Thursday, February 23, 2017

Golf Course Update

#13 Tee:

The recent nice weather trend has allowed us to button up the tee top of the new back tee on #13.

We brought in sand after staking off the perimeter of the tee to form the tee top.

Following the arrival of sand, we used a plate tamper to compact the top to depth of 3 inches.

Once the entire tee was filled, we used a board and laser level to ensure a level tee surface.

Finally, sod was placed to form the new tee.

The new tee will add about 25 yards to the #13 hole and will be the permanent home for the black tees.  The blue tees will venture back and forth from the front of the new back tee and the existing tee to provide parity with course setup.  I wasn't anticipating finishing the tee till March, so the warmer temperatures have us ahead of schedule and I'd anticipate the new tee being in use for Willie McKay.

Cart Paths:

During the past two Springs we have completed the first two phases of a cart path project to resurface and install new cart paths throughout the entire property.  I touched on these phases in the blog over the past two Springs as phase 1 in 2015 addressed #8 green/#9 tee and phase 2 was completed last spring on #1 green, all of #2 and #3 and #4 tee.  I'm thrilled to announce that we have received approval to complete the remainder of the golf course this spring.  Work will begin towards the middle to end of March on the excavation of the new paths in anticipation of the asphalt plants opening the first of April.  We are looking at a 6-8 week process depending on weather, with the goal of completion prior to Willie McKay.  Below you will see a hole by hole outline of the project on the remaining paths using Google earth.  On each outline, you will see lines indicating the paths.  The red lines are the existing paths that are being re-surfaced and the yellow lines indicate newly constructed paths.

Tying into the existing path, a new path will be constructed to send traffic up the hill along the right wood-line.  This is a similar direction that has been used following rain events and was used during the seeding project of the fairway this past August.  One of the key areas addressed to get carts out quicker following rain events.

The existing path on #4 fwy/green and all of #5 will be resurfaced.

 # 6 will see all of its existing paths re-surfaced and with two newly constructed sections.  The first will be an extension from the lower blue/white tee to service the red tee.  The second section will be a new path that will connect the path by the upper white tee to the entry point of the path by the green.  This path will run the entire left side of the hole on the native line to reduce daily traffic wear along with providing a "cart path only" option following rain events.

#7 will have it's existing path re-surfaced by the tee.  A new extension will be created to service the red tees and the upper section of the path on the tee (by the H20 fountain) will be connected to the entry point of the path above the fairway bunkers.  Again, this path will hug the native line on the left side to reduce daily traffic wear (especially at fwy bunkers) and improve patterns following rain events.

#8 will be resurfaced starting at the red tee continuing across the land bridge to the "y" before the fairway.

The entire existing path on #10 will be re-surfaced with some changes and additions.  A new path will be created for the bottom tee with an entry in-between the oak and satellites.  The path will be reduced at #11 tee (as indicated with yellow turn connecting two sections of red) in preparations for the expansion of #10 green in the near future as a part of the Master Plan.  The existing turn at #11 is feared to be in play with the expansion of the back left corner of #10 green. That section of old path will be removed, backfilled and seeded to rough. Finally, an extension will be given to the exit of #11 tee to get traffic past the dip between the tee and fairway.

The entire existing path of #11 green and all of #12 will be re-surfaced.  The gravel section to the right of #11 green will be paved along with a little additional path before the start of the existing gravel.  A path with a turnaround will also be provided to replace the gravel path servicing the upper tees of #12.

The section by #13 tee will be re-surfaced.  Then a new path will be created from the green tee using the existing gravel path by the pond before turning and hugging the entire wood-line up the right side of the hole.  The new layout will send the cart path around the right-side and behind the green before tying into the path of #14 tee.  The old path to the left of the green will removed, backfilled and seeded to rough.  This new construction will provide a "cart path only" option following rain events and drastically improve traffic patterns while playing the hole.  Exiting the fairway to the old path was problematic and challenging to maintain healthy turf due to the bottle neck nature of traffic flow.

You can see by the picture how the new path of #13 will tie into #14 tee.  The existing path of the tee complex will be re-surfaced.  A new path with a turnaround will be created to service the back tee.

A new section will be installed prior to the entry of the existing path by #14 green, this section will hug the base of the hill.  The stretch of path to the lower tee will be resurfaced on #15.  And the gravel path to the upper tee will be paved.

The path from #15 green to the bottom of the back tee on #16 will be re-surfaced.  From there, a new path will be constructed to the back of the new white/gold tee then to left of the red tee before traveling the entire left side of the hole by the oaks.  This will improve traffic wear and provide uniformity of a tee to green path like the rest of our Par 3s.

The layout of #17 tee will change completely.  You can see the yellow line indicating the new path on #16 that will now turn in-between the two oaks at #17 tee to form a "T".  The Black, Blue and White tee players will now turn left and utilize the turnaround for hitting their tee shots.  Following their tee shots, they will use the same path when traveling to the fairway.  The Gold, Red and Green players will simply make a right towards their respected tee.

The current gravel path to the left and around #17 green to #18 tees will be constructed into a paved path.

Pretty exciting stuff that will drastically change the experience for our membership and guest on a daily basis while providing the added benefit of getting carts out faster following rain events.  If you are wondering about #18 green and scoreboard section, that will be on hold till next Spring due the project next winter on the Men's Grill parking lot.  While under construction, that path will be destroyed due to traffic, so it will be addressed when all of the main drive and parking lots are re-paved in the Spring of '18.

Speaking with the PSU Turf Club:

I had the privilege of being a guest speaker at a Penn State Turf Club meeting recently.  There I gave a presentation on my journey to becoming a Superintendent, the history and description of Longue Vue, touched on our operation and included slides on all that we have accomplished in 4 short years.  My 15 minute presentation turned into an hour and half discussion on the future/state of the industry, tips towards advancement and the biggest challenges I've faced.  The opportunity was rewarding and will hopefully start a relationship with the university as field trip plans are already in discussion for next Fall. 

In closing, let's hope this weather trend continues as it is shaping up to be a busy and exciting Spring.  Till then, we look forward to seeing you on the course!