Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Winterkill Recovery

One of the biggest unexpected jobs that we had to contend with this summer during our greens renovation was repairing the winterkill damage that occured this past winter.  As you may recall back in February, we spent over 300 hours below freezing, almost breaking a 40 year old record for consecutive hours below 32 degrees.  Not to mention, the snow we did get during the coldest part of that two week event blew off many of our north slopes and hill tops.  This exposed the Bermudagrass to some of the coldest air we've seen in a generation (-14 actual).  Predictably, many areas on the fairways and roughs didn't survive.  So, along with the work required to prepare and grow in the new tees, greens and collars, we had to sod cut, remove the dead turf and resod many areas throughout the golf course.  I'd estimate we lost almost 10% of the bermuda on the golf course (8 acres). Our team has spent hundreds of hours this summer laying sod with the goal to be filled in by opening day.  As of today, our team has laid over 60 pallets of sod on fairways and surrounds.

As you can see from the pictures below, we are still growing in areas and will likely not have all the repaired turf grown in to the extent you can't see the sod lines.  There will be visible sod lines and/or sprigged areas that will need time this fall to fill in before winter.  Please help us by keeping carts off these areas until they finish filling in.

Damaged turf was sod cut and removed










#11 all ready for new sod!



Once new sod is laid and begins to root, it is shaved down to height



















After a few weeks, the new sod acclimates to the new cutting height. Sod lines will be gone by next summer


Wednesday, August 11, 2021

TifEagle Grow-in

 One of the most critical phases of the project was to sprig then grow in the new grass on the greens.  As I've shown in previous posts, an enormous amount of work went into preparing the new greens for sprigs.  This work can be seen here.  Once the new sprigs are down, the grow-in phase begins.  As you can see from the photos below, this grass gets settled over the first week or two then takes off.  It has been so impressive to watch this grass spread and fill in so quickly.  Within the first 6 weeks, the greens went from sand with sprigs to 100% coverage.  I can't say enough great things about the vigor and resiliency of this grass.  

Now that the greens are 100% filled in and we about 3 weeks out from opening day, we are phasing from grow-in mode to maintenance mode.  We are backing off fertilizing, increasing mowing and rolling frequency, verticutting and topdressing each week to work on surface texture and smoothness.  The team has been working hard all summer and we can see the finish line approaching.  They are determined to make these greens as good as they can be for opening day and I have no doubt our members and guests will be pleased with the finished product.  I know I am!  

Putting Green Day 1










Putting Green Day 7










Putting Green Day 28    

















Putting Green Day 52


















Putting Green Day 76


Wednesday, June 23, 2021

#1 Putting Green

You can see the original green dug out and the new green marked in orange paint

One of the main objectives for our greens renovation project was to increase the size of the putting green behind #1 tee box.  This green has long been a popular spot for golfers to spend some time while they wait for their tee time at the first tee.  On busy weekend mornings, there can be quite a few people trying to use this green.  The biggest issue we've had over there is that the green is way too small.  If more than a few people try to use it at a time, it gets too crowded to be useful.  I knew if we were going to keep the green, we needed to take the opportunity and make it more functional.  The new green will be considerably bigger than the old one.  As you can see from the picture above, this green will increase in size from approximately 900 sq.ft. to 3,000 sq.ft!  With such a large increase in size, we expect to be able to have 2-3 holes on that green and be able to handle a lot more golfers, which will help give everyone somewhere to practice on those busy weekend mornings.  We cannot wait to unveil this new practice green to our members and guests this fall!

   

Excavating the new green cavity








Green cavity dug out and ready for drainage and gravel


















Installing new drainage pipe and 4" gravel layer


















New practice green all finished and sprigged!


Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Sprigs are down!

Sprigs are spread by hand to ensure uniform coverage
 The first phase of TifEagle bermudagrass sprigs, from Pike Creek Turf, went down on the putting green, chipping green, #9, #10, #17 and #18 last week!  Since then, we've been using our new sprinkler heads around those greens to keep the surface wet and will do so for the next 10-14 days until we begin to see root and shoot initiation.  Then we'll begin backing off the amount and frequency of water until we get to full coverage.  Talking with colleagues that have gone through this process before, it sounds like we will mow them for the first time around the beginning of week 3!  It's hard to believe that in 3 weeks, we will go from what you see now to a green that needs mowed.  We will also begin fertilizing the greens aggressively during the second week and will continue for the remainder of the grow-in process.  The folks at Pike Creek tell me that we should expect to see 100% coverage of the greens in approximately 45 days.  Then it's all about improving density and lowering the mowing height to improve surface quality until we open Labor Day weekend!

Once spread, they are cut in with this machine to ensure soil contact









Finished product!  Doesn't look like much, but will begin to root in and grow like crazy in a week or so











Monday, May 24, 2021

#12 Green Expansion

One of the goals of this greens renovation, besides expanding all the greens back to their original dimensions, is to take the opportunity to soften some slopes and flatten pinnable areas to make the greens more playable.  One of the bigger adjustments we have planned is to increase the front pin area on #12.  We are adding approximately 1,250 square feet to the front of the green which will substantially improve accessibility from approaching shots and make putting on this pin area much more feasible.  As you can see in the picture above, Fleetwood is beginning to remove the soil and make the shape of the new front edge.  Once the soil is removed, they will begin installing the necessary drainage pipe, gravel and greens mix to match the existing greens profile.  Over the next few days, they will complete this work so the whole green can be rototilled and the rest of the process can continue as we get ready to spring these back nine greens sometime late next week.  We are excited to complete this work and I'll be sure to post some pictures of this area once the final contours are set and we're ready for sprigs!

Greens expansion on front of #12


Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Greens/Irrigation Renovation Update

All treated turf was cut 1" deep
On May 3rd, with the irrigation phase of the project successfully complete, Fleetwood Services came to town to begin the greens renovation phase of the project. May 3rd was, not only the day we closed to the public for the summer, but was also a big day for our team. We went out and sod cut all greens, collars and tee boxes as the first step in the project. This ended up being about 280,000 square feet with only 4 sod cutters and 6 guys taking turns! It only took them 2.5 days and I couldn't be more proud of their efforts. 

Once the sod was cut, the contractor began loading all the cut turf and hauling it to the parking lot to be store for removal off-site. The following week, another crew showed up with more equipment so they could move twice as fast through the process. As of today, 5/19, they have 6 greens ready for sprigs, 6 more that are about 7-10 days from sprigs and the last group of greens are a few weeks away from sprigs. This puts us on time or slightly ahead of schedule. Now we just need to keep the rain from complicating things. The weather forecast doesn't look good, but the guys at Fleetwood will do their best to carry on despite the weather. 
Cut turf is removed to prepare sprigbed


Our team is excited to begin the grow-in phase of the greens project! We've been planning and organizing supplies and materials for weeks leading up to this and the new grass will be here before we know it! I'll make sure to update the blog at least a few more times throughout the project to be sure everyone stays up to date. As always, if you have questions regarding the project, leave a comment, or contact the pro shop. Thanks, and can't wait to see everyone on the course this fall!

Tee boxes cut and stripped for new sod

Bermuda contamination removed from inside edge of green



















Rototilled 8" deep 2 directions


















Final shaping complete and ready for sprigs!


#11 Bridge Project Complete!

It's been a hectic few months, since we rolled right from the bridge replacement project into the greens and irrigation project, but I wanted to take a minute and provide the final update on the bridge project now that it's complete. In early February, American Native Ventures, put the finishing touches on the bridge project and it was opened up to cart traffic on February 5th. We couldn't be happier with the outcome and look forward to having this bridge for many decades to come!

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.