Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Course Update for December

The beginning of December ushered in typical winter temperatures.  As stated in previous posts, the fall had been unusually warm until Thanksgiving.  After that, more seasonal cold temperatures set in and frost delays became a daily occurrence.  Since the greens were frosty each morning, and greens set up could not be performed, the staff used this down time to begin some drainage projects.  We'd been anxious to get started on these projects, but couldn't dedicate the time needed while the weather was so mild and the course was so busy with members and guests.  
The first project we started was the wet area in front of #10 green in the approach.  This area was originally believed to be an irrigation leak, but was after some digging, it was determined to be a surface water drainage issue.  A drain basin, was installed in front of the green-side bunker, and the approach was regraded to feed the surface water to the basin.  This project was explained in greater detail in a previous post that can be found here.  

After that project was complete, the staff moved on to another drainage issue we've dealt with for some time.  The wet spot on the right side of #11 fairway.  This area is about 60 yards away from the green down the hill.  The source for the moisture has been determined to be a homeowner up the hill to the west.  After numerous attempts to remedy the issue with the homeowner, we determined that the best course of action was to install a catch basin in the native area.  This will get the surface water below ground which will allow the area to dry enough to be maintained and playable again.  

Once we completed the drainage project on #11 fairway, it was almost Christmas.  Typically, the last two weeks of December are pretty quite in our department.  Most of the staff are taking time off to be with their families.  This is a very important time to recharge the body and mind before another busy year on the golf course gets underway.  After the new year begins, and everyone is back from vacation, the staff will ramp back up working on projects.  There will be 90 days until the beginning of the 2017 golf season and the staff will be "on the clock" to get all our projects accomplished.

The last week of December ended with some very nice weather.  This mild weather coupled with many members and guests taking time off for the holidays caused us to be very busy.  This allowed December to end on a high note, financially speaking.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Drainage Work on #10 Approach

A few weeks ago, the grounds staff completed a drainage installation in #10 approach.  Over the past few months, this area has been very wet.  Initially we suspected an irrigation leak due to how suddenly it seemed to appear.  However, after digging up the irrigation system to look for a leak, we realized the ground became drier the deeper we dug.  This indicated to me that we had a surface drainage problem and that we needed to give that water somewhere to go.

The decision was made to install a drain basin in front of the green-side bunker and reshape the approach to funnel the water into the new basin.  The first task of the project was to remove the sod so the necessary dirt work could begin.  As you can see from the picture above, the sod was cut, rolled, and removed.  The next task was to begin installing the drain basin.  The design for the basin was completed in-house based on survey measurements taken previously.  Once we had all the reference points for the laser level, the dirt work began.  After the basin was installed, the trench for the drain pipe was cut.    Lastly, all trenches and holes were back-filled and the sod was replaced.

Right now, this area is kind of easy to spot.  The grass height is too tall in the approach and the whole area looks a little sandy.  Both of these issues are cosmetic and will work out with time.  As will any sod project, this area will play as ground under repair until further notice and we ask that you keep out as much as possible.  If you have any questions about this project or anything else, just let us know.  Thank you.

Course Update for November

Now that winter has set in, and Christmas has come and gone, I've got a little more time to spend in the office catching up on some office work.  The weather was so nice in November and the golf course was so busy, there wasn't much time to spend updating this blog.

The temperatures at the beginning of November were very mild.  The warm fall weather pattern we had in October continued well into late November.  This meant we had a lot of great days for playing golf and growing grass.  The short Bermuda found on our tees, fairways and surrounds held it's color up to Thanksgiving, but stopped growing by mid November.  Our last official mowing on tees, fairways and surrounds was on November 10th.  The Bentgrass, however, thrived in the cold nights and warm days and playing conditions were perfect throughout the month.  By the end of the month, the temperatures kept creeping down and growth on the greens had almost stopped.  On November 19th, we recorded our first official freeze of 30 degrees.  This shocked the taller rough into dormancy, but the shorter grass on our tees and fairways held some green leaf tissue until November 28th, when freezing fog set up widespread heavy frost.  All our Bermuda went into dormancy after that.

One of the highlights of November, for me personally, is always Thanksgiving.  A time when family gets together to spend some quality time sharing food and football.  Each year, the staff at Bailey Ranch sits down to a wonderful Thanksgiving feast to share in our accomplishments and bond.  This year, our Food & Beverage Manager, Dawnie Aurelich, out did herself and the food was amazing.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Course Update for October

This past October was unusually warm compared to previous years.  Gary McManus, the state climatologist, with the Oklahoma Climatological Survey said that the statewide average temperature was over 6 degrees above normal, making it the fourth warmest October in history.  As you can see from the picture on the right, the entire state was affected.  The total precipitation fell about 50% below normal levels also.  This dry, warm weather felt like having two Septembers.  The mild weather gave us plenty of great growing weather for the turf, not to mention ideal weather for our members and guests to get out and enjoy plenty of golf.

