Thursday, December 31, 2009

Changes Over Time

In my tenure here at CCCP over the last 15 years I have seen a lot of change for the good and some not so good. The golf course has matured nicely over time with the growth of the Ponderosa Pines and Scrub Oak. The real estate component of the development has also moved along nicely until the last few years. It has always been known that the construction of home sites adjacent to the golf course was the plan all along, but some of these sites will have a lasting effect on both the aesthetics and agronomic health of the golf course.

As the trees have grown over the years they have helped with screening some of the homes that are adjacent to the golf course property. This is good, but a problem that is beginning to show up now is the fact that some of these trees are now causing shade issues on the course. This effects us in two different ways, the first being additional frost delays in the fall and secondly shadows causing prolonged snow cover to areas on the golf course.

In years past prior to home development we were able to trim and even remove some of the trees the were causing problems on the golf course. This is no longer the case and we have begun making changes to our winter snow removal based on this developing problem.

Previously we would routinely remove snow from five of our green complexes and now we will be adding at least one more to the mix. After all is said and done we could be removing snow from as many as half of our greens throughout the winter. This is a lot of effort to go to, but it is well worth it come spring time when the greens come out in better condition than if nothing was done at all.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

It's Not Going To Happen

I have been holding out hope throughout most of the fall and early winter that we would complete our renovation work on the driving range, but it is not going to happen.

The weather has been our biggest obstacle from the beginning of this project so it's only fitting that the lack of completion of work is tied directly to it. In the last three weeks there have been several small windows of opportunity but they also did not come to pass. The biggest problem we are facing is that the ground is frozen and cannot get a final grade on several areas. The other equally large issue is the fact that sod can no longer be cut because of the frozen ground.

With normal winter weather patterns we should be able to resume work on the driving range some time in March. At that time final grading will be done and the sod farms should once again be able to harvest fresh sod.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Winter Protection

The newly installed target green sod was prepared for the upcoming harsh winter conditions. The fact that the sod is new and has not rooted will make keeping it alive over the winter more challenging, but by taking proper preventative measures now will help with our future success.

First and foremost adequate moisture levels will be maintained throughout with the use of frost free hydrants, secondly preventive fungicide applications were applied and lastly a protective cover of sand was applied.

The sand will help protect and insulate the crown of the plant so that the survivability is dramatically improved. The material was applied evenly to a depth of slightly less than 1/4". This depth allows the leaf tips to be still slightly exposed to sunlight and therefore eliminating the possibility of smothering the new sod.

Sand Covering The Green Surface

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Freezing Bunker Faces

The forecast over the next several day is calling for snow and freezing temperatures so we decided to help chances of maintaining turf on some of our exposed bunker faces. Up until now the temperatures have been seasonal and without any hard freezes occurring.

Recently we went out and saturated the more exposed bunker faces in efforts to help them freeze solid and better retain moisture levels. The water was applied using the strategically placed frost free hydrants that were installed with the new irrigation system.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Last Chance

Today looks like it might be our last chance to get our preventive snow mold fungicide application to the fairways down. The forecast for the next week does not look great, so we will take advantage of the beautiful 65 degree day today.

Blowing off debris prior to spraying

Fairway spray going down

Friday, November 20, 2009

Getting Closer

We were able to finalize some of the last details on the 185yd target green today which needs to take place prior to sod installation.

With the latest round of snow hampering our efforts for completion, we have been forced to work in a very short window. As a lot of the snow has melted it has now created a muddy unworkable mess. Our solution to this problem has been to only work on the area for the first couple of hours each morning while the surface is still frozen. This has allowed us to install the rootzone mix for the green and the sand in the bunkers.

This area probably will not dry out for another couple days and at which time the final grading will occur and sod is scheduled for installation this coming Tuesday.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dual Purpose

The uses for compost are nearly endless and we have found one that kills two birds with one stone.

With the recent snowfall that has once again delayed our project we needed a way to help melt the snow off the areas still under construction. The compost was spread on the surface of the snow to help accelerate the melting process. The dark color of the compost attracts the sun and does most of the work for us. One other side benefit of spreading the compost is that after the snow melts, the compost can now easily be incorporated with the soil below amending and improving it prior to new sod installation.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

X Marks The Spot

As if it is not hard enough to maintain the golf course in season, the Elk and Deer make the winter months an adventure.

It is easy to track their patterns after a fresh snowfall, what is most amazing is the number of hoof prints left after a single night. They also seem to prefer to bed down in our most problematic areas as far as desiccation goes. The bedding down causes the snow to melt and therefore exposing the turf prematurely to the elements. This at times forces us to apply supplemental water to these areas in order to avoid turf loss.

Body outlines of melted snow from bedding down
Heavy foot traffic

Monday, November 16, 2009

Blog Mention

Last week my blog was mentioned in an article found in Golf Course Industry Magazine as one of the best Superintendent blogs. It is an honor to have the time and effort I put into the blog recognized by people in the media.

Click here to read the online article.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Target Green Complete

Some of the final details of the 135yd target green were completed today.

