March 18, 2016

Golf season is almost here

The warm temperatures have arrived quick this 2016 season and the snow is just about completely melted. The course should be dry enough to play on very soon. We were very fortunate to have a much milder winter this year than 2015. We began winter with decent temperatures and a few snow falls of about 3” each in late December and that kept the turf insultated until the end of January. Much of that snow melted the last part of January and into February, which did create some ice on the greens, but that only lasted about a month or less.

Before we got this inch of snow on the 17th, I did check many of the greens to see how the bentgrass and Poa did over the winter. The bentgrass looks great. In some cases the Poa does look like it will return. Although, on some greens where it was under ice a little bit longer, it looks like we will be slit seeding bentgrass into those areas as well as removing dead Poa and laying sod from our bentgrass nursery.

Shop season:

We were very busy in the shop and clubhouse during our short winter. We spent a lot of time going through every single piece of equipment that we own. We changed oil, greased parts, replaced old bearings and broken parts, and put a sharp edge on all of our cutting units. Some pieces of equipment spent more time in the shop than others. We have some very old equipment that required more replacement parts and some newer equipment that just needed an oil change, tune up and blade sharpening. Hopefully as a club, we can continue to replace some of those older pieces of equipment that continually require replacement parts as the equipment has seen many thousands of hours of wear and tear on the golf course each season.

This is the Constant Velocity Joint on our 4WD Workman, which drives the wheels and accommodates for the up and down motion of the suspension.  Our Workman is vital to our fleet as we use it to top dress greens and it is the only piece of equipment we have that we can use to pull our heavy top dresser. We took apart the front axle housing and CV joints on the Workman to replace boots, bearings and greased everything up.  
This was the axle housing holding the CV joint/axle together on our 4WD Workman. As you can see, the bearing melting to the axle housing and warped the outer piece of the axle housing. This part needed to be replaced to make sure the axle and wheel stay on the Workman and provides a safe drive throughout the season.

Beyond fine tuning the equipment for the 2016 season, Justin and I spent a few weeks in the clubhouse with Doug renovating a section of the kitchen and painting the downstairs. Both of these projects turned out great and will make a huge impact on the appearance and operation of our dated clubhouse.

Coming up:

The forecast does show some cooler weather for the next 7-14 days, but we hope to get the course open for play as soon as possible. As soon as the fairways and rough dry up enough to drive and play on with out damaging turf, we will allow golfers to come out and enjoy an early season.

We do have a few minor course projects planned beyond normal course maintenance this upcoming spring. I hope to have a few staff members help with finishing up some bunker drainage and possibly a new landscape around the club entrance sign. Also, as soon as our bentgrass nursery is ready to cut, we will begin the annual collar sodding projects around greens. This is necessary to remove as much Poa annua from the collars and greens as possible. We are going to lay some of our bentgrass sod into some of our struggling greens areas as well, such as the left side of #6 green. This is extremely necessary as some areas on the left side of that green have been unputtable the last few seasons.

I look forward to the 2016 golf season and to continue to keep the Grand Forks Country Club golf course in the absolute best condition.

We aren't too far away from this!