Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Xmas

On behalf of all the greens staff, we would like to wish all our members, volunteers and management a very Happy Xmas and Safe New Year.
May all your Handicaps come DOWN!
See you all on the course in the New Year
Greens staff

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Insight into Bunker Maintenance

Ask most players on any golf course about Sand Bunker Maintenance and the answers will come thick and fast.
Not enough maintenance carried out, The appearance needs looking after, Not enough Sand, Too much Sand, Bases aren't level, to much rubbish in them.
And the list would go on, ask them what maintenance do they think gets carried out and the most likely answer is they rake them with a bunker rake and maybe do the edges every now and then but never enough.
With this in mind here is an insight into one aspect of Bunker maintenance, the dreaded bunker edges as the staff refer to it with a groan.
Every 4 weeks during the growing season and every 6 to 8 weeks at other times, all bunkers are edged, Trimmed, cleaned out and raked, a pretty simple sounding maintenance task unless you are aware of whats involved.
It can take 4 staff up to 10 working hrs to complete, THAT'S 40 WORKING HOURS EVERY MONTH

First up is to edge the bunker, getting a sharp clean cut edge and cutting any couch runners through starting run into the bunker.
Edging the bunker
Secondly a whipper sniper is used to clean up the inside edge, remove visible runners and leave a tidy appearance. At this stage rhizomes are removed by hand.
A very uncomfortable job, with sand flying everywhere and needing to covered from head to toe, in the midst of summer, even when air temps are only 30 degrees, temperatures in the bunker with hot equipment, that can easily reach 38 degrees.
It is for this reason the bunkers are never all done in the one day, On most occasions we split into two morning sessions over two days, from 6am to 10am while still reasonably cool.
Whipper Snipping the inside edge
After the inside edge is, the outside top is trimmed up to give a distinct ring around the bunker.
Trimming the top.
Next, the Bunker is cleared of debris and debris removed from the area. Another Dusty job on a hot windy day.
Clearing debris
Once all the debris are removed, we attend all the faces and sides of the bunker, removing excess sand and smoothing all slopes so a nice ball roll occurs into the base of the bunker.
Smoothing the slope and faces.
 To finish the job the bunker is levelled and raked.
Raking after levelling.
Other Maintenance tasks undertaken for bunkers periodically include spraying and removing weeds, applying growth regulators on edges, Dedicated Base levelling, adding or readjusting sand, tree root removal and of course fixing roo damage.
During the course of a normal week, a minimum of 20hrs are spent raking, smoothing and clearing debris.

As you can see there is allot of hrs dedicated to bunker maintenance, and a great deal of work which goes into them that you may not have been aware of, so I hope this gives just a little insight into Bunker Maintenance.

For me the question is.... Is a Sand Bunker truly a hazard when this amount of maintenance is carried out ?
Those old Scott's would be rolling in their graves.

As one who is always finding them during a round, all I can answer with is, THANK GOD THEY ARE!

Happy Sand Trapping..Till next time.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Practice Bunker and 12th

This week saw the last of the Bunker Lips being done before Xmas with the 12th having the rear lip completely refurbished and the base leveled. The end result is a much better bunker. All bunker edges will now be trimmed up and edged prior to Xmas.
12th Bunker before
12th Bunker before

12th Bunker after
12th Bunker after

Other work started but not yet complete include improving the planted area near the practice Bunker, some serious trimming work which was badly overdue. We will be encouraging better grass growth in an area previously not irrigated and eventually refurbishing the Practice Bunker so the whole area will appeal more.
View from Practice Bunker
View from Practice green before

View from Practice Bunker after
View from Practice green after

Wind blowing debris over the course is one of the most frustrating events to happen, with no equipment to clean up large areas of leaves blown over fairways besides our rough mower sometimes its like p!$$!^^ against the wind, getting nowhere fast. Unfortunately this week was one of those weeks where no matter what we did the course looked untidy. 
Tho we did have it like this ( see pic below) at one point.

