Sunday, July 27, 2014

Week 30 Winter Projects Continue

After a delayed start to our planed winter projects we have managed to complete a couple of the big time consuming tasks this week.

We installed the first stage drain line for the 11th surrounds, with a capture pit at the front of the green, we will be using a  hired trencher for the deeper work to extend the drain line away from play at a later time when we can put the trencher to a full days work in other areas as well to make full use of the available hire time.

As the front of the green is much lower than the surrounding area we need to dig the trench a lot deeper to achieve the minimum 1:100 fall required for effective draining..

The one project I was pleased to mark off was the 18 fairway irrigation lines, with the flow rate severely reduced through these pipes it was one of the more urgent projects to attend before the irrigation season. A time consuming task as we first had to locate pipes, (no mean feat with plans not entirely accurate), locate the potential problem and correct it.

6 inspection pits dug
Pipes cut for inspection and flush points

As it transpired a 120m length of 50mm pipe from the main tee junction of 100mm was all but blocked with oxidised iron (see picture) only a 8mm diameter for water flow was evident.

50mm pipe blocked

Luckily the Cal Clear Unit is doing its job with the majority of the blockage soft iron that could be removed from the pipe by probing and flushing with high pressure water fed through the pipe by hose.

Flushing the pipe using the fire fighting tank and threading a 30m hose throughthe pipe to clean and flush

Not the cleanest of jobs! 

As the water drains from the inspection pit after flushing the iron stain remains visible

Other successful completions, was unblocking a smaller section of pipe further from the tee section and an area on the 17th.

With the Ladies championships being held Monday and Wednesday over the next 2 weeks and Men's competitions on the Tuesday and Thursday it will not leave us with available time for disruptive works such as these, our winter projects will be temporarily on hold for these events and will be focusing on course preps instead.

Good luck to all the Championship players, hope the weather is fine and the golf great.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Week 29 Buckets Dont Grow on Trees

This week we managed to make a start on our winter works to do list, after losing just the one day to course clean up from the latest front and also the WA golf Junior event held on Wednesday. Remedial drainage work to the approach on 15 green and side of 14 green was completed this week, the front of 15 green has been consistently wet through winter over the years and also at times during the irrigation season, causing poor quality turf in the area. During the week we installed a mini herringbone drain pattern with 80mm slotted Ag pipe and a natural soak well to alleviate the problem.

Herringbone Drain line
After digging  and discovering a 2 inch layer of Blue metal dust (road base) creating an impervious layer that prevents water draining freely under the whole area, and an heavily iron oxidised (irrigation water) upper soil profile from slow drainage, I am less confident the drain line in itself will be enough to solve the issue, though it will improve the situation presently experienced.

Profile - area in red blue metal dust
Wouldn't know we were there - completed work

Coring with removal of deposits and sanding to dilute the heavily oxidised profile during the growing season will be implemented as the next stage in improving all green approaches. This combined with the drain installation should overcome the issues experienced through winter. The 11th green approach is the next on the drain list.

Other jobs ticked off the list were the repair of pipe leaks and blockages on the back 9, (still more to do with the old pipes), and weed control in Sand Bunkers, this along with normal course set up and conditioning, the beautiful days on Thursday and Friday felt like a more constructive week rather than just cleaning up mess from the latest front. That said I don't think we will have such luck this coming week with thunderstorms and fronts predicted to pass through over the next 3 days, fingers crossed we are spared the worst minimising any required clean up so we can continue the drainage work.

Finally the course care / etiquette comment this week brings me back to the tittle of this post,
Buckets don't grow on Trees though
somebody thinks so

or In Gardens  

 They don't need a Car Spot or Two

and though effective certainly not designed to be an ashtray
We put 50 new sand buckets out 1 1/2 weeks ago with many disappearing, we hope as a result of members leaving them on the buggies in the lockers and not for any other unsavoury reason, we put another 50 out this week, hopefully most locker room buggies having their bucket already, these ones will stick around a bit longer.

By all means Please take a free sand bucket before you play, use it as you play with free sand provided, and return the bucket at completion of your round for others to share the joy of using the bucket with sand and caring for their course during their round. 

If left anywhere else, we don't want anyone to kick the bucket!!!
We are working towards a new bucket return area on the 18th side to assist with this. 
And that brings an end to this Bucket List... 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Week 28 and another.......

Another week, another front came through bringing with it another 40mm rain, wind gusts up to 80km/hr bringing down another 3 trees and plenty of small debris across the course requiring clearing.

It is the small debris that consumes the time, you could not putt through the below mess on the 11th green 
 and we cannot mow greens with it there either, it all must be cleared along with bunker washout repair, path washouts etc before we can turn our attention to other projects / tasks.  It can be very frustrating for the crew going through the cleanup process only for another front to come through requiring us to go through it all again, the latest accounted for a total of 70 labour hours this week dedicated to debris clearing.  Our winter works program delayed another week.

