Monday, December 21, 2009

Blast from the past (part 4)

The Greens are coming

Since I have already described the process in getting the greens basic design as well as confirmed by the membership I will skip to the actual process it took in order to get what you see today.

Since we were planning on adding 30% total area to our greens we had to decide where it was going to be done and how we would manage adding some 20'-40' onto certain greens. Since our desire was to build these greens as close to USGA standards as possible it would require subsurface drainage, a perc rate of at least 9" per hour and a putting surface that was level enough to enable the use of Tif-Eagle turf. We had already installed drainage in five greens the year before which was still going to be used in the renovation process, so this left us with 16 more greens to drain. We also had plans on tilling in 5" of new sand to the existing greens once the old turf was removed. Our major hurdle would be all of the new areas where some greens would be expanded. This would take a new mixture of sand and peat that was tested to have a perc rate of 9" per hour. I had heard horror stories in the past about course just using the new mix where they had done expansions, and having severe problems with keeping those areas consistent with the rest of the greens. The expansions would generally dry out much faster or the grass grow different or even be more susceptible to diseases. I had a strong desire to avoid this problem for our club and came up with the idea of bowling out 7 greens (removing all existing greens soil) and using it in the expansions of the rest of our greens then using the new mix in those seven greens. We had several debates over this due to the extra cost involved in moving the soil. This was one crucial part I had to stand firm on, to the point of stating that I would simply quit if not done right. While it did cost more and take extra time to accomplish, it was the right way to build a green, especially when you consider we were already taking the cheap route in our renovation process. Some corners you just do not cut and I did not want my name and reputation on this project for years to come if we were not doing it right.

Starting the work
We started work by hauling dirt to the greens that we were going to expand. we dug this dirt from areas like the pond on the side of #8, the low area between #3 & #18, digging the pond on the left of #2. Every time we expanded and shaped an area for expansion we also cut and laid sod so the golfers would not have to play in mud and we would not get any washouts. This is where the new Back Hoe paid for itself. We expanded the left side of #1 about 20' and we added about 20' to the right side of #3 green. #4 got a whole new look with the removal of pine trees on the right and a new bunker system added. We only added a little to both side of #6 which did not require any new slope work much like we did on the back of #7 green. #8 however was expanded on both of the back sides and #9 was just enlarged within its current slope boundaries. We had already added some work to #10 green but actually took it a little further with some mounding around the slopes but #11 was a drastic redo in that we removed a very large water oak which sat right in front of the green, and we removed half of the bunker on the right front of the green and added a second tier to the green. #12 was just expanded like we did with a few other greens and #13 had been enlarged with a bunker added to the back to keep balls from rolling into #14 tee (that did not work out too great and has been renovated with just small mounds). #14 green was enlarged forward with a second bunker added to the right side. #15 green was actually elevated in the front to keep the flood waters from putting it under water, while #16 green was redesigned and elevated for the same reason as #15. #17 had a whole section of cypress trees removed from the right side, while the green was expanded to the right front with several mounding features on the green while we installed several pot bunkers to the back and the right side was designed to be a lower hazard area. #18 green was simply just rebuilt under the existing design with thoughts that maybe in the future we could make improvements to it. The putting green behind the clubhouse was the most extensive of all though since we had to build a complete new green that was elevated above all flood levels. All of this work and less the 16 months to get it done. I know I spent many of days and nights working and actually thriving in what I enjoyed the most, construction. By doing our irrigation system the previous year and knowing when we installed it where our expansions were going to be, it allowed us to place all new pipes outside of the new green slopes (good planning).

We used an outside contractor to do the work on the tops of the greens. they were responsible for stripping, adding and mixing the new sand and bowling out the 7 greens we were stealing the soil for as well as planting the new Tif-Eagle turf. The owner and boss's name was Skip and he was a great person to work with. he had set a time frame of 10 weeks to complete due to the extra soil that had to be moved around. My crew was responsible for all drainage work to be done on the remaining 16 greens. As with the irrigation contractor I took the initiative in setting our daily schedules so my crew would not be in their way and we could maximize our efforts. We finished the job in a record 7 weeks due to great weather and a great working relationship between the two crews, and actually added into the latter part of the project the leveling of the second part of #10 fairway and from 150yds in on #17 fairway along with the second fairway bunker and a fairway bunker on #4.

What you see and play on today was the result of all that planning and hard work.

Next up Pictures of the work and plans