Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Seven Weeks and Counting

It's been over two weeks since I last posted (which is indeed much longer than I like) but it seems like it's been so much longer with everything in full swing and many course activities in progress. Time sure flies and before we know it, Kiltie Days will pass, then it will be the 4th of July, then the Derby, and very shortly thereafter, The 108th Western Amateur Championship. A member asked me the other day "When will you start preparation's for the Western Am."? I though for a second and replied, "Well, actually we started preparing about eight months ago!"
At that time, October 09', we were modifying (rebuilding and adding) the fairway bunker complex on #18, expanding a few fairway areas to better incorporate bunkers into fairway contours, extending #17 tee, installing drainage in a few poorly drained fairway and rough areas, building the base for the new cart path (brick edge and crushed brick) at #12 Green / #13 Tee, and much more.
I told the member "eight months ago" but now that I've thought more about it, I probably could have said, "two years ago"!. It was then that we started the installation of the new irrigation system which, if it ever does get dry this year, will give us the ability to water only where needed, or where desired. For example, should the rough start to go dormant we can keep it well irrigated without adding any extra water to the fairways. We could also water the slopes and surrounds of the greens, without putting any water on the putting surfaces. Our goal as we approach the Western, should we get cooperation with the weather, would be to have fast and firm fairways, approaches, and greens and "healthy and challenging" roughs and green surrounds. Our new irrigation system features the ability to water each of these mentioned areas independent of the others. At this point I'm hoping that we get the chance to use it as opposed to the frequent rainfall we've experienced lately! This high moisture and high humidity recently has caused saturated and soft ground conditions and dense, lush and slow turf conditions.  I'm really looking forward to a break from this rain forest-like weather very soon!

Our projects this spring are progressing nicely and have included:
  • Repair of winter damaged fairway areas(several seedings and finally sodding using our "home-grown" sod and "harvested" sod from shifting the beginning of #7 fairway) is now very near completion. This damage was the worst I've seen in my 20 years at the club and it's repair has required nearly daily efforts for the past six weeks! It's nice to be about finished
  • Extension of #10 Tee and landscaping behind tee complete.
  • Grassing of buckthorn cleared area adjacent to #9 tees is complete and seedlings are emerging. We'll soon add some established native plants, Indian grass and Little Blue-stem grasses, to supplement seeded plants.
  • Cart Path at #12 Green/ #13 Tee now complete.
Otto and Javier near completion of winter damaged fairway repair - they've been at it for nearly six weeks now!
    A sample of winter damaged fairway turf being removed

    Tee #10 sod work - now complete, including planting ornamental grasses behind tee

    Tee #17 - extension now complete

     New cart path complete at #12 Green / #13 Tee

    Fine Fescue grass seedling emergence at #9 Tee

    Plenty to do in next few weeks:
    • Sod any bare spots such as cart traffic areas and tree stump holes.
    • Renovate cart path (add brick edge, soil separator fabric, and crushed brick) along side #9 tee.
    • Remove deteriorated asphalt on pathway from #11 tee  to #2 green, and replace with crushed brick.
    • Erect three new gazebos to replace deteriorated ones at #5, #12 and  at #15 tee / #16 green.
    • Replace some of overgrown shrubs at Half Way House.
    • Repair and sealcoat main parking lot and lower parking areas (by lower tennis courts) and perhaps paths adjacent to putting green, #1 tee, #10 tee, and near range tee.
    • Water-jet several tile lines exhibiting slower drainage.
    • Continue to attempt to "tame" the rough, and \conduct all routine daily tasks such as hole location changing, tee servicing, mowing (greens, tees, approaches, fairways, intermediate rough), bunker raking, range tee and chipping area overseeding and set-up, plant protectant applications as needed, and much, much more.
    I'll try to post more frequently on these projects, and other activities, as they progress.

     A few of the eight new residents at #9 pond -  Mallard Ducklings!

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