Due to this nice warm weather, the turf throughout the course has held up very well, especially the cool-season Bentgrass on our greens.  The optimum growing temperature range for Bentgrass is 50-80 degrees, and because of this, the greens are at their best right now.  Excellent density and color with minimal growth have the greens rolling as smooth and fast as they've been all year.  

Despite being over 50% understaffed during October, the crew has done an amazing job getting the course ready each morning and still working hard to complete various tasks that must be done to get the course ready for winter.  Pre-emergent herbicide applications, covering greens fans, pump house winterizing, irrigation repairs, ornamental grass plantings, cart path repairs, and blowing leaves, are just some of the tasks that were completed in October.  The extended growing season should set up the golf course to go into winter as healthy as we've ever been.  This bodes well for a fantastic start to the 2017 golf season, baring any severe weather this winter.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Driving Range Mats

Starting this week, we ask that all members, and guests, restrict their practicing on the driving range to the artificial turf mats located on the back of the tee box.  Each year the winter golfing season produces a lot of great golfing weather.  This causes a lot of divots to accumulate on the driving range.  The dormant Bermuda cannot regenerate and by spring, the surface of the range is completely used up.  Often, by March, there is almost no turf left to hit off of.  By hitting off the mats during the winter, we can ensure a full, dense, and divot free, surface that is ready for the 2017 golf season.  We appreciate your cooperation and as always, if you have any questions, please contact anyone in the pro shop, or grounds department.  Thank you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Course Update for September

Sorry, I'm a little late for my September course update, but since our seasonal staff left to go back to school, it's been hectic around here.

September has always been a transition month were the first half of the month still feels like summer and the last half starts to feel more like fall.  This past September was very similar.  The only real difference was that we missed several good chances at some rain.  As you were likely aware, we had a minor drought over the past few months.  Several heavy downpours have missed us to the south, east and north, leaving us with only 2.3" total for the month.  This is about half of what we average during September.  The lack of rain didn't help our irrigation water supply issue we've been dealing with all summer and left us still hoping for a big pond filling rain.

Aside from the weather, several noteworthy projects were completed during September.  Our annual fall greens aeration was conducted on September 13th and 14th.  As usual, our staff did an incredible job and I couldn't have been happier with the finished product.  The other big project that was going on was the pond dam project on #3.  Based on the amount of questions and comments I received during the project, there seemed to be a considerable amount of interest.  Everyone seemed interested in the process and were excited to see the finished product.  For those who are interested in more information about this project, I've written a more detailed blog post that can be found here.

Monday, October 10, 2016

#3 Pond Dam Construction Complete

Pond dam before project.
Last Friday, Lowry Construction officially completed the dam reconstruction project on #3, and the #3 tee complex was reopened for regular play on Saturday October 1st.  Over the past month, this project has been the source for the most frequently asked questions while I've been on the course.  It's been exciting to see the project progress from beginning to end and we couldn't be happier with the final product.  Since not many people got to see the daily progress like I did, I've decided to share some pictures I took along the way.  Hopefully you'll find them interesting.  Enjoy.

Once dirt and limestone rocks were removed,
the contractor chiseled into bedrock
to prepare for weir footing.

The footing was chiseled 2' into the bedrock,
then a rebar frame is installed.  
Once the rebar was installed, concrete for
the footing was poured.
The footing cured for almost a week, then the wall forms were installed and
concrete was poured.

After 3 days, the formed were removed and we had "a wall in a hole"
as one of our members put it.  At this point it's still hard to visualize
what the finished product will be.

With all concrete work completed, the contractor got busy installing the clay
on either side of the wall.  Starting to look like something now.

All of the limestone that was discovered early in the project was reused to
stabilize the pond banks and give the downstream side more character

Finshed the project just in time to get a big rain and fill the pond behind the weir.  Couldn't be happier with how it turned out.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

#3 Pond Dam Construction Project

Yesterday, was the first day of the pond dam reconstruction project on #3.  The earthen dam between the middle pond and lower pond at #3 washed out several years ago.  Early on during the planning phase of this project we discussed not just replacing the dam with clay, but installing a concrete weir with native rocks so this hole would have a water feature.  Design plans were created and the necessary funds were included in this years budget.  The project kicked off yesterday and is expected to last up to 90 days depending on the weather.

While the contractors are working on this project, hole #3 will play as a temporary par 3.  The tees have been moved to the fairway to ensure the safety of the construction workers while they are on site.  The picture on the right shows the signage located at the tee complex.  The aerial photograph pictured below depicts the general location of the work site relative to the in-play areas in the vicinity.  Please note that in order for the project to be completed on schedule, the contractor will be working while golfers are in the area.  We appreciate your patience and understanding while we work to complete this project.