Saturday, August 29, 2009

Renovation Is Underway

Renovation on #13 began on Friday. It should take 7-10 days to get everything graded, seeded, and bunkers built. Here's hoping for a great stretch of weather to get the new fairway established...

Friday, August 28, 2009

I stitched together a couple of snapshots I took of the clouds that rolled in this morning over the golf course, right before we got dumped on for about 5 minutes. Thankfully it was not enough rain to delay the project on #13 any longer. The bulldozer and tiller are now working on it as I type this. We've made the hole a par 3 for the time being, with the tee box located about 125 yards out on the left side of the cart path. We will be keeping the hole cut on the right side of the green to keep it as playable as possible. We may readdress the location once the fairway is seeded, because at that point there can absolutely not be any traffic on it while the seed is being established. Overall I think it works out well, and everyone can play to the green rather then a situation where a temp green is involved.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Early Morning Fog

I snapped this photo of Ron mowing the 3rd fairway on Saturday morning of the club championship. The brightness of the picture actually doesn't really relay the reality of the moment. The staff showed up at 5:15am on Saturday and Sunday so we could mow fairways, approaches, greens, and intermediate ahead of the golfers. This was a little different practice then routines in the past. Normally we mowed everything Friday and then came back and mowed everything on Saturday evening. Of course the greens were mowed each day, actually twice every morning, but the rest was just once over the weekend. I am very happy with the results of the new mowing routine. The dew was removed on all major playing areas, although it did settle back in for some of the early tee times, and the course looked great. The only thing that made this all possible was my staff. Everyone showed up on time and got straight to work, it was a terrific effort on their part to get the course in shape for everyone to play. I have to give them a huge thanks on a job well done. And for that matter, a big thanks on a great summer with little to no issues.

As the summer winds down we start to lose staff to school. As a result we start changing some of our mowing routines and we tend to tri-plex greens more then we walk mow. For the most part it probably won't be noticed, but just a reminder to you all. The main mowing stays on top of the priority list, but things like weed-whipping and raking bunkers 6-7 days a week starts to move down that list. Other odd jobs also get less frequent, but we do everything we can to make sure the course still plays in great shape. There is still a lot of golf to played in 2009...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rain Delayed

I wonder what the people driving by the club think when they look out over 13 and 14 and see a dead fairway? After a good couple of days over the weekend the RoundUp has worked through the plant and the turf is checking out. I did spray it again with diquat on Sunday night after the club championship to burn it down quicker and Monday was a good weather day for that. Then Tuesday brought the rain and it looks as though the project will be delayed for a couple of days because it needs to be drier for the tiller and scraper.

We have also worked out a deal with Hartman that will get the project on 7, 4, & 8 completed this year also. We are currently working on scheduling and details for that. Stay tuned for a update of what's going on in regards to that and also the progress on #13.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Who Ordered The Rain?

On Wednesday we received 2.5" of rain. On Thursday we received 0.75" of rain. The golf course is very saturated at the moment to say the least. For the last couple of days we have been paths only with golf carts, and I see that continuing today. Even the maintenance staff is limiting any traffic around the course while trying to tie up loose ends before the tournament begins tomorrow morning for the bulk of the field. The championship and presidential flights were able to get their first round in yesterday, it was what you typically call 'mudding'. And though the ladies could not get their first nine of eighteen holes in on Wednesday, they will be able to get their modified championship round in today along with the juniors. While it has been wet, the course is still holding its own and playing pretty good.

