Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Project Update #2

I apologize for the delayed update on all that is going on with Fall projects.  The staff and I have been working diligently with long hours to take advantage of the recent weather over the past week.  But here is a quick update:

Fall Aerification:

Last week we completed aerification on tees and approaches by pulling an 5/8 inch core at 3 inches.  On Monday, we knocked out the target greens on the Driving Range and solid tined all of the Driving Range tees.  The DR tees were also topdressed and overseeded with Ryegrass for the winter, this process will be repeated early next spring prior to the range opening for next season.

Ryegrass Eradication Program:

The second and final application of the Ryegrass removal program was completed yesterday.  Again, this process will be conducted over the next couple of Falls.  The spring flush in combination with fertility/growth regulator applications over next season will promote the existing bentgrass to creep and fill the voids throughout the property.

#5 Green Restoration:

Unfortunately, the recent wet weather leading into last week, especially east of here has put Aspen about a week behind schedule.  I had a meeting with the regional rep and site supervisor for our project last Thursday, they will be on property by the end of the week to begin the process of stripping the green.  The overall scope of the project is expected to take 5-7 days depending on weather (which next week looks cold and wet, we will keep our fingers crossed). 

As a result of the delay, the logistics of XGD being installed into the green this Fall is not going to work.  This is disappointing, but I put a lot of thought into this decision.  XGD will likely button up their final green prior to #5 being ready for installation.  The good news is that plenty of material has been developed for Aspen to use in the restoration project to help with cost and incorporate our native mix into the surface that will resemble the other greens on the course.  This project is going to send a major shock to the green and now we are affording the opportunity for the surface to settle, overwinter and heal prior to having the traffic associated with the drainage installation compromising the restoration project.  XGD will be in the Pittsburgh region during both the Spring and Fall time period for us to reschedule.  This is another benefit, because it will allow me to experience the surface and internal drainage of the newly contoured putting surface over the next couple of months to ensure proper XGD installation once the time comes.

Stay tune for updates once the restoration begins.

XGD Progress:
XGD has completed 18 and 11 since the last update.  The order will continue to go as follows #10, #8 , #7 and finally #6.

#3 Black/Blue Tee:

I was able to complete the final subgrade of the tee surface over the weekend in addition to the rough grade of the entire new complex for the construction of the back tee on #3.  I'm extremely pleased with the results....Here are a couple of bullet points of what was accomplished:

  • The project allowed us to double the width of the old tee surface
  • We were able to gain distance on both sides of the tee,  Yardages now range from 180 to a front pin location when using front portion of tee to 230 to a back pin location from the back portion of the tee
  • A huge benefit was that we were able to address the angle of the tee as well, the old tee was positioned off the existing terrain that created an angle to the center of the approach. With manipulating the hillside to the right of the tee, I was able to alter the angle of the tee towards the front middle of the green. (My apologies to Derek for his recent newletter article on how to pick your target line using #3 as a reference)
Here are some pictures with descriptions on the progress over the past week:

Rough grade of Tee top

Working out the imperfections

Shooting grades to ensure proper drainage

Finished product of subgrade

The rough grade to right of tee after pushing hillside down

Measuring six inches for sand to create tee surface

Mark for once the filling process begins

Double checking that we still have adequate drainage once sand is added

Adding sand

Material Handler cutting down on trips to shop

Tamping and moving to maintain 6 inches

Halfway home

Just a touch low to the right

On to back portion of tee
#5 Forward Tee:
I began the process of forming the new forward tee on #5 yesterday.  Below are some pics from the progress on Day One:

Dirt that was removed from #3 was hauled and staged for my arrival

View from what will be the center of the tee to the green

Angle to show front tie-in

Forming the tee top


Picture standing on tee to green
Look for an update the first of next week to continue monitoring our progress and the first update on #5 green.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Project Updates

It's been the start of a busy stretch for the staff and golf course as Fall projects are fully underway...I wanted to bring everyone up to speed of what's been accomplished thus far.

First, we had scheduled to begin aerifying tees on Tuesday, but with the expect weather during the middle of the week, we called an audible and put the full court press on mowing the golf course and beginning the project on #3 back tee.  However, we were able to get a verticut and groom on all tees on Tuesday prior to the rain setting in.  Next week, we will begin aerifying tees and approaches hole by hole throughout the week.

#3 Back Tee

The renovation of the back tee on #3 began Monday morning with the process of cutting and stripping the sod for the entire area that work was taking place.  The objective of the project was to create much needed tee space to one of the smallest tees on the course that is beaten throughout the year due to being a par 3.  The overall project will call for the teeing surface to be dropped about 2 feet gaining length both to the front and back of the existing tee while almost doubling the overall width.  Below are some pictures and description outlining the completed work:

Here is the old tee

Once stripped, take notice to the grayish color in dirt (that was the existing tee outline) as I slowly take it back and begin to drop

Good picture from behind to really showing how much space we are gaining as a reference

The process of dropping the tee height

Looking from front to back in how much space has been gained (the dark clump in middle of pic is the back of old tee)

This pic is taken from the exact location of the first picture, if you scroll back up...notice that the new tee surface is the entire width of the pic.

Picture showing the amount of dirt that has been moved
The rain (over an inch) on Wednesday hindered progress up to this point, with being this close to subgrade, we will begin shooting the grade of the actual tee surface over the weekend and begin manipulating the contours around the tee for drainage purposes towards the middle of next week.  Stay tuned for updates....
XGD Installation
XGD made it on property and got started around 9:00 am on Wednesday morning.  They started on #15.  The projected order will be 15,17,18,10,11,8,7,6,5.  Please keep in mind that the hole that they are working on will be closed for that day,  I have made an alternate hole from the top tee on the driving range to the chipping green for those that need to finish a round or maybe just settle a bet because 17 holes wasn't enough.  Please check with the Pro Shop before the start of your round for the hole closure that day.
Below are some pictures from their first day on the course:
Measuring the diameter of the green

Shooting the grade in 5 ft increments off the center line

Stripping the sod by hand

Removing sod

Stripped line


Removing existing mix

Drain pipe in mainline with inlets for lateral lines every 5ft 

Backfilling and Tamping

Returning the sod

Overlook for the layout on  #15
I would anticipate #15 being buttoned up either this afternoon or first thing tomorrow morning.  The crew will the move to #17 to begin the process.
Ryegrass Eradication Program:
In closing, I wanted to take a quick second to update everyone on the continued process in the ryegrass eradication program that has been implemented over the past two Falls.  I you remember from previous blog post, I conducted test plots in our 8th fairway last fall using different selective herbicides at different rates to take out in infestation of ryegrass in our playing surfaces without effecting the bentgrass.  Three weeks ago we pulled the trigger on our first application to the entire property and the results are really starting to show (take notice to the yellow blotches in below pictures).


#18 Fairway

#6 Fairway
Our second application will be in a couple of weeks.  This program will continue over the next couple of years each fall as we hope to slowly reduce the population over time to provide a consistent playing surface.
As always, thank you for your support and cooperation with all task conducted by the Greens Department, as we continue to build towards the future while improving on the day before!