Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Service Vehicle

The spray rig with the tank and booms removed. Ready for the next step.
A month ago, during some winter weather, the staff spent a few days repurposing our old spray rig into a service vehicle for Dan Welborn, our equipment manager.

I've wanted our equipment manager to have a service vehicle for several years but never felt we had a viable option until recently.  A few years ago, we bought a new John Deere spray rig but decided to keep the older Cushman spray rig so we could use it as needed.  Over the past few years, we haven't used it nearly as much as we anticipated and it has sat for over a year collecting dust in our chemical storage room due to costly repairs to the spray module that would be needed.  I decided that it wouldn't make any sense to spend over $3,000 to get it back into condition as a spray rig.  Although the spray module was a mess, the vehicle was still in good mechanical shape.  The staff disassembled the module and we took stock of the condition of the vehicle and decided to proceed with the project.  The picture above shows the vehicle with the spray tank and booms removed.

The most involved part of the project was fabricating the flatbed and attaching it to the frame of the utility vehicle.  As you can see from the pictures to the right, stock steel was purchased and each piece had to be custom made to fit.  The whole process took two days.  Once the flatbed was welded together, it was primed and painted.

The last step was to bolt all the accessories to the flatbed.  The purpose of the vehicle is to allow the equipment manager to quickly react to an issue on the golf course quickly so that equipment downtime is minimal.  Service vehicles will be outfitted differently at each golf course due to different demands.  Each accessory chosen reflects the common problems that Dan will face throughout the season.  A generator to supply power for various hand tools, a compressor for tire work, a tool box full of various hand tools, storage for tire patch kits and other misc. supplies, a vise for various tasks, and a winch mounted under the back for helping machinery when they get stuck.  As you can see from the final picture at the bottom of the post, there is still some space available along the passenger side for additional storage box and some undermount boxes behind the rear wheels.  These will be purchased next year when funding is available.

The staff did a great job taking an old machine that wasn't in use any more and making it useful again.  We are excited to have the vehicle in our fleet and expect it to be very useful throughout the year.

All painted! Ready for tools

Finished product!

Golf Industry Show

I'm a little late in writing this post, but a few weeks ago, Michael, my assistant, and I were fortunate to be able to attend the Golf Industry Show in San Diego, California.  The GIS is the annual Golf Course Superintendent's Association of America trade show and educational conference.
Lots to see w/ over 250,000 sq.ft. of exhibitor space

The Golf Industry Show is the place to network with industry peers across the country and the world.  The numerous educational seminars offer a wide variety of topics for superintendents to sharpen their skills and the trade show offers all the latest and greatest the manufacturers and suppliers have to offer to the industry.  It never fails in the few short days that I get to attend, I come away with something new to offer our club.  Whether it's new techniques to improve course conditions, or a new way to complete an in-house project more effectively, meeting new friends or catching up with old friends, the GIS offers many ways to come home invigorated and mentally ready to give the upcoming season my best effort.

Goodbye San Diego!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Bluebird Nestbox Program

One of the biggest reasons I got into the golf business is to work outside and enjoy nature.  I firmly believe golf courses are an integral part of the environment and are often the only place where wildlife can live as communities continue to grow.  As the golf course superintendent at Bailey Ranch Golf Club, I have a direct impact on our facilities environmental footprint, and I take that responsibility very seriously.  There are numerous ways we, as a facility, work towards environmental stewardship such as: water conservation, soil testing, scouting for disease and pests, reducing maintained acreage, grass buffers along pond banks to improve water quality and encouraging wildlife habitat.

Wildlife habitat is one of the best ways a golf course can benefit the environment.  With this in mind, one of my big initiatives last year was to begin a bluebird nest box program.  With the help of the Oklahoma Bluebird Society and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, we constructed and placed 12 nest boxes throughout the golf course.  We then monitored the boxes throughout the year so we could track any progress.  At the end of year, we submitted our results to Oklahoma Department of Wildlife for their Bluebird Nest Box Survey.  We just got their final report and it seems that Bailey Ranch Golf Club was the only entity, public or private, that reported any results in Tulsa County.  Although we only had three nests and 24 fledglings, I'm pleased with the progress we made in our first season. As the program continues to grow, our goal is to have nests in every box each season, and eventually expand the program into other areas throughout the property.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Irrigation Work on #4 Tee

Today, the grounds staff reconfigured an irrigation station between the forward tee and the fairway on #4. This area has always had poor irrigation coverage and therefore the quality and density of the turf in this area, has been largely dependent on the weather.  It was decided that adding a head, and moving an existing head, would improve the coverage and make it easier to grow better turf in this area.

 The picture below describes the work that was completed.  The red lines and circles show the current layout of the system, with the lines showing the pipe locations and the filled red circles showing the location of the full circle (360 degree) heads.  The yellow lines and circles show the new head and pipe layout with the half circles describing part circle (180 degree) heads.  A part circle head allows us to irrigation along the path while not spraying the houses left of the path, and also watering the in-play Bermuda and not the native along the right side.

Monday, February 15, 2016

January Course Update

Most of January was perfect for golf
Despite my intentions to create more content on this blog last year, I had trouble either finding inspiration or time to write.  This year, I plan on not only writing project updates and articles on miscellaneous items on the golf course, but I am planning on doing an update at the end of each month to recap what went on during the month.  Having said all that, I'm already behind as it's mid-February and I'm just now sitting down to write the January update.

January, weather wise, started off really well with mild days and relatively warm nights, then during the middle of the month, we had 2-4 inches of snow.  After about a week, the snow melted and the rest of the month was very nice.  During the week or so we had some snow and rain, the staff spent their time indoors working with Dan, our equipment manager, building a service vehicle.  The picture to the right is our old sprayrig that we've taken the tank and booms off.  Then we made a custom flatbed that attached to the frame.  Once the flatbed was built, we outfitted it with some tools that Dan typically needs when making repairs in the field: compressed air, hand tools, jack, tow chains, etc.  This will allow Dan to be more responsive when repairs are needed, reducing down time.

Staff removed a lot of growth behind #6, blocking view from street
The rest of the month, the crew spent working on trees as part of our annual tree management program.
Although we do not have as many trees as some other courses in the area, we still end up needing to spend almost 2-4 weeks each winter pruning and removing trees throughout the property.  Most of the tree work ends up along the creek/pond banks and property edges.  These areas are where most of the removals take place.  Also, in-play trees must be pruned up for mower and cart clearance concerns.

Removed trees to improve view from 96th St. and Mingo
There are also a few trees each year that are carefully chosen for removal if they interfere with our ability to manage quality turf.  Most often this occurs near tee and green complexes.  This year, several large trees were chosen in the back nine on holes #12, #14 and #15 because of shade or air flow issues.  The following pictures show some of the work that was completed during January.

Shade from tree in middle of picture neg.affected R side of green

Once the tree is down, the real work begins!

Large cottonwood removed behind #14 black tee. Roots
growing into teeing ground
Thin turf under tree right of #15 green