Saturday, February 28, 2009

Connecting To The Maintenance Building

After more than 20,000 lineal feet of mainline installation, we were finally close enough to the maintenance building to run the new communication lines to it. The communication line has been installed every step of the way in the trench with the new mainline pipe.

The communication line is the wire that connects each of the field satellite controllers to the central computer. Once all of the field splices are complete and the final connection is completed at the central computer, I will then be able to run the new irrigation components from my office.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Real Greens

The time has come to put the pins back in the greens and open them up for play. For each of the last fourteen years we have utilized temporary greens during the winter months of December thru February. The total potential rounds that are affected by the use of temporaries is less than 100, so the impact of this decision is low.

This decision was made to do everything possible to protect and allow the greens to be highly playable early in the season. Utilizing temporary greens has been one of the best things that can be done to help achieve these goals. Perhaps one of the most important benefits from temporary greens is the edge that is given us over Poa Annua encroachment. Poa is a winter annual and can still be active throughout the winter months when all other cool season grasses are dormant. The wear and tear of play during times in which zero recovery of the desired turf species can take place creates openings for the Poa to become established.

Below are the links for two great articles from the USGA that detail the benefits of the use of temporary greens during the winter months.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Spring Cleanup

It seems as if we always go from zero to one hundred each year as spring begins to show signs of being around the corner. On Saturday we were under an inch of new snow cover with no chance of play occurring. Then Sunday comes along and it’s in the sixties and everybody all of a sudden wants to play golf.

At that point in time Sunday the golf course was not physically ready for play because of the last two and a half months of winter build up. This would include things like layers of Pine needles and Elk crap covering most of the playing surfaces.

The golf course maintenance staff spent the entire day on Monday blowing off the debris on the golf course. This cleanup needed to take place before these areas could be mowed and prepared for play.

Blowing off tees

Blowing off greens

The mowing that took place will help start the growing process by removing the dead leaf tissue, which will make way for new growth too occur. The greens had the least amount of leaf removed, while the fairways had a tremendous amount of material that was cut off. The fairways now have a light greenish tinge to them showing signs of what is to come.

First mowing of the greens
Bailing hay on the fairways

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Melting Power

Of the remaining fairway areas that still have snow on them; we are now lending a helping hand to encourage a more rapid melting. We have found yet another use for compost. We have gone out and spread a thin layer of compost over the areas in which snow remains. With the intense sunlight found in Colorado the dark color of the compost quickly absorbs heat and accelerates the melting process.

The complete melt off will take place over several days as each layer of snow melts and then re-freezes. The intense melting that takes place during the day is turned into a negative at night with the temperatures still dipping into the low twenties. This freeze and thaw cycle requires that Compost be added each day until the snow has finally melted away.

Compost spread over snow
Close up of pitting caused by compost

Friday, February 20, 2009

Powered Up

After many delays we finally have the new Booster Station online and pumping water. This new station provides the water service to the upper holes on the golf course that includes; the driving range, #1, #2 and #3.

This area is described as the “high pressure zone” due to the fact that the water is pressurized to 100 PSI in order to adequately operate these upper holes. There are more than 800 heads that run in this high pressure zone alone.

The main pump station (the low pressure zone) is discharging water at 60 PSI and by the time it reaches the top of the hill the pressure has dropped to 10 PSI. From that point forward the pressure will build through gravity as the water works its way down more than 600 ft of elevation change. These huge elevation changes cause dramatic changes in pressure, which was one of the key problems in the old system design that lead to premature failures.

The creation of two separate pressure zones will allow us to operate the entire system at a lower pressure, therefore greatly reducing the problem of future failures.

View of the control panel in the Booster Station

Winter cannons operating in the "high pressure zone"

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sod Sacrifice

There have been times during the irrigation project that decisions have been made based on the long term success of the installation. The most recent decision took place in the form of not stripping sod prior to excavation.

The standard protocol throughout the project has been to carefully remove sod in the areas of pipe installation, to be followed by reinstalling the sod after the work has been completed. Due to the fact that we are pressed for time and now working in areas where the ground is still frozen, sod cannot literally be cut. Even though we are working in southern exposure areas, some of these are in low lying areas that drainage sheet flows across the surface. These areas become saturated during the day and then freeze solid during the evening.

Here is an example of sod being stripped before pipe installation

Rather than waiting for these small areas to thaw out and lose valuable production time we are just blowing through them. After the installation has been completed and the ground is no longer frozen, sod from our nursery will be cut and installed. So far the areas in which sod has not be cut equates to maybe 15% of the newly installed lineal footage. A small sacrifice to ensure that the overall completion date is met.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Back To Digging

After a two month layoff we have once again begun to install mainline piping. The contractor has resumed were they left off last fall on the first fairway of the eleventh hole.

