Friday, February 26, 2021

Irrigation System Upgrades

 The irrigation system upgrades have begun this week!  Yesterday was the first day the contractor was out on the golf course exposing valves in preparation to install the new irrigation control wire for the irrigation system.  Today they began plowing the wire from the shop through the back nine.  The contractor will need a day or so on each hole to install the new wire, pipe and sprinkler heads.  Please be mindful of the crews safety and avoid playing the hole that they are working on.  There will be signage in the pro shop and on the hole they are working on to remind golfers not to play that hole.  We appreciate your cooperation and are excited to get the improved irrigation system up and running soon!

As always, if you have questions or would like to know more about the work being completed, feel free to contact myself or the pro shop for more details.

Thanks and see you out on the course!

Greens/Irrigation Renovation Project

 As you play the golf course over the next few months, it will be hard to miss the red lines that have been drawn around the greens.  These lines show the location of the original greens edges that were built back in 1992.  Locating these edges is the first step of the greens renovation project that is kicking off during the summer of 2021!  We are very excited for this project to get underway.  Expanding the greens is only one of several goals we hope to accomplish with this project.  The main goal of the renovation is to convert the old Bentgrass greens to TifEagle ultradwarf Bermudagrass.  Bermudagrass will give us the ability to have firm, smooth, fast greens every summer regardless of the weather.  Bailey Ranch was designed as a links golf course where firm, bouncy conditions create a focus on the ground game.  Golfers don't often get the full intent of our design since our Bentgrass greens are slow and soft throughout the summer.  Bentgrass can survive our summers, with lots of care, but doesn't allow us to create this desirable playing surface due to us focusing entirely on turf survivability.  Bermuda greens will allow us to optimize our conditions to suit the demands of our members and guests throughout the golf season, when they are here.  Often, our Bentgrass is best from fall through spring, when fewer customers can enjoy it.  

Greens won't be the only improvements being made during this project.  Irrigation upgrades and Par 3 tee box laser grading and sodding are planned as part of the project.  The irrigation system as become increasingly unreliable and accuracy of our water applications has always been an issue.  These upgrades will increase our control and accuracy of how we water which will, in turn, reduce our water usage and improve the overall health and playability of the golf course.  The Par 3 tee boxes have become severally crowned over the decades from divots being taken and sand topdressing being applied.  The tee tops have become so sloped that often I hear from golfers that they have trouble finding flat lies on the tee box.  We are very excited to be able to address this issue while making these other improvements.  

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

#11 Bridge Update


Hard to believe it's been a year since I last updated the blog regarding the bridge on #11.  Although it may not seem like much has happened to the bridge, there is a reason the project was delayed.  Last year, after I wrote the last post, the project went to bid and the bids that came in were over budget.  Therefore, we rejected the bids and went back to the drawing board.  Since this is such an invasive project and we would need to close the back nine while the bridge is out, it was determined that we'd need to wait to do the project during the off-season.  Therefore, we planned to re advertise in fall and begin the work in December of 2020.  

With this in mind, I'm happy to report that the bridge renovation on #11 is underway!  On December 7th, the contractor began working on the project and has already made progress.  Demolition of the west cart path approach and preparations for the west side bridge abutment have begun.  Once the west side bridge abutment is finished, they will demolish the old bridge and begin building the abutment on the east side.  After both abutments are finished, the new bridge will be lifted into place and the new cart paths will be poured on each side of the bridge.  Lastly, any necessary grading and sod work will be done to finish off the project.  Barring weather delays, the contractor expects to finish the project around the end of January.  

We are really excited for this project to get finished and cannot wait to see the finished product when it's complete.  As always, we understand this improvement project is disruptive to the golf experience and appreciate your continued patience while we complete this project!  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact the Grounds Department.

                                                                                                                            Thank you!

Sneak peek of the new bridge!  Can't wait to see it in it's new home!

2020.....A look back.

 While it's safe to say that 2020 has been....let's just call it what it is - a dumpster fire.  All of us have been affected negatively is some way by the pandemic.  Economic uncertainty, health concerns, personal struggles and a contentious election had us all on edge this past year.  Fortunately for Bailey Ranch Golf Club, golf re-emerged as a great recreational activity that was a safe respite from so much misery.  Back in the spring, when everyone was locked down, people looked for safe outdoor activities to help them stay active and have something they could do with family and friends.  Almost overnight, our daily play went up 50%.  As the pandemic persisted, the demand for golf continued throughout the year and Bailey Ranch continued to see increased play all year long.  At the end of 2020, we will have had almost 37,000 rounds.  You would have to go all the way back to 1997 to see more rounds in a calendar year.  A year that, set a record for the most rounds ever in a calendar year.    

