Friday, October 31, 2008

Two Down Sixteen To Go

Laterals were completed on the second hole today and were put to use quickly due to the unseasonably warm weather. This marks the third area completed with new mainline, laterals and heads.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Where Are The Yardage Markers?

For those of you who have played in the last week you have probably noticed something missing with the new sprinkler heads. All of the newly installed heads in the fairway do not have yardage numbers on them.

The yardages will be shot from each of the new heads and will be labeled on all that fall within the 75yd to 250 yd range. This will not occur until all of the new heads are installed throughout the course. Once all of the heads are labeled the existing yardage markers, will be removed in efforts to help remove some of the clutter found in the fairways.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

One is Done

After a two step process with the initial mainline installation followed by laterals and heads, the first hole is now complete. The future begins now with the new highly sophisticated system in place and now the steep learning curve starts.

On the first hole the old irrigation system had only 112 heads, whereas the new system now has 204 heads. The reason for the significant increase in heads is due to the fact that a closer spacing has been achieved. The old heads were spaced at 70ft, the new heads are spaced at 55ft. This closer head spacing now allows for a more even application of water to the play areas.

The other factor that increased the number of heads is that we now have the ability to water the fairways separately from the rough. We now have a true separation of water areas due to the use of part circle heads that are designed to water specific areas only. This is the biggest difference compared to our old system, where all areas were watered with out the ability to separate areas due to overthrow.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What is With The Purple Sprinklers?

Some of you might be wondering why the new sprinkler heads are purple. As dictated by the state of Colorado, we are required to mark all irrigation components with the color purple for identification purposes of effluent water.

Not only are the heads marked, but all of the pipe is marked as well. The HDPE pipe has purple lines on it, while the low pressure pipe is all purple.

These markings are in place so that a cross connection with a potable water supply does not occur.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Late Season Fertilization

Today we applied a dormant fertilizer to the rough that will provide nutrients for the turf to deal with the upcoming winter. If there is one single most important application of fertilizer made all year, this would be it.


The timing of the dormant fertilizer application is critical for the overall success of the nutrient uptake within the plant. An application made to early will force succulent growth, which increases the turfs susceptibility to winter disease and low temperature kill. An application made when the turf has already gone dormant will have not have any positive effects to the turf and essentially be a waste of money spent of the materials applied.

Principles of Late Season Fertilization

• Nitrogen uptake continues at the roots even though shoot growth has ended. In cooler temperatures root growth continues.
• Increased chlorophyll content means increased photosynthesis.
• Increased photosynthesis means increased sugars. Since turf is not growing at the time of the fertilizer application the sugars which are produced are not used for growth but stored to enhance winter survival and spring recovery.
• Late season nitrogen promotes deep rooting during fall. Plants go into spring and summer with deeper, healthier roots.
• Spring green up is early because the nitrogen stored in the roots is there ready when shoot growth resumes.

Benefits of Late Season Fertilizing:

• Increased winter hardiness
• Improved stress tolerance
• Early spring green up
• Reduced need for early spring fertilizer reducing the flush of spring growth

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pipe Pulling

The pulling of the laterals and wire on the first hole has begun. On this hole alone there are over 225 heads that have to be installed. This will take a crew of fifteen, three to five days to complete the installation.

Each lateral will have approximately twenty heads installed and they will become live as soon as each lateral is complete.

Below is a video of the pulling operation.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Taste of Winter

Today marked our first look at things to come. Fortunately we only received a dusting of snow last night, which will not cause any major delays with the irrigation system installation.

As we get further into winter as measurable snows occur, clearing of work areas will need to take place so that work can continue. Production rates will slow down as the ground begins to freeze causing the cleanup to become less efficient.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


The day has finally come where we have begun to install the new sprinkler heads.
Systematically on each of the first three holes, heads will be installed starting at the green moving backwards through the hole.

As the new heads are installed, each of these new loops will become active and effectively begin the end to the old system as we know it.

