Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Green Up

There is a great deal of truth in the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, just look at the following time lapse pictures of the golf course.

Back in February I took the first picture of the eighteenth fairway and at that point I got the idea to document the spring green up process via pictures. When you are on site every day you do not see the dramatic changes taking place right in front of you. It is similar to not noticing how much your own children grow until one day they are bigger than you.

Each picture shows subtle changes in the color of the turf based on exposure, grass type and even different varieties of the same grass. Additionally you will notice the leafing out of the scrub Oak and other native plant materials.

February 4th

March 9th
April 6th
April 23rd
April 28th
May 19th

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sprinkler Head Placement Around Greens

All of the heads on the course were sited in with the use of GPS technology to ensure specific placement that optimizes sprinkler head performance. The use of this technology is great 99% of the time, but due to the greens all being different shapes and sizes the layout to has to shift sometimes.

Typical Sprinkler head location just of the collar

Typically the heads are located just off the collar six inches into the first cut of rough. This is done so that the sprinkler can be properly adjusted so that only the green is irrigated during operation.

On several of the greens you might notice the heads were not located as i have just described. These heads were placed away from the green due to the fact that the greens have shrunk and lost their shape over time. The intent is to fully restore these greens back out to their original shape and size similar to what was done on the eighteenth hole last year.

Heads located out away from the current green edge

During the installation great care was taken to relocate original green perimeters so that no piping was installed into the original green surface. Both the heads and pipe were installed out and away from the current greens edge so that when these green are restored the materials will be out of the way of invasive agronomic practices.

The restoration of these greens surfaces will greatly enhance the overall playability of the golf course by creating pins that have been lost over time.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Rolling Closures

Even though we have completed the overall irrigation renovation work, there still are many things that need to be done. Each of the holes over the next several weeks will be closed at some point so that final punch list items can be addressed. This will include leveling of sunken components, repairs and adjustments to all newly installed heads and valves.

Additionally components of the old irrigation system will be removed; these items will include sprinkler heads, valve boxes and satellite controllers. The old piping and underground wiring will be abandoned since it is not seen on the surface or affects the play of the golf course.

These final items that need to be completed are very important to both the short term and long term success of the renovation work. These rolling closures will move throughout the day depending on how much work needs to be done on each individual hole. There is the potential that a particular hole will be closed in the morning and might be open later in the same day. So for that reason it will be hard to accurately predict what closures you might run into a daily basis. Be sure to check with the golf shop or here on the blog for the latest updates.

Your cooperation and understanding of these closures is greatly appreciated and will help to expedite this final process of the irrigation renovation project.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Perfect Storm Is Forming

In the last week we have received over 1.6 inches of rain that is encouraging the rough to grow out of control. In a typical week we are able to completely mow the rough three times, which keeps it short, dense and highly playable.

Over the holiday weekend and into today the rough was not mowed due to the conditions being overly wet and physical damage would occur to the golf course from the machinery used for mowing. This week we will be hard pressed to get the rough mowed once let alone twice. This coming Friday is our fist major tournament of the year (The Tradition) which will keep us off the course for the majority of the day.

In all likelihood we will not be able to catch back up with the rough until next week when we have an uninterrupted work schedule. This rapid growth of the rough is problematic, but at the same time it is great for filling in areas that were damaged by winter kill and the irrigation installation.

Now more than ever there will be a premium for keeping your ball in the fairway and out of the heavy rough. If you are unable to stay out of the rough, be sure to contact the golf shop staff for tips on how to play out of the thick stuff.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Annual Flowers

Over the last several days the annual flower plantings have begun. Currently the beds that are located around the clubhouse and parking lots have been completed. The beds on the course will be installed later today if the weather cooperates.

After a period of about one week after installation we will begin with regular fertilizer applications to help with establishment and to maximize flowering.

Friday, May 22, 2009

We Are Done!!

Well it is hard to believe that this day actually came, but the overall irrigation installation has been completed today. The installation of the new components was done a full three weeks ahead of schedule and I could not be happier.

The contractor will be on site most of the summer working on punch list items and other odd and ends that still need to be addressed. This project like all that are this size and magnitude had it's ups and downs, but overall the end result is something that all parties involved in can be extremely proud to have been a part of.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dialing It In

As the irrigation installation nears the end, the fine tuning of the newly installed components begins. With more than 3000 sprinkler heads installed each of which requires specific adjustments and run times to properly operate.

One of the more labor intensive items that I have been doing is the programming of the central computer that operates the irrigation system. The data input is fairly straight forward, but it is the heads specific details that will make the difference on the overall uniformity of irrigation coverage.

Sprinkler Head Detail in Database

Each sprinkler heads is assigned attributes such as; spacing, gpm, radius, slope, pressure, soil type, grass type and numerous others. These individual attributes figure into the overall calculations the computers does in establishing run times for the sprinkler heads. Our biggest challenge is the fact that we have more 2700 part circle heads that all have different arcs and each one needs to be accurately established. With out this information being correct each head could have as much 10%-50% run time variance which will lead to overly wet or dry conditions depending on which way the variance is. One of the keys in establishing correct arcs will the use of a protractor to identify the true arc of each head.

