Friday, July 30, 2010

Day 22 - Fairway Renovation Work Begins

Having given the Glyphosate application enough time to effectively work, we have now begun the process of prepping the fairways for re-seeding. This process is dusty and very time consuming. In the last three days, we have only been able to prep the 15th, 14th, 6th, 12th, 7th and 11th fairways. Removing as much of the old dead tissue as possible is a critical step towards the success of the fairway project. What we hope to accomplish is the removal of as much thatch as possible in order to achieve a better seed to soil contact ratio when we slit seed in the new bentgrass variety.

The process of accomplishing this renovation will be as follows:

1. The area treated with Glyphosate is double verti-cut. This process will rip much of the dead tissue out.

2. These areas are then blown off using large tractor blowers.

3. We then mow these areas with a traditional fairway mower set down to a height of one-quarter inch. This is roughly half of the normal fairway height you play on daily.

4. Again, the fairways are blown off using the large tractor blowers

5. All of the debris must be cleaned up and removed.

6. Start over and do it a second time when the first go around is complete.

This photo is showing the mess created by mowing the fairway down to half of its old height.

Here you can see two tractor blowers trying to get all the old material to one central spot to be easily cleaned-up.

Day 20 and 21 - Drainage and More Drainage

Well by now I think most of you who are following this blog know that the current priority for the project is the installation of the drain tile. We continue to move at a swift pace and are making tremendous progress. By the end of work tomorrow, we should only have the 1st and 17th greens to complete next week and all but the 7th, 14th, 6th, 17th and 1st greens will have the mix installed. Completing the installation of the drain tile and mix should be wrapped up Wednesday or Thursday of next week.

The irrigation component of the project has reached the half way point today and we anticipate completing 6 more greens next weeks. That would bring the total to 15 greens by the end of next week and leave only 3 greens to complete the week of August 9th.

What all this really means is that by the later stages of next week, we should be starting to do the "finish" work around the greens and may even begin to install the Bluegrass rough sod around the perimeters. This would mark the true beginning of putting the pieces of the puzzle back together.

One other item of note...Next week we intend to go into the 2nd green complex and finish everything, including the bunkers. From there we will complete the 3rd and 18th tees. With the work completed on 2nd green complex, 3rd tee, and 18th tee we can remove the existing haul road and begin the final shaping efforts on the new 17th hole.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 19 and 20 - The Final Third

As I write this post this morning, we have moved to the final third of the greens that need drainage and gravel installed. With only 1, 6-8, 14 and 17 remaining, we are in the final stages of installing the drain tile and gravel layer. By weeks end, we anticipate only having 2 greens remaining to install drainage on next week. This pace means that we will be shutting down the practice putting green on Monday August 2nd in order for the construction process to begin there.

The installation of the new rootzone mix will be rapid today! With four greens (#'s 9, 10, 11 and 13) ready for mix to installed, the contractor envisions a large effort today to get most, if not all, of those greens completed. Should they be successful in that attempt there will be 12 greens with mix installed. It appears that by some time mid to late next week all 18 greens on the course should be drained and have mix installed. At that point, we will be just waiting for the irrigation to be installed and the finish work to be done before sodding of the surrounds and seeding of the greens, approaches and fairways can begin.

The irrigation component of the project has moved to the 7th complex of the project. Completed to date are the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 15th, 16th and 18th complexes. The work continues this morning on green #5 and should move to green #12 sometime late in the day today. This means by the end of the week one-half of the greens will be completed from the irrigation stand point.

Please know that we will be holding another Member-Info session this evening at 5:30pm. At this meeting, I will outline the lengths of quality control procedures that we are engaged in to ensure this project is done right and that your investment in your club is protected.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Day 18 - Battling Mother Nature Again!!!

Could somebody please bring out the sun? Friday afternoon the course was belted again with another 1.5 inches of rain in as little as 30 minutes. The good news is the weather pattern appears to be breaking in our favor this week. There is a chance of rain Wednesday, but the the rest of the week looks high and dry.

