Thursday, March 26, 2009

Drainage Headache

In an ideal world, we would swiftly move from one priority to the next, completing all of our golf course duties in an timely, routine fashion. This, of course, is how we strive to operate, but the myriad of changing factors and variables have a way of challenging us on a daily basis. This week... is no exception.

The golf course is home to miles and miles of underground drain lines of all shapes and sizes. This is because of our "convenient" location next to the East Diversion Ditch, which eventually empties just south of the Skokie Lagoons. This drainage network is essential for removing excess water from the Village of Glencoe and the golf course. Unfortunately, much of this drainage consists of decades-old clay tiles, which are beginning to show their age with cracks, deterioration, and collapses.

An example of a cracked and partially collapsed 24" clay tile line we repaired during the #17 cart path project in October 2007.

These lines can fail at anytime of the year, and when they do, soil falls into the pipe through breaks or openings and washes away, creating a "sink hole" effect. You may recall a couple of these sunken areas on #18, #7, and #6 fairways over the past couple of years.

Repair on a 4 foot-deep tile on #7 fairway from summer 2007

Repair on these lines is indeed a necessary task, but one that takes away from other priorities and renders little progress on the golf course. The job generally takes 2 guys roughly 1.5-2 days to complete, and involves digging a rather deep hole, replacing the broken pipe (or sealing gaps as shown below), backfilling, and stitching the sod back in place.

This is the second repair this week on a 12" line on #6. Fortunately, there was no break, only a leaky bell fitting which was fixed with a foam sealer.

We expect and are prepared for more breaks to occur as time goes on. They tend to appear following rainfalls and may be show up smaller than a football in size, or as a gaping sink hole. Either way, rest assured we will fix them as soon as we possibly can.

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