Monday, June 1, 2020

Major Irrigation repairs

Having an "expired" irrigation system has it issues.  Our main line is original to the course opening in 1972.  That's 48 years old, with 48 years worth of irrigation repairs.  For the past two seasons, I have been watching water come out of the main line valve at the turn around at 4 green.  I had been there in 2014 repairing a leak.  I did not want to go back because I knew it was a going to be a BIG hole.  After we charged up the irrigation system in March, the leak showed it instantly.  We found a week in early April when we could start the project but it had to be completed by April 27th because we would be aerifying the greens then. 

Roxborough Park helped us with the dig as our backhoe hydraulic pump died when we started the project.  It took us a little while to get through the concrete and down to the pipe.  The pipe was about 6 feet deep running under the corrugated metal pipe that moves water from 5 tee pond to 4 green pond.  What we found was two glued 90's off of the 4 inch pipe that connected into a gate valve and then ran into a 4 inch tee that had a 90 on it that reduced down to a 3 inch pipe.  We removed everything we found back to original blue pipe.  The pipes did not line up so we used 11.25 degree fitting to make it work.  It took us 3 days to complete the job including the back fill.  After is was all finished it was over 6 feet deep and over 20 feet long.  If I ever go back to this spot, it will be too soon.

One week later, we had another main line leak, but this time it was near 10 green in the tall native grass.  We had it dug out in a few hours and had it repaired the same day.  With old PVC pipe, sometimes we get burn holes in the pipe.  The pictures is a perfect example of a pin hole leak.  After we got it isolated, we drilled out the hole and bolted on a saddle with a 2 inch plug.  I like these kind of fixes.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Early warm up

We had quite the February when it came to snow.  We were able to open up for golf on January 30th and we closed back down on February 3rd due to snow.  We received very little snow/moisture in December and January and by the end of the month, any snow we did have hanging around was gone.  We were very busy on the open days, over 100 players each day.  We received over 12 inches of snow on February 3rd and I was very excited about it.  We needed the moisture but importantly, the turf needed to be covered up to prevent anymore desiccation from our daily dry wind.

We received over 60 inches of snow in the month and it made our job a little bit more difficult.  Not only did we have a hard time getting access to the course, we also found it difficult just to get into our shop.  It became a huge obstacle with our daily wind, that brought our daily snow drifts.  The picture below is the entrance to our shop.  The drift was over 6 feet tall and over 120 yards long.  We would have to hike in over the drift to get to our shop, fire up the skid loader and it would take about 2 hours to scoop and dump our way through. The problem was once we left for the day, the wind would pick up at night and dump this much snow again the next day.

We started to see a warm up in the weather starting around February 27th.  With the warming and the record amount of snow, I knew we would melt fast and have a bunch of "free water."  I have experienced this in the past and I was ready for it.  Starting on Saturday, I started to snow blow greens in preparation for the melt.  With the warm days and cold nights, I did not want the melted snow to freeze.  It was a mad dash for 4 days but we as a team were able to clear the snow and drifts off the greens.  By Thursday, March 5th all greens were clear.  Time for them to breath.  

Our first golf tournament is 14 days away!!
 10 Green
 16 Green
 8 Green on Tuesday
8 Green on Thursday

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The winter struggles

We were blessed with early snow this year in October and November.  It really helped with the moisture content in the soil profile.  Unfortunately, since then the snow has been non existent.  The snow we had on the course has either blown away, drifted and crusted up or melted in.  To combat the winter dryness, we have started water the greens.  Greens are our top priority, so we we will start watering them first until we feel comfortable with the moisture levels and then we will start watering tees. 

We used our TDS 300 to measure the water percentage in the greens soil profile to get base number.  We did this in early November.  10 and 14 greens were between 24-28%.  They are now both close to 18-22%.  With the warm weather we have been getting (mid 50's during the day; high 20's/low 30's at night) the greens are beginning to soften up. 

We have two ways to apply additional water to the course without firing up our irrigation system.  We have a 500 gallon water tank hooked up to a tractor and we use our trash pumps hooked up to portable roller bases.  We have to wait till the temperature gets warm enough in the morning to start the process.  We normally can get out onto the course after 10 am and we stop watering around 2 pm.  We stop at 2 pm because we want all the water we applied to be absorbed into the profile before the temperature drops to freezing temperatures.  Frozen water on the surface of the green can cause ice damage and possible could kill the plant.

 #18 pond. Had to chop out 5 inches of ice to find water
 #18 Green.  Looking good
 Rick tank watering #6 green

    #6 Green. Top 2 inches thawed

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Staying busy in the winter

We have been closed to golf since November 20th, a total of 42 days running with no sign of opening up.  I had a feeling we would open up after the new year but we received 8 inches of new snow on December 28th.  We have been clearing the snow off the greens to avoid any ice accumulation.  With the warmer days and cold nights, you have to keep and eye on all your turf. The sun or warmer temperatures will melt the snow on the greens causing free water.  Unfortunately, with the ground frozen, the green will not absorb the water into the profile causing it to sit on the surface.  Ice can than form at night when the temperature drop.   Ice and closely manicured turf do not mix well as the crown of the plant can been damaged.  Ice damage can occur within a few days and it will take weeks or months to recover in the spring/summer. 

