they are ready to go. Here in these photos the guys are working on the John Deere fairway mowing units. This is a critical step to make sure everything is in proper alignment and ready for the upcoming mowing season.

Rueben is very busy painting in our paint booth. All ballwashers, stands, garbage containers, rope stakes, driving range bag stands are sanded then Rueben paints them. Pedro, Jeff and Axel do the prep work and then they do the assembling of the items to have them ready to go. They look like new once they are completed.

Tanner, Zach, Arturo, Enrique and Rueben are also busy in the wood working shop. They are very busy making new tee markers, fixing and finishing divot boxes, all rope posts and red stakes.

In these photos Tanner is taking off the finish from last year and then Zach sands the posts.

The wooden posts or tee marker is then handed off to Arturo and Rueben to have the grooves routed in them and a final sanding.

Once this is done then Enrique brands our logo into the item and it comes over to the main shop to be stained/painted and finished.

These guys have been doing it this way for many years. They have to be well organized and ready to go so each step is completed on time. I think they do a wonderful job of doing that.

Nate, Mitch and myself have also been very busy working on chemical orders, fertilizer orders, and flower bed design and ordering. Jeff M. has been inventorying all of our equipment and updating our data base so that all items are recorded along with serial numbers and model numbers. Once this is done Jeff has the dubious task of working on the Safety Data Sheets and updating them for every product that we use in our department.

All of this work takes a lot of time. The guys also take much needed time off so that they are ready for another season.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Course Care - revisited

It is very disturbing to go around our golf course and once again see numerous ball marks not repaired, divots laying out on the tees and fairways and just general lack of care by the golfers this past 3 weeks. I understand that the golf courses have been recently aerified but it is incumbent upon the golfer to do your part in taking care of the golf courses.

Even though the greens have holes from the aerification they are now softer and a ball mark will be made when a green is hit from a lofted shot. Please take the time to find and fix these marks. All divots should be replaced! Do not just use the sand bottles. Here is a copy of something I wrote back in 2011 and it is still our policy today:

Care of the Course

On behalf of the Des Moines Golf and Country Club we want to welcome you to our club. We also have some reminders that we feel are important for you to know about while you are playing our facility.

Please replace ALL divots that you take during play, this includes tees, fairways, roughs and any other closely mown area:

1. Retrieve all possible portions of the divot, replace it carefully.
2. Step down on the divot firmly once replaced.
3. If you have sand/divot mix available for use (on golf carts) please use it to fill around the edge of the divot and fill any void areas.

Ball Marks: Pitch marks made by your ball from any shot should be repaired as follows:

1. It is preferred that you use the Pitch Pro tool that is provided to you at the starter stand.
2. Inset the point or tip in several different places around the ball mark and gently push towards center.
3. DO NOT LIFT OR TWIST THE TOOL WHILE IT IS IN THE TURF! This can do major damage to the root system of the turf.
4. Once pushed together gently tamp down the pitch mark area.
5. Whenever possible repair and extra pitch mark if you see one!

It is our pleasure to have you come and play Des Moines Golf and Country Club; we would appreciate your respect to these matters listed above and enjoy your golf at our facility.

Please remind others in your group to repair the ball marks and divots, by doing this our golf course will be in much better condition.

Lastly we have the red stakes for a reason - to properly manage the golf cart traffic around greens and tees. Please follow our red stake rule.

As a reminder: No carts should be off the paths on all Par 3's. Even if you have a blue flag you should be on the paths playing a par 3.

If you are following these simple rules - thank you. If you are not please do your best to help our your fellow golfer and remember to fix ball marks, replace divots and follow our red stake rules.

Thank you.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Course Care

Dear Des Moines Golf and Country Club Member,

In less than 70 days our golf courses will be seen on the world stage. Work has begun on the build out for the Solheim Cup and all Club departments are very busy preparing and planning for this world class event.

On the golf course, we really need your assistance to help us have the golf course turf in the best possible condition. I would like to remind you of a few golf course care tips we ask you to use in your day to day play.

Please replace any divots you take or you see not replaced. Whether it’s on a tee or a fairway, replace the divot. If the divot is too fractured to replace, then please use the sand bottles provided. We should never have fairways look like this one in the photo below the morning after a busy weekend.

