Thursday, December 3, 2009

Back in the Bunkers

Immediately following the completion of the cart path extension on #18 we got back into bunker renovation exactly as planned. Next on the priority list were the greenside bunkers on #10 and we completed the right front last week. This week we completed the left front and rear bunker completing all of the greenside bunkers on #10.
We are all aware of the economic climate the entire Nation is experiencing and even with that we were able to move forward at Granite Bay with capitol projects. Extension of the # 18 cartpath and continued bunker renovation were addressed on the course as well as the completely renovated fitness center at the clubhouse. Many clubs in the company had little to no capitol funds available in 2009.
Because of this economic climate and the performance of the company as a whole the remainder of bunker capitol funding for 2009 has been pushed into 2010. We only have three weeks left in our fiscal 2009 so Mitch is going to do what he can to get small incremental amounts of capitol released early in the year rather then the traditional springtime release. This means we can continue bunker renovation this winter, weather permitting, when we can throw more manpower at the project and really make progress. I’ll keep everyone informed.

Spraying liner on left hand bunker #10

Greenside bunkers complete on #10

The Aging of Our Ponds- Part II

The History of Our Ponds - Part II

In part one of the aging of our ponds, I discussed the crucial part our ponds play in water storage and irrigation delivery for the golf course turf. Additionally addressed was the fact that the aging process that our ponds, and for that matter most ponds experience is beginning limit both our irrigation holding capacity and our ability to remove the water for irrigation.
The history of our ponds might shed some light on our particular aging process and how it might have been accelerated. This information will not change anything just provide information so everyone understands our upcoming solutions.
The history of our ponds are intricately linked to the construction history of the course and this entire history is well documented. The following are excerpts are from “The History of Granite Bay Golf Club” which is on the Granite Bay website.
“The two bodies of water on the course play an integral role in the irrigation system, and both have interesting stories to tell. George's Lake between holes one and nine, is named after George Dunmore, the owner of the land and one of the original partners. Louie's Lake, which fronts hole number three, is named after Louie Costanzo, a close friend and business partner of Dunmore.”

“The present George's Lake is more than three times larger than the original stock pond placed there, along with fish, in the 1950's. In order to install the plumbing and pumps for the irrigation system, the lake had to be dammed. The California Fish and Game Department scooped up all the fish and moved them down stream to Louie's Lake, and the construction started. When the natural growth along the shoreline of the lake was dug up, the rootstock was saved and was then re-spread along the shoreline of the new larger lake. About eight months later, the new George's Lake, replete with fish, looked like it had been there since the beginning of time.”
“The story about Louie's Lake is a little on the bizarre side. Louie Costanzo, and Dunmore, were not only long time chums and partners in the Wexford project, but he shared George's passion for building a golf course. He had a habit of driving around the barren property and discussing ideas for the golf course with Dunmore. This, of course, was long before the involvement of Cook and Parsinen. One day Louie hauled a bulldozer out to the property and began clearing trees on what is now the 18th hole. Back then, it was to be the first hole and it was to play uphill. He then decided to create a lake at the location of the present third hole green, and began digging out earth, trees and brush. That lake now bears his name and might have been even bigger had the county not stepped in with a "cease and desist" order to stop clearing trees.”

The California Department of Fish and Game was not the only regulatory entities that Mr. Parsinan & Mr. Cook had to deal with during construction as you can imagine. The developers were required to compensate for impacts from development on a little over two acres of wetlands. This was a complicated mitigation process that resulted in the mandated formal design and monitoring of the planting of over 2000 riparian woodland and scrub species around George’s and Louie’s lakes. In addition to the various woodland species that were required to be planted around the ponds perennial marsh plants that were native to property were transplanted and moved to different parts of the pond edges to accelerate the re-establishment of the wet land habitat.
Fourteen years later we have well-established vegetation around both George’s and Louie’s Lakes. This vegetation fits the design style and vision of “Golf As It Should Be”. The vegetation consisting of trees, wetland shrubs, tulles and rushes continue to grow & spread and deposit foliage and material into most crucially George’s lake every year. This combined with the sediment that comes into George’s Lake from Linda Creek is creating a situation where the lake is losing its depth and breadth. Part III of the series of the Aging of our Ponds will cover more of this eutrophication or aging process.

Propagated wetland vegetation surrounding Georges lake #1 / #9

Propagated vegetation around Louie's Lake #3

Successful # 18 Tee Cart Path

Addressing the stairs on #18 leading to the Granite & Tournament tees was a close second behind bunker renovation in the 2007 year end member survey issued shortly before my arrival at Granite Bay. Bunker renovation started in 2008 negating their impact to that year’s survey and the stairs on #18 became the top golf course capitol priority, at least according to the members who participated in the survey.
We are very happy that the project went off exactly as planned and the finished product has been embraced for the most part by the membership. Once we got into the project my biggest concern was the canopy’s of the carts visually obstructing the view of the fairway. Creating an area large enough for carts to turn around and not be in the line of sight was hard to envision until we removed existing landscaping to see what we had up there. We worked along time at excavation the upper area creating as flat of a turnaround as possible. I am sure members who have been using the path currently have already figured that the lead cart needs to pull forward allowing the trailing cart to pull parallel to the newly created rock wall. This gets the carts all the way to the left and out of the fairway line of sight.

Upper turnaround #18 tee

The grade coming down the path was a concern as well. After using the path with club owned electric carts we found that instinctively drivers do not accelerate fully but slightly use the brake and the club owned carts govern their speed automatically.
Even if used improperly and a player drove the cart with full throttle, the club owned carts govern down like they do on other steep paths on the course.

Slope of the completed cartpath #18

The last concern was access for walkers. I don’t use the course as much as our members but I personally found the new path easier to walk up then navigating the old stairs or the foot worn path around them that most walkers used. The coarse texture that we planned to use on the slope is stable under foot and it just seems an easier trek. Once the weather becomes wet we will evaluate access for walkers and create a walking path up the right side of the cart path if necessary.
In addition to the path we addressed irrigation issues and some cleanup and grading around the #17 green complex trying to put some finishing touches on the entire area. We still have plant material to install in the barked areas at the base and top of the path, which we are targeting to finish next week. Additionally we have to re-install the water station, which we hope to take care of this winter.

Fresh concrete

#12 cart path extension