Just some reminders and notes because of the weather and wet conditions:
  • Please repair your ball marks and a few others. The greens are very soft and even short chips are leaving a mark. There is going to be a lot of play over the next couple of days and it is important to give everybody a good putting surface. Fix your ball marks.
  • Try to stay on the paths and cross fairways at 90 degrees. There will also be signs out there to steer carts clear of wet areas, please follow them. Again, we want the course to be in great shape for everybody.
  • Remember to put the bunker rakes back in the bunker when your done. Let's keep things consistent throughout the course for all the players.
  • Be sure to keep the carts on the paths when around greens and tees. The areas we have sodded will be soft and prone to damage, not to mention the bare and muddy areas.
  • Because of the rain there is some long rough in a couple of areas between holes that we may not be able to mow. The fairway is your best bet to keep your scores low.
  • The rough around the greens is wet, thick, and may be long in spots. Try and hit the greens, another best bet for keeping your scores low.
  • Have fun, be courteous, and take care of the course so everyone has a great weekend of golf.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

IVGC Championship Week

We are almost off and running so to speak. The club championship starts tomorrow with the 18 hole women's division playing their back 9 round. So far everything is going smooth and the course is in great shape, the IVGC maintenance staff is doing a terrific job getting the place ready for the busy week. I took a photo of the blue heron on #6 today, not much to see on #13 fairway yet. I expect it will be a few days before we notice a difference in color. The good weather we are having should really help the RoundUp make it through the plant quick.

Last night the greens committee met to discuss and approve a plan for the renovation project on #7, 4, & 8. The gist of that plan is as follows: The bunkers on #7 will be renovated to bring them up to date. The first fairway bunker on the right will be taken out, and the second one on the right will be moved up towards the 100 yard marker. The Silver Maple will be taken out in that area to allow for proper playability and mounding around the bunker itself. The left fairway bunker will be tweaked slightly but mainly just be renovated in its current location. The green side bunker will built up similar to the one on #10 green so it is more visible from further out in the fairway. It will be slightly smaller and brought towards the approach a little bit. The soil for the project will come from re-grading the approach at about 60 yards out up to the green. This will create the much needed drainage in the area for growing a better stand of grass. It will also improve the site line up the left side of the hole, there is no plan to remove any of the ridge or right side of the fairway to open up that site line. The main reason being that it would take a very significant cut to open that view up and it would create a very manufactured looking golf hole. It would be something that would look very different to the character of the rest of the golf course. To go along with #7 we will be completely renovating the 4th tee and the back tee on 8. Using some of the soil from 7 and by cutting down the front 1/3 of #8 tee we will create enough soil to increase the size of #4. Number eight will have two separate tees instead of the single tee currently there. There is some potential to also add a little length in that area, possibly 10 yards or so. The white tees would then rotate between the new lower tee and the raised back tee. #4 will enlarged to the right, over the existing cart path, also better aligned with the golf hole. To remove the need for a retaining wall, the tee will be lowered slightly so a walkable slope can be created from the new cart path which will run below the current site of the water cooler and seed box. The committee decided to also include steps similar to #16 in the project to tie it together with #9 and 16, plus make it a little easier to get to the top. The two tee complexes will be separated by a narrow buffer zone of some type of ornamental, whether it is grasses or shrubs that is yet to be decided. It will allow groups to be aware of other groups and perhaps be more courteous to each other while teeing off. So the project is planned, and the board is currently negotiating with Hartman to see if we can get the work done in this calender year... Stay tuned.

Monday, August 17, 2009

PGA Championship

Last week I was getting up at 3:55am and making my way out to Hazeltine National GC by 4:30am so I could start mowing tees around 5:00am. And then of course making it back to Island View mid morning to get my day of work in. Gruelling is not really how I would describe it, it was more just getting up an hour earlier then normal and going to bed a couple hours earlier then normal. We were fed well for our efforts, and the daily pass to the course with a parking permit was pretty sweet. What really topped it off though was standing inside the bleachers (that row of white shirts behind Y.E. and Tiger) to see them play 18 and watch the PGA Champion be crowned. Now that was a cool experience, and one hell of a approach shot by Mr. Yang.