Next week we will be cleaning up the other planted area near the Practice Bunker, Coring green surrounds and Bunker approaches then giving them a fert to encourage thicker grass growth. Ropes will also be deployed to direct traffic flow around these areas so please assist by following directional signs.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


We are steadily making progress with renovating bunkers, so far minor adjustments have been made and the excess mounding caused by sand build up removed on the 2nd x 2, 5th, 8th, 11th and 14th sand bunkers. The picture below shows what we are trying to eliminate.
Raised lip and worn edge
Major bunker works are also complete on the 6th and 17th right side bunker, these works included reshaping the rear edge completely, levelling the base from a very steep rear to front slope and with the 17th increasing the width of what was a very small bunker, and impossible to rake with the bunker rake.

 Both Bunkers have received positive comments and look, play and maintain allot better than before.

 The 12th right side bunker is next on the list and will be the last before the Xmas / New Year period as we concentrate on other maintenance activities. Bunker works will then resume after New Year.

In other news, the back 9 fairways were renovated last week, a decent result considering only one pass was made followed by a double scroll cut to remove as much thatch as we could with the equipment on hand. This week we applied Wetting agents and gave them a good drink, under the manual system that is no mean feat. Next week 1.2 ton each of Gypsum and fertiliser will be applied. It will be from this point the Fairway conditions will start to recover from the scarifying undertaken.
 Meanwhile the Front 9 is looking absolutely awesome at the moment, probably as good as it gets, the fairways are stripped up with plenty of healthy growth and the greens are powering on with a good ball roll and healthy, not excessive growth. I will take a few pics next week, time permitting but have a game and see for yourself.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Greens and Bunkers

Its been a while, sorry about that, with the break in and replacing the computer system along with what has been a busy few weeks made it difficult to update the Blog.

The greens came back well from renovations and are now being cut at 3mm tho we did slow down the time frame due to the concerns from the renovations, (see earlier post). They are still a little off pace as we get some vigorous growth growing for recovery and for summer health, but will settle down from here on, quicken up as we start controlling the growth by spoon feeding rather than granular feeding of the greens. 
There remains a few weak patches on the greens from the sand being left on at reno's for such a long period of time but are slowly knitting up and will be under close observation for disease or stress related problems.

You may have noticed some bunker works being undertaken around the course, we are lowering the entry lips of the bunkers built up over the years from excess sand and also levelling bases, which I am sure many of you will appreciate, tho there will be some disruption as we remove turf, remove the excess sand and then relay the turf. Some Bunkers will have the total lip removed while others will only have small section removed.
We have taken delivery of a new Toro Sandpro Bunker Rake over the past week and as such expect a huge improvement with bunker conditioning with the extra features this machine offers over our very old Smithco one which was near Death. Hydraulic steerable blade, better prong penetration and the mid mount weeder Tyne will help with better bunker maintenance.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Greens Completed

Sorry Just me, cracking open a bottle of Jack's, putting the feet up and appreciating the fact the greens reno is finally done and dusted, ( excuse the pun). 

We managed to get the sand on the greens from the past few rubbed in by midday after they dried under heavy skies, and then finished sanding the others, and finally rubbing them all in for a reasonable finish.
It hasn't been the smoothest of Renovations but not the worst, with at first the Hire Top dresser not spreading the sand evenly and breaking down, then of course the rain, heavy clouded non drying skies, wet sand and a delay of 36hrs with sand on 8 greens before we could start rubbing in.

My thanks, to our staff for putting in extra effort, our contractors for being flexible enough to allow us the extra day, and to those players today who turned up thinking reno's was complete and didn't mind playing the 9 holes which were open at the time, your understanding was appreciated.

One effect from the above we will need to be aware of, both from  players and a  maintenance point of view, is the possible longer turn around time for the greens to be back to a suitable condition as a result of weakened bent grass from being under cover for 36Hrs. Other side effects may include increased bruising of leaf, fertiliser burn, higher susceptibility to disease in the short term than normal and the possibility of an extra light sanding to top up the greens as a result of wet sand and the top dresser applying unevenly making it impossible to judge how much sand was going on hence filling the holes.
After inspecting the greens this evening, I believe we have managed to avoid many of the possible side effects, and they have pulled out of reno very well, however things will become clearer over the next few days.
Preventative fungicide applications will be applied to limit any nasty problems arising.

