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.