Friday, August 7, 2020

2020 Summer Course Update

2020 has been quite year so far and I'm  not sure many of us anticipated how much our lives would change. In some ways our work lives in Granite Bay GCM hasn't changed drastically as the golf course never completely closed due to COVID and actually before all this pandemic stuff we thought we would be closed to finish the turf conversion we started in 2019.  Then "The Project" was cancelled followed shortly after with COVID shutdown's and all of our worlds changed.

#2 fairway divot problem
#2 FW low shady area. Stays wet, collects golf balls and without
Member divot filling help is pretty tore up in early August.

In many ways the cancelling of the project was fortuitous for the GBGC membership as you now had somewhere to go and exercise and socialize in a socially distant fashion, so the golf course has never been busier. To give you an idea of how busy, through July 2020 we have run 26,000 golf rounds through the course. All  of which were Member rounds. In the entire year of 2019 we ran 29,000 rounds including both Member  and Tournament rounds. Most of these rounds were done without the help of Members filling divots because we were required to remove all of the divot bottles from the golf course and single cart riders because we cannot send out carts with dual occupancy. 

#1 Granite Tee. It got wore out early in the 2020 season and needed
to be re-sodded. 

All this activity didn't leave as much of a mark on the course early in the spring months as the course's cool season turf is thriving at that time of the year. But as we progressed into the summer months where the course has historically struggled, the traffic is starting to take its toll. GCM has more then doubled its man-hours on filling divots but it is hard to keep up. Additionally we are trying to culture new hybrid bermuda surrounds and #17 FW to help create the playing surfaces we all want at the same time taking care of a cool season course in another Granite Bay summer while receiving historic traffic. Something had to give and the course is certainly summer worn in areas in early August. Weather hasn't been to bad even after recording 15 days over 100 degrees and another 15 days in the 98+ degree range. Nighttime temperatures have been cool and the two distinct heat spells have been proceeded by nice cool downs.

Weather hasn't been to bad even after recording 15 days over 100 degrees and another 15 days in the 98+ degree range since June 1st. Nighttime temperatures have been cool and the two distinct heat spells have been proceeded by nice cool downs.

Newly installed tee-line at the rear of the driving range was
a traffic related add in the social distancing world we now live in.

View from the back of the range on the new tee-line

None of us know when we will get back to normal. We do know that the fall equinox is 46 days away and post labor day aeration is only a month away. Let the recovery begin!

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Driving Range Is Open In This New COVID World

After over 2 months of closure due to COVID-19 concerns and some much needed time off and renovation, the GBGC driving range opened this week on Tuesday 6/2/20. Due to the continued COVID protocols of social distancing that will likely be around for awhile,  we can only open the tee to 50% capacity. Mr. Peabody is working hard on securing funding for some tee expansion at the upper end of the driving range to mitigate some of the demand issues. If he is successful we will be adding 10 or so new bays up there. More to come on that.

Finished Driving Range product. There are now seven total target greens including 3 additional short game targets, and no sand traps to maintain around. 

COVID protocols remain in place on the golf course which eliminate commonly touched items such as sand trap rakes, divot bottles, ball washers ect. Elevated platforms in the bottom of the putting green hole remain for the foreseeable future. We will be installing some practice green target's in the upcoming weeks but no holes will be cut in the practice greens until COVID precautions are relaxed.

Upper practice green with no holes. We have come "cup-less" target poles arriving soon. 

Sand traps rake are still not available for golfers.

We recently upgraded the platform that is required in this new COVID world
from the foam we started with originally. I think all will agree this is a better
option then the bouncy, faded foam.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Driving Range Facelift

In the spirit of not letting a good crisis go to waste while the driving range is closed due to COVID-19 concerns, we are working some driving range improvements. Our initial plan was to aerify and throw some sand and seed at it and be done. But  upon further analysis we wanted to take the proper amount of time and effort to make modifications we feel will be more aesthetically pleasing as well as creating a more functional situation. Below are pictures of progress thus far. 