It is now even more critical that all players take extra care of the greens when playing by following the simple course care tips, in the tip of the month.

That's all for now, Good luck with the putts, and happy ball mark repairing....

Click.....Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh.. Decided to have another.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Reno Update (Sunday)

Our fears were realised today when we had to stop Sanding the greens midway through. With forecast for rain and cloud hovering about it was decided to stop the Sanding as a precaution. We started early, with scattered cloud about but with forecast showing showers not till the afternoon, we were confident of getting the sand dried and rubbed in before the rain came. However with 97% humidity, cloud increasing and no wind at all, the sand was staying wet.

Unfortunately, the sand already out has not dried 6hrs after putting out and we are stuck at the moment with sand over the greens as was to wet to rub in. Another effort will be made later this afternoon to get the sand in before rain makes the task impossible. We wait with baited breath, fingers crossed, and hope I won't have to explain the adverse effects if we leave the sand on to long.....

Coring is complete, Sanding will take place at the earliest opportunity hopefully Tomorrow.

Footnote  - Just back from the latest attempt and as soon as we started, down came the rain, no hope of getting the sand in, 7mm rain recorded on course so now we wait till tomorrow but not looking great either.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Renovation Time

Yes its that time of year again, which all golfers just hate. 
For the many reasons we do this, click on this link Renovation Reasons.

Over the past week the renovation program kicked off with all Tees cored with our Ryan corer,amendments added, the ladies tees sanded and the greens verti cut yesterday.
The Ryan in action
Verti Units having the depths adjusted and prepared

After the previous two glorious days we are keeping a nervous eye on the forecast for Sundays main green renovation day when we want, but don't necessarily get fine clear skies, a hint of rain could throw a huge spanner in the works so fingers crossed.

Over the weekend, weather permitting, we will be Solid Coring, adding soil amendments, sanding, and of course rubbing the sand in. We are allowing a 4 week recovery period, (for the greens that is, not us) before they are back to normal playing conditions.

Next week we will finish sanding the tees, from there the back 9 fairways will be renovated starting 18th October, During this time we will also be coring with our Ryan corer all walk area to tees and green aprons.
Fair to say a very busy period ahead for all staff to kick off the spring summer / season.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Course Update

It has been a pretty quiet 4 weeks as far as major works on the course are concerned. This is not to say the staff haven't been busy with the unseen work that is attended to. Broad leaf weed control from tree line to tree line including tees and surrounds has been undertaken as with some Poa control in surrounds and some of the shady tees where Poa annua ( winter grass) thrives.
Staff have also been busy preparing for the irrigation season, with all sprinkler heads trimmed up and sprayed with growth regulators, with some 220 sprinkler heads and 280 turf valves on the back 9 it does take a bit of time to get around.  The front 9 auto retic was tested to make sure all is going well and sprinkler heads checked for proper operation, the back 9 greens and tees were tested after all our hard work through winter with the pipes and WOW what a difference, all 46 green turf valves working exceptionally well, the look on the staff's faces of the excitement of a kid in a jelly bean shop, when realising they won't have to drag so many hoses around when watering the greens.

It has been a busy time for myself as well, putting the finishing touches on planning for the upcoming season and all the programs that are followed through to ensure the course stays at its best, the renovations planning for greens tees and the back 9 fairways along with the budget for the year all requiring attention. Plans are also being developed to widen the 17th green and presently working through them with our Course Director Rob.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

11th Pipes Done and Dusted

Waiting around supervising my sons 18th putting up with the bang bang they call music and thought bugger it I will update the blog while I have the chance haha.