During the planning stages for the project, the MacCurrach team developed both a "wet" and "dry" plan for construction in the event we experience weather like we have. With this extra planning we have managed only to lose about 10 hours of construction time even though we have received 4" of rain in the last 10 days.

With the rain from Friday night, Saturday presented an opportunity to begin some of the "detail" work of the project. We were also able to install drainage on the 9th green as it is always "high and dry". The detail work involved settling out the greensmix along the edges of the new greens using "jumping jack" packers and checking the depth of the rootzone by probing the actual depth of the mix. Below are some photos of these processes:

The process begins by back-filling behind the plastic liner to prevent the collapse of the liner during the packing step.

Next, the edge of the greens is packed using the "jumping jack" packers. Here you can see the MacCurrach staff working on the 12th green.

After the packing, this traditional mechanical bunker rake is used to level out the mix. Numerous times during this process the operator will get off the machine and check the depth of the mix with a metal probe marked at exactly 12 inches.

In the coming weeks, I will have extensive photos that demonstrate the length we will go through internally to verify the depth of the mix and check the contractors work. We promised to do this right and we will!!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day 16 and 17 - Drainage and Mix Continue

The drainage and mix train continues to roll through the course at great pace. We have now offically crossed the half way point with the installation of drainage and the mix will cross that point today - with Mother Nature's cooperation. Before the heavy rains came again yesterday, we had begun the drainage process on the 13th and 11th greens. These two greens mark the 10th and 11th greens to go through the drainage process. Having not yet completed three full weeks of the construction schedule, I could not be happier being where we are. Everything continues to point to a third week of August seeding date.

To Date:

Drainage Installed On: 2, 3, 4, 5, 12, 15, 16, and 18 (13 and 11 in process today)

Mix Installed On: 2, 3, 4, 12, 15, 16, 18, (#5 to be done today)

Subgrades: All approved by Tom Doak

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 13, 14 and 15 - Doak is Set!!!

(Tom Doak giving instruction to Eric Iverson on the 10th green)

For the last two days Mr. Doak has been on property reviewing the work of his shapers and fine tuning the green contours one last time. As of today, all of the green contours have been approved and have been released to the contractor for the building process. We all owe a great thank you to Eric Iverson, lead shaper for RGD, for all of his shaping expertise. I don't know that I have ever seen someone run a bulldozer as delicately and effeciently has Eric just did for the last two weeks.

We continue to make great progress. We now have 5 greens with the new mix installed and they will be moving to a 6th green (#12) this afternoon. The installation of drainage has moved to the 5th green and in total, we now have 8 greens completed. Irrigation is continuing at great pace as well with 4 green complexes complete and a 5th to be started in a matter of moments.

The application of glyphosate was made to the fairways on Monday and we are beginning to see the grass check out. In a matter of days the fairways will be completely dead and we will begin the process to prepping these areas for the new bentgrass seed. We are antcipating getting the fairways seeded some time around the 15th of August.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Day 11 and 12 - Progress

Trying to play a little catch up today and going to combine two posts into one.

The drain tiling of the greens continued on Saturday and Monday. We now have 5 greens(15, 16, 3, 2 and 18) completely drained and the work has now shifted to the 4th and 12th greens. These two greens should be completed by tomorrow.

There are now three greens with mix (15, 16 and 3) and they are putting the mix in the 2nd green as I type this. The 18th green is next and will be completed once #2 is done - this may even be started late this afternoon and will be finished by tomorrow.

Re-contouring or shaping of the greens to improve the surface drainage continues to press forward as well. At this time, all of the remaining greens, with the exception of 1, 8 and the practice green, have been rough shaped and are awaiting Mr. Doak's visit later this week for approval. I can't wait for the membership to get to play some of these new designs. They are going to be fantastic!!

