Thursday, March 18, 2010

Winter Progress

As I mentioned above I would have never thought we could have accomplished as much as we did the past 6 weeks with the normal wet weather patterns that Februarys bring, but we did and could not be happier. Outdoor construction is difficult if not impossible when soils become saturated but by strategically working on smaller bunkers first, that could logically be covered during storms, we were able make steady progress.
We started with the three bunkers on #8 which presented some interesting challenges. Once the sand was removed and we were down in the base of the right hand bunkers we checked the grades and found that there was very little fall from the bottom base of the bunkers to water level in the lake. This makes it hard for water to exit the bunker and the likely culprit of why these bunkers were chronically wet. In order to accommodate both our large drainage chambers and the above mentioned fall issue we had to raise the base of the bunker particularly the right front.

#8 front right bunker

#8 front right - covered to preserve moist liner

#8 right rear - low water table

Through the entire bunker renovation process we have consciously avoided changing the original design intent with the lone exception of the left-hand bunker on #16. This situation on #8 was a one where we had to raise the bottom of the bunker to assure the new drainage system functioned properly.

After we finished the three greenside bunkers on #8 we proceeded to #9 and completed the three greenside bunkers there. Most of our bunkers have supplemental irrigation heads around the edges, which we have been replacing as part of the renovation process. This entire supplemental system around the bunkers and adjoining turf on #9 was totally inadequate so we redesigned and replaced that irrigation as well. Little ancillary additions like this will really pay off come July and August and we have taken care of a bunch of it this winter.

Drainage pattern rear bunker #9 green

Filling #9 bunkers with sand

Supplimental irrigation installation around bunkers on #9

Greenside bunkers #9 complete

After the bunkers on #9 we took went to # 4 and took care of the two front right bunkers. The rear bunker on #4 we were not able to address because the severe slope around the area had become to wet because of weather. When we do this work there is a lot of traffic in and out of the area along with heavy equipment and I thought it would be better to wait until a drier season rather then damage the area just to finish the entire green complex. We finished all the greenside bunkers on #8 & #9 and two of the greenside bunkers on #4 in the month of February averaging two bunkers a week. Next was the month of March and the monster bunkers on #15.

Excavation of the right greenside bunker on #4

Excavation of the right hand approach bunker on #4

We were right on schedule to start the three big bunkers around #15. Weather was forecasted for hit & miss rain through the first part of March. We desperately wanted to continue progress and came up with an idea that would facilitate our wishes.

First these bunkers were too large to realistically cover with plastic between storms. Removing the old sand from the trap could be accomplished during marginal weather but not digging drainage ditches. This is because as we typically dig the drainage ditch we place the removed soil on the faces and base of the trap and compact it to restore the trap to its original shape. This dirt even though compacted, if rained on would have the potential of washing down the slope and making a muddy mess, which would have taken days of good weather to dry out halting progress.
Excavating sand out of one of the monstor bunkers on #15

Excavated and clean but no drainage ditches
Another unrelated project that we had promised to complete was the softening of the front right portion of the #16 hole down in that sloppy wet area. This was a project really driven by the GBWGC to give many of their members a fighting chance to approach the green after their shots careened off the fairway slope and ended up in this slop.
#16 fairway softening
#16  graded with old sand from bunkers on #15
#16 sodded
So to maintain renovation momentum we decided to strip the sod in the above-mentioned area on #16, remove ALL of the sand from ALL THREE of the traps on fifteen and transfer the sand to #16. To make a long story during the next three weeks culminating this week we completed the re-grassing on #16 and completed the renovation on the greenside traps on #15. We finished two weeks ahead of schedule along with knocking the project #16 softening project off the list.

#15 drainage pattern

That was more golf course under construction at one time than we typically like, but the circumstances somewhat forced the bold move and now it’s done.
Filling bunkers on #15
Finished product on #15

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