I have to pivot here and mention the efforts of our staff.  Despite the heavy increase in rounds, our staff did an outstanding job producing a great product for our members and new guests to enjoy.  The golf course became a great place for people to forget their troubles, even if only for a few hours.  We relished the opportunity to showcase the golf course to so many fresh faces and feedback was very positive throughout the year.  I couldn't be more proud of our staff and all their hard work.  We couldn't possibly have done it without their determination and dedication to our mission.  We are hopeful this renewed interest in golf will carry into the future and look forward to the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead in 2021!

Monday, December 2, 2019

#11 Bridge Update

I’ve had many people ask me what’s going on with the bridge on #11 over the past few months.  It’s clear the condition of the bridge has deteriorated over the past few years, and as you’ve noticed, we’ve been using wood planks and steel plates to make it as smooth as possible while we work on getting it replaced.  Over past few months, we have been working with public works on designing a new bridge and are currently advertising for bids.  The plan is to award bids this week, begin construction in January and have the bridge complete before the golf season begins.  I’ll post more information once we get further along in the process.  Thank you for your patience while we work to get this done.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Great Rain of May 2019!

Image result for stock canoe photo

Everyone get out their canoes and kayaks! Just about the only way you would be able to get around the golf course this morning after the rain we just had.  In all seriousness, the weather in May can be unpredictable and recently we've had more than our share of storms.  In the past 24 hours, we've had almost 8" of rain. May is historically the wettest month of the year, with just over 6" average rainfall, and we surpassed that mark in less than 24 hours!  This is on top of the almost 5" of rain we've received thus far in May.  To say it's been wet lately is a huge understatement.

The tunnel ceiling is almost 10 feet tall. 
After the tornadoes and lightning moved off to the east this morning, we set out to assess the damage.  Besides being incredibly wet, the golf course fared well.  We didn't have any major flooding damage, except for some limbs and miscellaneous debris in some fairways.  The rain came down so fast that it overwhelmed the tunnel pump and we had to ask for help from the Public Works department to get it pumped out.  Our drainage infrastructure handled the water well, it just took most of the day to drain out the excess water off the golf course.

All contaminated sand with mud will have to be removed and replaced
The one part of the golf course that didn't survive the storm was our bunkers.  The majority of the bunkers look like the picture of #5 bunker complex shown to the right.  Significant sand movement
and exposure of the sub-grade.  This will require an extensive amount of work from our crew to get them back into normal playing condition.  Typically, when we get an inch or two of rain, our crew can spend the next day putting them back together and we can move on to another task.  This time it feels different.  The damage so extensive that I feel we will have to completely remove and replace the majority of the sand on the golf course.  This will drastically extend the time to get them back into playable condition. Several dump truck loads of new sand will need to be hauled out and placed into the bunkers.  This process will begin tomorrow and could last all the rest of the week, possibly into next week.  We appreciate everyone being patient with us while we work to restore the condition of the bunkers and please realize that a few other tasks will be deferred so we can focus our resources on making this process go as quickly as possible.   

Monday, May 13, 2019

Spring Update

For those who read this blog regularly and have been looking for new posts, I apologize.  I don't update this blog nearly as often as I should but am trying to continue to post content periodically throughout the year.  Spring is always a busy time of year on the golf course, and this year is no exception.  We have been working on wrapping up some last minute winter projects and preparing the course for the beginning of the new growing season. 

One of the most important spring activities each year is spring greens aeration.  This year, based on our annual soil testing, it was determined that we should aerate our greens twice.  Not wanting to disrupt the golf calendar more than necessary, we decided to complete the two aerations back-to-back.  This minimized the recovery time and greens were back to normal in 10-14 days.  Almost two months have passed since we finished the aeration process and greens have been very healthy and smooth. 
As a part of our yearlong cultivation plan, we decided to go out last week with another mini-tine aeration to continue to pull more organic matter from the putting surfaces.  This aeration is non-invasive and greens never lost smoothness or speed during the process.  Due to the aggressive nature of our aeration plan this year, we are already 80% toward our goal of displacing a minimum of 20% of the surface each growing season.  This will set us up well for the stressful summer months, and will set us up to meet our goal of displacing almost 30% of the surface.  Given the age of our greens, this aggressive goal will allow us to keep the greens healthy, firm and quick more often throughout the season.