The remaining holes of mainline will be installed in the following sequence; 11,12,16,15,14 and finally 13. This sequence is necessary because we are working around the areas where frost is still in the ground. The mainline was intentional routed in Southern exposure areas for this reason alone, knowing that the installation would be taking place during the time when frost in the ground would be likely.

Additionally the mainline need to reach the twelfth hole ASAP, due to the fact that the new communication cable needs to be connected to the maintenance facility. With out the new communication cable we cannot begin testing the integrity of the wire path, as well as running the new system from the central computer located in my office. Without this, all satellite controllers in the field will have to be run manually which is time consuming and not in the best interest of running the new system efficiently.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Taking Down The Snow Fencing

We have reached the point in time of the winter season where we are no longer concerned about sustaining snow cover. The snow fencing that was installed at some of the more exposed areas on the course has been taken down.

It is at this time of year that the moisture from the snow is welcome, but extended periods of cover are no longer in the best interest of healthy turf. There are areas on the golf course that are beginning to show signs of activity and a slowly starting to green up. This unwanted snow cover not only increase disease pressure, but also will cause a further delay in the green up process.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Scenes Of Winter

Throughout the winter season there have been several opportunities to see the golf course in a different light. Over the last several weeks with the snowfall’s finally arriving, I have managed to capture some beautiful photographs on the golf course. Below are several that display the golf course in a very natural state with snow cover in place.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hooking Up

We have moved closer to actually having power service to the new Booster Pump station that was constructed on the driving range. There have been many struggles along the way with getting power service to the station such as; easement issues, short time frames for installation and once again rock.

During the installation of the new three phase power lines IREA encountered significant rock that could not be trenched through. At this time we had only another 75 feet to go until we would be at the point of connection for the switch. Like everything we have encountered during the irrigation project nothing has gone exactly to plan. After additional delays it was decided that a temporary above ground connection would be the most cost effective solution for getting service to the Booster station.

Within the next 90 days the above ground power poles will be removed to accommodate development, at that time our permanent power connection will be made.

New Transformer In Place

Setting The Temporary Pole

Connecting The Lines

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Take Two

We have now begun to move into the second and final phase of the irrigation renovation work. This process began with the contractor re-mobilizing late this week. I was able to get them back on site a full month ahead of schedule in order to make up for not achieving all of our goals for 2008.

Initially they will be working on their equipment, preparing it for the upcoming work load as well as completing loose end items. Main line installation should resume one week from now on the remaining five holes. After the mainline installation is complete, work will once again begin with the lateral pipe and sprinkler head installation.

With any cooperation from the weather during this time, I feel we should easily be able to meet our contacted completion date of mid June.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Time To Water

As the snow has melted on and around the golf course, it has become necessary for us to add supplemental moisture to the turf. The golf course as a whole will get watered over a specific period of time, but the areas that are of initial focus would be Southern exposure and mounded areas.

These areas are watered by either running large impact heads (agricultural type) or with a hose by hand. Currently we are using portions of both the old and new irrigations system to accomplish these goals.

In Colorado with the humidity being so low, we quickly lose soil moisture by evaporation and wind. A rule of thumb for me has always been, if natural precipitation has not occurred in two weeks then it is time to begin watering. There are some exceptions to this rule such as tree drip lines and Southern exposure areas.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ice Breaker

Even though we went too great lengths in the way of snow removal from shaded fairway areas, we still ended up with several areas where ice cover developed.

After several days in which significant melting occurred the run off re-froze due to the fact it was melting faster than it could be carried away. Pooling of the water took place at all of the lower lying areas, because the internal drainage systems have become frozen and are not allowing water to move through. This has resulted in a handful of areas that now have three to four inches of ice cover.

In the short term the ice will not cause damage to the underlying Bentgrass, but as an extra precaution we have begun to break the ice up so that removal can take place. I have found the best way of removing the ice with out causing damage to the turf below is the use of aerification equipment.

The tines are setup so that they are only going in the ground a couple of inches rather than at the normal aerification depth. This is done so that we are only breaking the ice on the surface, without going deeper in to the turf.

Monday, February 2, 2009

One Year Later

It has been one year since I began to chronicle the maintenance activities at The Country Club at Castle Pines. With more than 300 posts documenting the daily struggles and accomplishments of our operation, this blog has provided great insight to what takes place behind the scenes.

Hopefully in the coming year, I can continue to capture your interest in what takes place day to day and also documenting the conclusion of the irrigation renovation.