The most noteworthy accomplishment over the last two days is that we have begun the process of re-installing the irrigation system. Leibold Irrigation has been contracted to do this work and are simply the best in the country at this task. With local offices in Toledo, OH they are excited about the opportunity to work so close to home. We have also contracted with local irrigation consultant, Mike Kuhn, to ensure the proper layout and design of the sprinklers during the installation process. Below are a couple photos of this work process:

This wire wagon is used to keep everything neat and organized for the contractor. With this set-up they are able to plow in the pipe and wires at the same time.

Near the conclusion of the irrigation work on any given green, this "jumping jack" packer is used around each and every sprinkler to minimize the effects of any settling that may occur.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Day 10 - A Little Rain (1.5 Inches) Can't Stop Us!

Late Thursday afternoon the course got blasted with a severe thunderstorm that delivered 1.5" of rain in only 15 minutes time. When I left for the evening, I wondered if we would be able to accomplish anything the next day. To my surprise, when I arrived at work the next morning you could find little reminder of the amount of rain the course received the day before. If it wasn't for the debris on the course you may never have know anything happened.

All that said, we got back at it yesterday and continued to make steady progress. We did have to deal with some small issues related to the weather event the day before. Below is a photo of the 2nd green - Notice the silt that accumulated in the low area of the green. All of this silt material had to be removed and replaced with fresh material before any new drainage could be installed or you run the risk of plugging up your new drainage system.

We continued to install drainage in the new greens. The 15th and 16th greens were completed yesterday and the process moved to the 2nd and 18th green last yesterday afternoon. The "rough" installation of the new root zone mix on the 3rd and 15th green was also completed. By "rough" I mean that there is enough material in the green well, but there is much watering, settling, hand raking, and depth checking yet to be done. We must wait for the irrigation around the greens to be re-installed before much of this work can be done. The good news is that Liebold Irrigation is ready to tackle this first thing Monday morning.

One of the exciting things we decided to do with this project was "core-out" the existing approaches to the green and replace the native soil with a sand based material. The goal of this effort was to firm up the approaches in hope of allowing more creative play into the new greens. When completed, you will now have the option to land the ball short of the green and be able to chase the ball up to the green surface. Below is a photo of the 15th approach being filled in with the new material.

One of the things I learned early on in my career in Golf Course Management was never to waste a good opportunity to get something done. During the course closure your current golf course maintenance team has been hard at work getting to those items you never seem to have enough time to accomplish. We have been installing additional drainage all over the course in an effort to continue delivering the most outstanding golf experience possible. Many of the areas that are being drained are the fairways and specifically where significant winter injury took place last winter. With the additional drainage now added to these "low" areas we hope to minimize the amount of winter damage moving forward. Below is a photo of some of the CCD staff back filing one of these drainage areas.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Day 9 - Drainage Continues

There is not much new to report today other than continued progress. The drainage and gravel layer in the 15th green is about 99% complete and the 16th green should be completed in a matter of hours this morning. Once these two greens are complete the drainage efforts will shift to the 2nd and 18th greens later this morning. All and all we continue to make steady progress and everything is on time after the first full week of work.

The most noteworthy accomplishment yesterday was the installation of the new root zone mix in the 3rd green cavity. Below is a photo of that work in progress. Notice how the small skid steer works on top of the sand in order to not disturb the 4" gravel layer. As this process gets closer to being completed, members of my staff, including myself, will begin the tedious process of ensuring the root zone depth is installed to a uniform depth of 12 inches.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day 8 - Drainage, Drainage, Drainage

With 8 greens now approved by Mr. Doak, the MacCurrach team is fully engaged in getting the drain tile and 4" gravel layer installed in these greens. Yesterday the 3rd green was completed and the 15th and 16th greens were works in progress. Here are some photos of yesterday's tiling efforts:

The 3rd green is now complete and ready for the root zone mix to be installed.

The 15th green is about 70% complete and should be finished today.