Here is a nice spring time picture of our range. Not to bad from afar. What you don't know is this range is extremely rough  out there and has allot of operational issues that hinder turf maintenance and retrieval of golf balls. One of the larger issues is we don't shut it down frequently enough for a maintenance  as this COVID situation is forcing us to do  now. Why don't we shut it down more often? Members love hitting balls and taking lessons. The secondary issue is we have too many obstacles to work around when picking balls and doing any kind of maintenance. The third issue is drainage which hampers maintenance and the retrieval of balls as well. The fourth issue is cool season turf for the most part growing in poor soil.

When we first went out on the range to game plan precisely what would make sense to do with a potentially long closure,  the first thing that we agreed to do was to remove the bunkers. I know they add a nice aesthetic to the range but the trade off is extremely worn out turf around them as they have to be avoided with the ball picker and any other maintenance equipment. This causes extreme traffic patterns is areas making it impossible to grow turf. I know you don't see these worn out  areas from the picture above but they are there and they are severe. These areas rapidly turn into mud then balls become smashed into them as tractor tire continue to roll over them creating a  real unsustainable situation.

We got started filling in the bunkers last week to get them ready for sodding on Monday 4/27/20. We plan on substantially increasing the size of the target greens near to previous bunkers by sodding down the slope where to bunkers used to be creating a false front to each target green that will be very visible form the tee. Additionally we plan to add another 2 targets giving us 6 total.

Above Enrique and the GCM crew stripping out the completely worn out center section of the range to prepare it for new sod. We will add a 135 yard (from the mats) target green in this area as well. 

Removing the bunkers are not the only thing we are working on. All of the sprinkler heads needed to be raised and checked and a large % replaced. Additionally depicted above is a drainage inlet (DI)  that has been dug out and will have a perforated riser installed to raise the DI grate. The displaced soil will be replaced with gravel to quickly drain the water that accumulated in areas like this by design and improve overall drainage and softness associated with these areas. 

I'll do an update again after we install the sod.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Storms & Pestilence

Storms have always been a way of life on the golf course and are seasonably predictable with foreseeable results and responses. Pestilence (COVID 19) on the other hand is not common in our golf course maintenance world and certainly the end results are uncertain. 

The Granite Bay Golf Course Maintenance Department is happy to be working and preparing the course so members can enjoy a  break from the isolation we are all taking part in. Specific precautions for our staff is keeping our distance with single cart & vehicle operation and meeting in the maintenance yard in the AM rather then our cramped lunchroom to detail daily tasks. Lunches are taken out in the yard and  inherent in our work practices is a natural social distancing. 

Below are some pictures of the recent weekend storm that brought 3" of rain as well as a big mess and the unfortunate change to the sixth hole at Granite Bay.

We haven't many big storms this rainy season and one of the biggest issues for golf course
maintenance when we do have big storms is bunker recovery. Heavy rains wash the sand off
the faces of bunkers and  fill them with rainfall, some of which needs to be
mechanically pumped out.

And the recovery process is lengthy. This go around will take us 3 days to recover all of the bunkers.

The big loss from this storm was the toppling of the large Blue Oak that protected the right hand side of  the green on #6

First things first. We need to remove the down tree. Next we can contemplate  future options for protecting
the right hand side of the green.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Putting Surface Maintenance March 2020

The golf course is still open during these challenging times for golf members to get out of the house, get a little exercise and enjoy their golf course. We are grateful to be preparing the course for you and at the same time remaining employed and we  hope that everyone is safe and healthy.

Both golf and golf course maintenance schedules have been been pretty fluid in 2020 and it looks like this dynamic will continue into the foreseeable future. Our adjusted overall strategy this year is to keep a frequent, less aggressive approach to cultivation practices on the golf course such as aerification. On Monday 3/2/20 we deep tine aerated the greens and Monday 3/30/20 we spiked the greens along with adding granular fertility and seed. Below are some pictures of the process.

Above is a putting surface aerifyer set up with solid spiking tines. These tines make a 1/4" wide hole 4" deep facilitating much needed air to the surface's root system.

Close-up view of the aerification pattern. This hole pattern is approximately 2"X 2".