Before I do, these kids just don't know how to pace themselves, I use to look like this after an alnighter, but this kid took just 45mins !!!!! gotta laugh.
   Anyway back on the job and the 11th retic pipe work were completed this past week along with the 12th tee. Instead of explaining I will let the pictures tell the story.....
Main pipe underneath green pipe - not connected
A t join in an unusual set up
Re routing main pipe and attaching to green lines
Cleaning pipes
Iron discoloured water from cleaning
After testing works were deemed succesful, we are very close to finishing the back 9 pipe improvements and look forward to the coming irrigation season with improve water flow to some critical areas.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Staff arrived to something we don't see too often first thing in the morning, during the week.
Idiots broke into the cart shed and decided to use them as dodge cars, and also use the 18th green as their track

It was only superficial damage to the green but we still had some repair work to do .
We were also tow truck drivers for the morning collecting the carts

Something different turned into something old when two nights later they decided to come back and finish off the rest of the carts they didn't totally destroy the previous time.
Again only superficial damage to the green, which cant be said about carts which are practically write offs.
Needless to say increased security measures will make it hard for them to repeat another performance.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Wet and Wild week

Was a pretty wild end to the week over the past few days with over 60mm of rain and wind gusts up 90km/hr recorded on course.  4 trees needed removing after the wind brought them down and plenty of bunker wash outs to repair as well.
one of the trees

Wanted to put a pic of the bunker wash outs but was to busy to take one !

It made life a little difficult cleaning up and repairing washouts with also trying to complete the 10th green pipe works whilst Anthony is at TAFE and another staff off sick leaving only 2 of us for the majority of the week.

By Friday afternoon all work was completed, tho with the winds persisting small debris across the course will not make it the tidiest it has been over the weekend.

Now for the 10th green pipes.
Following in the tradition of locating pipes, scratching the head and asking why would ya ? aka the 12th green 16th tee masterpieces the 10th green didn't let us down.
We found the right side 50mm fwy main was capped and not directly connected to the green supply pipes, it instead connected to a 32mm pipe which was further reduced to 25mm pipe and elbowed through the bunker, of course this pipe was blocked meaning no water was being supplied at all to the right side green pipes. 
25mm pipe through bunker
25mm bunker pipe

  Below is the pipe locations we found (in red) and after sorting out the puzzle relocated some piping (in black)

We removed the blocked 32mm and 25mm pipes completely and added a new 50mm connection to the right side fwy main.
 We also replaced a 25mm connection which had 5 direction pipes attached, the small size meant this connection was also blocked, the connection was replaced with 40mm size connection and spread out a little as you can see.
Old 25mm connection
New 40mm connection

All other pipes in the location were thoroughly cleaned with varying amounts of iron removed, we also opened up the original line to the 11th Fairway from this area which was blocked as well and we hope that this as well as the unblocking of the 13th will increase the water flow to the 11th Fwy.   So now will be on to the 11th green and 12th tee, tho with cleaning up the course after the weekend storms will be the first priority.                             

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

16th Mens Tee Irrigation Pipe

With the 12th green completed and a spare day I thought we would get another problem area (the mens 16th tee) out of the way. Expecting it to be a pretty simple job of digging a few inspection points, cutting some pipe and cleaning them to be all that was required........................................
 The 25mm pipe from this connection near the ladies 16th tee extended all the way to the Mens 16th tee, needless to say it was blocked with very hard Iron build up that could not be cleaned out.
 Then we discovered the crowning glory of the pipe work, after the 30m of this 25mm pipe it was connected to 40mm pipe on the tee and then back to 25mm pipe heading towards the 15th green, again the 25mm pipe blocked.
There went the simple 1 day job and we started trenching to replace the 25mm pipe with 40mm. Rain interrupted work and as such we will be endeavoring to finish this work before the comp tomorrow.
Whilst uncovering this masterpiece we came across a classic example of iron oxidising around a leaking pipe and in effect sealing the leak. We will be repairing it before the cal clear starts to soften the oxide and we spring a leak. Something that has been happening during irrigation season as the Cal Clear does its work.

Other work completed you may noticed as you play is the repair of the 7th sheep track ( wear area)