Unrepaired ball marks are more evident as we are experience more play. Remember, if your ball hits the green from any elevated position, it will leave some sort of indentation on the putting surface. Please try to find it and repair it correctly. This video that Scott Howe made does an excellent job of explaining how to use the Pitch Pro tool on our ball marks. Please take the time to review it and use the tool often. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPEZ5iP7EbY

This year we have seen more golf cart violations than ever before. Remember, enter the fairway at the red stake and return to the cart path at the next red stake. Then stay on the path until the next tee; do not cut through roughs to get to the next tee. Golf carts, when not used correctly, are one of the worst wear items for the turf. Please obey our rules for cart usage and remind those you are playing with to do so as well.

Many of you have no doubt seen the merchandise tent and opening /closing ceremony bleachers being erected by the West Range. Construction will move to the 1 st Tee (#10 North) on Monday, June 12. Material for this construction will be stored in the no-mow next to #11 South and an area north of the East Range. This will result in us closing the East Range and the East Range practice green during this time. It is estimated this work will take two weeks, at which time the East Range will re-open. Please be mindful of the construction traffic and the fact these areas need to be treated as construction zones; closed to member traffic. We appreciate your cooperation in advance.

Course restrictions for the Solheim Cup are still several weeks away but we want to make you aware of them. On the Championship golf course there will be some restrictions for the use of Solheim Cup tees after the Member/Member tournament. Golf carts on the Championship Course will be restricted to paths after the Damsel Duo on August 2. The LPGA Rules Official has asked that we not paint any hazards after July 4 th so as not to interfere with the lines they will be painting for the event. So after July 4 th only hazard stakes will define the hazards. Also beginning in July we will be increasing the heights of primary rough at their request.

Thank you for your help on these matters and we hope you enjoy your summer at the Club.

Rick Tegtmeier, CGCS MG
Director of Grounds

Friday, April 28, 2017

Golf Course Renovation Project - Finished and Thank You

August 14, 2013 seems like a long time ago, actually it was 1,353 days ago. That is when we started Phase 1 of our golf course renovation project. We have accomplished a lot since that start date. It seems like eons ago and it seems just like it was yesterday.

Under golf course architect Tim Liddy’s guidance we have built 94 new tees, 162 bunkers, 12 new greens and facelifted 3 others. We have installed 9 miles of new drainage and we have 502 surface inlets to feed that drainage system. We have removed a few trees to give us long views and we have new mainline irrigation in place to feed precious water to all ends of our golf courses properly. We have installed over 67 acres of sod and we have seeded almost 5 acres of fescue no mow areas. We have rebuilt some water hazards and installed some beautiful walls to enhance a couple of golf holes. Most of all we are done and that is a great thing to have in our rearview mirror.

I would be remiss if I didn’t take some space on my blog to say thank you to some fine people. First is to our two golf course superintendents Nate Tegtmeier and Tim Sims and their assistant superintendents Mitchell Meyers and Craig Connell. These gentlemen are the ones that made it all happen. They maintained the open 27 holes everyday to keep our golfers happy. They have worked a tremendous amount of hours to make sure the construction went well and they helped me to keep from going insane. Nate and Tim were really the ones that kept a level head and helped me problem solve and work through our issues to get this work completed. My hats off to them, I owe them a huge debt of gratitude. The same goes out to our staff of full time and seasonal employees, without them and their hard work this would never have happened. Thank you all!

To General Manager, Jim Cutter and Director of Golf, Scott Howe I really appreciate the many hours and the countless amount of visits you two made out to the golf courses to look at items, help make decisions and give me your expertise. Most of all I appreciate your support throughout this project. I am sure there were times you thought I was nuts but you trusted me and I do appreciate it.

To golf course architect, Tim Liddy you and I may have not seen eye to eye on a few things, however at the end of this project I have to say we have a great product thanks to your keen eye and your ability to fit and match Dye’s ideas back into this property. A job well done! To be able to make it all work and how beautiful it looks is truly amazing. Thank you Tim. I do appreciate all of the time on phone calls, emails and visits you made to Des Moines Golf. I really appreciate you letting me participate in helping shape and mold your ideas into golf course features. I have learned a lot from you over the past 4.5 years. I will not forget it.

To Erik Christenson at EC Design., you and Lisa were great to work with and the fact that you retrofitted a new mainline system into this property was nothing short of amazing. You are the best and the fact that you were 10 miles down the road made it even better for us. Thank you for letting me call at all hours of the day and pick your brain. I do appreciate the trips you made out here to our property to give us you expertise.

To Eric Ludewig at Pro Angle. Thanks for making a great product and for keeping those trucks running to Iowa.

