Saturday, May 28, 2011

Weather, Project Challenges

Over the last several weeks we've certainly had our share of weather woes. It's been unusually cold and cloudy, for what seems like an eternity, and then there was a few clear days of warm, near record high, temperatures. The welcomed warmth was followed by a few days of near record low temperatures, and now we're back to cool, cloudy and, most recently, extremely wet conditions. It seems like we've had spring, summer (though not much) early winter, and fall like conditions in the span of only a month! The good news is that through all this it's mostly been just mildly uncomfortable and may have only slightly affect playability and cart use, but it's not devastating weather conditions like in other parts of the country where floods and violent tornadoes have destroyed property and tragically, many lives. We should all keep those, whom have been afflicted by these life changing catastrophes, in our thoughts and prayers. In comparison our minor inconveniences are really quite insignificant.

We've had plenty of activity and challenge lately, with normal course maintenance, project work, and now this week, with excessive rainfall, but overall we are making good progress in all of these areas.

Course Maintenance:
Extended cool, cloudy, and wet conditions (at times) have significantly delayed seed germination in various rough areas where turf was very thin coming our of dormancy. Many of these areas were aerated, seeded, and covered with peat moss (to retain moisture and enhance germination) several weeks ago but are just now finally starting to germinate and establish. Rust disease as well as drought conditions last October likely contributed to the thinning we experienced and hopefully this recent overseeding as well as nutrient applications will soon provide good recovery.
 Seed finally germinates. Notice the tufts of seedling. These are growing in the aerification holes.

The cooler temperatures, and windy and wet conditions through much of our so call "spring" have also caused delay in many typical tasks such as applying broadleaved weed control products, topdressing fairways (performed on about a third of our fairways), planting annual flowers, and some of our routine mowing programs. We're making steady progress in all these areas but we certainly have had more delays than in typical spring periods.

Project Work:
The Paddle Tennis Project began on May 13th with demolition of the old building and wooden decking and site preparation including removal of all the concrete piers which formerly held the old courts. The court contractor disassembled the courts but we assisted in moving  30 - 6'x30' court sections to a staging area where they will remain until a later time when portions will be returned to use.
 Court section being transported to staging area

Pulling old concrete piers - a semi-truck load of them

Prior to excavation beginning, a couple poor quality trees were removed in the vicinity. This one was ready to fall without our help!

 The hollowed out portion was filled with these huge wood borer larva. A delicacy in some countries!

After the court decks were removed excavation for the building basement took place (on Thursday and Friday, May 19-20) and on Friday my staff, using two of our dump trucks and two larger capacity rental trucks, hauled the excavated material to the site behind No. 5 Green. While the soil material was delivered (over 180 loads!) I began shaping it and blending into the existing berm. At 9 o'clock that evening we had completed hauling of approx. 750 yards of material and had it all shaped fairly close to finish grade. It was a long two days that day but we wanted to take advantage of relatively dry ground conditions and dry weather at the time, and without stopping at all except to fill fuel tanks, we tackled the task at hand. I am indeed grateful to my staff for this accomplishment. Had we been delayed just a couple days we would still be waiting to move this material as this week's rainfall would have prevented any movement of heavy equipment and any shaping.
 We were all too focused on the task at hand to photograph the excavation, hauling, and shaping but this photo shows material in place and shaped. Hard to believe that this is the equivalent of about 75 semi-loads of soil.

Paddle House Basement - Where No. 5 berm soil originated.

At the present time we await dry conditions so that we can finish grade, seed, and seed mulch the berm and the haul roads. We're at a bit of a stand still right now but there is no question that with the material in place and shaping complete we have progressed quite well on this project. Yesterday I tried to work the haul road with an implement which scarifies and smooths but hit a bit of an unexpected soft spot and, well, the picture tells the story. I think I'll give it a couple days to dry out a bit!
 Operator (that would be me) thought that he couldn't get this machine stuck. He was wrong!
Some gravel placed under the tracks and a helping pull from our 4X4 dump truck solved this little dilemma!

Excessive Rainfall:
We had several days of rain this week (hence the problem I had above - really, it was only a little water on the surface when I crawled over it - but I hit a pocket of soft mush and dropped about 2 feet!) and this resulted in nearly two days of lost course work and a delay in continuing progress on the No. 5  berm project and haul road repair. 

 A total of 3.5 inches of rain fell Weds. and Thurs. this week.

 An all too familiar site last year... hopefully this doesn't have to be repeated again this year!

We will eventually get caught up, the course will dry out, we'll be able to finish the berm work, and then we'll move on to other tasks and projects. Lets hope we have some nice weather very soon!
Have a great Memorial Day! 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Paddle Project Begins

At the 114th Annual Meeting of Skokie Country Club last evening, the Phase 3 Improvement / Paddle Project  was overwhelmingly passed and as such brought about a whirlwind of activities for us today.  Fresh off the Cedar Shake Roof Project on the Half Way House today began another project, where the SCC Grounds & Greens Dept. got the low bid! We began bright and early this morning removing windows, doors, carpeting, electrical panels, plumbing equipment, wood decking, the water meter, and gas lines, and what then followed was the crushing of the building and loading into refuse boxes for removal. While this work was in progress the water main contractor began installation of a new 8" main, the gas company continued work on providing a new gas supply line, the paddle court contractors began disassembling the courts, and surveyors laid out work for the building foundation excavation. Soil was dug and hauled, gravel delivered, and refuse boxes switched were switched out. It was indeed quite the hub of activity near the Grounds Operation Center today and I'm not sure we could have had anything more going on in one place!

 Hopefully the following photos give you at least a glimpse of what transpired today:

The calm before the storm! Equipment ready for action
Jacob saw cutting to re-route power service
 Decking dis-assembly and Building Layout

 Deck removed

 North Shore Gas directional boring new supply line

And then the real fun stuff begins...and ends... about 15 minutes later!

 Building gone and neatly packed into 6, 30 yard roll off boxes. Approx. 70% of material will be recycled. Water main installed and ready for pressure test and chlorination. Cone is where new building water tap will occur.

It was a very productive day at SCC and I can't thank my staff enough for their hard work and determination. Kudos to newly established SCC Demolition Experts...Jacob, Gus, Alicus, Robbie, and Devin. And to Ryan, Steve, and the rest of our Grounds Staff for "keeping the fort" and making final preparations to the course for the first golf event, the Elmer Muffwinkle, set for tomorrow. Great work guys!

After a bit more clean-up and the court contractors finish their removal work, the excavation for the basement and foundation for the new paddle facility will begin. When this begins next week, we will be transporting approx. 600 yards of soil to the area behind number 5 green where we will be adding on to the existing berm in this area (behind 5 green, left side of hole 6) and eventually grassing with fescue, and native grasses such as Little blue-stem, and a few clumps of Indian grass. I'll be entering a new post shortly detailing this work. 

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