Friday, December 26, 2014

A Nice Edge

As most golfers know, walking or driving across frosted grass can cause some serious turf injury.  So, what does the crew work on when we have frost delays in the morning?

One of the projects we address is edging cart paths.  During the growing season, this task often gets shifted down the priority list.  While we don't have paths from tee to green, there are still 3.4 miles of paths to be edged.  And with two sides to a path, that's a lot of edging to be done!

The crew has done a great job on this project over the fall, and the end is in sight.
Looking back towards #6 tee.

Paths nicely edged at #4 green.

Friday, December 19, 2014

A Great Deal

People involved in the golf course industry joke that when you add the word "golf" to a piece of maintenance equipment, you should also add a "0" to the price.  Unfortunately, this is often a bit too close to the truth.  Many of the mowing units we use are quite specialized and need to perform with surgical precision--adjustments to the mowing height of a greens mower are made in thousandths of an inch.

Another specialty golf item is the hover mower.  While we don't use these every day like a greens mower, this piece of equipment works very well for mowing steep areas such as bunker faces.  Our oldest hover mowers have seen better days, and were in need of replacement. 

Again, if you look into the cost of these, you'll find that they are pretty expensive--maybe not quite what you'd expect to pay for Bubba's hovercraft golf cart, but more than you'd think a small trim mower would cost.

Fortunately, thanks to the keen eyes of our mechanic, Joseph Ferman, we were recently able to upgrade our hover mowers at a bargain price.  Joseph regularly checks the used equipment section on TurfNet, a company which helps golf courses in many areas, including the buying and selling of used equipment.

As luck would have it, a Club in our region had decided to go with a different type of mowing equipment for their course, and no longer needed their hover mowers.  They posted these for sale on TurfNet, and it was a match made in heaven.
While we weren't originally looking at a fleet of hover mowers, this was a deal just too good to pass up, so we acquired six of them, all of which are in great shape.   Thanks to TurfNet and Joseph for helping us throughout the year!

Friday, December 12, 2014

More Drainage

The focus on drainage continues as we dug into the front of #18 green this past week.  While several of the projects we have planned for the winter will be quite visible in the spring, hopefully these green drainage improvements won't be one of them. 

That is, when corrected, it's unlikely that a former drainage issue on a green will be at the forefront of your mind.  Nobody's going to be standing on the greens during a rain storm just waiting to see if a puddle forms, or not.  Lets face it, when drainage works correctly, we often take it for granted.  Just as in your home, only when there's a problem with a drain do we realize how important it is.
Installing a new drain along the front of #18 green.
On #18, in addition to improving the drainage from under the green, we also did some work on the surface.  Once the sod was stripped, we shaved off an additional 1/2" of material from beneath, which was enough to allow water to run off the surface as it originally did.

Another nice repair job by the guys.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Greens Drainage

During the past couple of years we've seen areas of several greens fail to drain as they should.  Standing water on the surface, accompanied by saturated soils don't make a good growing environment for turf that's mowed daily throughout the golf season at 0.10".

Uncovering the cause of the drainage problem and the best solution often requires some "exploratory surgery"...also known as digging.  We decided to tackle one of the worst areas this week, and dove right in on #9 green.  After removing several tons of material, we found that the green's internal drainage  appeared to be fine, and it was the exit point that had become compromised.  That is, water was draining through the green's mix to the gravel layer below, but the water was unable to leave the green.
Creating a new "smile" drain at the bottom of #9 green.
With the changing elevation from turf to bunker to pond, and several obstacles to cross (such as drain lines in the bunker and irrigation lines in the turf), we opted to dig the new drain line by hand.  When the new line was opened, thousands of gallons of water that had been trapped under the green came pouring out.
Water comes streaming out from beneath the green.
New perforated pipe and pea gravel were installed, and despite some challenging weather conditions, the guys did a great job cleaning the area when finished.  The end result should be some much healthier turf in this area next spring. 
Good to see no standing water on the green after rain on Tuesday and Wednesday.