At this time the new heads can only be run from the satellite controllers in the field, because the new communication line has not made it to the maintenance facility. This will not occur until the mainline installation reaches the twelfth hole and the communication line can be connected to the central computer found in my office.

Lateral line being pulled in at putting green

New heads in operation

Monday, October 20, 2008

New Concrete

Today we were finally able to pour the new concrete finger on the ninth hole after scheduling delay’s caused by the weather early last week. The new path will allow for an additional exit point from the fairway, which will help spread out the traffic flows.

This path will not be used until next season due to the fact that some additional sod work will have to take place to properly tie in with the existing terrain.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Good Flushing

The final process that takes place prior to connecting the lateral pipes to the new mainline is a flushing. It is critical that all debris that has gotten in the pipe during construction is removed.

The easiest way to do this is to pressure up the line and open up drain valves to blow out any debris that may have found its way into the pipe. If this is not done correctly, the debris left inside the pipe will cause problems to the operation of the new sprinkler heads.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Gone Fishing

We have begun the process of fishing the power wires through the conduit that was installed with the mainline. These wires are the 120Volt feed that will power the individual satellite controllers that run the sprinkler heads.

This is one of the last things that needs to be done prior to the installation of lateral pipe.

Fishing wires through

Wires inside junction box

Friday, October 17, 2008


We have begun working on the ditch crossing between the first and second fairway on the eleventh hole. As you are all aware this has been a problematic area for cart traffic flows.

Over the years this area has either been completely closed off to carts or has had traffic flows regulated. Even with traffic regulation this area has produced turf conditions that are less than favorable at the exit and entry points.

The plan to correct this problem involves re-grading a large portion of the ditch itself. We will be creating another crossing area in the ditch that will allow for better traffic flows. Additionally we will be softening the side slopes of the ditch, which causes most the cart issues causing a loss of traction while exiting the ditch.

One of the side benefits from this work taking place will be an overall improvement in playability of the golf hole. Currently balls that are hit down in the ditch are hard to find, let alone play of which causes pace of play issues. A portion of this area after re-grading will be irrigated and mowed down to normal rough height allowing for a better recovery from the ditch.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fusing Ahead

In preparation for laterals being pulled in, you will begin to see areas on the golf course used for staging of pre-fused 2” pipe.

As the mainline installation advances through the course it has become time to begin installing the lateral lines that will feed the new sprinkler heads. These pulls will take place in a herringbone pattern coming off the newly installed mainline. The pre-fusing of the pipe will help reduce the installation time of the material going in the ground, which is critical at this point. On each hole as the new pipe is pulled in, the old system will be systematically taken out of service.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Timeline Changes

In efforts to help get the irrigation project back on schedule some timeline changes have been made. Originally the focus of the fall work was to be on the golf course itself, with the driving range work to follow in the winter.

Due to falling of schedule because of the rock encountered on the first three holes, we have decided to pick off the driving range mainline component now. This decision was based on the fact that the equipment that is specifically designed for rock is here and was done being used. This work was completed yesterday and has now caught us up on the back end of the schedule.

Even with this additional work being made up, the project as a whole is still essentially two holes behind. We will be hoping for some favorable weather the rest of the year to allow our contractor to make up for lost time.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

PRV Valves

Even with new materials such as HDPE pipe there still will be a need for pressure reducing valves. Due to the extreme elevation change that is experienced on our site we will have a PRV located at every 100ft of elevation change, to properly manage pressures. The PRV’s will reduce the pressure down to 100psi at each of the locations found on the golf course.

These valves are installed in the ground in a vault that allows for easy access for repairs and adjustments.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Scaling Back

As the golfing season comes to an end, so too will my seasonal staff. The final six seasonal staff members last day will be this coming Friday.

With the warmer than normal weather we have been experiencing, things on the course are still growing and require maintenance. With a reduced staff, frequencies of maintenance procedures will be cut back. The quality of the maintenance will not change from what is normal, just the number of times per week each is performed.

