Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Golf Season is over and Winter season begins.

The season is officially over and looking back, it was a very successful season for us on the golf course maintenance staff. I would have to say that the golf course improved tremendously and we learned a lot more about our golf course. Just because the golfing season is over does not mean that our season is over. There is much more work to be done. Blowing out the irrigation system, topdressing, covering the bunkers, renovations on #9 and a trip to Las Vegas are projects that need to be done before winter is upon us. With all of the work ahead, I was able to keep six members of our crew on until the end of the year. I am very thankful for having them.

Last week the irrigation system was blown out for the winter. The air compressor this year was bigger than last year so the process went much faster. I have a picture of the compressor but the photo came out blurry. Below is a picture of the 13th green during the blowout. As you can see there was a bit of snow but not enough to slow us down.

A funny story from my past. When I was in Casper, Wyoming doing the first irrigation blowout of my career, it had snowed more than a foot the night before. Not knowing what the winters in Casper entailed, we started blowing out the system and what a nightmare that was. During the process we had many heads stick on and would not shut down until the valve was closed. Well finding the locations of the valves in 1 to 3 feet of snow and snow drifts is very difficult. It took us a week to finish blowing out the system. The two superintendents of the other courses in town would drive by for a good chuckle. A few weeks later when the snow had blown away and they had just finished blowing out their systems in a day, we went to lunch and they just laughed at me about doing a blowout in feet of snow. They both told me that each year around Halloween, a storm comes through and dumps some snow and once the snow leaves they blow out the irrigation system. Well thanks for telling me before hand. I will never forget my time in Casper.

The weather has been great for topdressing. Yesterday the staff completed topdressing the tees. It took us about a week to finish which was a few days faster than last year due to the weather. We have started topdressing the greens but have been slowed down due to the slow delivery of sand. Our topdressing efforts are progressing much faster than the hauling so once the sand shows up, the pile is done the next day. I am hoping that we can beat the snow that is coming our way.

Every year we have to cover the bunkers to prevent the sand from blowing out of the bunkers. The sand is imported from Florence, Oregon and since it is beach sand it is very light. We tend to lose a lot of sand during the winter. So our efforts in covering the bunkers is time well spent. We cover the bunkers for two reasons; so that the sand that is blowing out of the bunkers is not deposited on the any of the playing surfaces especially the greens and so that we do not have to purchase as much sand in the spring for replacement.

Construction on #9 has begun. Monday and Tuesday were spent stripping the sod, moving bunker sand and removing any irrigation that would need to be rerouted. The plan for #9 green is to eliminate a large portion of the green side bunker and enlarge the front of the green. The green will increase in size approximately 1500 square feet and what is left of the green side bunker will become a riveted pot bunker. Since we are going into the winter season, we will only do the shaping work and finish the green next spring due to the freezing and thawing that occurs during the winter in Bend. The plan is to get the shaping work done before this Friday since the management staff is off to Las Vegas for a managerial team building session.

Along with all the work we have done and currently doing, our new equipment package arrived yesterday. We received 12 Gators, 12 walkmowers, 2 riding mowers, a bunker rake and a tractor. All of the equipment that arrived is replacing a fleet of equipment that was here during construction and grow-in of the golf course. During that process, equipment is put under more difficult working conditions compared to a finished golf course. The new equipment is greatly needed and will last us for the next five years.

Thanks for following our blog and I hope that everyone has a great week.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Winterizing Update

The winterizing has started and the weather is cooperating to some degree. We have been able to spray the greens and fairways with our preventative winter disease applications. This week the tees are being sprayed and we will begin topdressing the tees as well. This entire process takes a great deal of time but the benefits definitely outweigh the time spent. In the previous entry, a detailed explanation of why we spray and topdress was written. Here are a few pictures to go along with the explanation.

This picture was taken in April of 2009. You can clearly see the areas that were topdressed prior to the winter. The green grass is from the sand absorbing the sunlight and giving off heat.

One of the tees on hole #4. I show this picture every year to the person that is topdressing the tees. Please try not to make any skips while topdressing. This picture was taken in March of 2009. Not green yet but it is starting.

Not me or a person on my crew. These pictures were taken in December of 2007. A decision was made by a Superintendent to continue to topdress. If you really want to know, try and expand the following picture on the driver of the tractor and you will find the answer.

Probably not the safest time to be topdressing with a heavy load of sand and smooth tires.