Another note from yestrday's work is that some rough shaping of the tees began to take place. Below is the 5th tee during that process.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Day 7 - Mr. Doak Begins Approval Process

Yesterday was again a very large day for the renovation process as Mr. Doak began to survey the work his team of shapers had prepared for his visit. Mr. Doak took a patient approach to the approval process and did not decide anything quickly or without thought. By lunch time, he had "released" the 3rd, 4th, and 15th greens back to the contractor to begin the drainage process. The RGD team continued to work on the 12th, 16th, 18th and 2nd green after lunch, and by the end of the day, they had released all of those greens to the contractor.

The shaping on the new 17th green site began in earnest yesterday and was "roughed-in" by the end of the evening. Today, the RGD team will focus their efforts on this site as well as the 5th green site in hopes of getting both of these greens approved before Mr. Doak leaves on Thursday. Mr. Doak will return next week to review what we hope will be the final 9 greens.

Here are some photos of yesterday work:

Once Mr. Doak approved the green, the MacCurrach team used a traditional bunker rake to smooth and prep the floor for drainage.

The entire floor of the bunker was packed using the vibrating plate tamper seen in the center of this photo.

Drainage trenches were then cut using a mini-excavator and the MacCurrach team did an outstanding job to ensure the sub-grade was continuously raked as not to tarnish Mr. Doak's work.

Once the drain tile is installed in the trenches, the gravel is then placed in the trenches to completely fill the trenches and an additional 4 inches is placed throughout the "well" of the green.

Here is the 3rd green at the end of work yesterday. Notice the systematic approach to work our way out of the well and not distribute the gravel layer. Also, notice the grade stakes that help make sure the gravel is evenly distributed to a 4 inch depth.

Day 6 - Moving Earth

With the core-out of all the greens completed on Saturday, Monday became a day of moving earth from the existing tees. Much the extra soil associated with the "raised" tees on hole numbers 2, 3, 4, 12 and 16 was being hauled to the new 17th green site. The goal was to get enough material there by Mr. Doak's visit, which was scheduled for the next day, to begin roughing in the new green site. This goal was easily completed by the end of the working day.

Additionally, all the remaining tees are now stripped of the old sod and ready for shaping to begin. The shaping process should begin sometime near the end of the current week.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Day 5 - Greens Core-Out Complete!

In just 5 days all the greens are now officially cored-out and ready for the shapers to work their magic. The only green that remains is the putting green which, as I posted before, will remain intact as long as possible for member use. Most of the tees have been stripped of all sod and the hauling of excess dirt to the new 17th green site will begin in mass Monday morning. The shaping of sub-grades continued yesterday and to date we now have the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 16th and 18th greens ready for Mr. Doak to review.

With two days before his visit, and with the shapers in the field as I type this, it appears that we could have 8 or 9 greens ready for Mr. Doak's visit. As Mr. Doak approves some or all of these sub-grades, the MacCurrach team is prepared to immediately begin prepping the floors, installing the drainage, vapor barrier, pea gravel and mix. At this point, I would be excited because we would have taken our first step towards constructing, and not destructing, the golf course.

One other note from yesterday's work is that the MacCurrach team began removing all the sand from the greenside bunkers on #8. This was done at the request of the RGD team as they intend to make some bunker adjustments to this greens as they shape the green itself. I have included a photo of this work below.

One of the things I've heard from members is that they hope the greens are not "flat and boring" when completed. I have included a photo below that should put any of that concern to rest. Notice the roof line in the background as it relates to the angle of the bulldozer in the foreground. I think it is safe to say that the dozer is anything but flat!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Day 4 - The Pace Quickens Again!

More than 24 hours after the 1.1 inch rain event, you would hardly even know anything happened and the contractor just took it in stride and marched forwarded. Yesterday was our most productive day yet. I continue to be amazed at how well all parties are working seamlessly with one another and the results of these efforts are speaking volumes.