After the spiking we run a vertical mower over the surface to groom it and provide slits or avenues for bentgrass seed to make soil contact and establish.

Bentgrass seed is very small.

Next we apply a medium-light dusting of sand to the surfaces.

Followed by granular fertility application. Open holes are a perfect opportunity to get nutrients incorporated into the soil via open holes  such as calcium, magnesium and slow release potassium.

The finishing touch is brushing the seed, sand and nutrients into the aeration holes and vertical mowing lines. Next we apply some water to push the seed, sand and nutrients down into the turf canopy. Final touch is to roll the surfaces the following morning. Putting quality will not be effected by this process although there might be traces of sand evident which is not that foreign as we frequently light topdress the greens during the growing season.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Golf Committee Minutes march 2020

Golf Committee March 10, 2020 Minutes


Michael Peabody, Dan Becker, Matt Dillon, Michael Nicoletti, Lisa Erickson, Carol Garvey, Ed Reeder, Jim Reis, Board of Governors: John Korvin

Meeting with ClubCorp

Prior to the Golf Committee meeting there was a meeting with Dan Hewitson, ClubCorp’s Senior VP of Operations.  GBGC was represented by Michael Peabody, John Korvin, and Dan Becker.  The meeting was to discuss ClubCorp’s recent budgetary decisions.
Here are key points from the meeting:
Both the Tilly’s kitchen and the golf course projects are postponed.  No assurances that they will be approved in the future.
No explanation why Tilly’s kitchen was approved in 2019 and postponed in 2020.
Apollo has different approach to capital. ClubCorp gave a little to everybody. Apollo gives a lot to a few. Apollo has different budget timetable than ClubCorp. ClubCorp made decisions in October. Apollo is much later.
All dues and revenues go into a corporate-wide pot. Other clubs got projects approved. We didn’t make the cut.
There will be no relief on dues.
It was agreed that Apollo/ClubCorp did a poor job of communication and they recognized that we thought it was a virtual certainty that our projects would be approved.
Mr. Hewitson got a clear picture of why we were very unhappy and the potential damage to the GBGC brand but he was not authorized to do anything about it.
Mr. Hewitson said that GBGC was valued by Apollo and they had no intention of selling it.
There will be a follow up visit for further discussion.
[Attached are the agenda and Korvin’s and Becker’s talking points]

General Manager Update

The ClubCorp meeting was discussed.
Matt Dillon was recognized as the ClubCorp Supervisor of the Year - Pacific Region.

Pro Shop / Outside Services Update

·         Evaluating a new Outside Services head position.
·         A new golf cart fleet, without speakers, will arrive in the Fall.
·         We will be switching to Callaway range balls.
·         Mike N is investigating the possibilities of private cart owners installing the GPS system.
Action Item: Mike N – Report your findings.

Course Conditions

For comprehensive information please check the Granite Bay Golf Club Course Update.
·         The club will soon start using a new pin placement and management program (ezLocator).  We will no longer have the red, white, yellow pin progression.  Daily pin locations can be found via an app, GBGC cart GPS, or daily printed pin sheets.  The benefits are many, among them: avoids “unfair” pin locations, increased green health, and introduces pin locations that may make feel like you are playing a new course.  The technology has been widely praised everywhere it has been used.  Matt will provide rollout specifics soon through the Granite Bay Course Update.
·         Aeration this Spring will be solid tined (no extraction).  This aeration will have much shorter-term impact on playability.
·         Bunker maintenance: Trying to keep the sand level consistent through the rainy season, will add sand later in the year..
·         Hybrid Bermuda Surrounds – they will be higher later in the year.  This will help avoid the extreme runoff of balls that travel a bit too far (like #11).

Junior Golf Update

·         Plans will need to be adjusted as a result of the changes to the course closure.
·         Designated range stations will be in place to ensure that golfers can warm up prior to play..

Handicap Integrity / Reports                                                                

·         Jack and Michelle could not attend but reported their statistics.  Jack reported a 69 percent compliance of posting scores in February.  Michelle reported 78 percent compliance.

