November 22, 2015

Golf Season to Shop Season

Well, the cold temperatures have arrived and there is a skiff of snow on the golf course. The 2015 golf season has come to an end and it was another great year at GFCC.

We have completed all of our course preparations for the winter and have begun to bring the equipment into the shop for winter maintenance. The fairways, greens, collars, approaches and tees were sprayed with a snow mold preventative fungicide a few weeks ago and are all well into winter dormancy. We got all of the course accessories taken down, irrigation system blown out and leaves mulched up. The last step was to lightly topdress the greens to act as a blanket for the turf and put up snow fence around many greens to collect snow as insulation for the cold winter months.

Irrigation blow out was completed the last week in October.

Snow fence has gone up around 10 greens to collect snow as insulation for the turf this winter.

We will now be busy greasing, changing fluids, sharpening mower blades and reels and fine tuning all of the equipment so it is ready to go first thing in the spring. These pieces of equipment go through a lot of wear and tear throughout the season and it is essential that every single piece of equipment gets a thorough check over. Some of our equipment is 10+ years old and will need more attention than some of our newer equipment. For example, our 2007 rough mower sees use of about 500-700 hours per season. The parts on the mower decks are constantly moving on hard terrain all season long and begin to wear out to the point of replacement. We will replace these parts as necessary to make sure that our equipment fleet is running at its full potential next golf season. These vital pieces of equipment are what make the Grand Forks Country Club such a beautiful place to be at.

The tractor has already come into the shop with a gear oil leak in the front axle. A few of the bearings in the axle were broken, causing the gear oil to leak. This piece of equipment is very important for us as we use it for many projects, and more importantly now, snow removal.
We will now hope for some mild winter temperatures and a decent amount of snow cover to insulate the turf for the remainder of our North Dakota winter.

Time to wait patiently until we get to see this spectacular golf course again in the spring.

October 8, 2015

Fall Update

It’s that time of year again when the leaves are turning colors, falling rapidly off the trees and the course looks beautiful. It is also that time when we start to prepare the golf course for the long winter season.

Leaf cleanup is in full swing and has become a daily battle. Our pull behind leaf blower and two large rough mowers have been and will be used everyday until the end of the season. When the wind isn’t howling, it is pretty easy to clean the greens, tees and fairways off, but the bunkers can be a bit more challenging. It takes a couple of staff members to fully blow the leaves out of the bunkers and then complete the raking process. The difficult part of that this season is that our staff size is quite low and blowing the leaves out of the bunkers blows a lot of sand out of the bunker and into the grass. As well, if we do not follow the bunker crew around with a rough mower, the leaves tend to blow right back into the bunkers. This is definitely a difficult task and we will continue to do our best to keep the bunkers clean and playable.

With a little wind, most of the course looks like this each morning. The staff is busy blowing and mulching up the leaves everyday.
Many bunkers trap leaves along the edges and can be difficult to keep clean on a daily basis. It is important that we blow the leaves out of the bunker before we rake them so we do not mix the leaves underneath the sand.  

Many trees have lost their leaves and many have only just begun to drop. Our large rough mowers will continue to run as much as possible to mulch up the leaves.

As for the turf, the growing season is coming to an end soon. We have had one morning of 30 degrees and frost and another morning of 28 degrees. The process for the turf to go dormant for the winter has begun. To keep the turf as healthy as possible for going into winter, we have begun to raise the mowing heights and reduce the frequency of mowing. With less sunlight and cooler soil temperatures the turf is not growing very much. In a few weeks we will spray all greens, tee boxes and fairways with a snow mold preventative fungicide to protect the grass in the winter months. 

Come out and enjoy the course as this is the most gorgeous time of the year!

September 13, 2015

River Pump

September 13, 2015

After a very dry August and scrambling for water to fill our irrigation pond, we finally have our new river pump up and running. With just under 3 inches of rain and many warm days, irrigating was a must for almost every day during the month of August.

Before Sam headed for Colorado, he set up an electric pump to pump water underground from the pond on the left of 14 fairway to our irrigation pond. This was very beneficial as we did not have to continuously fill a gas pump every two hours to keep filling our irrigation pond and we didn’t have to listen to the loud motor running all day long. This pump set up is only a short term solution to our pond filling needs as the pond on the left side of 14 is getting quite low as well and the water isn't exactly ideal for irrigating the golf course.

Sam's last and very important project at GFCC on #14

Our previous river pump had been put in briefly and taken out of the river for maintenance issues every summer for the past 4 years. It was not the correct type of pump for fulfilling our water needs. We decided to get a 20 horsepower centrifugal motor drive pump to set down by the river behind the maintenance shop. This pump can run as long as we need it to to fill our irrigation pond and it pumps roughly 450 gallons per minute. On a full night of irrigation we use somewhere around 300,000 gallons of water on the golf course. With this pump, we can put this amount of water back into our pond in one night.

We began the process of setting up the pump by removing a large tree that hung over the river and was in the way for our river pump line. Thanks to Florian and Sons for helping us out with this. We then hauled in some dirt to level the area out and set up the pump and our river line.

Florian and Sons excavating the old style pump down in the river

This pump will greatly help us out the rest of the fall, especially if it continues to be dry. Without this pump and water for irrigating, we would be playing golf on dead grass and dirt.
We will take the pump lines out of the river and store the pump for the winter and put it back in next golf season when we are in need of filling our pond. 

We were able to use almost all of our existing pipe lines and fittings for this set up 

September 1, 2015

Busy Time at GFCC

September 1, 2015

First and foremost, let me introduce myself to those who do not know me. I am originally from Hutchinson, MN, which is about 60 miles west of Minneapolis. I attended college at North Dakota State University in Fargo where I received my Bachelor’s degree in Turfgrass Management. I have previously worked for the Crow River Golf Club in Hutchinson and at Bully Pulpit Golf Course in Medora, ND. I am pleased to be your interim superintendent for the time being and I am confident that my crew and I will keep the Grand Forks Country Club in pristine shape for the remainder of the season.

As we all miss Sam and his family, I believe that he set me up for success here at GFCC. I have gained a considerable amount of knowledge and learned many valuable skills from him the past year and a half.

We all know that at this time in the year staffing is always hard to come by. With school starting a week ago, I lost a few of my staff members and all of the others cut their hours in half. I have been able to hire a few more part time workers, but have only one other full time staff member. With that being said, there may be some days during the week where we are mowing later in the day rather than early in the morning for staff reasons. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We will do our absolute best to keep the course looking as good as it does now.

We have completed greens and tee aeration for the fall. This is a very beneficial time to aerate. Aeration will help us get the turf healthy for the remainder of fall and into winter. The holes we created provide oxygen deep down to the root system of the turf. Aeration also relieves soil compaction and breaks up the organic layer that is under the turf. The greens will be a little bumpy and sandy for a few days, but with extra rolling and water, we will have the greens back to normal very soon.

Please feel free to stop me out on the course to introduce yourself. I am always up for suggestions and questions that you may have. I will do my best to keep the blog up to date to keep you informed about what is happening around the course.