What started off as the wettest spring on record quickly became a bigger challenge than any of us could have ever imagined. Late in the spring, we noticed an issue with our pump station and made a service call for what seemed to be an easy repair. Upon further inspection, it was evident that the issue at hand was far less than the underlying issues with the metal skid supporting our pump station and condition of one of our pumps. As you may know, our pump station has had many issues in the past but the continued service and removing/replacing of parts has taken a toll on the support structure. An item that has been corroding for years, quickly took a turn for the worse.
Shortly thereafter, the spring rain subsided, and summer heat took its toll across the droughted golf course. Our team fought daily with difficult decisions on maintenance and what could be done to overcome the challenge. Luckily the days without water are almost in the rearview. We were able to Band-Aid the pump station enough to consider it safe for operation, unfortunately in the month it’s been back on the station has failed twice. The most recent failure was over this weekend where and electronic control valve has shorted and must be replaced. I am currently looking for another short-term fix to get water back on for the remainder of the season.
Ultimately, the solution is in progress. Our new pond is almost complete and the wet well / intake pipe for our new pump station has been installed. We are on track to be pumping water from a new location with a new station by next spring! The summer stress is past, and conditions are improving on the course daily.
The two big questions I am asked, “what are we going to do with all that dirt!?” and “will we have a par 3 course?!”
To answer it simply, we will use the soil and yes, we will have a par 3 course. With an ever-changing vision of the “west campus” it was not worth destroying what we have to expand the existing pond. Instead we chose to store the soil on site for future use. There are plenty of things we “could do” or “could’ve done” with the soil, but it all comes at an additional expense. Our contractor estimated an additional $500,000 if we would have wanted to haul the material away. We could have opted to take it around the par-3 course to minimize earthmoving costs in future renovations but would not have par-3 holes to play until additional work was completed. While the pile is big and may seem out of place for the time being, we will be able to enjoy more of the property while we finalize the west campus vision. We will still have a par-3 course to enjoy and may be able to add a little extra fun as the project is completed.
One of the last updates I’d like to include in this post is our aerification update. We have completed most of our fall aerification and were able to include a slightly different process in addition to our normal core aerification on greens. This fall we contracted a deep tine aerification service which used 1/2″ tines at depths of 8″-10″. This process helps to fracture the subsurface and give roots a deeper channel to chase. This is the first time this process has been used on these greens since they were rebuilt in the early 90’s.
During the 4-day course closure, we were able to deep tine greens, core aerify greens, top-dress greens, brush greens (6x), roll greens (6x), aerify tees, aerify approaches, aerify 9 holes of rough, seed 3 fairways, and roll tees/approaches. It was a busy week, but we will continue to aerify rough and overseed thin areas through the remainder of the fall.
Thank you for your support through the most challenging days. This summer was not easy, but the course will benefit from the challenge for years to come. We were able to incorporate stronger grasses in areas that were weak and will have a better conditioned course by doing so. Now that we are slowly returning to normal, I am excited to pick back up on details missed while in survival mode.
I have included some pictures of the most recent happenings and hope to soon recap our season with a slideshow for all to see!
Thanks for following!
– J.R. Lynn, GCS