With the amount and frequency of rain, green approaches are holding a great deal of moisture,  the blue lines are  in place as a reminder for ALL cart users not to drive close to the greens  where it is wet and easily damaged, the person below obviously missed  the message.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

week 25 /26 & 27 The Ugliness Part of Winter Arives

One task we have been doing more than we would like over the past few weeks is clearing fallen banksia trees and repairing washouts, cold fronts bringing rain and wind never ends well for the weak rooted banksias with 8 requiring removal over the past 2 weeks. The same can be said for bunker and path washouts.

 That said we much prefer clearing the big stuff as we are better equipped for the job to get it cut and out of the way rather than the small debris often left after a cold front pushes through, one such example was last week which covered all greens with small debris requiring clearing before we could mow and set up for the days play, 3 hours and 4 trailer loads of debris later the greens were cleared and then on to tees, bunkers and fairways, we lose the planed works we had intended to do cleaning up the mess instead.

The ugly part of winter has arrived and with it you will notice a few climate forced changes with the course. Our warm season turf surfaces will lack vigour, loose colour and generally be more susceptible to wear and injury, on top of this heavy rain events can leave water laying around and though most areas drain well there are areas that remain soggy specially where traffic occurs in low areas.  During winter it is vitally important for all players to follow all course care etiquette, the below are the more important winter ones to be mindful of -

* Repair your divots chop in the sides or replace the dislodged turf
* Greens will be soft after rain events, actively look for and correctly repair your ball marks and any others you may come across
* Cart users should stay as far from the greens as practicable, at east 15m or no closer than the blue line.
*Cart users should stay out of wet areas, continued driving through these areas results in mud that will neither recover when wet or dry
*Avoid taking divots during practice swings.

Tips on the correct method of repair can be found on the course care page
These are simple yet effective means each player can assist in preserving the course through winter when all turf surfaces are easily damaged and slow to recover. The staff can only do so much to repair areas particularly when the turf isn't growing, utopia is we shouldn't have to repair player damage at all, so please a little self regulation, if anyone in your playing group isn't doing the right thing tell them, after all it may be you, who has to play from the damage they cause next week.
One more noticeable condition you will have come across and part of the ugliness of winter I referred to is the development of the below bronze orange coloured patches with pinkish rings visible, mainly in fairways
This is a disease called Microdochium nivale, previously known as Winter Fusarium and as the name suggests occurrence is usually through winter, or more so cool wet weather.
All turf surfaces are susceptible to infection and injury, our greens are our number 1 priority and like Dollar spot in Spring and Autumn our main priority is prevention in the Greens, a lesser extent in Tees and no control other than cultural for all other surfaces. Fusarium disease incidence follow that priority with little to none in greens some infection in tees and fairways more so.
To look at the positive side, obviously our green prevention program is working, otherwise the greens would look like some areas of the fairways,

It is very costly (outside our budget) to treat in fairways as any applied spray would be short lived, the fusarium would return in a few weeks requiring further treatment. Turf may appear "ugly" but will recover when active growth returns.
We do implement cultural controls on all surfaces to many to detail here, implement programs to limit the injury and will undertake small area treatment in the worst effected areas where budget permits though we need to show restraint and ride the worst of the conditions out before it improves.

Graham and the boys are nearly finished the 12th path, staff have laid the tee turf and all is taking shape nicely, once completed they would like all cart users to use the path and not take the short cut...STAY ON THE PATH !! That's why they spent their time constructing it for.

Looking ahead and with regular fronts now passing through at least weekly, clearing debris repairing washouts and other  storm related activity will be built in to the weekly job list as we begin our winter works program and this year we are targeting tree pruning on the back 9 in a similar focus to that of the front 9 last year.
Other winter work on the hit list are Sand bunker base renovations with the 2nd and 12th bunkers given priority, unblocking / replacing sections of old irrigation pipe on the back 9, mainly 15 tee area and 18 ready for next irrigation season, some remedial drainage works 11th and 15th surrounds and maintenance for the front 9 fairway sprinklers which will include pulling the internal mechanism of the 300 sprinklers cleaning iron oxide build up and replacing which will be a major undertaking in itself, at the same time we will also be correcting the level of any sprinklers.

As you can see, our very small staff of 4 have a very busy winter period ahead of us, we have set high goals to achieve that in many ways may be a little too ambitious to think we will complete all of it through the remaining winter period however we are optimistic we can ,depending on the amount of clean up required each front that passes. 

We were forced to bring forward the 12th left side bunker renovations this week after another front caused severe bunker washouts on all bunkers (probably the worst I have seen here) but with the 12th bunker face totally washed out exposing old retic pipes the whole renovation was brought forward, at least its one down and ???? to go.  
 The bunker will be G.U.R. for a day or so to minimise plugged lies as whilst the sand settles.