Sunday, February 26, 2017

Dam Removal

If you've watched the national news lately, you've likely seen the concerns about dams failing due to the heavy rains in the west.  In contrast to this, we've developed some dams on the golf course which we weren't looking for, and would like to get rid of.

These are referred to as "collar dams" and develop primarily due to sand accumulation from both bunker and topdressing sand over a period of time.  On several greens, the collar is now higher than the putting surface, thus preventing surface run-off of rain water.

Removing the dam requires a bit of delicate surgery on the green, collar and surrounds.  The first step includes checking the existing grades with a transit, and determining the area which needs to be regraded.  In order to have a smooth tie-in to the surrounding area, it's often necessary to start the grading well beyond the low point.

In the case of #3, we knew that an issue existed prior to last fall's construction on the surrounds.  The grading adjacent to the green and bunkers was done in a manner which would allow us to get some drainage once the green itself was addressed this winter.

The finished product.  The sod seams have been topdressed.  Winter (if that's really the season we're in) is typically the best time for us to tackle a job like this, as the sod will not require babysitting.  Now that it has a little more slope to it, this will truly be a knee-knocker of a pin placement...

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Pavilion Pad Project Prep

The first phase of construction on a new pavilion behind #9 green is now complete.  While some of the projects we undertake require weeks or months to finish, the team made quick work of the field prep for this area.

A transit level is definitely required when you need to create a flat surface on a sloped hill.

When it came time to do the concrete pad and footings, we left that part of the job to a contractor who does this day in and day out.

As we said, this is the first phase of this project.  Once completed, the pavilion will be used for many purposes during the golf season.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Greatest Show on Turf

While many may think of the St. Louis Rams when they hear the words, "Greatest Show on Turf," for those actually working in the turf industry, it's often the annual Golf Industry Show that comes to mind.  With a fantastic combination of educational offerings and large trade show, this year's show in Orlando did not disappoint.

One seminar which we found to be extremely informative discussed the impact of spray tank water quality on application efficacy.

We often use our irrigation system as the water source for our sprayers, so this is certainly relevant to us.  While we typically focus on water pH, this class shed light on the importance of other water quality issues such as hardness and turbidity.

With 250,000 square feet of space, the trade show always has a lot to offer.  The major turf equipment manufacturers can be counted on to have large booths displaying everything from mowers to blowers to aerifiers and bunker rakes.

However, it's often at the smaller booths that we find a new product or two which can help our operation.  Here's a few examples:
Flexible irrigation repair couplings--less digging is always a bonus!
A tool which uses both air and water for quick cleaning of equipment and carts.
A greens roller which requires no trailer to transport from hole to hole.

Additionally, the show provides an opportunity to catch up with other superintendents and share some tips and tricks which are working at our golf courses.  There is a lot to take in, and we always return home with some new ideas which we can implement into our operation this golf season.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Mystery Solved

For several years, #16 green has been notorious for poor irrigation pressure.  Running two or more sprinklers at once has been a problem, so some further investigation was in order.  We weren't able to take the valve apart in the ground, so the decision was made to replace it.

Once the old valve was removed, our suspicions were confirmed.  The gate which should rise and fall as the valve is opened and closed, was stuck and open only about 25%, severely restricting water flow to the green.

With the valve placed in a vice, it's easy to see the gate was only slightly opened.
How it should look with the gate out of the way.
In addition to the gate not operating, the wheel handle had rusted and fell off the stem.

The tricky part when replacing components on our system is that virtually all of the pipe is gasketed--that is, basically just pushed together, and held in place by the weight of the soil over top of it.  Because of this, we had to make sure that there was no gap between pipes when the repair coupling was installed, and be certain that the pipe couldn't move at all.  Had there been any gap, the feed for the greens loop could easily have popped out of the Tee fitting it was in.
Concrete and rebar on both sides of the valve should prevent any pipe movement.

The only downside to making repairs such as this in the winter is that it will be at least six weeks until we pressurize the system and get to find out if the repair was a good one.  With any luck, we'll find that the sprinkler performance will be greatly improved on this green going forward.