Locker Room Attendant

·         The Locker Room is in place.
Action Item: Mike P – Send an announcement to the members.

On Boarding Process/Policies/Codes

Mike N reported that there were 16 or 17 new member on-boardings over the past year and they were very appreciative.  They were provided the updated golf guide and the guest policy as an attachment
Action Item: Mike P – Make sure that the club website gets updated with the new policies and codes.
Action Item: Mike N
Provide the new golf guide to the Committee
Action Item: Mike N/Lisa E – Establish welcome procedure for lady golfers
Action Item: Mike N
Invite the Golf Committee to the next New Member Orientation.

Tournament Update

·         There were two NCGA qualifiers and the Couples tournament.  Both had higher attendance than in the past.  The Couples tournament had twice as many participants than last year.
·         March will have s
·         As always, check the Club Life app for details on upcoming tournaments.

Attention to Detail / Action Items

This is a portion of the meeting where the committee reviews and voices items that should be corrected or where GBGC comes up lacking when compared to other clubs.  They should be focused primarily on the Golf Experience.
Prior items:
·         #5 bathroom walkway – loose tile, trip hazard.
-- In 2019 all bathrooms will be repainted and tile replaced/repaired.  This is currently in process and awaiting final budget approval. Note that the tiles have been replaced.
·         #10 fairway too narrow/rough too wide when using Pebble tees.
-- There will be tree trimming and likely the contours will be smoothed when the course is re-sodded.
·         It was suggested that a new Tournament tee be added to #11.
-- Will be done when the course is re-sodded.
·         Other area courses have short videos that cover course care, etiquette, etc. 
Action Item: Mike P – Come up with a plan to make the videos a reality.

This month’s unfiltered items:

·         Members are frequently leaving balls on the chipping green or not raking bunkers after they are finished with practice.  The Committee agreed that this was poor etiquette and disrespectful of fellow members.
Action Item: Mike N -- Propose a solution to the issue.
·         The Red tees on #10 are blind to tees further back.  Golfers on the Red tees are frequently “in the line of fire”.
Action Item: Matt/Mike N – Explore a possible solution
-- DONE (trees trimmed)

New Business

A proposed 2020 Golf Calendar was presented, given the course remaining open.  A key Ladies event was added.

Open Action Item Summary

Mike P – Make sure that the club website gets updated with the new policies and codes.
Mike P – Come up with a plan to make the videos a reality.
Mike P – Send out an announcement to the members about the Locker Room Attendant.
Mike N – Report on the possibilities of private cart owners installing the GPS system.
Mike N -- Propose a solution to the issue of improper practice area etiquette.
Mike N – Get a larger scorecard box for Tilly’s.
Mike N – Provide the new golf guide to the Committee.
Mike N/Lisa E – Establish welcome procedure for lady golfers.
Mike N – Invite the Golf Committee to the next New Member Orientation.

Next Meeting Dates (all 4pm)

4/28, 5/27, 6/23 (subject to change).

Attachment: ClubCorp Meeting Agenda

ClubCorp Agenda – March 10,2020
Attendees: Dan Hewitson – Vice President, Pacific Division
                     Michael Peabody – General Manager, Granite Bay GC
                     John Korvin – Chairman, Board of Governors
                     Dan Becker – Chairman, Golf Committee
Member Relations History
Food and Beverage
-          New Chef and F&B manager
-          Member Surveys
Golf Operations
-          New Pro
-          Outside Services
-          Clubhouse/Locker Rooms
-          Golf Course
-          Damaged in the Marketplace
-          New Member Recruitment Impact
  -2017 - 4.2% Dues Increase – No Noticeable Capital Investment
 - 2018 - 4.3% Dues Increase – No Noticeable Capital Investment
 - 2019 – 5.0% Dues Increase – 2 Clocks
 - 2020 – 5.9% Dues Increase – No Noticeable Capital Investment
 - 2020 – 3.5% Credit Card Charge – Seen as a Dues Increase
Tilly’s Project
-          Approved in 2019
-          Rescinded in 2020
Member Relations Today

