Monday, January 25, 2016

#3 Cart Path Extension

Sod and dirt being removed
One of the big project the grounds staff worked on before Christmas was installing a cart path extension at the main exit point from #3 fairway to the cart path leading to the greens complex.  This area has little to no irrigation coverage and almost all the cart traffic for this hole is concentrated at this point.  As you can image, a severely compacted and drought stressed turf is difficult to keep, and so often this area would get thin.  Once an area gets thin, it's not difficult for mud holes to start developing and then the area becomes very rough.  This spot has been a notoriously bumpy ride.  Besides re-sodding this area and adding irrigation, we decided to try something a little different.  Crushed limestone would be brought in and compacted to create a more stable cart path material so turf would not be needed.  First, the old grass and soil were removed and stored at the shop for use elsewhere.  Then, the limestone base was added and compacted with the mini excavator.  Once the material was all added to a depth of 4", it was raked smooth.  We've had several big rains, and lots of cart traffic, since this project was completed and the area has held up very well.  The beauty of the limestone is that when it gets wet, and you drive on it, it gets firmer.  Although this material doesn't look "pretty", it seems like a viable solution for certain situations and if we like how it holds up over the new year, we will likely utilize it in other areas of the golf course.

Limestone being smoothed out with mini excavator
Finished product

Another angle

Tree Work

This picture was taken in 2013 and the trees have only gotten worse
Over the past few weeks, the grounds staff has been focusing on pruning and removing trees throughout the golf course as part of our annual maintenance plan.  Although we don't have as many trees as many courses around the area, we still end up with almost 2-4 weeks worth of work each winter.  The majority of the work is found along property boundaries, pond and creek banks, and where shade or air flow restrictions are found near greens.  One area that we hadn't been in for many years, was the area immediately west of the #1 practice green.  This creek was full of willow and cottonwood trees that was blocking air flow and creating too much shade for the green to survive.  Once again I failed to get a good before picture before we started (I love to just jump right in and get started), however, the picture above was taken back in 2013, and as you can see, the trees west of the green have been an issue for quite some time.  In the summer, when the tree leaves are out, it's like a dense wall of green.  The lack of sunlight and air flow has caused this practice green a lot of trouble over the years and I expect it to perform much better now that it has a better growing environment.
Looking WSW with practice green to left