Friday, January 15, 2021

Bunker Work Underway

We continue to juggle tree removals and bunker work based on the temperatures.  When sand is frozen we focus on trees and when it thaws we focus on bunkers.  That process will last a few more weeks and slowly shift entirely to bunker work.  Bunker drain repairs, edging, and redistributing sand are the primary tasks with bunkers for now.  Completing these steps will allow us to more effectively allocate the 25 or so loads of bunker sand coming over the next few months. 25 loads of sand is about 575 tons which will go a long way towards improving playability and upkeep in bunkers.  For perspective that is about 25% of the total needed to fill bunkers if we were to start from scratch.  We plan to start adding sand in the next 2 weeks.  Since there is already sand in them we hope to get close to "full" with this effort.  We can only stockpile 2-3 truckloads at a time here at our shop.  Each truckload is roughly 6 trailer loads with our tractor.  Roughly 150 trips back and forth from the shop with our tractor will be needed to distribute the 25 truckloads.  There will likely be noticeable differences between the sand we are getting and the sand we already have.  Since the plant that produced our old bunker sand shut down in 2019, we were forced to make a change.  Not many reasonably priced options exist at the moment.  A major bunker overhaul will still be a high priority so when that time comes we'll revisit the sand options available.  

Monday, January 4, 2021

First Update of 2021

Frigid temperatures, rain, and holidays put a stop to our progress on bridges.  We're hopeful to make another dent in them this week if weather cooperates. We will keep you posted with signs at the golf shop on what, if any, hole closures might be needed.  We've got bridges on holes 8, 9, 16, 17, and 18 left to complete.  Cleaning won't cause any disruption, but staining may cause some if the sun doesn't cooperate.  Make sure to be alert when checking in.  

We're well underway removing 57 dead trees around the course.  Ground conditions are keeping us near the path for now.  We'll have to wait for frozen ground or a dry spell to get the "far side" of each hole.  Some of the trees we need to remove will require outside help as they are leaning over fences or towards nearby homes.  Once we tackle all the dead trees we hope to address some of the problem trees along cart paths.  

Share this info with your golfing buddies by emailing or texting them the link to the page.  This time of year we have a lot going on and it's good to keep avid golfers in the loop.  I'll try to keep the page updated weekly over the winter.  The box in the top right corner of the home page will allow for my updates to be emailed directly to those who sign up.  We appreciate those of you who are already signed up! 


Sunday, December 27, 2020

Patience Needed

I was hoping that my last update might somehow ward off nasty weather.  Instead I'm having to refer to it already.  Much of the course is ok for play, but much of it is not.  2.28" of rain on Thursday was followed by ice, snow, and frigid temps on Friday.  Saturday and Sunday things slowly thawed out in the sun.  Tomorrow (Monday) we expect a big improvement in conditions.  The course will continue to thaw and should be safe for play Tuesday.  "Safe" refers to the greens, not the golfers.   

Everyone has some degree of cabin fever I'm sure.  I rode the entire course yesterday and just walked the front nine this afternoon (2:30 Sunday).  The snow is melting in the sun, but many of the greens are frozen somewhere in the top inch.  

Some pictures from my Sunday afternoon hike...

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Frost Delays and Winter Play

Frosty turf in the morning is a normal occurrence now that winter is near.  Traffic on frosty turf will do damage that won't recover for months.  The course opens at 9:00 this time of year, but often that will be pushed back to allow for the frost to thaw.  We communicate any expected delays to the golf shop when they open at 8:30.  If you have a 9:00 tee time and your lawn is still white or frozen at 8:30, it's pretty safe to assume you have time for another cup of coffee.  The practice greens will likely be on the same delay as the course, but the practice tee can usually be opened up a few minutes before the course.  The best thing to do, if it's cold, is check with the golf shop before heading to the practice facility.   

Frozen ground is another dilemma, but that typically won't delay play.  It just means you can't get the ball to stop on a green, can't put a tee in the ground, and the sand in bunkers is like concrete.  Sometime before the next cold snap we will add 2 additional holes in each green.  This way we will still be able to move the flag around when the ground is frozen.  Doing this allows us to avoid excess wear and tear on the same areas of the greens.  Over the course of the winter we will cut new hole locations as needed when the conditions allow for it.  

The worst case scenario for turf in the winter is a warm day following a really cold spell.  It's that day in particular that everyone looks forward to playing.  It's also that day when the greens begin to thaw from the top down.  Somewhere below the surface is a frost line that is hard as a rock.  Soggy conditions on top of a frost layer are unsafe for traffic.  I anticipate that this winter could create some challenges with more members and much more play.  There will be times when conditions above ground are ideal for play, but the greens are not safe to use.  We are very liberal with our approach to allowing play in this situation and have opened numerous times when every expert would advise against it.  It definitely hurts playability for several days and likely does some long term damage that isn't immediately evident.  The pressure to open the course is more intense than the pressure to have to answer why conditions aren't perfect in March or April.  My hope is that everyone understands and appreciates the risk involved with allowing play on greens that are partially frozen.  If you want the best possible conditions in spring and summer, it's best to show restraint in certain situations.  It's my job to protect the course from the golfers and it would be extremely helpful if the golfers that "get it" would run some interference for me with those that don't.  In times when we've "caved" it's been more a function of being overruled.  

Here is a great article outlining some of the issues with winter golf...Winter Play...USGA Article

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Bridge Update

We had a great day staining bridges and will be back to normal Friday for play.  

We aimed high hoping to finish all 7 bridges on the front side today, but the extreme cold this morning delayed our start by a couple of hours.  We stopped when it was too dark to see.  We were able to complete bridges on holes 2 (2 bridges), 4, 6, and almost all of 7.  We still have a little left on 7 as well as 8 and 9 to complete, but will be doing those on the next available sunny day.  No hole closures will be needed to complete what's left on the front nine.  You can see from the pictures that the lumber is in rough shape.  Stain will make them look a little better and keep most of them in place for another few years.  1200 linear feet (12,000 square feet) of lumber is not cheap.  

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Tomorrow's (Thursday) Bridge Related Hole Closures

The front nine will be closed tomorrow (Thursday) in order to finish staining the bridges on that side of the course.  We will be starting as soon as the temperatures warm up and will be busy all day trying to get them completed.  

We will wash the back nine bridges next Monday and then look for another nice day to get the stain down.  It is likely that we will close either some or all of the back nine next week for a day.   

The worst deck boards and railings will be replaced in the near future on a day when we don't have much play.   

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.


Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Bridge Cleaning and Staining

The process of washing and staining our bridges has begun.  It's a slow process and we are trying hard to avoid disrupting play.  So far we've completed about half of the cleaning and, when weather permits, we will begin the staining.  Staining is where we will have to make some adjustments and possible hole closures to allow for things to dry.  Please be alert when checking in with the golf shop on what, if any, hole closures may exist.  Also be alert for signage that warns of the work in progress and possible hole closures.  

We will also be replacing some damaged deck boards and rails as needed over the coming months.  This step will be handled in-house in conditions that don't require us to disrupt play.  

Thanks for your understanding and patience.