I mentioned in my last post that it hasn't been just the past several weeks that we've been getting ready for the Western, but in fact the last several months. Most recently though, we've made the final push to have the course in as fine a condition, both from a playability standpoint as well as an aesthetic standpoint.
Over the past several weeks, which have been especially challenging for turf survival with high heat and humidity at times (leading to high disease activity), and high heat, drought, and wind conditions at other times (leading to moisture stressed turf ), we've had our hands full just trying to keep turf healthy and alive much less carrying out several special projects. With a lot of hard work and many long days (definitely a sleep deprived staff), I think we've managed to do both fairly well.
I'll write more about the difficult weather year we're experiencing, the impact it's had on turf conditons, and reference or link you to some other articles regarding this, but for now the following items have been part of our preparations for both the Derby and the Western Am. It's a photo recap...hope it gives you a little insight into our world.
Asst. Superintendent Jacob applying nutrients and plant protectants
(a frequent activity these past couple months during these challenging environmental conditions)
Miguel & Javier checking sand depths and smoothing all bunkers
Robbie painting rails, posts, and wire of fence at #13 new Champ. Tee area
(planting of native grasses and vines to more thoroughly mask has also been completed)
Gus completing a drainage repair project in area between holes #1 and #10, an area which will be heavily trafficked during Western Am.
Fairway rolling on Derby eve to provide smoother, firmer surfaces to aid ball roll.
Careful though - don't let that ball roll to far off the fairway.
Here Freddy is "topping it off" - at 4 inches!
Some other tall rough you'll want to avoid! Here Nestor is finishing removal of seedling and other weeds. He and others have spent considerable time combing all tall rough areas for unwanted plants.
Otto "fluffs" same rough area after cleaning small branches and leaf debris.
With new gazebo being installed soon, it was time for this declining willow to go.
We didn't want it falling on new gazebo - or on a player!
Rafa and Nestor pause from clean-up activities. Trunk measured nearly 5 feet in diameter.
Miguel, Javier V., and Perez remove center supports so that footings can be dug while still keeping roof in tact if needed for shelter during Derby
Drilling 1 of 24 holes, 12" in diameter, approx 42" deep. This was a day and a half job for 4 of us. Compacted clay with a few rocks and roots to go through (and 90 degree temps) made this a really delightful task!
Another 3 days were spent laying out exact positioning for concrete footings (piers)...
and then pouring took place. Several of the crew were involved in this project with Steve as my main assistant. All piers are now in place and curing. Old structures will be removed Sunday after Derby and new structures will be erected next Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday.
Eli Beechy, the Amish-man from Montana will be coming in town. More later on this....
Another project (following removal of several disfigured and diseased spruce trees) was new landscape plantings at #9 pond.
New plants include Serviceberry, Chokeberry, Little Blue-stem, Indiangrass, and False Indigo
Cirilo removes a dried divot and fills with...
a green dyed sand, peat, and seed mixture
Miguel does a little "Aquatic Gardening"...thins some of the water lillies
& after a Derby eve mowing, to help gain some putting green speed...
(we'll do this a couple times in the morning too!)
The course is... Ready for the 60th Run for the Roses!
Best of Luck to you all!