Thursday, December 14, 2017

Driving Range Tee Concrete Work

Stripping off sod, prepping for forms
One of the biggest challenges to providing a quality driving range tee surface with Bermuda in this part of the country is that for almost half the year, the grass is dormant and cannot recover from divots.  Traditionally, to overcome this problem, we've overseeded with Perennial Ryegrass to provide an actively growing tee surface.  While the Ryegrass looks great and does provide a great surface for hitting golf balls, it has its disadvantages.  The driving range must be closed for a few weeks in the fall so the Ryegrass can be seeded and grown in.  Once grown in, it must be watered, fertilized, and mowed as necessary.  In the spring it must be treated with a herbicide so the Bermuda underneath can be allowed to recover and be ready for the busy summer golf season.  What inevitably happens each winter, is that we have trouble getting seed to germinate in our divot mix and we still end up little, if any, grass to hit off of by April, and the tee box must forced to an aggressive recovery schedule to meet expectations by early summer.  This dilemma had us searching for a something better. 

Installing concrete forms
Many golf courses in our area use synthetic turf mats, often on top of concrete pads, to create permanent hitting stations that can be used in the off-season.  This not only looks nicer, it provides a firmer base to set the turf mats onto.  Last winter, Bailey Ranch purchased 12 mats to see how the program would be received by our members and guests.  While we had a few detractors, the vast majority of golfers didn't mind hitting off mats during the off-season.  We learned two important lessons from that first year of using mats.  First, we needed a firm surface to hit from.  Standing on the mats while on the tee box was uneven and was softer than we expected.  Feedback from golfers throughout last winter told us as much.  Second, all the subsequent foot traffic around the mats significantly delayed the spring green up of the Bermuda underneath.  The southwest portion of the tee box that had the mats on it didn't green up until almost May.

Installing a permanent surface for our synthetic tees has been on our wish list for several years, and we are so excited to finally have it installed for our members and guests to enjoy. 

See you on the course!

Pouring concrete

Finished product, ready for mats and bag stands!!

Concrete is down

#2 Tee Cart Path Extension Project

Hello again, and welcome to our blog!  In our last post, we showed some initial progress on a cart path extension project near #2 tee.  This was a fun project for our staff to complete and I'm very proud of how it turned out.  Feedback from our members and guests has been very positive. 

In the last blog post, we showed the various steps involved up to setting in the railroad ties and preparing for sod.  Once the soil was installed and graded, sod was then laid so the tee box side of the project could reopen for play.  With the gravel path open, cart traffic was diverted onto the new path extension so work could continue on the landscape bed that would be installed between the new path and the original concrete path. 

The landscape bed portion was the most fun because it was less about function and allowed us to be more creative.  I had a rough idea as to how I wanted the bed to look, but didn't know exactly where I wanted all the rocks and plants to go.  I knew I wanted the bed to be consistent with the landscaping around the clubhouse to continue the look onto the golf course.  One other landscape design intention that wont be immediately apparent is the need for shade.  For many years, golfers enjoyed the shade the two elm trees provided.  The lack of shade from the two dead elms was a recurring topic this last year.  We plan on installing a shade tree in the middle front of the landscape bed next year when more funds are available.  If you look closely, you will see we intentionally left this area bare to a tree can be installed at a later date.

The grounds staff had a lot of fun working together on this project and we look forward to seeing everyone enjoy this area for years to come!