As the course sits dormant, we stay busy in the shop.  We have started our yearly service to all the vehicles.  We have been researching clutches for our EZGO's.  Most of our utility carts are over 14 years old and they have been slowing down over time.  Two clutches are needed for each cart and the total for both are close to $700.00.  We we have 6 carts that need new clutches.  We will repair the worst ones first and over time we will replace the remaining ones. 

We continue to repair the "new" equipment that we received from our sister course that closed down.  Much of their equipment was in disarray.  The equipment that we will be using a lot this up coming year is on the top of the priority list.  This includes: Toro Workman, 3500 Sidewinder, 1250 Toro sprayer and the F-250 pick up with the snow plow. 

I have started to fabricate our new mixing station for our fertilizer applications.  I was able to find two  250 gallon totes from one of our sister courses in Parker and I found a used Jacuzzi pump/motor in the scrap yard.  I can now fill my sprayer with a 150 water in less that 2 minutes!  I will be going out to purchase a new 1hp motor that I will fabricate to a propeller that will agitate the product in the tank.   I prefer to melt down my greenhouse grade fertilizer for my Nitrogen and Potassium input.  I have been using 5 gallon buckets for the past few years and my back is getting a little tired of lifting them.  This process will be easier and faster for all my fertilizer applications.  In the video, I have the transfer pump working.  The agitation motor has not been installed yet. 

Friday, December 6, 2019

Start of winter

Winter has come in a little early for us.  We normally receive our first snow fall around Halloween which it did this year.  (Thankfully I was with my family in Mexico at the time!) It will melt away in a few days and we will reopen the course for golf.  We have been receiving off and on snow storms since.  I think we were open only 12 days in November for golf due to snow.  This is very uncommon for us at this time of the year.  We were scheduled to blow out the irrigation system on Monday and Tuesday, November 25th and 26th.  It was forecast that a huge storm was to roll in that afternoon.  My team and I hustled all day long to blowout the system out ahead of the storm.  We finished that night around 6:30 pm in the dark, with head lamps on and frozen fingers.  We received over 20 inches that night and into the next day which made the course impassable. The 26th was a bust.  After several day of plowing snow and snow blowing cart paths, were finally able to get the compressor off the property. 

We have received several days in the 50's since with high winds that have stripped the snow off certain areas exposing the turf.  I decided to borrow a 185 compressor to recheck all of our work from the week prior.  So far, no water has been found in the pipes but we still need to recheck a few holes.  A big "Thank You" goes out to my team for sticking around in the dark snowy weather to get this crucial job finished. I always say, "Putting the course to bed correctly insures an easier spring when you wake up from your winter sleep." 

 Looking at 18 green and the Practice green
 It took a little while for our skid to warm up!

 Rechecking our work after the storm
The wind stripped the snow away at the beginning of 15 fairway allowing me to find the QC so I could tap into our mainline

Monday, November 11, 2019

Wash Pad Project

 Removal of the old wash pad.
 Installing a 18 inch drain line across #10 fairway

 We had to move the 4 inch main line up and over the drain pipe!
 New concrete drain pan to the new drain coverts

 Building the new berm with the leftover soil from the drain pipe
 Hydro Seeding the berm

This project was 4 years in the making.  We have been without a wash pad this whole time but we were able to manage without it.  We replaced the old wash pad area that was not compliant with county.  The new wash pad has a roof and curbing around the point of entry.  This will not allow rain water or runoff to enter the system.  The old wash pad area was filled in and asphalted.  It is so nice to not have a structure in the middle of our facility.  The county required us to put in a drain line across hole 10 for all water movement.  It was not the ideal time to install the drain in mid July, but the maintenance crew and contractors did an outstanding job.  The work was meticulously done without any damage to the surround fairway and we were able to stay out of the way of our guests.  Once the project was completed, we hydro mulched the soil berm.  The new berm location has pushed closer to #10 which allowed us to enlarge our dumping area.  Also the new height of the berm blocks the line our sight into it.  Before you were able to look right into our unsightly dump.  Yay for this project to be finally finished.   (not sure why I do not have a finished picture of the structure, but I will upload it shortly)

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Summer maintenance

To keep the greens in great shape throughout the growing season, we will Verticut the playing surface and then apply a sand topdressing to smooth out the putting surface.  We apply this cultural practice to our greens every 2-3 weeks.  The vertical cutting will cut through any horizontal shoot growth of the plant which will then promote vertical growth.  We want vertical growth as this will decease the amount of playing surface the ball rolls on.  This will equal faster, smoother greens.  This is a tedious process for our staff but we are able to complete the task with 5 employees in 4 hours.  The benefit of this process will last for a few weeks.

As the tournament season slows down for the first week of July, we took advantage of the nice weather and needle tined all the greens.  The needle tine will relieve compaction, allow water and oxygen to enter the soil and for the soil to release the CO2.  We applied a sand topdressing prior to the needle tine.  We will double roll each green leaving the green in great putting shape.  Once again this is not a easy process for the maintenance staff but the benefit will last until we do it again in early October.