We will now be mowing greens only four days a week, tees, collars and fairways twice a week. As we progress further in to the fall daily frost will eventually shut down the growth of the turf, which will lead to even more of a reduced mowing schedule.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Soil Correction

Our soil test results have consistently shown over the years that we are deficient in calcium largely due to the fact we irrigate with effluent water. Effluent water is very high in sodium and chlorides which over time destroy the structure of the soil. As a result our soils have taken on the same characteristics as the water and become less than desirable for plant growth.
Each year we test our soils to determine the amounts of amendments to be applied to offset the detrimental effects of the effluent water. Through irrigation each year, we apply over 550 lbs of sodium per acre from the effluent water. It takes a tremendous amount of gypsum being applied to keep up with the sodium, let alone offset it.

Gypsum Being Applied To a Fairway Gypsum Being Applied To a Approach

Major benefits associated with gypsum usage are:

  • Improvement of soil structure by loosening compacted soils.

  • Gypsum decreases pH of sodic soils

  • Amends and reclaims soils high in destructive sodium. Sodium has the opposite effect of calcium in soils by destroying structure and reducing water, air movement and root growth.

  • Replaces harmful salts. Sodium, chlorine and many other salts in higher levels in irrigation water and soil are detrimental to plant growth and development since they rupture and destroy plant cells.

  • Helps with high bicarbonate irrigation water. Bicarbonates form free lime when water evaporates resulting in reduced available calcium and increased soil pH. The reduction of available calcium also leads to loss of soil structure and reduced water infiltration.

  • Enhances water use efficiency. Twenty-five to 100 percent more water is available in gypsum treated soils vs. untreated soils; less irrigation water is required to achieve the same results.
  • Along with composts, manures and other plant materials, use of gypsum helps rebuild the supply of soil organic matter.

    From the standpoint of plant nutrition and as a soil amendment, gypsum uniquely helps soils be more productive and more fruitful than any other single product.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fairway Enlargement Complete

The fairway expansion on the seventh hole is now complete. The bunker has been removed and the entire area was re-graded, so that it will appear as if there was never a bunker there at all.

The new fairway sod will be roped off for the rest of the season so that it can become established before winter sets in.

This new fairway cut will greatly improve the overall playability of the hole for golfers of all abilities.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Staking Heads

Yesterday was a very exciting day for me, due to the fact that I got a glimpse of the future irrigation layout on the ground. Previously, I have viewed and made numerous changes to the drawings on paper, but seeing it in the field becoming reality is very different.

The process begins with GPS technology locating the heads and marking them with flags that are eventually replaced with paint and tassels. The different head types are marked with specific colors, so that the contractor can quickly identify the proper head to be installed.

The colors the scheme that is being used for our installation is as follows:
Pink= full circle (VIH)
Blue= part circle (VIH)
White= quick coupler valve
Yellow= bunker pop up
Orange= short throw head (Block system)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

First Frost

We finally had our first frost of the season, a full three weeks later than normal. Based on historical weather data we generally have our first frost by the middle of September.

The timing seems only fitting due to the fact that our weather patterns have been off most of the season. It would be nice if the snow could hold off until December, so that the majority of the scheduled irrigation system components can be installed.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Show of Color

During the growing season deciduous trees are continuously producing chlorophyll, which gives the green color to the leaves. As night length increases in the autumn, chlorophyll production slows down and then stops and eventually all the chlorophyll is destroyed. The carotenoids and anthocyanins that are present in the leaf are then unmasked and show their colors.

Tree and plant leaves contain pigments that give them their color. Three pigments are involved in fall color:

• Chlorophyll — gives leaves their green color.
• Carotenoids — provide the yellow, orange, and brown colors
• Anthocyanins — give the red and purple colors. In contrast to the other two pigments, anthocyanins are produced in the autumn, in response to bright light and excess plant sugars in the leaf cells

The amount of color that develops each autumn season are related to weather conditions that occur before and during the time the chlorophyll in the leaves is declining. Temperature and moisture are the main influences.

