Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Some Good Work

The guys on our team performed some money saving handy work this week by installing a new pickup bed to our 2005 plow truck themselves.  The rails on the underside of the old bed had become so corroded by salt that it was no longer being held properly to the chassis. A new bed from the dealer is about $4,000.  Throw in the bumper and install and its just shy of $6,000.

Equipment Technician Scott Sounde made a few calls last week to some companies that install custom truck beds and sell the ones taken off and was able to find an entire setup off of a brand new 2015 pickup for just $1,500. Installation was completed this morning at our grounds maintenance facility, saving the club about $4,500.  That's some good work!

A look at the rusted shell of the old bed.

Deteriorated bed rails.  Very little was left holding the old bed to the chassis.

Chain hoist worked perfect in this situation.

Only 2 of 8 bolts needed to be removed prior to removing the bed.

Cleaning up for the new bed.

Ford has not changed this bed for well over a decade, which worked in our favor.

Ready to go another 100K?!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Winter Weather

I have been asked several times in the past weeks about the effect that the recent deep freeze has had on the turf.  Mostly, we all want to be reassured that it will be "okay" in the spring.  With such a large investment being made in the golf course and the winterkill from last year so fresh in our minds, it is not surprising that we would be concerned about the health of the new turf.

The evidence suggests that large scale winterkill of bentgrass in the Chicagoland area is not likely and that there is little to no concern about ice damage.  Because the plants on our greens and fairways are not fully developed, there may be a cause for slight concern if the conditions are conducive to ice damage, but it would still be minimal when compared to our old Poa annua greens.

This winter has been very different than last.  We do not have conditions that are conducive to winter kill.  The plants are not encapsulated in ice, and the snow on the ground helps to prevent desiccation. The turf has looked great under the snow each time it has been inspected, and at the moment we do not anticipate any damage from ice, wind, or cold temperatures.

Turf in the lowest area of #8 Green looks very healthy.
This area was previously prone to ice damage.

Monday, December 15, 2014

December Activities

The recent string of warmer days has allowed for a few things to be done on the golf course in addition to our normal work of refurbishing equipment.  Stone work on #3 has resumed and will likely continue tomorrow.  Since most of the frost in the ground has thawed and soil is workable, work on the sea wall on #16 has resumed and our guys will be able to complete scraping cart path edges.

Stone Work on #3

Sea Wall #16

Cleaning Cart Path Edges

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Golf Course Renovation: Week 12

We saw a good deal of sod hit the ground during week 12, which will continue until the ground freezes.  Our construction contractor was able to sod the banks at six tee complexes, while our staff completed the pond banks on 4, 6, and 8.  

Stone work on the bridge on hole 12 is complete and our bride contractor will begin working on the three bridges on hole 3 next week.

Our staff has also been very busy with leaf cleanup this past week.  Because we are opting to use backpack blowers on the fairways as opposed to tow-behind turbine blowers, this process has required a larger time commitment than previous years.  

Pond bank #8 bridges before
Pond bank #8 bridges ready for sod
Pond bank #8 bridges after sod

Pond bank #4 Green

Pond bank #8

Pond bank #6 Green

Sod #10 Tee bank

Sod #12 Tee bank

Leaf cleanup done by hand on fairways this fall

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Golf Course Renovation: Week 11

The past week has been dry and sunny, which has been great for the turf and working conditions alike.  On greens, we have reached our final mowing height of the year at .150", which is equal to our normal over winter height.  Once turf breaks dormancy in the spring the greens will be lowered to their in-season mowing height in several increments.  For now, however, we strive to maximize plant health prior to the arrival of winter.  

Leibold completed their laser grading project which includes several tee expansions.  They will now turn their attention to sodding tee banks and step cut at the rate of about 17,000 square feet per day. With roughly 7 acres of sod to lay, this process should take about 20 working days.  

The finish work on the main entrance to the Club is turning out well, although the project has been slower than anticipated due to a concrete shortage in the Midwest said to be caused by the large amount of ice that persisted on Lake Michigan in the spring.  

Bridge work, cart path, and pond bank work continue and are currently on schedule.  Two bridges on hole #8 are finished and ready for asphalt installation.  

Nutrients are applied to greens on a weekly basis
#14 tee was the final tee to be laser graded
Bridges on #8 are complete
Several areas at front entrance have been poured
#8 pond bank ready for sod
#4 pond bank ready for sod

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Golf Course Renovation: Week 10

Week ten was very rainy with 2.5" falling slowly from Monday to Wednesday.  Fortunately, the rain coincided with warmer night temperatures, causing a flush of growth on fairway turf. Too wet to mow with riding mowers, staff has begun walk mowing over 30 acres of fairways. While this may not be a desirable way to spend the day, mowing often during establishment encourages lateral growth, expediting the establishment process and filling in voids where weeds may otherwise germinate.

Tree planting took place between #9 and #18 where forty-three deciduous hardwood trees native to Northeast Illinois were placed in accordance with the Club's master plan with Nicklaus Design.

On #8, the stone facades of the bridges are being installed.  This crew will then make their way to #12 prior to renovating the cart paths in this section of the golf course.

Fairway turf continues to fill in well

A mix of Oak, Hickory, and Beech trees planted between #9 and #18

Stone work began mid week on #8.

Our first bridge of the renovation nearing completion.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Golf Course Renovation: Week 9

In week 9 of the golf course renovation, our staff began to close some projects while some new ones began.  At the front entrance of the clubhouse, our concrete contractor performed the removal of old paving stones and curbs.  New curbs have been installed, and stamped concrete will soon follow to replace the paving stones.  Asphalt is scheduled for installation next week.

Pond bank work on holes #10 and #12 was completed.  About 16,000 square feet of Kentucky bluegrass sod was laid in these two areas to finish them.  As our staff finishes work in these areas, repairs to irrigation heads which were being lost into the ponds will be made.  

Tee leveling is in the final stages with only three holes left to complete.  Once the surfaces are finished, our construction contractor will begin sodding contaminated tee banks and the step cut around fairway.  

Curb removal

Paving stone removal

Realignment of #5 silver tee

#5 silver tee finished

#12 fairway and approach pond bank finished

#10 green pond bank finished