Written by Jerry Richard Friday, 24 May 2013 14:20
It has been a smorgasbord of weather this spring as now we have drifted back into very cold conditions. We did not recieve much rain all week, certainly not what was anticipated so the course is playing well. The greens were a bit slow Thursday due to the aeration and more so the dull cutting blades we tend to get when a lot of sand is spread on the greens. Mark will have our 14-blade reels sharpened and ready to go after the last of the sand is pushed downward.
It's tough to start a project and then take a while to finish, but that is the essence of in-house work. Aeration took priority this week, scooping all our resources until yesterday when the bunker liner and edging was installed on #7. Sod is ordered and we can schlep the sand into the bunker now at our convenience. Judging by how many shots landed into this new cavity on Thursday, it should be a formidable hazard. It's been fun watching this project take shape.
Written by Jerry Richard Thursday, 23 May 2013 09:57
While we were under the looming threat of rain, the greens, tees and fairways were aerated by our fine staff. Players will notice that we did not pull cores this time due to the threat of wet weather, the good being that the holes will heal quickly, the bad is that we did not remove organic matter for any long-term gain.
Aeration week is always a scramble and this time was no exception. We run around jumping from one job to the next with this process: cut greens, aerate greens, verticut greens, cut greens again, double topdress greens, double mat greens, roll greens, fertilize greens, then water in greens and change the hole before putting the hole back into play. While all that was happening, we punched tees and took advantage of the lack of play to spray them with surfactant (wetting agent). Fairways were sliced after all sprinkler heads and drains were flagged off. After slice aerification, staff who were on a previous job came in and edged all the flagged items, then the fairways were mowed in the direction of the aerification.
If we had more staff we could have done more including spray around trees and edge bunkers, to take advantage of having 9 holes closed, but we are not set up for that many staff. Both days we opened the closed nine by 3pm, allowing later players to play all 18 holes. We did establish the intermediate rough this week also, putting 2 cuts down each day while our turbine blower got rid of the chafe at the same time. I have been a bit under the weather this week and so I do thank my team for stepping up and doing such a fine job (as they always do).
John Atkinson Sr. aerified all 18 fairways.
Written by Jerry Richard Thursday, 16 May 2013 14:54
As much as we would like to think otherwise, our golf course is going through the rigours of age and deterioration every day. Every feature including greens, tees, bunkers, ball washers, flagpoles, mowers, tractors and hundreds upon hundreds of items are depreciating constantly. The rate at which items wear vs. the rate at which they are replaced is never equal, but businesses that can mitigate the aging process the most will come out looking the best. While some of the renovation work we are doing is adding new features such as tees, bunker renovation work is not only changing the strategy of holes due to growth in trees, the addition of a pond like on #7 or fundamental changes in the game, but tired old bunkers are being updated and freshened to ease some of the wear and tear. Doing a few bunkers each year will ensure that a major expensive job in the future is avoided.
Below is a good example of wear on a relatively new feature, the bunker on #1 which is about 6 years old. Crab grass and grubs took over the "bull nose" feature of this bunker which is quite challenging to maintain given it's severe grade and narrowness. While we had fresh nursery sod on site, we resodded this probiscus to look new and begin the process again.
Written by Jerry Richard Thursday, 16 May 2013 10:03
While all of the mini excavator work was completed last week, the final touches to the bunker on #7 and the tee on #9 are being completed this week under near perfect weather conditions. We were able to cut in the edges and begin installing the drain into the bunker as well as grade the surrounds. Work will continue later today to drain, liner tarp and eventually lay in the sand. Soddding won't happen until next week. We will slowly start establishing the new section of fairway to the right of the new bunker, and the stump holes will be gilled and seeded (or sodded) as well. All this work does take time, especially when you are maintaining a golf course at the same time.
The new red tee on #9 is nearing completion. On Wednesday we leveled and raked off the rocks and debris, and then lined it up with the center of the green. We are planning to sod this tee late next week if everything goes our way. The hole will measure 115 yards from the stone when complete, and this will finally end the red tee deck project.
Written by Jerry Richard Saturday, 11 May 2013 11:03
The mini excavator rolled out of here Friday afternoon with 38 more hours on it than when it arrived on Saturday. Logging that many hours in a week for construction work is rare for Golf Course Superintendents in that it takes away from regular duties and administrative responsibilities. I like to think also that I've learned a few things during my time spent doing this work at Craigowan and that not many have the amount of experience I have at completing this kind of work. I think too that my motivation to make Craigowan better by taking on these tasks is strong and a product of longevity at this club. I love the work.
We have a lot of finishing jobs to complete next week. In case you are wondering why we do so many projects at a time, it is mainly to do with logistics and schedules, the logistics being that the rental of the excavator is far cheaper by the week, and schedules being that the weather and events have to coincide with work projects. From that perspective it was a perfect week. Our first priority will be #7 bunker, drainage, finish work around the edges, liner, sod and finally sand. We are now ready to put the final grade on #9 red tee, and we have decided to sod the top of that tee with the sod from the old green/silver tee deck on #2, to speed up the grow in time. The rest of the tee deck will be sodded with nursery bluegrass sod. The stump holes on #7 will be backfilled and graded and we will be cutting in a new section of fairway on that holes as per our architect's recommendations. This will be done by a combination of mowing and overseeding operations. BTW the reaction to the removal of the trees was surprisingly positive...we never know how people will react to tree removal. I also spent an hour or so carving out more pond edge Friday morning, maybe 100 feet or so to slip in more stones which we have stored in the yard.
The final job we worked on this week is the completion of #15 green site to the far right. We used fresh sod to grass right up to the edge of the stream hazard. With the new bunker placement, it is very possible that skulled shots may arrive in this vicinity and so players will be able to find and play their ball. I spent several hours on Friday grubbing out the brush and stumps on the other side of the stream as we plan on laying in some wildflower mix and probably some new fencing to keep out snowmobiles. Much of next week will be involved with that as well as our regular work and some spraying. Aeration of the course will follow after the long weekend.
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