Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Rains End Finally! - Bunker Project Underway

You'll see (or may already have seen) some of this same information in my 'Clippings' column in the Nov. Skokie News, so some of this may be a repeat, but there is certainly other information that is exclusively covered here.

The rain this month has made it quite miserable for trying to get our fairway aeration finished (just 2 to go though), leaves mulched and processed, a small drainage project on No. 11 addressed, and the bunker and mounding modification project on 18 underway.

One word pretty well describes October. Saturated! Yes, that about sums it up. But if you’re interested in the details for the 31 day month, according to the recordings of our on-site weather station, the total rainfall was 6.79 inches, and we received measurable precipitation on 22 days. Evapotranspiration, which is the process whereby a plant (turfgrass, etc.) uses water for general growth and cooling processes (it’s similar to our perspiration process), was at a mere 1.35 inches so the “excess” moisture that was available to thoroughly saturate the course was 5.44 inches! This is a lot of extra water considering that the average rainfall for October is a low 2.7 inches (the only drier months are January and February) and to add further insult, with rain 75% of the days, there surely wasn't much opportunity for any significant drying!

As November begins we've finally had a few sunny, breezy days and Tuesday this week we were able to return to preparing for the planned modifications of the No. 18 fairway bunker area. We previously removed sand from the existing bunker and began some sod removal but then the rain began and saturation followed delaying our progress. Hopefully a bit cooperation with weather will allow us to make some good progress in the next couple weeks.

No. 18 Bunker & Mounding Project

Last month the Grounds & Greens Committee in consultation with our Golf Architect, Ron Prichard, (and after final approval from the Board of Director’s) decided to move forward with a modification of the fairway bunker area on the right side of No. 18. This area I am referring to is the bunker and the area west and between No. 1 and 18, where you may recall we lost several trees in a storm two years ago, and is now wide open and rather uninteresting. After much discussion it was decided to rebuild the existing bunker (moving it closer to the green about 10 yards), adding an additional bunker west of it (just slightly closer to the tee) and placing a series of small mounds or a “boney ridge” (as Prichard calls it) west of this bunker in the current wide open space. These bunkers and mounding or low ridge, will provide better hole separation, better visual direction, sufficient challenge to all levels of play, and should improve the aesthetics of this area which has change so markedly since the storm.

The complete construction process includes:

* Removing existing sand from bunker
* Stripping all sod from entire work area
* Isolating irrigation lines and drains in construction zone
* Strip and stockpile topsoil
* Shape bunkers and place soil filled bags for perimeter shaping
* Install bunker drainage
* Haul fill material for mounding or low ridge (approx. 25-30 semi-loads needed)
* Shape fill material
* Replace and final grade topsoil
* Restore irrigation and drainage
* Sod entire area

Sand removed and hand stripping of bunker face Sod begins

Sod removal continues & re-used on course wh
ere needed

Stripping and stockpiling topsoil for later use on mounds

Importing of 'fill material' for "boney, mounded ridge"

As additional fill material is imported for the "boney, mounded ridge" we'll soon be shaping the bunker faces or shoulders and the general perimeter outlines of the two bunkers. In general the first bunker will start at approx. 250 yds out (from the championship markers) and extend to approx. 265. The second bunker will start at approx. 270 and extend to approx. 290 yds. The distances from the regular markers are 237 - 252 for the first bunker and 257 - 277 for the second. These are approximate distances and may need to be slightly adjusted due to large drain lines in the area that we need to retain in their current location.

I'll keep you posted as progress proceeds.

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