Sunday, October 30, 2016

New Bunker Sand

People often ask about firming new bunker sand.  While a good, soaking rain definitely helps, the contractor uses another technique:

This is a vibratory plate compactor.  If you ever had a brick paver patio or driveway installed, it's likely that the same piece of equipment was used on that project.

While the vibratory plate moves quite easily across most flat surfaces, as you can see, some assistance is required when trying to get it up a bunker face.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

#18 Master Plan Work

Much of the Master Plan work completed this year has led to visually dramatic changes.  However, the work done on #18 this past week is much more subtle in nature.  In the front of the green, the sod was stripped, topsoil removed, mound softened, then topsoil and sod were replaced.

The softened mound in front of #18.

On the left side of the green, the deep basin has been raised 2.5'.  When standing in this collection area, you are now close to eye level with the putting surface.  While this may make a third shot slightly easier, any pin location on the left side of the green will still be very challenging.
Flags indicate the Bentgrass line which will extend down past the drain basin.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

What would you do for a couple of bucks?

The answer to this question is that Laurel Creek does a good deal for the deer, and countless other animals who live on the golf course.  While providing the best playing conditions for our members will always remain the top priority, with 237 acres of property (including 38 acres of wetlands), we also never forget that over the past 25 years, this land has become the home to thousands of other inhabitants.

Two bucks pop out of the wetlands in front of #8 tee.

Golf courses are often characterized as harming the environment.  However, a quick look back at what Laurel Creek's land was previously used for, seems to show that we now have a clear environmental  improvement in land use.

Prior to the course being built, a good portion of Laurel Creek was a mine.  The property yielded both gravel, which was used for constructing road beds, as well as clay, used for lining landfills.  As you can see in the picture below, this was hardly an inviting place for flora and fauna:

The scale of the mining operation is somewhat difficult to describe.  Here is a picture of the clay cell where the driving range now exists:

If you're wondering what the two tiny objects are, here you go:

Those "tiny" objects are actually large 4" pumps, used to remove water from the clay cell.  The higher pump was accessed from above, using a 20' ladder to get to the shelf.

In contrast to this dark and desolate landscape, today the property is teeming with animal life.  Here's a brief list of what we see on a regular basis around the course:

  • Snapping, painted and box turtle
  • Bullfrog
  • Garter snake
  • Northern water snake
  • Bass
  • Catfish
  • Sunny
  • Kingfisher
  • Duck
  • Heron 
  • Bald eagle
  • Harrier
  • Sharp-shinned hawk
  • Red-tailed hawk
  • Osprey
  • Egret
  • Great horned owl
  • Turkey
  • Deer
  • Muscrat
  • Mink
  • Beaver
  • Raccoon
  • Opossum
  • Moles, voles, and mice
  • Chipmunk
  • Fox
Great Blue Heron with Bass for breakfast.

Many of these animals call Laurel Creek home.  By doing so, they are telling the tale of how golf and the environment can truly work together to improve an area's biological diversity.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Some Tough Rough

Heavy, thick, wet, clumpy, and nasty are just a few words that can be used to describe another adjective (or in this case, a noun):  Rough.  What got it growing like crazy?  Well it wasn't any fertilizer we applied, as the only fert application of the year took place over six months ago.

We've been saying for quite a while now that we could use a nice slow, soaking rain, and it finally happened last week.  While the rainfall totals weren't that dramatic, at only 1.20" over five days, the moisture and cooler temperatures got the rough growing.

During prolonged periods of hot, dry weather, we often here people say their lawns are dead.  In most instances, the turf is just dormant, and when better weather arrives, the "dead" grass magically springs back to life.
The heavy dew spews from under the mower decks.

This week we put out both of our large area rough mowers, and made hay.  Even in the afternoons, on Monday and Tuesday, the moisture stuck around and there were a lot of clippings to deal with.  Both our tow-behind blowers, and fleet of backpack blowers went to work on the clumpy clippings.

Clippings from the rough are sticking to everything, including the green, tee and fairway mowers, when they turn.  More rain this past Saturday into Sunday will certainly make keeping up with the growth a challenge!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Pay me now, or pay me later.

Last year we began finding items in one of the pump station's wet well (Never a Dull Moment), such as plastic bags and even fish.  The question of how these items were getting in was answered this past week when the station's intake screen was inspected.
Jeff Lenko preps for his dive.
The intake pipe goes out 60' from the pump station into the lake, and the screen is attached to the end of the pipe.  Here is an example of what a pump station intake should look like at time of installation.

Suffice it to say that what Jeff found in our lake, no longer looks anything like this.  While part of the intake was made of stainless steel, most of the box was not, and has developed gaping holes after 25 years.  These holes allow anything from trash to turtles to enter the pump station.

There's certainly a lesson to be learned from this.  Had the original intake screen box been made completely from stainless steel, the upfront cost would certainly have been higher.  However, we also might not be looking at the cost of replacing the screen now, and the involved process to replace it.

With few other options, we will now need to have a new box fabricated and installed this winter.  This can likely be done without draining the lake, but will require at least two people to get the job done.