Written by Jerry Richard Wednesday, 06 February 2013 14:23
I have tremendous respect for the work that my staff can complete, not just on the course during the playing season, but off the course in the winter. Our club is in a strong position having staff in place for such a long time. The experience and expertise gained over the years pays off when you can create things in-house during slow periods. This month we have converted our tiny lunch room into a woodworking room and the fellas have been engaged in various projects while the cold winter continues. Last week they cut out several new sets of tee blocks to replace worn ones, new hazard stakes are always needed as existing one disappear or get run over, benches are refurbished, and items like bird houses are constructed to enhance our property and encourage wildlife. Jon and Jay are working off a plan for purple martin houses and are currently constructing 2 of them. We were pretty excited last spring when we did see a purple martin at one of our existing birdhouses beside the pond. Purple martins excel at eating mosquitos and are very social birds, living often in large colonies. Once colonies are established they should keep returning each spring.
Written by Jerry Richard Tuesday, 22 January 2013 15:43
Our pond on #7 is a perfect example of something that we have, that we didn't have before, and now it needs some attention. Our irrigation pond was dug out in the spring of 1996, and was one of the 5 elements of a long-awaited irrigation system project. The other 4 were hydro, well source(s), pump house and the irrigation system hardware and software. Deciding where the pond should go, how wide and how deep it should be was a painstaking process that involved soil testing, proximity to hydro power, strategic location on the course, and volumes of H20 required to use the new irrigation system. We could not dig the pond until we knew we had a water source to fill it. It took 4 tries to find a well source big enough to feed the pond, and it happened to be beside the 4th fairway. The old 7th hole was lined with soft maples up the right side and a couple of small bunkers, but the area was in a low spot that was often wet, and there was clay below to be used to line the pond to minimize seepage. The trees were removed by our staff and the excavation went ahead, not without complications, taking about 2 weeks to finish. At that time, we realized that a pond in that location would overflow it's banks during heavy rain and run-off periods so an overflow was designed to remove water below #7, #8, under the driveway and through a new creek on #9. The creek would help dry out #9 which was always wet due to inadequate drainage. The pond was lined with potato stones around the edges and below the waterline for appearance and to reduce run-off. It was also lined with cloth to slow down vegetative growth. Seventeen years later, the stones are grown over and the edges of the pond look poor and undefined.
Another winter job, as I mentioned in an earlier post, is to enhance the pond edges, and perhaps discourage the geese from spending a lot of time here. We have received 3 large loads of limestone rock which we will be placing around the edges. We might have had a go at it this week except there is now too much frost in the ground to dig out a proper ledge before adding the stones. We will wait until we can work more effectively.
Written by Jerry Richard Monday, 21 January 2013 16:55
There seems to be another way to lose trees on the course, this time the wind twisted over one of our spruce behind the 5th green on Sunday. We thought we might try leaving it and prop it back up in the spring with stakes and wires, but the root damage seems too great to even try. The guys are cleaning it up today.
...these 3 trees were planted back in the early 90's as a buffer to the nearby highway traffic.
Written by Jerry Richard Monday, 14 January 2013 16:31
We have created our list of winter work and it is impressive, hopefully we will be able to get to everything. One of our first jobs is to find the right rocks for the pond edges so we can get it ordered and work on that job when the weather is cooperating. Another is to get evaluations, job discriptions and compensation packages completed for the staff...the earlier the better for getting any staff issues worked out. We are also engaged in our 2012 IPM information and upload to the IPM website. Last week, the site crashed because so many golf clubs were working on it at the same time, uploading large files.
We are embarking on a bit of tree removal this winter, mainly old poplars that are dead or mostly dead. This will include trees on #1, #5, #8 and #18. These trees served a purpose but will not be missed when they disappear. They are a lot of work to remove. This poplar was knocked down last week on #8 and much of the clean up was done at that time. The recent mild weather makes the work more difficult in the greater potential for mess on the turf. All you snowbirds note the lack of white stuff, highs of 12C or higher this past weekend got rid of the 6 inches of snow pretty quickly.
Written by Jerry Richard Thursday, 03 January 2013 18:09
I trust we all had a pleasant holiday season, as we slowly get back to routines at the club. One of my favorite times of the year is now, putting the previous year to rest and starting with a fresh outlook, fresh ideas and a fresh budget. As we input the final expenses for 2012, we are under budget on the operating side of course maintenance, which seems strange considering the long season. Two fairway chemical sprays were avoided due to the dry, low humid conditions, accounting for about half the savings. The rest I will attribute to frugal spending and searching for cheaper alternatives. Fuel costs were up due to the long season and high pricing, but general supplies were down, with labour being about right on budget. There were no major costly surprises in either capital or operating budgets which also helps the bottom line. We are very proud of the fact that we can do so much without all the budgets and amenities of other private clubs for much of the time.
And speaking of other clubs, one of my last pictures I took at work was actually at St. Thomas Golf Club where a few Superintendents gathered a couple of weeks ago to witness the massive tree removal operation going on there. The reason why I publish this information is to illustrate that overplanting of golf course trees is a universal problem. In fact, all park-style golf courses are overplanted in some respect, it's just a matter of how much grief and work does a club wish to undertake to remove the proper number of trees. Trees generally start coming down on golf courses when damage to the turf becomes more problematic than tree removal itself. Tree overplanting is usually a product of well-intentioned committees who wish to contribute beautification or fill gaps. I say usually because many Superintendents, myself included, have been guilty of similar folly. Hotter summers, shorter mowing heights, increased traffic and growing tree canopies all contribute to the problem, factors which didn't necessarily exist 15 or 20 years ago.
...the hill beside #8 green at St. Thomas. The USGA visited this year and gave similar recommendations as we got back in 2010 about excessive tree growth...they are looking at about 600 mature trees this winter and probably more later on.
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