Attachment: John Korvin’s Talking Points


Bent Grass - Lots of Water - Wet Summer Conditions

Drought - Water Restrictions

Bermuda - Solves Current and Future Problems

Step1 - Multiple Types of Hybrid Bermuda Patches

Step2 - Surrounds on 4 Holes

Step3 - Sod #17 Fairway and 14 Surrounds on Remaining Holes

Step4 - Delay #7 Tee Complex until ‘The Project’

Step5 - No Sale of Outside Tournaments between June and November

Step6 – Move Men’s and Women’s Invitational’s to April

Attachment: Dan Becker’s Talking Points

For this part of the conversation, I will focus specifically on golf.

Speaking for myself, I’m passionate about three things as it pertains to GBGC;

1.    Playing golf.
2.    The golfer experience.
3.    Golf member customer service.

When Michael came on as GM, John and I enthusiastically committed to whatever time it took - and whatever was asked of us - helping Michael with anything/everything having to do with the Golfer Experience. 

We became passionate liaisons - and communication avenues - for Michael, Matt Dillon, the members, as well as some of the key GBGC employees.

Essentially, being the primary communication “link” between the capital contributing entity, and members.

The good news, on a local level, it has paid dividends as we continually address (and improve) the member experience.  Such as;

1.    The Head Golf Pro responsibilities & duties.
2.    Outside services.
3.    Pro Shop service and support.
4.    Junior Program.
5.    Attention to details.
6.    Locker Room service and support.
7.    Golf Course conditions and the playing experience.

The more realistic news, in spite of a course that has extremely “good bones” is we are taking daily bullets on the more critical “corporate” things such as;

1.    Awful summer course conditions - specifically fairways, roughs and surrounds.
2.    Terribly inconsistent bunkers.
3.    A municipal looking practice range (poor drainage, bad looking turf, deficient fence, etc).
4.    Over used and abused tee boxes.
5.    Tired, often smelly & dated locker rooms.
6.    A half-pregnant course with all kinds of grasses and conditions scattered throughout.

All of these challenges are currently being held together by nothing more than band-aids and hope - and the herculean efforts of people like Michael, Matt Dillon, and some other key employees.

John and I are both in an extremely compromised position.  We simply don’t know what to say (or do) in light of recent postponements.  Hope and verbal timelines aren’t going to cut it going forward. 

And with drought ramifications becoming more and more evident, it can only get worse!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Coronavirus Update #2 - Additional Golf Course Precautions

Last week we removed all water cooler's from the golf course as a precaution against Coronavirus transmission from water cooler dispenser handling. Using CDC guidelines, ClubCorp has mandated additional measures to golf course operations nationwide to prevent transmission.

Practice green this morning with flag's removed

Additional Measures Include:

  • Removal of all practice green flags.
  • Removal of all sand trap rakes.
  • Removal of ball washers.
  • Removal of all divot boxes and bottles.
  • Reversing the putting green cup.

Above picture depicts ClubCorp mandated reversal of the putting green cup. The tapered flag stick ferrule wedges into the cup with this configuration so we are asking all players to NOT REMOVE THE FLAG STICK WHEN PUTTING

Above picture depicts a ball that has settled into the reversed cup in the putting green eliminating the need touch the sides of the cup during retrieval of your golf  ball. We ask that you utilize the following temporary local rule at until we return to normal putting green cup placement:

Above picture shows sand traps on #8 without sand trap rakes. GCM will rake bunkers in the AM. Players need to try to smooth out their tracks in the bunkers with their shoes temporarily until we come up with a better solution.

Water station on #5 tee without ball washer.

Following the CDC's guidance on keeping work places safe is ClubCorps and Granite Bay Golf Clubs upmost priority for our Members and Employee Partners. On the golf course we feel that by removing all of these commonly handled golf course items that we are eliminating potential transmission touch points. All of these measures are of course temporary as we all navigate through these new times we are experiencing. We are glad that at least for now we can prepare the golf course for our members to enjoy as their home away from home during these turbulent times.  

Thanks for your understanding and patience.