Friday, December 5, 2014

Divot Pattern Reminder

Now that the Bermudagrass on the driving range is fully dormant, the divot pattern used by golfers will become increasingly important due to the lack of recovery by the turf.  Typically, the Bermudagrass will not grow aggressively enough for quick recovery from divots until late April.   This fairly long dormancy period, coupled with the intermittent mild weather we experience, can leave the quality of the driving range tee in less than ideal condition.

As I've mentioned before, the divot pattern in the graphic to the right, is the preferred pattern all year long.  It allows for quicker recovery through the growing season and allows us to maximize the dormant turf throughout the off-season.

The grounds staff would ask that you please follow this simple technique to preserve as much grass as possible so that we can maintain the highest quality turf possible until the plant begin to recover in spring.

Monday, November 24, 2014

#15 Cart Path

Removing old cart path
If I asked anyone who plays at Bailey Ranch where the roughest piece of cart path was on the golf course, I'm sure #15 would be at the top of everyone's list.  It's no secret that the area at the bottom of the hill has been a problem for longer than I'd like to admit.  Several years ago, this portion of the cart path began to settle and asphalt was brought in as a temporary solution to smooth out the cart path.  This seemed like a logical solution at the time, but admittedly coming back to this project to fix it the right way was lost in the shuffle over the years with regarding project priorities.  Since there are fewer projects on the list, and with the growing season behind us, I decided last week to make this project a priority.

Last week, staff began the process of removing the old asphalt and concrete to make way for the new material.  Once the old cart path was out of our way, forms were installed and new gravel was added, then compacted.  Long pieces of re-bar steel were laid in a grid pattern on top of the gravel to give the new concrete additional strength and guard against cracking in the future.  On Thursday of last week, the new concrete was poured and left to cure over the weekend.  Today the staff removed the forms, back filled soil along each side of the path and laid fresh sod to complete the project.  

I couldn't be more proud of the work the staff put into this project.  Although this kind of project may be a little outside their normal scope of work, they all worked together and the finished product speaks for itself.      
New gravel base being compacted
Brushing the concrete provides traction

Finished product

Friday, November 14, 2014

More Drainage

Digging up box right of #6 green
This off-season, one of the major objectives for the grounds staff will be drainage work.  Over the past twenty years, much of the drainage infrastructure that was installed, has aged and is in need of repair.  The staff will not only be adding new drainage to certain areas around the course this winter, but adding, repairing and leveling existing drainage.

One of the projects that has been on my list for quite some time, has been raising drainage boxes in basins throughout the golf course.  The majority of these drain boxes have sunken so far down that they have made it difficult to mow without damaging the turf and/or mowing equipment.  As you can see in the picture above, each box must be dug up, raised up to grade, back filled, then topped with new sod.  Drain basins in green surrounds are our first priority.  Once these are complete, the staff will move on to the remaining basins.

Finished product left of #6 green

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

#6 Drainage Upgrade

New basin going in
Last week, our irrigation technician, Joe Miller, spent some time upgrading the drain basin on #6 fairway.  We've had trouble with the basin washing out and eroding over the years.  It was determined that the basin would need to be enlarged to handle the water that flows into the basin from the tee box and upper portion of the fairway.  Since this basin sits approximately half way down the hole, there is a fair amount of acreage that this basin must drain. The original drain basin, which is in the top of the picture to the right is a 12" square box that is designed for 4" drain pipe.  There is 6" drain pipe already in the ground, so all that water coming down hill had to squeeze through that smaller box and continue down hill.  It's no wonder this box failed.

Joe tore out the old box and built a custom 18" circular basin which will handle significantly more water.  We shouldn't have any more problems with water backing up and pooling in this basin.  Yesterday Joe dressed up the basin with new sod and put up some rope to keep people out of the area.
Finished product

Friday, October 31, 2014

Goodbye 2014 Growing Season

Based on the forecast low temperature of 27 degrees for tomorrow morning, I think it is safe to say goodbye to the 2014 growing season.  The low temperature, calm winds, and dew point should coincide with a heavy frost which will force the Bermuda to shut down pretty quickly.  This time of year is a big transition period for us as we park our mowing equipment until spring, cut back on our set up schedules and say goodbye to our seasonal staff.

I find myself looking back, at the season as a whole, and am very proud of our staff, and the work they've accomplished.  I feel like we were able to provide a great product throughout the year and had a strong finish.  I can't wait to tackle some projects this winter and get geared up for another great year in 2015!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

#18 Drainage Project

Checking the grade of trench
This afternoon, the grounds staff completed the installation of a new drainage structure along the cart path at #18 tee box.  The staff installed three catch basins in key areas along the path to allow the surface water to move underground.  The cart path has a subtle low spot which kept the water from naturally moving downhill and out of the way.  Water would collect in low spots along the path as a result.  Golfers and maintenance staff that would pull off the path would cause these wet spots to turn into potholes.  Once the potholes developed, the areas would never dry up resulting in a persistant problem.

Now that the drainage is in place, the cart path edge will stay dry and we shouldn't have any problems with potholes any more.  Since we have fresh sod down, I would like to remind everyone to please use caution while walking to and from the cart path, as the sod has not rooting into the ground and it could be unstable.  The area has been roped off to keep carts on the path and we ask that golfers slow down as they drive through this area.  With your help, we can keep the area as nice as possible.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask. Thank you.

Drainage installed,  trench being backfilled
New sod laid over trench

Finished product
Potholes along path before project

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Detail Work

Joe leveling valve boxes and sprinkler heads at #13 green
Cooler temperatures and longer nights have significantly slowed down the growth rate of the Bermuda.  This has allowed the seasonal staff to allocate more of their time to detail work.  Topdressing divots on tee boxes, edging drain basins, leveling valve boxes, string trimming, back filling pot holes along cart paths, blowing divots and leaves off fairways are just a few tasks we are finally able to address.  Individually, these details may not be that noticeable, but cumulatively, they can have a big impact on the overall appearance of the golf course.  The staff has done a phenomenal job over the past few weeks getting some of these tasks completed.  
Joe's finished product on #2 green

Crisp edge around sprinkler heads
Sharp edge around basins

Deep Tining Greens

This morning, the grounds staff has begun deep tining greens.  As you can see from the picture, there is minimal disruption to the surface, and all that is required is a light roll afterward to get them smooth again.  The holes that are left behind are only 1/4" wide, but go 8 inches down.  These channels will not only allow water to freely drain down through the profile, but also increase oxygen content at the bottom of the root zone.  This increase in drainage and oxygen content, combined with the cooler weather, should encourage deep rooting as we phase into late fall/early winter.

This process, although very important, does take quite a long time to complete.  The tractor can only travel about a half-mile per hour.  We hope to have all the greens done by Thursday afternoon.  During the next two days, we realize we will be out amongst golfers.  Our staff will do their best to remain courteous while staying productive.  We appreciate your patience as you make your way through the course over the next few days.

As always, if you have any questions about the process, or the benefits, please don't hesitate to ask.  Thank you.