Sunday, November 30, 2008

Winter is Here

After an entire fall and early winter with little snow to speak of, it looks like are run of good luck is up. The last two days the entire irrigation installation has been shut down due to accumulating snowfall.

From this point forward production will be greatly limited due to the snow that is on the ground making hauling of materials difficult at best. With every day passing, I am seeing our goals of pipe installation slipping away.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Spray Day

With the forecasted snow and cooling soil temperatures, we made our preventative fungicide application for Snow Mold to the golf course. The areas of treatment were anything that contains Bentgrass such as greens and fairways. Additionally some of the northern exposure areas in the rough were treated as well.

The timing of these applications can be very difficult due to the unpredictable weather. If an application is made to soon the efficacy can be reduced sometimes requiring a second application late in the winter. If the application is made to late lasting snow cover will already be on the ground, which then requires snow removal so that the fungicide application can be made.

Spraying Greens Spraying Fairways

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Grading on #11 is Complete

The ditch crossing work on the eleventh hole is now complete. After several weeks of re-grading and the installation of extensive drainage, today the new sod was put down.

Now that the work is complete cart traffic will be restricted in this area until next spring allowing the new sod to become established.

From a pace of play and maintenance standpoint this area will now become greatly improved. The main area of the ditch will now be mowed grass that will better handle cart traffic and additionally if your ball lands in this area you will be able to quickly locate it.

Drainage Work
Sod Being Installed

Before Re-grading

Sod Work Completed Finished Product

Monday, November 24, 2008

Going Out With a Fight

The irrigation system has been in the ground for nearly twenty three years and for the most part served the club well. It has been in the last three years in particular that have not been so kind to me. During this time we have fought with it every step of the way and now that its days are numbered she’s putting up a fight to the finish.

Yesterday we had a ten inch frost free (deep mainline) on the eight hole fail, causing water service to be shut off to twelve of the holes. The lack of water isolation is the reason that so many holes were turned off to stop the break. It is for reasons like this that we are replacing the old system, so that problematic disruptions of service can be avoided.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Five is Finished

We have completed the lateral installation on the fifth hole. This will be the end of the line for lateral installation for the remainder of the year. As per the contracted schedule we were planning on only doing the first five holes of laterals, with the focus being the installation of the mainline throughout the entire course.

The additional work force will now be able to focus on mainline installation, so that we can come closer to meeting our original goals. In all reality we will not hit our goal of total mainline installation this year, but with any kind of favorable weather we should get close. At this point I am projecting that we will be three holes short on mainline installation. This is not a huge problem as far as the overall work schedule because this should be easily made up next spring once works resumes.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Specialty Watering

There are many unique areas on the golf course that require a precise application of water. This is dealt with by using smaller residential type sprinkler heads to apply the water to these limited areas.

Great care and thought was taken to identify these areas throughout the golf course in the new irrigation design. These small zones of water will help trouble hot spots and also reduce overthrow into areas where the additional water is not needed or wanted.

Two years ago twenty two bunkers were added during the renovation and much of our time since then has been spend hand watering the grass surrounds. The use of low flow popup spray heads will apply water to the entire bunker surrounds, with out washing the sand from the faces. These heads will apply water measured in gallons per hour rather than in gallons per minute, which is the key to keeping the steep grass areas watered properly.

Spray Heads on a Bunker Bank

The “Hunter zones” refer to a type of small throw heads that apply water to areas where a throw of only 30 feet is needed. There are many areas in the rough that are very tight in spacing and require these shorter throwing heads to properly water them. The short throw helps reduce the overthrow into areas such as native grasses and fairways where the additional water is not wanted.

Hunter Zone in Action

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Winter Rules

You would be hard pressed to know it’s the middle of November right now, but the grass sure does. Even with these unseasonably warm temperatures the turf has shut down and is no longer producing new leaf tissue. Although there is still a lot of activity taking place inside the plant and root system, the vertical growth has come to an end.

It is for this reason that from this point forward until next April carts will be on the paths only. This is something we do every year to protect the golf course from excessive wear and tear when the turf is no longer actively growing. Once growth shuts down the plant loses its ability to repair itself from the damage caused by divots, ballmarks and most especially golf carts.

If we did not take measures to protect the golf course during this period of time, we could conceivably lose the positive agronomic improvement’s made from this growing season.

We will still be allowing member’s with handicap flag needs to drive on the grass due to low number of individuals who have accessibility issues.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The End of The Line

After nearly nine weeks and 14,000 lineal feet of pipe installed, the sixteen inch mainline is now complete. This is perhaps the biggest task associated with the new irrigation system installation.

Just under 17,000 cubic yards of material was excavated alone for this portion of the mainline installation. Keep in mind that the material is handled twice, due to the fact that it has to be put back in the trench and compacted. There also is a large portion of material that has to be hauled off due to the volume of the newly installed pipe that now occupies the trench.

This point in time of the project marks that nearly two thirds of the total mainline is in the ground. The other good news is that now the mainline pipe size reduces down to only eight inches in diameter, which means the lineal production should nearly double per day. This will be done due to the fact that the amount of material that is being excavated will be half of the previous amount.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Big Soak

As the unseasonably warm and dry weather continues, measures are being taken to maintain adequate soil moisture levels.