The greens core-out continued yesterday, but with a new piece of equipment introduced into the equation. The large pay loader shown below has really quickened the pace of removing the old greens and sod from the existing tees. With the use of this machine, MacCurrach Golf was able to finish the core-out of the 13th, 16th, 15th, 14th, 6th, and 11th greens all in one day. They even managed to get started on the 7th green late in the evening.

We continued with the efforts to strip all the sod off of the old tees yesterday as well. Pictured below is the 16th during that process. As of yesterday, all but the 5th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th and 17th holes had all the sod removed and where ready to be re-shaped. There should be significant progress on this front today and I would be surprised if there were more than one or two tees with any sod on them by the conclusion of work today.

The shaping of the greens sub-surfaces continued as well yesterday but only the 16th green was able to be completed due the rains the day before. The soil in the base of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 12th greens was simply too wet to shape yesterday. The shapers from Renaissance appear to be ready to work through the weekend to make up for lost time and in preparation for Mr. Doak's visit. The plan is to have 6 greens for Mr. Doak to look at during his first visit and I think we will make that mark with no problem. I still think we might even have 8 greens for him to survey. Below is a photo of Mr. Iverson of RGD working the bulldozer in the 16th green. Notice the laser guided transit in the background - the shaping of the subsurface is one of the most critical components to ensuring superior surface drainage and the use of this laser helps ensure the work is done properly.

By the end of the day today, all the greens core-outs should be complete, expect for the putting green which we will leave in as long as possible for the membership to use.

Don't forget the Member-Info Session next Wednesday evening at 5:30. I would love the opportunity to show you how far we have come in such a short amount of time. Have a great weekend!!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Day 3 - Mother Nature's Curveball

Mother Nature gave us a quick reminder that she will be in control of this project yesterday afternoon. Everything was cruising along until about 4pm when the skies opened up and belted us with 1.1 inches of rain. It's never a good thing to see bulldozers and puddles in the same photo as shown above. The bad news is the rain shut us down for the day. The GREAT news is that because of how dry the course was going into the rain event, the course soaked up all of the rain overnight and we are back at it, full tilt this morning.

Before the rains came yesterday much was accomplished. The 18th green sub grade was completed and awaiting Mr. Doak's approval. The 2nd green is very close and the shapers hope to make a few final tweaks this morning in order to have that one ready as well. The 12th green was completely cored-out and the 13th and 16th greens were about 90% done when the rains came.

This morning we are already back in the 13th and 16th greens and should have those core-outs finished within hours. Moving on from there we will be headed to the 15th, 6th, and 14th greens. We continue to strip additional tees and have begun stockpiling all the extra soil spoils near the new 17th green site.

Mother Nature may have one this battle, but we will win the war!!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day 2 - Great Progress is Made

Unfortunately, I do not have time this morning to add photos but I will try to do so this afternoon.

There is no question that by the end of day two everyone is quickly settling into their roles and the progress is speeding up - hard to believe we can move faster than day one, but we are!! Yesterday the core out of the 18th green was complete along with 17th, 3rd, 4th, and 5th greens - today we are scheduled to tackle the 12th, 13th, and 16th greens.

The shaping of the sub-grade on the first green is now complete and awaiting Mr. Doak's comments. The Renaissance shapers began shaping the sub-grades on the 2nd and 18th greens yesterday as well. I suspect by the end of today that both the 2nd and 18th green's sub-grades will be complete and awaiting Mr. Doak's approval. Mr. Doak is scheduled to make his first construction visit to the club mid next week to begin the approval process. Once Mr. Doak has approved the sub-grades, then the contractor can begin installing the drain tile, gravel and mix.

Lastly, the new 17th green site had all the existing sod stripped and removed yesterday so that any extra materials could start being stockpiled in that locaton. As the shapers begin working on the tees, all the excess fill on these tees will be re-located to this location to start building the green pad for the new 17th green.

