May 18, 2013

Busy Busy Busy

I was having a hard time coming up with a title for this blog post, we have so many different things happening on the golf course right now it is hard to spotlight one in particular.  With that, I figured it would make the most sense to cover all the major things that are happening right now.

We are in a very transitional period on the golf course right now.  My last blog post was 11 days ago, since that time the golf course has gone from still half underwater to now high and dry and green!  Conditions on the golf course are changing daily during the month of May.  Everyday however it seems like we check about 4 or 5 projects off the "to-do" list, but add about 6 or 7 more.  We are definitely still playing catch up from losing the entire month of April and the first week of May to snow and flooding.  It is hard to believe that we have really only been working on the golf course for about 2 weeks now.

Here is a quick rundown of the last few weeks:

-  Flooding subsided with only minimal turf damage.  We overseeded some minor turf loss areas (about 3 acres worth) on holes 3, 7, 9, 14, 15, 17, and 18.  The only major turf loss was the left rough on the tee side of 17 which will be reseeded next week as soon as it dries out from our recent rainfall.

-  Irrigation system was charged, a full month later than last year.  It was a very difficult process this year, because as the flood was going down we went through a 2 week dry spell that left some greens and tees on the high holes cooked!  We had to scramble to get the pumpstation back together and the irrigation lines charged while part of the piping was still under water!  Furthermore, lots of zone valves were still frozen up making them stick on during pressurization.  Lastly, we had to replace some old packing (seal) underneath our large 40HP pump.

-  Our last tee box renovation was completed.  Holes 15 and 17 tee were completed and seeded on May 4th and are already starting to grow in nicely.  Holes 2, 3, and 8 were completed last week.  We have 7,200 sq. ft.  of bentgrass sod from Wisconsin arriving on Tuesday this coming week that we will be using to sod those tee boxes with.

-  We began the process of rebuilding the bunkers that had their sand removed last fall to build the new tees with.  Furthermore, we also made the decision to take advantage of those bunker's "open" conditions by adding drainage to them before the sand is replaced.  Last week we hauled 90 tons of sand and completed 4 bunkers.  We still need to haul another 80 tons next week to finish the last 3 bunkers.

-  The new ball washers, trash cans, water cooler stands, and hole signs have been placed out on the golf course.  We have some landscaping left to do around the hole signs, but otherwise it feels REALLY good to no longer have any old junky accessories left on the course!

-  Finally, as the turf begins to slowly heal from winter damage, we made our first few spray applications this week, did some more regular mowing, and started to prepare for some more regular golf play.

We still have lots to get done in the coming weeks before our the summer really gets going.  Its hard to believe that only 3 weeks ago we still had some snow on the course.  Not much of a transition period this year.  From Snow to GO!

Hole 17 suspension bridge fared the flood very well this year,
only one tree trunk to remove and some mud cleanup.

Hole 17 fairway however needed some more serious cleanup.

Lots of silt to remove in 17 left rough.
Most of the turf in 17 fairway survived, we did use a rake
attachement to break up some silt and blow it off before
we seeded into some of the thin areas.
Adding sand to one of the new bunkers on 14.

The new tee boxes on hole 8.  I am very excited about this tee
as well as the new alternate tee that was built on the left
side of the cartpath.  Hole 8 is going to play like a new hole!

I took this picture on May 11th as I was chipping 3" of solid
ice out of irrigation valve boxes in order to run zones.

Unfortunately, we are still dealing with the results of a weather
event (rain) that happened on January 10th.  I remember
laying in bed that night listening to the rain hit the roof thinking
about dead grass under ice.  This is the result in all the low spots
in the fairways 4 months later.

Granddaddy snapper is back by the pond on Hole 8.

Andy seeding a new wildflower plot between 8 green
and 9 tee.  He is very excited about it!

May 7, 2013

Spring Has Finally Arrived

Better late than never, spring finally decided to make its arrival to the Red River Valley in the last week.  With temperatures finally getting into the 60s and even 70s consistently, we are finally able to say that the winter that seemed like it would never end, ended!

The Red crested last Monday at 40.93' which of course was significantly lower than everyone thought it was going to be.  That water level covered most of 9 and 17 fairway, and put water onto the right sides of 15 and 18 fairway and through the low spots of 7 and 14 fairway.  However, the only green that the water got to was 8 green, and it just barely got to the front of it.  That was a huge blessing in the amount of work in hosing silt that was saved by not having to work on any greens.  As the water slowly recedes, it is looking like very little turf will actually be lost as it is going to be a relatively "quick" flood.  9 fairway just showed back up today after being under water for only 9 days, a far cry from the 30 days that it was under in 2011!  At this time I am really hoping that the amount of reseeding we will have to do because of this flood will be very minimal.

Unfortunately, the flood did delay some of the work that we have been able to do on the course for the last week though.  It makes it really difficult to get out and mow some grass and do some other tidying up of the property when it is a 5 mile drive from the maintenance shop to some of the high holes.  Now that the water is down enough that we can sneak equipment across the course in a few spots we are back in business.

Most important is getting our renovated tees cleaned up, put back together, and seeded ASAP.  As of May 3rd both 15 and 17 tees were completed, seeded, and covered.  However, since the irrigation system isn't able to be charged up yet we are using pumps and about 300' of hoses to to utilize flood water to irrigate the seed with.  Not ideal, but it's the only option at this point.

We have begun working on 2 and 3 tees and hope to get those prepped soon.  However, 8 tee went under water by about 6", so there is some serious drying that needs to take place on that one in the next week before we can work on it.

At this point I am tentatively looking at sometime during the week of May 20th to be able to get sod delivered to finish 2, 3, and 8 tees.  After sodding, they will be playable in a matter of only a few days.

Once we get all the tees knocked off the list, we will move on with putting drainage in the bunkers we removed the sand from last fall before placing the new sand in them.

We are a solid 6-7 weeks behind where we were last year at this time.  Golf season is upon us and the maintenance staff is swamped!  Please be patient with us as we work our tails off in the next month to play catch up with the awful cards that mother nature dealt us this spring....

Hosing silt on 17 fairway

Packing seed into 15 tee after final grading

Collars are looking pretty rough, kind of like last year.  The strip of
bentgrass sod from last summer is doing quite well though!  Perhaps
its time we invest in a little more bentgrass sod.....

Only had one lightning storm this year, but it was
enough to get this one big cottonwood on the
right side of hole 7

Finishing the last of the cartpath by 3 tee

Working on the reshaped bunker beside 8 green