Monday, November 30, 2015

Bunker Renovations 2015

This year we tackled the challenging job of making our bunkers more playable. After years of neglect most of the bunkers around the course we essentially unplayable. The sand that was there had become packed down turning them into a concrete like substance. On top of that they wouldn't drain, even when getting as little as an inch of rain the bunkers would become water hazards.

We took 2 of the worst bunkers and did a complete overhaul, digging out the old sand, installing drainage and then installing new sand. On the rest we "flipped" the bunkers, a process that involved moving all the sand to one side, digging out the edges and then redistributing the sand evenly over the bunkers. What was interesting in this process was that we found drainage in most of the bunkers. We had been led to believe there wasn't any due to the "water hazard" effect that would happen after rain events, but after cleaning out the drain lines we stayed dry for most of the year.

Below are some shots of this process. Hope you enjoy.

Cutting in the Drain Lines on the First bunker we did. 

After the Drain Lines have been installed 
We originally installed a bunker liner, we later came back and removed it after realizing it was causing more problems than it was solving. 
Bunker on number 2 after the sand was installed and smoothed out. 

After pushing all the sand up to the front edge we went through and redid the bottom edge

This was the first discovery of "drainage"

Old school style drainage that we found under 12" of sand. Essentially its gravel that had been "taco" folded by bunker blanket with a single drain line exiting. Not efficient or probably sustainable but it seems to be working. Water drains into the blanket which was placed at the low end, enters the pipe and then flows out of the bunker, or at least thats the idea lol. 

after the drain had been exposed

Clearing out the drain line using a quick connect and 1" hose

12' of sand. The top layer was so packed you would think it was down to the soil shell. However, what we found was that there was plenty of sand in the bunkers it just need to be "fluffed" and exposed.

All in all I would say the process this summer was a success. The bunkers were more playable and easier to maintain. There  are still a couple of bunkers that we need to come back and completely overhaul with new drains and sand. However it was an eye opening and interesting process discovering what was "under the soil".

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Fall Color

Never is the golf course more beautiful than in the fall. The trees that cause so much headache during the summer turn brilliant shades of orange and yellow. The overseeded Rye grass in the fairways is growing like wild fire giving a gorgeous green contrast to the leaves. While this provides picturesque golfing conditions it means our staff is working double time to keep the golf course in top playing condition.

We spend the majority of each day blowing leaves off of the greens and the in play areas. Luckily we have many areas around the course that are out of play that we can blow the leaves into. We are also mowing just about every day to keep Rye grass on the fairways, tees, and approaches under control. Its a busy time at the course but its satisfying and enjoyable work. Below are some photos from around the course this week.

Gorgeous color on #14 
 This monster has been hanging around 18 tee this week 

 The overseeded Rye Grass taking off in the fairways
 The 15th hole 
A view from the pro shops back Deck

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Child I never wanted

Anyone that knows me knows the frustration I've experienced over our 17th green here at Rock Creek Golf Course. We began the renovation last September and its been nothing short of a disaster ever since. From digging out drain lines in the rain to not being able to establish the bent grass seed as we planned, its been nothing but pain and agony for me and our staff.

We eventually sodded the entire green in May only to lose 65% of it in July. We decided to cut the damaged areas out and re-sod them, bringing in 1,500 square feet of sod. We lost about half of the new sod in 8 hours one Sunday. After trying to recover what we could we ended up takin plugs from our aerification of the other greens and putting them down on about half of the dead areas and sodded the rest from the nursery green at our "mother" course.

Its been a long process, 14 months to be exact, and we still don't have a playable green. However, I'm happy to say we are close to being able to open the green. Right now we're just waiting for a few areas to fill in and to bring the height of cut (HOC) down to our other greens. We are at about a 1/3 of an inch on 17 right now and we need to be down around 1/8 of an inch.

Below is a video of us sodding the green for the 3rd time as well as a photo of what the green currently looks like. We currently have put down over 4,500 square feet of sod on a green that is just barely 2,500 square feet. Here's to the insanity of golf course maintenance and hoping that we have a playable green prior to the season end.