Newly installed overhead irrigation was turned on to water some of the newly sodded areas. The heads and HDPE pipe were installed in house by my staff, it was a great site to see. I believe that my staff was energized after seeing their hard work come to fruition in the operation of the new irrigation system.

The bunker was also completed today with the installation of both drainage and sand. Aesthetically the bunker looks great from the tee and will help provide realistic practice sessions.

Today marks another step closer to completing this project, but as i am writing this post the weather is quickly changing for the worse. The forecast is calling for snow each day this weekend, lets hope the weathermen are wrong again with their predictions.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Coming Back Together

Another positive step towards the ultimate completion of the driving range renovation took place today.

Just over 20,000 feet of new sod was installed today on and around two of the newly constructed target green complexes. Both the 100yd and 135yd target greens now appear as they have been there all along now that grass is down. The shaping that was done on these greens reflects similarities to what is found on the golf course, so that more purposeful practice sessions can take place.

The next area that will be final graded and prepped for sod will be the 185yd target green. With any cooperation from the weather, I will be hoping to have this sodded by the end of next week. In the mean time we continue to receive truck after truck of rootzone mix for the tee surface, of which we have still not reached the half way point.

Final Grading
Outlining The Green Surface
Installing Bentgrass On The Green
Laying The Bluegrass Surrounds
Initial Watering
The View At Sunset

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tee Mix

Today marked a big day for construction on the driving range tee. After numerous delays caused by the weather, we were finally able to start bringing in the rootzone mix for the tee surface.

The rootzone mix is an 85/15 sand peat mixture that allows for rapid drainage, while still having the ability to hold on to some nutrients and moisture. This rootzone is identical to the mix used to grow the new sod that will be installed on the tee.

This is an important fact, so that a future soil inter phase issue does not occur. We will be bringing nearly 2000 tons of rootzone material which equates to nearly 80 end dump loads. This is a slow process that will take us nearly a week to complete the installation of material.

Final Prep To Tee Subsurface
End Dump Unloading Material
Spreading The Rootzone Material

Monday, November 9, 2009

Blow Out

The winter blow out of the irrigation system has begun on the golf course. Over the last several weeks we have had significant snows that have provided more than adequate moisture levels throughout the golf course.

We are probably a week or two ahead of when we would normally blow out, but for the above reasons we have decided to go ahead and blow out now. This is one of the most difficult agronomic decisions that I make all year and getting the timing right is never easy. If you blow out too late the heads will freeze and blow out becomes difficult at best and if you blow out too early then the turf begins to dry out. Fortunately if we miss the timing on the early side we can utilize our frost free component of the irrigation system rather than re-pressure the summer or shallow system.
The Compressor

Blowing Out The Heads

Friday, November 6, 2009

Open For Play

The golf course will once again be open for play starting today. Although the entire course is not playable at this time, there has been enough interest to open the course as is.

At this time only eleven holes are truly playable, while the other holes range from partial snow cover to nearly complete cover. Please use great care while out on the golf course due the numerous areas in which snow and ice are still in place.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Evening Play

The golf course has been a busy place over the last week, but it has not been from golfers. The Elk and Deer have been extremely active on the course causing their normal damage this time of the year.

What makes the damage bad is the fact that the turf is soft and saturated from the melting snow. Until the ground freezes we will continue to sustain maximum damage from the wildlife. My staff will be repairing the damage by stepping down the hoof prints and filling them with sand and seed. This will be an ongoing situation for some time until the weather cooperates and begins to freeze the upper surface of the soil.

The wildlife is nice to look at, but they sure cause a lot of damage to the golf course each and every year.

Tree Limbs Broken
Elk Duds
Hoof Prints On #11 Green

Damage To #7 TeeDamage On #11 Fairway

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Melt is Underway!

Temperatures today reached the mid 60's and the snow is beginning to rapidly melt away. With that being said we still have a long way to go before the golf course would be open for play.

The majority of the melting that is taking place is found in the southern exposures, meanwhile the northern exposure areas are still holding a lot of snow. As the week progresses we will be removing the lingering snow in these shaded areas. This will help us get the course back in play as well as prepare the main turf areas for the preventative fungicide snow mold application.

Snow Disappearing Fast
A Long Way To Go On #11

Thursday, October 29, 2009

It Could Be a While

Nearly two feet of snow has already fallen and the storm is supposed to last until the end of the day. Needless to say there will not be any renovation work taking place for some time.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Signs of Life

Today we were able to witness some of the fruits of our labor by activating some of the new irrigation laterals. Over the last several weeks we have been installing pipe and fittings, but have not been able to activate them until today. We have been waiting on an electro fusion machine that was ordered several weeks ago that has finally arrived.

Over the last week progress has been slowed due to winter making an early appearance. Towards the end of the week we lost four days in which work could be done due to the snow cover and subsequent melting causing a significant mess. Unfortunately the forecast does not look good for the next several days with more snow on its way.

Our window for completion of work this fall is rapidly closing, but we will be doing everything possible to get this project as close to completion as possible. Anything that remains incomplete will be worked on over the course of the winter and early spring as weather allows.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Not a Complete Washout

As the overnight snow fall has continued throughout the day, we still have been able to receive deliveries of material.