Spring green up of Bermudagrass is notoriously slow in this part of the country.  Temperature fluctuations and unpredictable weather always seems to confuse the Bermuda until we get into mid-May.  This year has continued that trend.  We began to green up back in mid-March, but haven't seen active growth until the second week of May.  We are scheduled to apply our first course-wide fertilizer application on May 14th.  This will force the plant to grow along with warming temperatures. 

National Golf Day, in Washington D.C., was on May 1st this year and for the first time, I was able to attend, on behalf of the Oklahoma Golf Course Superintendent Association.  This was my first time attending National Golf Day and I was honored to be chosen to represent the OKGCSA in Washington D.C.  The GCSAA and We Are Golf organize the entire event and have done a great job coordinating congressional meetings and volunteer activities around the Mall for over 200 superintendents from across the country.  We completed needed landscape work around the memorials in the national Mall on Tuesday April 30th and then on Wednesday May 1st, we spread out at the Capitol and meet with over 210 congressional offices about the value of the golf industry.  It felt so rewarding to meet with Senators and Congressmen that represent our great state and tell them about the many benefits of the over 200 golf facilities in Oklahoma.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Please Repair Ball Marks!

Thanks to the hard work of the grounds staff, spring greens aeration is behind us.  Now that the course is back open for play, the grounds staff will shift focus to improving the surface quality of the greens.  The staff will be out several times over the next few days rolling, brushing and mowing the greens to get them as smooth as possible.  During this time, as with any aeration, the surface will be softer than normal and especially prone to ball mark damage.  While the surface is recovering, ball marks will be deeper and bigger than other times of the year.  Please help out everyone else that enjoys the golf course by seeking out and repairing any ball marks on the greens.  We appreciate your cooperation!

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Brush Clearing

While our golf course doesn't have very many trees in play, there are quite a few wooded areas along property edges that require occasional maintenance. Each year, during the off-season, we pick a few areas and clear them out for various reasons.  Could be a request from a concerned neighbor, to improve air flow or sunlight to a green, or to improve the view across the golf course. This year, we decided to tackle several areas throughout the course we have never been to.  Once we had the areas we wanted to clear out identified, we quickly realized that the amount of tree and brush removal was going to be a lot more than we could handle doing the work by hand.  So we decided to bring in a special skid loader attachment specifically designed for clearing wooded areas such as this.  This forestry cutter, pictured above, was the perfect tool to quickly mulch all the trees and shrubs we wanted to remove.  I estimated the amount of work we wanted to complete would have taken our entire crew 2-3 weeks to do by hand and with this machine I was able to do it in 20 hours by myself.  Turned out to be a very efficient way to go!

The first area we wanted to focus on was along 86th street, just west of our shop.  This area is overgrown and views of the golf course are limited during the growing season due to all the vegetation.  Even though the picture to the right was taken during winter, you still can see how big of an impact the vegetation has on the view from the street.  Now that the brush and small trees are all gone, the view of the golf course from the street is much better.


#15 looking at #14 green- before
The next area we focused on was behind #14 green.  I've wanted to remove the trees and brush behind this green for a few years but just couldn't bring myself to spend the time on it until now.  The machine we used for this project is perfectly suited for the small trees and brush that is found in this area.  Despite being heavily wooded and untouched for decades, I was able to grind everything down to the ground in less than 4 hours!


#16 tee looking back to #15
The last area we we cleared out was south of #16 tee box.  This area has long been know to be one of the hottest places on the golf course during the summer, mainly due to the lack of airflow.  I figured that while I had the machine, and we were ahead of schedule, I'd take some time and clear out what I could.  As you can see from the picture on the right, we were able to accomplish quite a lot.  Airflow should be much better from now on and we will also get more sunlight to the tee bank behind the water cooler.  This has been a muddy, bare spot due to the shade over the years and Bermuda should take back over now that there is plenty of sunlight.

Now that the vegetation is removed, the work to convert these areas to native grass will begin.  Many of the native grass species will begin to move in naturally, however, there will be a lot of weed pressure and many of the tree and brush species will attempt to reestablish.  The grounds staff is planning on seeding these areas with Tall Fescue to help speed up the establishment process, and there will also need to be occasional herbicide applications to these areas to ensure trees and annual weeds don't reestablish.  The finished product will be consistent with the rest of the native areas throughout the property.