All in all it was very exciting being part of the crew that prepped the golf course for the tournament. My hats off to Jim Nicol and his staff for a tremendous job getting Hazeltine ready for the PGA. Even after 6" of rain fell and washed out every one of the 117 bunkers on the golf course, it looked amazing by Monday morning of tournament week. I was paired with one member of the Hazeltine staff and together we mowed tees on holes #1, 6, 9, 11, 15, & 16. When we finished cleaning our mowers it was time for breakfast, and that was it. It took a total of 2 hours for the entire golf course to be cleaned up and mowed each morning. I didn't get a count on the number of volunteers there were helping but to give you an idea: there were 6 walk mowers for tees, 8-10 walk mowers for greens, 8 fairway mowers, 3-4 tri-plex fairway mowers, 4 walk mowers for approaches, 4 rollers with a guy cleaning up behind them each, a handful of guys stimping greens, a handful of guys changing and painting cups, I think two bunker crews of 8-10 guys each hand raking bunkers, 4 large debris blowers cleaning off tees/fairways/rough, and a bunch of other guys making sure everything was going smooth. A small army is basically what it was, and that was just in the morning. The afternoon crew did the majority of the course cleanup, more mowing, and many other odds and ends jobs.

It truly is amazing seeing what goes on behind the scenes of a major tournament, and to think this happens 4 times a year and perhaps a little scaled back every normal tournament weekend of the year! It was a great week to say the least.

And on a side note, I sprayed RoundUp on the 13th hole today. No picture needed 'cause it's still green as can be. We kept all traffic off it until 1:00pm so there would not be any tracking off the target area. When the plans for #7, 4, and 8 are more set I will pass them on to everyone...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Getting Ready!

We are getting ready for a couple of things over the next week. The Club Championship starts on Wednesday the 19th so we are giving everything that little extra shine. And the renovation project on #13 starts the following Tuesday, so we are prepping some things for that also. As noted in the picture, we have removed the willow tree next to the pond, and today we took down the two ash trees next to the fairway bunkers. The stumper should be in Friday to get everything chipped so we have plenty of time to get things clean before next week. On Monday of next week we will be spraying round-up on the 13th fairway in preparation for the renovation project. By championship weekend everything sprayed should be turning yellow and dying. This should not have any significant impact on play but mainly be a aesthetic issue. The goal is to have everything dead by Tuesday the 25th so Hartman can grade and till everything together without spreading live weeds and poa annua throughout the fairway.

To go along with the renovation on #13 this year, the 2010 renovation plans are taking shape quickly and could be tied into this year also. We plan to finish the front 9 bunkers by completing hole 7 and also completely renovating #4 and #8 tee complexes. The greens committee and board of directors are currently working together to come up with the final renovation plan and the proper financing method to get it done in this calender year. The BOD and GC feel that it is preferable to have everything done at the same time so next spring we are not digging into something and dragging out the renovation projects into the summer. The club is also hosting the MGA Senior 4-Ball championship next September so the other window for renovation would be October, which is still not being counted out... But if we can get 2010's renovation work done this year, it would mean no major construction work until 2011. And I think everyone would be on board for a nice long season (2010) without construction and renovation projects taking place. It also gives the GC plenty of time to come up with a solution for the renovation of #14 which includes soil sampling, pond, bunkers, and fairway work.

Stay tuned, I will update the blog on a daily basis starting next week to show off the championship and also the renovation progress.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Wee Bit of Storm Damage

Well the storm rolled through last night and took down a tree or two on the golf course. As always there is/was a lot of little stuff here and there to pick up. A Oak tree between #15 & #17 broke off about 20 feet up, it was the one that grew up all twisted. There are a couple of other trees that took enough damage (one on #3 and one on #9) that the tree will most likely be taken down. There were also a few major branches that came down but do not warrant taking the tree out. All in all, not as bad as I thought it would be when I got in this morning. We will have it back in shape in no time... One good thing is we have had about an inch and a half of rain in the last three days, much needed for as dry as its been.

I met with the landscaper (same company that put the steps in on #16) last week to plan the steps for number nine tee. The work is planned for the week of Sept. 7th and should not take more then a week. It looks as though we are going to have a very busy construction period starting right after the club championship. With the work being done on #13, the steps on #9, and then fall aerification starts right around that time also... Busy, busy, busy.