Using a Protractor

Another challenge we will face is re-nozzling individual heads to deal with our hard lining of the fairways. Our fairways vary in width throughout and this creates challenges for us in establishing the right nozzle setup. The layout of our sprinklers in the fairways in not on a traditonal grid as you would find with most conventional irrigation systems. The fact that we have separated the fairway from the rough creating two different water areas makes using tradtional spacing methods not possible.

These tasks will be incredible time consuming, but in the long run it will be invaluable information that will be used in establishing uniform water distribution.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Grass Line Changes

On the course there have been a couple of grass line changes. The timing of these changes has been perfect due to the fact that the new irrigation was going in and we were able to properly lay these areas out.

Previously these native grasses received some overspray and were unplayable most of the time. The decision was made to convert these areas to mowed rough making them more playable. The areas that have had the biggest changes can be found on holes ten and fourteen. These areas have now been mowed down, fertilized and reseeded in efforts to convert them to a more playable surface.

On the tenth hole the area by the bell often slowed down play looking for balls in this highly visible area. Now as a mowed rough area balls will kick out of this area down towards the green increasing your chances for recovery. On the fourteenth hole the old native cut was overly penal to the higher handicapper and especially the ladies. Previously there was no where for a player to hit the ball if they could not carry the water. Now there is a bail out area to the left of the water in which you can find and play your next shot to the green leaving you still a chance for par.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Say Goodbye!!

Last night was the final operation of the old irrigation system on the golf course. It nearly brought a tear to my eye to watch the sixth hole run for the last time. Well not really, actually I was very happy to see it go.

Over the last fourteen years of my tenure here at CCCP the old system has been good, bad and ugly all at the same time. For the most part the old system served the club well for the first eighteen years, but the last five were not so kind.

Both the club and I are entering into a new and exiting time with a state of the art irrigation system. There is a tremendous learning curve on my part to learn a new software platform as well as the operation of over 3000 sprinkler heads. To put that number of heads in perspective the old irrigation system had only 1600 heads.

The fine tuning process will be taking place for months if not years as I get to know the old golf course in a new way.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

And Then There’s One

Yesterday the irrigation installation on the seventh hole was completed. This leaves us with one hole remaining to complete the overall irrigation renovation project.

Work on the sixth hole should be completed by next Friday, which will actually put us more than two weeks ahead of schedule. Even though we will be complete with the overall irrigation installation, work will still be taking place for some time. Throughout the summer there will be a small crew from the contractor on site working on punch list and other items such as areas of settlement around various irrigation components.

The turning point for this project occurred nearly five weeks ago when the contractor stepped up to the plate and properly staffed and equipped this project. Without that level of commitment we would be in a far different position today.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Scrub Oak Leafing Out

With the onset of warmer longer days the Scrub oak has begun to leaf out. It is at this point each year that we start to achieve active turf growth. The turf may have begun to green up a month ago, but true active growth is just now beginning.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

In Case You're Wondering?

Over the last several weeks there has been a wet spot in the middle of the thirteenth fairway. This is a leak from the old irrigation system that cannot be shut off due non functioning isolation vales.

The leak is coming from the old frost free mainline that has had to stay active until the new installation is completed on the seventh hole. The old mainline feeds the entire back nine along with holes seven through nine. Now that the seventh hole is under construction we can finally shut off the leak with a functioning isolation vale.

The wet area is so saturated it will take several days before it dries out and carts can once again drive on this area.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Final Head Staking

After more than eight months since the irrigation renovation work began, we have marked the final components to be installed. The head locations on the final three holes (6, 7 and 8) have been laid out for our contractor to complete the installation.

We still have a long way to go before considering the project complete, but I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Clean Grass Lines

As the irrigation renovation project moves ahead, we now have an opportunity to improve the ascetics found on the course in several ways.

The old system had a limited number of heads located next to cart paths or a true hard line for irrigation. Because of this there were many areas in which overthrow took place as well as less than adequate coverage. Now we will have true coverage from cart path edge all the way to un-irrigated native grass lines.

Areas in which quality grass was not present next to cart path areas sod has now been installed to give a more finished look. This type of work will take place as the irrigation project moves from hole to hole. Much of this work will take place throughout the season.

Monday, May 4, 2009

On a Roll

Over the last several days the irrigation installation has hit high gear. Over the weekend two more holes, eleven and seventeen were completed. Work has now shifted to the eighteenth hole and this should be completed by no later than Wednesday.

After eighteen is complete there will be only five holes remaining, which are holes six through ten. One of the biggest reasons that we have been able to get this type of production is the fact that two holes can be closed at a time. This has allowed the contractor to safely and productively work without interference from golf.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Native Restoration

Some of the collateral damage from the irrigation installation has been in some of our native rough areas. Most of this disruption was caused when the mainline was installed.

We have begun to go back hole by hole and re-plant the native grass areas. The seed mix contains mainly Hard Fescue and Wheatgrass varieties, so that a true native stand can be re-grown. Establishing native areas is often times a several year process due to the slow growing habits of the grass types. The seed is solely dependent on natural precipitation for germination and establishment.

The process for re-establishing these areas has been to rough up the areas with an aerifier, seed them and then cover with straw for moisture retention. With any luck the spring rains will provide adequete moisture for germination and help us make these areas look like nothing every happened.

Area Prep
Completed Area