Member Info Session - July 14th at 5:30pm

Each week during the renovation of the golf course, the Golf Course Renovation Oversight Committee (GCROC) will meet every Wednesday evening to review the renovation progress. At the conclusion of these meetings, the members of the committee will make themselves available to the membership at large for "Member-Info Sessions". These sessions will take place every Wednesday at 5:30pm with the first meeting scheduled for July 14th. At these sessions you will be able to have your questions about the projects progression ansewered and be given a tour of the construction by a member of the GCROC, Mark Petzing or myself. We look forward to seeing you on the 14th!!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What Do All the Different Color Paints Represent?

Recently, I have had a number of people ask me what all the different color paints on the golf course represent. Here is a quick summary:

Orange - This color marks the "area of disturbance" for any given area. These areas of orange paint are marked by the Renaissance Golf team and prevent the contractor from expanding the construction site any further than necessary.

Yellow - This color is used to mark the haul roads for the project. The contractor is bound to abide by these lines. If the contractor does not follow these lines when traveling to and from areas of construction, they are 100% liable for all repairs to these unapproved areas.

Red - The red paint is being used to indicate where existing irrigation must be capped and or removes. Any sprinkler that has a red circle on it, will be removed during construction and re-installed once the construction is complete.

Pink - Our irrigation contractor, Liebold Irrigation, is using this color to identify existing wire paths that will need to be located before irrigation sprinklers can be re-installed.

White Flags - The white flags that are being used around the golf course are marking where the new fairway edges will be. These flags will eventually be pulled from the ground and re-placed with white paint.

Day One!!!

At 7:00am yesterday we where off and running. The weather could not be better for the start of the project. I'm probably the only superintendent in Michigan who was excited for it to be 90+ and dry as a bone. These conditions make it easy to haul materials without causing extensive damage to the golf course.

By the end of the first day, everybody felt really good about our progress. The "core out" or removal of the first and second greens was complete. These greens are now ready for the Renaissance shapers to re-contour. The shaping process on number one actually began late yesterday but is still very much in the infancy stages. The 18th green was about 50% cored out by the end of day. All the sod on the second, third and fourth tees was removed. By exposing those tees early, the extra fill material on those tees is now available for the shaping work on adjacent greens. Below are some pictures from day one:

Step 1: Remove the sod!

Step 2: Remove the old Greensmix!

Step 3: Remove the old drains!

#1 Green core-out complete!

Step 4: Mr. Iverson of RGD re-shaping the first green!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Batting Order is Set...Weather Permitting

On Thursday July 1st we held a pre-construction meeting to ensure all parties where on the same page. We have spent too much time planning this project to stumble coming out of the gates. There was much discussion regarding smaller details of the project that I will not bore you with, but one very important thing was finialized that I thought you might be interested to know - Where we are going to start!!!

On Tuesday morning of next week when the clock strikes 7:00am, we will be marching toward the 18th and 1st green complexes to get the work underway. From there we will make our way to the 2nd and 3rd greens. The plan also calls for us to "open up" the new 17th green site on the first day. At the end of the first day, we should have four greens cored out and the team from Renaissance should be shaping the first couple of greens. Of course, all of this is weather permitting which looks pretty good as of now!!!

I will post pictures of the first days work just as soon as I can. It's all just a matter of hours away now. The excitement is building!!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Logistics Everywhere

1000's of feet of irrigation and drainage pipe arrived on property today!

Logistics with a project this size can be a challenge, but one that can be met. The gracious amount of space the club possesses is making it somewhat easy to stage all the equipment and materials. Today, about 75% percent of all the drain and irrigation supplies arrived on site and was seemlessly located in the staging area at the west end of the old polo field. In addition, most of the heavy equipment necessary to complete the construction is now on-site and ready to go!

7 0f the 8 mini dumpers arrived today and are lined up ready to go!

These small dozers are the primary units that the Renaissance Golf Design shapers will use to re-contour the greens