Soil moisture levels also have a significant impact in the autumn color display. Like the weather, soil moisture varies greatly from year to year. These highly variable combinations of factors assure that no two autumns can be exactly alike. A late spring, or a severe summer drought, can delay the onset of fall color by a few weeks. A warm period during fall will also lower the intensity of autumn colors.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Got Lucky

Friday evening there was some vandalism on the course and we were very lucky significant damage did not occur. We had several flag sticks damaged or stolen, fireworks set off and an excavator driven on the fourth green.

Someone managed to start one of the excavators being used in the irrigation project and drive it onto the green and park it. It appears that whoever did it had some knowledge how to operate the equipment because, little damage occurred. The tread marks on the green were repaired with ball mark tools and lightly tamped to smooth them out.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Little Help

After the pipe has been installed and the heavy equipment is gone, the turf that was subjected to abuse needs a little help. Each of the areas of disturbance has received additional fertilizer to help with the recovery of sod re-establishment.

Around the areas were the sod was re-installed, there are some small gaps and seams that has also been repaired with a sand and seed mixture. This mix contains a Ryegrass/Bluegrass blend, which will help with the complete recovery from the irrigation installation.

Friday, October 3, 2008

What is directional boring?

Directional boring is commonly used for installing infrastructure such as telecommunications, power, water and gas lines. It can be used for crossing waterways, roadways, congested areas, environmentally sensitive areas, and areas where other methods are costlier.

Directional boring involves a three stage process where the initial pilot hole is drilled on the designed path and the second stage enlarges the hole by passing a larger cutting tool known as the back reamer. The third stage places the product or casing pipe in the enlarged hole.

Location and guidance of the drill head is the key to success during the directional boring process. A transmitter is located behind the bore head that registers angle, rotation, direction and temperature data. This information is encoded into an electro-magnetic signal and transmitted through the ground to the surface in a walk-over system. At the surface a receiver (usually a hand-held 'locator') is manually positioned over the transmitter, providing information to the operator for directional guidance.

Click on the following link to view an animation of the directional boring process.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

New Exit Point

We have begun construction of a new cart path finger that will extend down towards the end of the fairway on the ninth hole. As you all know cart traffic is limited to the path half of the time, due to the fact the exit point is too small to handle the excessive wear and tear from the carts.

The area is currently being graded for a concrete finger that will allow the carts to climb the very steep incline from the fairway up to the existing path. Additionally great care is being taken to adequately screen the path from the teeing area. We are constructing mounding that is similar to others found on the hole, so that the path is not visible as well as keeping golf balls from hitting the path.

This concept was hatched at the Green Committee level last month as a way to get the carts on the grass more often. I believe this new path will help spread the traffic patterns a little more evenly than the current situation allows. It is my hope that the carts will be on the grass at least one if not two more days a week. This decision will be based weekly on how well these areas handle the traffic flows.

This is a win win situation because it gives me a better chance to keep the grass alive, as well as letting carts on the grass which will help with the pace of play.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Mainline Installation

The installation of the HDPE mainline pipe is very different, due to the nature of how the pipe is connected (fused) together.

Traditional PVC pipe is very rigged and cannot easily be handled which requires connecting each 20ft section at a time down in the trench. Additionally when obstacles are encountered that require a slight direction change, fittings such as a 22 or 45 degree must be used.

HDPE is a highly flexible and durable product that can be easily bent to follow contours during installation that eliminates the need for minor directional fittings. The product can be a little more difficult to install due to the weight of the material, which changes traditional installation techniques. Unlike PVC large sections of HDPE pipe (200-400ft) are commonly fused together outside the trench and then are placed in the trench as the excavation moves down the line.

The most difficult part of this process is getting the pipe in the trench which requires the use of heavy equipment to do so. On the 16” pipe we are using each 40ft section weighs nearly 1000lbs each.

Below is a video that shows how a large section of fused pipe is installed into the open trench