Friday, March 23, 2012

About the only highlight this week was that the new drainage in the bunkers at 4 West green worked a treat in the downpour we had to finish the week off.  Not much else went right for the busy week we have just had particularly with the weather.  The rain earlier in the week was just a nuisance really but was enough to keep the ground wet and we have made a lot of mess in the bunker works at 4 West green and hopefully there will be enough warm weather to come for the turf to fully recover.

The list of things that went wrong started with our normal sand supplier not being able to get the quantity of sand delivered due to the ground conditions at their quarry, then our front end loader broke down which meant I had to hire a Bobcat to load the sand for us leading to more expense.  Then the rain started and made the works area very boggy.  The actual works went quite well after that until we found that the original drainage outlet in the front bunker was actually lower than the dam and was letting the water from the dam in to the bunker so no wonder it never drained.  And it just shows how bunker shapes and depths evolve over time because we found an 80mm irrigation main and power line less than 150mm under the surface of the bunker and running virtually through the middle of the bunker as shown in the photo below.  This then increased the amount of sand needed as the power cable needs to be 450mm below the surface which makes for happy golfers as the bunker is now not as deep as before.  It is possible that we will be able to disconnect the cable as it was mainly used prior to the new irrigation control system being installed and investigations in to this are continuing.

Gravel being added by hand in to the drainage trenches.
The long straight line to the left is the water/power line.
 You can also see in the photo above the white fabric which is a bunker liner that was used.  The main idea for this in our situation is to stop contamination of the new bunker sand from what is in the base of the bunker which is just rubble and clay. 

But thanks to the machine operators and my staff the bunkers were finished in the allotted two days and will be bought back in to play once the new surrounding turf has bedded down.

The new bunker sand being spread in the front bunker.

The photo above is from the back bunker after the first "dig" and shows where the actual "bunker sand" was -   about 100mm under the playing surface buried by all the soil type material that washed to the floor of the bunker following rain washouts.  As I have said before this is why it is so important for the bunker faces/walls to have the same sand as the floor of the bunker to stop this contamination from occurring.  That does mean a propensity for balls to plug in the face from time to time but it reduces labour input and prolongs the life of the bunker.  And most importantly it means that the bunker will drain which in our climate is critical.  The sand we used in these bunker works has been used in some our recent top ups but it is the first time we have used it in a total re-construction.  It has been widely used with success throughout south east Queensland over the past 18 months so time will tell for us.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Another frustrating week comes to a close with the weather once again influencing what we were able to achieve on the golf course.  40mm of rain in an hour on Thursday morning certainly washed out the days golf and also the West bunkers again, so another 72 man hours were needed to reinstate them which were hours that I really needed to allocate elsewhere.  However the staff did a great job and the bunkers will nearly all be in play again tomorrow although the forecast doesn't sound good.

As previously mentioned some of the buggy path entry and exit points were re-turfed this week.  A plastic grid material was installed on some of them as well with the theory being the grid will take the load of the buggy while the grass grows below.  It is great in theory and I have used the grids before with spasmodic success so this is a last ditch effort to get the grass to grow in these areas which will be very difficult as almost all the areas that were turfed are heavily shaded.  The grids have also been used in some famous places including the lawns surrounding the Leaning Tower of Pisa and when you think about the number of tourists who would stand on the grass shown in the photo below to get "that shot" the grids must work but then again a lot of sun helps the grass grow!

Plastic grids prior to turfing

Plastic grids under this grass at Pisa!

Back to the Tweed now and hopefully the weather will hold for the works planned for next week which will see us very busy.  The bunkers at the front and right side of 4 West green will be drained and have the sand replaced and there will also be two access points installed on the front bunker to make it easier to get in and out.  Both bunkers are two of the worst we have for non drainage and they have substantial contamination from the sub base with a lot of clay and stone exposed in both.  This work will necessitate the closing of the hole after the Members comp on Monday and the Ladies on Tuesday so that the contractors and our staff are not dodging golf balls all day.  You are welcome to come out on the West course but please don't play to the 4th green.

4 West bunker yesterday.

The bunker to the left of 3 River green will have a grass face installed next week as well.  Those of you who have attended the last couple of course information sessions will recall the history of the bunker that is too detailed to explain here.  Suffice to say that everything has been tried and both the Board and I feel this is the only solution to balls plugging in the face of the bunker.

The trees at the right of 2 River green will be removed as will the Banksia at the left of 1 West green and a number of other dead and diseased trees will also be removed.  As previously mentioned some of the Palms will also be taken down.  Unfortunately the tree contractor I have used over the past few years has sold his business and the cost of pruning the Palms is going to triple so we will be reducing Palm numbers to cut down that ongoing expense.

A couple of low spots on selected fairways, most noticeably both 4 River and West will have some low spots lifted and re-turfed whilst we are going about our business.  All this with one staff member on holidays, the grass growing and a busy week of golf.  Phew!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I have had enough of talking about the weather for the moment but I certainly spare a thought for some of my colleagues and their golfers who have had their courses completely inundated several times over this summer.  As my Dad used to say ; "From the time you're born, til you ride in the hearse.....Things are never so bad that they couldn't get worse".  So I guess we should count our blessings that we have just been a bit soft under foot.

On another note and something that annoys me but at the end of the day isn't the worst thing that could happen is a problem we had with our CDA sprayer, which is the unit that applies amongst other products, the growth regulator to the fairways.  One of the features of the machine is that it has a "shrouded boom" which means that spraying can take place in quite breezy conditions and is particularly necessary when using the "controlled droplet application" (CDA) method.  The drawback is that you can't see the nozzles and can't tell if they are operating or not and on our recent application we had a problem with one of the nozzles meaning that a stream of product was coming out rather than spreading as per normal.  This has resulted in a line burn which is only just evident now but will get worse in the coming week.  Before we start applying, all nozzles are checked and in this case they were all working but the motor on one of them burnt out on the first fairway we sprayed that morning and all fairways sprayed after that have been affected.  There is no long term damage, just the unsightly lines that will gradually appear.

CDA unit showing shrouded boom
Close up of the line burn

Double lines