To the folks at Landscapes Unlimited a very special thank you to committing to Des Moines Golf and Country Club and your ability as a construction and irrigation company to perform and achieve what we all wanted. A special thank you to Jeff Ricketts, Mike “Squeak” Ufken, Lucas Schroeder, Daniel Zumudia, Mitch Hock, Victor Ramirez, Tom Works, Denise Haake and Project Manager Ty Arndt. You folks made it all happen for the last 4.5 years. There has been a lot of work on the grounds here and behind the scenes making sure that we got what we paid for. Your work speaks for itself and we have a great finished product thanks to your great company and your professional abilities. A special shout out to Bill Kubly, Kurt Huseman and Roy Wilson for your leadership and great guidance of the staff you have at LUI.

Lastly to my wife Sherry, you have sacrificed a lot for me and kept our family going while I have been gone. I love you and thank you for letting me do what I love to do.

On to the Solheim Cup 2017!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Spring Update from the Golf Course

From the Golf Course

We are well under way with our spring work on the golf courses and in the clubhouse grounds area.

Landscapes Unlimited is slated to be here late next week to finish the renovation project. They have 1 bunker on #14 green, 5 bunkers on #16 and the bunker at the chipping green to finish up. All of these bunkers have been shaped and drain tile has been installed up to them. LUI had to wait until the sod producer was able to cut sod and we had to have the irrigation system up and operational to water the sod. Once bunkers are completed and we do a walk through and then 4 years of renovation construction will be complete. I am sure we are all glad about having that work in our rear view mirrors!

We have been very busy on the golf courses this spring. One of our prime focus areas has been the pruning of the trees. We use to do a little pruning work every fall or spring. However with all of the construction work that consumed our time the past 4 years, we have fallen behind in our pruning efforts. We are now very busy cutting some low limbs or some weak limbs to get them out of the way. The turf should really benefit from these pruning efforts, allowing more sunlight to the turf canopy. We will be chipping those limbs next week to get them out of your way.

On frosty morning our crews have worked very hard to remove the volunteer trees that have grown up into our property line fence. We spent a couple of weeks removing that vegetation out of our fence line on holes 5, 13, 14, and 16 on the South course. It looks much cleaner not having that growth up through our fences.

Bunker maintenance will always consume more of our maintenance time. 20 years ago bunkers were hazards and very little was done to them except rake them, today bunkers are one of the most costly items in any superintendent’s budget. We all strive to have clean, consistent, good appearance and playable bunkers. This requires us to check sand depths, redistributing sand in the bunker or adding new sand to the bunkers. It takes a tremendous amount of time and labor to work the bunkers in the spring of the year. One golf course crew is working on bunkers and the other crew is focusing on pruning. Once completed they will change work/equipment and do vice versa. Hopefully you will understand what is going on if you see 10 guys working on a bunker or branches laying around under a lot of trees.

We are also working very hard doing infrastructure items for the upcoming Solheim Cup this August. The installation of the fiber optic network is almost completed. Splicing of the fiber should be completed next week and then it will be up to the techno gurus to get it all turned on and operational. Once completed we will see a huge impact on the internet service here at the club. It will be a very high speed system that will work much faster.

We never seem to be project free here in the maintenance department. We will soon start the work on installing a new equipment wash pad area. We currently do not have a good area to wash and clean off our equipment. Having this new area will greatly improve how we clean up after mowing and using our equipment.

We will also be installing a new retaining wall on the walkway to the lower level of the clubhouse. The railroad tie wall that has been there for years is in dire need of replacement. We will be starting that project very soon and during our construction that walkway will be closed for your safety. Thank you for understanding.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Phase 4, Week 16 1/2 Renovation Project Update

This looks like the end of the line for Phase 4 in 2016. Tomorrow morning the forecasted temperatures look to be in the low teens. This will freeze up everything and bring work to a halt. LUI worked all weekend once again to install drainage and bunker sand. Their goal by the end of today is to have all of the drainage installed in all areas. They should be able to finish this. They will have 6 bunker left to install the sand and sod in the spring. Almost made it in 2016!

It has been a great fall to complete as much of the project as we could. It has been a pleasure to work with Big Al Van Meeteren and his team from Landscapes Unlimited. Hopefully we now get snow cover on our turf to protect it over the winter time. In the spring they should be able to finish the bunkers and their punch list in 2 weeks.

Thank you for following along on the blog page. I will try to start updating you once again on golf course maintenance items and Solheim Cup progress as we move through 2017. Have a Happy Holiday season.

Rick Tegtmeier