Typically we blow out the irrigation system the week of Thanksgiving, but this year I am not so sure. In the last week we have begun to try and saturate areas on the course that typically dry out during the winter. This is being done by running the sprinkler heads as well as hand watering these areas.

There will come a time that the sprinklers will have to be blown out even though moisture levels aren’t high enough. As the nighttime temperatures drop and daylight gets shorter the ground loses it ability to maintain above freezing soil temperatures. It is at this time the sprinkler heads will begin to freeze and become non operational. Also the heads become susceptible to damage from the freezing which causes frozen water to expand inside the sprinkler head cracking it.

After blowing out we will rely on our frost free component of the irrigation system to maintain the golf course throughout winter. The winter watering operation is all done by hand using hoses and agricultural type cannons to apply the water.

Close Up Of Cannon

Cannon in Action

Thursday, November 13, 2008


One of the keys to the overall success of the irrigation renovation has be the accurate identification of existing irrigation components. This has been done by my staff using “as built” maps along with a wire locator.

In order for the existing system to remain active great care must be taken by the contractor when crossing all of the pipes and wire. Each of the locations is accurately marked with paint, so that each can be potholed before the heavy equipment comes through. Potholing is the process of hand digging the area and exposing the pipe or wire, so that it can be cut back and out moved out of the way.

Paint Showing Location of Existing Irrigation

Potholed Exposed Pipe and Wires
Located Pipe and Wires Cut Back

Repaired Pipe and Wires

After the new mainline is installed, the old pipe and wires are reconnected exactly as they were prior to the disruption. Without this level of care being taken the old irrigation system will not operate properly. This is critical because many of the old irrigation components still need to work properly until they are replaced, which in some areas will not be until next June.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Fourth Hole is Complete

We are continuing to make steady progress with the lateral pipe installation. All of the pipe and heads have been installed on the fourth hole and it is now operational.

Work has now begun on the fifth hole with the hopes of completing laterals by the end of next week.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wrapping Things Up

We have come to the point in the golfing season that the supplies are being removed from the course. Over the next several days’ items such as, tee markers, benches, ballwashers, bunker rakes and cart signage will be taken in.

These items will be refinished during the off season preparing them for next year. All of the tee markers and signage will be refinished, so they look like new at the start of year. The daily exposure to the effluent water quickly deteriorates the varnish and appearance of the wooden products.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Snow Mold Prevention

We have begun to prepare the golf course for the upcoming struggles that are encountered during the winter. One of the most significant problems we encounter during the winter months is disease pressure in the form of snow mold.

We preventatively treat the main play areas (greens, tees and fairways) for snow mold with different forms of chemical treatments. Treating these critical play areas is a costly expense, but it is well worth the money spent because the cost to repair untreated areas far exceeds the cost of the fungicides applied. It is for this reason we are very careful about our fungicide choices to these play areas.

Fungicides are selected for the areas based on level of importance, estimated duration of snow cover and cost of the product to be applied. After all these factors are taken into consideration, a choice is made for the specific product to be applied for each area.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Third Hole Is Now Complete

Another hole of laterals has been completed getting us closer to being back on schedule as far as lateral installation goes.

The pulling was not as clean as the first two holes, due to heavy soil conditions found on the third hole. Additionally the soil was becoming extremely dry and caused a little heaving along the pull lines. These areas will be monitored closely, if proper settling does not occur measures will be taken to lower the disruption.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Winter Protection

We have begun the process of installing snow fencing at several key locations on the golf course. Most of these areas fall on the upper portion of the course that has the greatest exposure risk.

The fencing can be found around all of the practice area greens as well as the first and second greens. Additionally some of the tees and bunker faces on the first two holes are also protected.

The purpose of the fence is to help hold snow in place on these critical areas so that desiccation does not occur. These are some of the first areas in which turf loss occurs, if adequate moisture levels are not maintained throughout the winter season.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Show Must Go On

As the poor weather begins to set in, work must still take place on the golf course. Last night we received a dusting of snow that will have little or no effect on the irrigation system installation. In order for work to continue, the areas of installation will be cleared of snow so that progress is not impeded.

With a little luck over the next four weeks snow will be on the light side, so that our goals for this season can be met. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Coming To an End

The golfing season is quickly coming to an end and things on the golf course are beginning to reflect that as well. With the unseasonably warm weather we have been experiencing for the last several weeks, the turf has remained active well beyond what is normal for around here. It appears that this week will be the final mowing of the year for most of the playing surfaces. This is a good two weeks later than normal for the final mowing.

Also today marks the final day for daily pinsheets due to the fact that GHIN handicap posting ends as of today.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Hard Lining

As the new irrigations system is becoming a reality so to will the ability to better manage the overall water usage on the golf course. One of the key components to the new irrigation system design is a true separation of watering areas. All of the four main areas of play will now have the ability to be watered independently of each other.

The biggest change from conventional irrigation design is the fact that two heads are used in place of one. Rather than one full circle head, there are now two part circle heads allowing for a complete separation of watering areas. One of the heads is set to water the fairway only while the other is set to water the rough.

Click on picture to enlarge

This concept of “hard line” watering has been commonly used on greens for years, but is now being commonly used in situations where Bentgrass fairways exist. For years Bentgrass fairways have caught a bad rap for being heavy water users, when in all actuality they used far less than the surrounding rough areas. They have appeared wet and overwatered due to the fact that Bluegrass has a higher water requirement.