March 23, 2012

Finishing Projects From Last Fall

It was a long winter in the shop, and of course, we got plenty of things done in there.  However, the worst part of winter for a golf course superintendent is always remembering how much work we have to get done on the course in the spring once the snow melts, and not being able to go out and do anything about it.  We started A LOT of projects last fall and were blessed with very nice weather into early November which helped tremendously.  However, we intentionally left a lot of those projects unfinished due to the damaging effects of winter cold, snow and wind, as well as the potential of a spring flood.

We were able to get out this week with the very dry and warm spring conditions to start chipping away at our list.  First off, we needed to finish getting our tees put back together and grown in so that we can start playing off of them ASAP.  Although 5 and 12 tees were finished and seeded last fall, there was already some new grass starting to pop up out of the sand last week, but we went a head and reseeded an additional half rate of bentgrass seed into the teeing surface just to ensure we would get plenty of germination.  Furthermore, we finished building and grading 13 tee and were able to seed it as well.  We were also able to get some work done on our new cartpath around 15 green/16 tee by spreading some topsoil and backfilling along the concrete path edges.  A couple of nice days next week and we should have that entire project wrapped up and get 16 tee seeded as well.

Spreading a soil amendment onto 13 tee to incorporate
into the sand

13 tee prior to soil incorporation

Andy using his new toy.  A 1994 tiller attachment that he revived out the
"boneyard" of old junk outside of our shop over the winter.  A new $20
part for the PTO shaft and some much needed TLC and it works great
for incorporating the soil amendment into our sand rootzone.

I came up with this idea for leveling our new tee boxes.  It is a 20' piece of
4" steel tubing that was in the back of the shop.  It is simply bolted to the
bottom of the skidsteer bucket, easy on and off.  Without the funds to
utilize a laser box grader, this contraption with the use of a transit is
about as close to perfect as we are going to get.

Our last tee box to work on this spring will be 14.  Florian Excavating was kind enough last fall to haul in about 400 cubic yards of clay fill to place on the old tee surface.  We purchased about 500 concrete retaining wall blocks on a massive discount last fall that will be used to build up about a 3 foot wall along the edge of the cartpath by 14 tee.  The new tee that will be built on 14 will be moved about 8-10 feet to the right of the old tee as well as be built up about 3 feet.  This will improve line of sight down the fairway on 14 to be able to see the pond, as well as help take some of the massive cottonwoods on the left side of the hole out of play a little bit.

Hauling clay onto 14 tee last December.  We have some serious work to
do here this spring.  This will be the last one we tackle as it is going to
take a lot of time and effort to complete.
Our first priority this spring is to get every project finished that requires planting grass seed.  The sooner the seed goes into the ground the sooner we can play off it.  As soon as all of those projects are finished, the next task will be to rework and add new sand to all the bunkers that were tore apart last fall when we harvested the old sand form them to use in the construction of the new tees.

We are certainly getting a HUGE jump on things this spring with the rapid melt off, lack of a flood, and nice weather so far.  The only risk we run, as with all the farmers that have planted crops already this spring, is that if the bentgrass seed on the tees germinates and begins to grow, and then we get a nasty cold snap in April, it could kill some seedlings and set things back a bit.  However, the benefits we get from seeding early and taking advantage of the amazing temperatures we've had and some spring moisture is well worth the risk. 

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