Wednesday, December 15, 2010

#5 Bunker Liner Project

The renovation to this bunker was relatively easy except for one issue. There were two gaping ground squirrel tunnels placed directly in the center wall of the bunker face. This was very difficult to fix because the slope was at a 90 degree angle. The only way I could pack the dirt to stay in the tunnel was to create a concrete mud texture. This was not easy because the soil that I found outside of the golf course had very little clay content. Finally I concluded that I would first pack the tunnel with DG, and add the mud texture afterward. This was the only feasible method and I am hoping that a ground squirrel does not break down my barrier.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

#18 Bridge Handrail Renovation

This bridge is by far the largest and longest bridge on the property. It connects hole #18 teebox to the fairway. I did not take part in building this bridge, with the exception of one day. The reason I could not participate in the renovation in this bridge is because of its height. It was too dangerous to renovate and I did not have a safety harness. The highest point in the bridge is about four stories tall. Most of the work on this structure is completed by wearing a safety harness and hanging freely over the edge. The all-thread and lag bolts were fastened into the side of the bridge, limiting the ability to work from the bridges' surface. The ranch club operation employees have the equipment to work on trees and elevated objects, so they were hired to renovate this bridge. These photos were captured midway through the renovation. I worked with them on the first day to help them understand the way the other bridges on the golf course were built. The first half is turning out to look very good.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

#7 Washout & Drainage Project

One area on the golf course that is classic for washing out and creating unusual mounds is located on hole #7. If you look at the first picture you will see a bare soil area where the sod has been removed. This area was previously a 2' elevated mound with sod intact. It looked similar to a water bubble. The cause for the elevation in the turf is caused primarily from ground squirrels and poor drainage. Initially the ground squirrel would dig its tunnels throughout the native areas and into the golf course rough. These tunnels would end at the rough/fairway line. This is because the fairways are sand capped and the rough is soil based. The ground squirrels cannot dig in the sand because the tunnel immediately collapses. The inability to dig in the sand causes them to turn around in their existing tunnel and begin with a new route. All of their digging creates very hollow and bumpy rough perimeters. Looking at a few of these photos you can tell that the slope on hole #7 declines severely from left to right. With the rain that occurred previous to this project, the water would heavily build and run throughout the ground squirrel tunnels, depositing large amounts of sediment down the declining slope. This event would create the 2' mounds that are present on the left side of #7. The problem was then fixed by simply removing and regrading the large mound with the addition of a long drain line running diagonally across the slope and into the nearest catch basin. This problem has been seen on a few areas on the golf course and the same methods are used to fix the issue.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

#4 Bunker Liner Project

Both bunkers on hole #4 were a bit more challenging than expected. As described in the previous entry, the greenside bunker had major ground squirrel damage. Along with the ground squirrel damage, the greenside bunker needed quite a bit more drainage added to sufficiently handle the amounts of water that feed off of the hillside in the winter months. We decided that it was best to add the drain lines adjacent to the slope of the bunker. This would prevent much of the water to reach the bottom of the bunker and instead redirect downhill ultimately flowing into the nearby wetland. Aside from the extra drainage and ground squirrel damage, everything else went as planned in the greenside bunker.

The fairway bunker on #4 seemed like everything was going great. This was until after the bunker liner had been installed and sand was almost filling the entire bunker. I noticed that there was an area in the middle of the bunker floor that was very soft, wet, and potentially problematic. The idea of leaving a poorly drained site in a newly renovated bunker was unacceptable so we began to repair the problem. We started by removing the new clean sand from the top of the bunker liner exposing the soft area. This area was mapped out and cleared for repair. We used a carpenter razor blade to cut the liner fabric to expose the saturated area. It was soon after, that we realized the problem. This was an existing low area where excess water would sit and have no area to run off. This area needed to be either re-graded with the slope to feed into drainage or drainage needed to be added. Since this area was mere feet from the nearest drain line, we decided to re-shape the area making the low spot's slope decline into the drain line trench. Once we removed the dammed area, the moisture fed into the drain line and was dry the next day. This immediately solved our issue so we stapled the liner back in place and continued to pour sand to finish the bunker.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ground Squirrel Rejection Experiment

While inspecting the greenside bunker on hole #4, we came to a conclusion that it has won the award for the most ground squirrel damage to a bunker's edge on the entire golf course. This bunker sits very close to the native grass which is a prime location for the ground squirrels to dig their tunnels. #4 bunker shows this fact very well. Most, if not all, of the tunnels are created within 2' of the soil surface. With this idea in mind, we decided to take the trench digger and excavate a channel around the bunker nearest the native edge where the ground squirrel tunnels are located. Once the channel was dug to about a 3' depth, we decided to insert a vertical layer of heavy wire mesh fence. The idea is to prevent the ability for the ground squirrels to dig towards the bunker edge. With this wire mesh in place, they will be stopped dead in their tracks and be forced to turn around.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Deep Frost

This morning there was a three hour deep frost delay for the golfers. This is much too late to keep the crew at work so everybody was sent home early. I enjoyed my very cold day off.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

#3 Bunker Liner Project

This was a bit difficult to believe, but all of the bunkers on this hole went very well. There was nothing unusual or difficult about any of these three bunkers. It was as simple as removing the sand, installing the liner, and loading the sand. All of the original edges were also untouched. The only area that needed a bit of attention was a bit of buildup on the fairway edge of the fairway bunker. For this, we packed a pile of DG on the edge to raise the slope and covered it with the bunker liner. This can be seen in a couple of the bottom photos.