June 11, 2017

Irrigation System Update

As many of you have probably heard, our 21 year old irrigation system had some issues just over a week ago. During the night after the Wild Hog tournament, a fuse in the 3 phase transformer that powers the irrigation system and building blew out. I had Nodak Electric at the golf course as soon as I could on Friday. They tried replacing the fuse, but there was too much damage and corrosion (from previous floods) in the transformer that it needed to be replaced. They spent a good portion of that Friday replacing the transformer, only for us to find out later that afternoon that a component in the irrigation system panel had been wrecked from the outage. I got that part ordered ASAP Friday afternoon, but didn't receive it until Tuesday. Once our electrician and I got that part replaced, we started the pumps up, only to find that our larger 40 horse power pump motor had burned out.

We are fortunate enough to have our smaller 20HP pump working, so that I can still run a few irrigation zones at a time. Although, one small 20HP pump is not even close enough to irrigate the entire course in one night.

This was not an ideal time for our pumps to stop working (there isn't an ideal time for it to happen ever), but we were fortunate to get some rain this past week. We also spent many hours using our tractor and water tanks to keep our greens and tees alive. Our fairways have really only received rain water since the day our pumps went out and have shown a few areas of drying up, but these will bounce back with a little time.

We did have some localized dry spots pop up on various greens that steamy Friday when the pump station went down, but most spots have healed up nicely with just a few to go. I assure you that we are doing everything possible to heal the greens up. We have applied a wetting agent to help push water down thru the thatch layer and down to the roots on our greens and tees.

Our 40HP pump motor is currently being rebuilt in Fargo, and should be done sometime mid week. I will get it installed and running as soon as I get it back. This incident shows how important a properly working irrigation system is to a golf course!

March 12, 2017

Busy Shop Season

It’s been a busy winter at the GFCC maintenance facility. I was fortunate enough to hire the superintendent from Ray Richard’s Golf Course for a few months to help me prepare all our equipment for the upcoming golf season.

It is every superintendent’s dream to bring in brand new equipment to the fleet every year, but that isn’t always financially possible. Though, we are fortunate to be able to bring in a few new pieces every few years. In the meantime, our current equipment needs to be gone thru with a fine-tooth comb. Both of our fairway mowers received brand new reel stock, bearings and seals in all ten reels. The previous reels lasted ten mowing seasons and it was time to replace. 

We completely disassembled the fairway reels and replaced all necessary parts

Two of our most used pieces of equipment on the golf course are our large area rough mowers. Both mowers run between 30-40 hours per week during the entire golf season. They run at full throttle and on rough terrain most of the time. This results in a lot of wear and tear on parts. We replaced many bearings, bushings, seals and worn down parts on both machines. 

This is a worn out bushing next to a new bushing for some movable parts on the wing decks of our rough mower. We came across many worn out bushings on these machines. A lot of these bushings were on the verge of breaking or already broken. I am hopeful that these fixes now will prevent breakdowns during the busy golf season. 

The radiators were taken out on the fairway and rough mowers to get thoroughly cleaned and to have any leaks welded shut. Every piece of equipment also got all fluids and filters replaced. All our reels have been sharpened and we just need to wrap up some course accessory painting. Not only is it important to prepare the equipment now, but it is equally important to continue daily maintenance on the equipment all summer long.

Radiators were pulled out and cleaned on fairway and rough mowers. The wheel bearings were packed and all fluids and filters were replaced on all equipment.

I was very pleased with the amount of snow cover that we had throughout the winter months. Some of our greens had 2+ feet of snow on them. Before our big melt in February, we had little to no ice out on the course. This is ideal for smaller amounts of dead turfgrass in the spring. I also believe that our early melt will help our flood chances throughout the spring. If we can avoid any large snow and rain events, we should stay clear of the river coming up thru the course.

It does look like some warmer temperatures are coming soon, so if we can avoid any flooding, we can get the course opened at a decent time. I am looking forward to trying out some different cultural practices out on the golf course this season and completing some projects to keep our golf course the best in the area.

My new shop foreman (well, maybe not for a few years) Elowen Cannon