Today we were still able to take delivery on materials that are needed for the construction of the practice area. The materials were bunker sand and additional pea gravel for drainage.

In all likely hood work over the next two days will be limited due to the snow initially and then the muddy mess that will be created as melting takes place. Most of the work that will be taking place will be done by hand in areas that required minimal disturbance in the first place.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Today drainage work on the tee pad began, which will put us closer to the completion of the project.

The tee itself has 1% surface drainage, but additional internal drainage is also being installed to ensure that ideal conditions are present for turf growth. A modified internal herringbone is being installed at a 20 foot spacing making excessive water removal quick and easy.

Following the installation of the drainage system the rootzone mix will be added to the tee surface to a depth of 6". After that time the rootzone mix will be laser leveled creating a perfectly smooth surface for the sod to be layed on.

Drain outfalls being dug

Lateral drain installation

Friday, October 16, 2009

Busy Day

Lots of activity took place today on the driving range as the project begins to hit high gear. The shaping of the features continues and is now at a fine shaping point. Moving forward, the features that are currently shaped in will now only receive minor tweaking tying them into existing grades.

Lots of activity going on

Irrigation laterals and heads continue to be installed at a pace that improves on a daily basis. To date we have installed more than 7000 feet of pipe in the last weeks time.

Today we also poured concrete in a newly enlarged parking area. The new concrete parking area will help to better accommodate multiple carts that are parked at our extremely busy driving range tee.

New forms in place
Pouring concrete

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Lateral Installation

Now that most of the major shaping has been completed we have begun to install the new irrigation system on the driving range.

Having the opportunity to watch one of the countries best irrigation contractors install a system on the main course, taught both myself and my staff all the tricks of the trade. It is not often that you find an in house HDPE installation take place on nearly 18 acres, but i have confidence in the knowledge we have gained.

As with anything it always looks easier when your just watching someone else, but it is a lot harder once you begin to take it on yourself. It took us a couple of laterals to figure out how things will go in the ground easier and faster and we are still getting better as we go.

Laying Out The Wire

Dueling Pullers At Work

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Range is Closed

We have gotten to the point where we need to shut down the temporary tee that has been in use since construction began. The majority of the dirt has been hauled into the teeing ground and now more of the work will begin in the landing area, more specifically target green construction.

The relocation and shaping of the target greens will be the next focus of construction and for safety reasons it's necessary to close the range, so that equipment operators and other staff working on the construction are out of harms way.

The driving range will reopen next spring after construction has been completed.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Falling Off Schedule

The weather over the last several days has more closely resembled winter rather than fall, which has slowed progress on the renovation work.

We are hoping to get back on schedule this week with the completion of irrigation and drainage installation on the new tee pad. Once this work is completed the rootzone mix can be brought in and spread. This will be one of the final steps to completing the work on the tee pad and after that time the new sod can be laid.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Frost Free Installation Begins

Today we began to install the frost free irrigation system that will be used to irrigate the driving range tee. Unlike the other irrigation that is being installed on the driving range, this line is being trenched rather than pulled in. The reason being that we need to have a pipe depth of four feet so that it is below historical soil frost levels. In order to achieve this depth we have to open trench the pipe which is more labor intensive, but it will be worth the effort when we will be able to readily use this line under winter conditions.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Keep Off The Grass

As we have daily frost formation on the turf, it is important that all foot and cart traffic remain off until the frost has completely melted. The damage caused can be significant, but with a little care and consideration taken by all on the course early in the morning will go a long way.

Here are two pictures that show how quickly the damage can occur to the turf when a heavy frost cover occurs. The first picture was taken early in the morning when the frost was still heavy and clearly shows foot prints from someone out walking the course early. The second picture show the same area later in the day and the foot prints from the morning are now black showing the damage to the turf.

For more information about frost check out this previous post

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Yesterday I completed an article for the clubs monthly newsletter in which I talked about how much of the renovation work is subject to weather. Well sure enough today was a washout due to rain that fell last evening. The rain turned the haul roads into mud which made them impassable.

We were unable to import dirt today, but all was not lost. Today were able to begin moving and reshaping the existing target greens. The greens are being pushed out of the central core of the landing area which will help improve the visibility of golf balls being hit.

Moving dirt on the target green

Monday, October 5, 2009


In the last week we have had night time temperatures that have been consistently in the mid twenties which has resulted in frost occurring each morning.

The frost is not only slowing down growth of the turf, but it has also put an end to our annual flowers for the year. Over the next several day we will be removing the fried flowers from their beds throughout the golf course.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Getting Bigger By The Day

After six days of hauling nearly 7500 yards of material the driving range tee is beginning to take on its new shape. We still have at least another 5000 yards of material to go which will be used in the north eastern corner of the tee pad. That might sound like a lot a of dirt, but in this area alone there is more than ten feet of fill needed.

We are still hoping to have the majority of the fill completed at the tee by the end of next week, after that the final shaping will take place. The next area of fill will go to the eastern side of the driving range and begin stock piling material for the future par three course.