Monday, December 30, 2013

The end of 2013

   Well we are finally at the end of another year. With 2013 just about over we can start turning our sights to 2014 and what it may have in store for us. First I thought we should look at what accomplishments 2013 left us with.
   Since we started 2013 with our clubhouse under construction due to Hurricane Issac we may as well use that as our starting point. I felt that our clubhouse may of had one of our biggest improvements in my 20 years of service to Riverland's. While most members know what the finished product is, very few actually knows what went on in order for us to make the drastic change that you see today. Practically the whole building had to be gutted and rebuilt due to the water damage. Thanks to a few major Board Members we took the bull by the horns and decided that whatever we did had to be done right and not just better looking. We had a 50 year old building that was in need of some severe TLC and the construction phase gave us the perfect opportunity to tear out all of the existing problem areas and rebuild them right so they could last another 50 years. A few major decisions had to be made in order to make the building sturdier and more user friendly. We had to add a few walls and tear out a few others. Some areas were outdated and in need of a serious upgrade (ballroom bathrooms) while others just needed to be made more employee friendly (bar). To be honest I do not remember ever being told exactly how much insurance money we collected but I know from first hand experience that we got twice that much out of our finished product.
   So we rebuilt the main ballroom areas with the main focus on being able to use them for rentals. In order to give our club its best chance of pulling in extra revenue through rentals we did a major overhaul to that area of the clubhouse. We removed 50 year old single pane windows which had a lot of old termite damage and replaced them with new 3/8" commercial tinted windows. We rebuilt the exterior walls and jacked up and supported the main ceiling support beams. After correcting as much of the sag as possible in the ceiling beams we framed and Sheetrock the entire ceiling replacing the old drop down ceiling tiles that were already drooping. We custom built recessed light alcoves in order to retain our old light system but make them look modern. We rebuilt the outdated brick fireplace changing it to a look that allows it to blend in with our new bar area (well get to that in a little while). We added 12"-18" of blown in insulation throughout the entire attic area to help cut down on our monthly heating and cooling expenses. By changing the design of our office area we were able to add more storage areas which allows us to better organize all of our stock. We installed thousands of feet of moulding to the ceilings (crown), walls (chair rails and base boards). We installed all new glass doorways. We completely rebuilt both of the ballroom bathrooms which in my opinion is the biggest improvement. We have ran all new security wiring as well as cameras to the main building. 75% of the electrical wiring has been replaced in the building as well as all of the networking wiring. We basically re plumbed the entire building moving all of the water lines to the attic area and getting away from the old copper pipes that run through the slab (we were already starting to have corrosion leaks at the slab in some areas).
   The bar was a little different project. At first we had no intention of working in the bar area. just getting the clubhouse back together looked like a large enough project to tackle under the budget we were given by the insurance company, but as we were getting closer to completing the ball room the ugly bar kept staring at us and I swear it was telling us to please rebuild me or maybe it was just me putting my foot in my mouth saying we could do it easily. Any way you look at it the old horse shoe bar needed to be rebuilt in order to give our employees better access to serve our members quicker. Before you knew it we had the bar torn out and another one framed up and ready to build our first ever concrete bar. After that everything else in the bar seemed easy. Yes we did go around and around trying to come up with newer affordable ideas that would make our bar stand out. Thanks to the few stable minds who were making the decisions we never had to do anything twice. The only thing I will take credit in the bar for is the 70" LED TV behind the bar. What can I say I like big TV's and that one is magnificent.
   The back patio was another issue that had to be tackled. After first installing the aluminum patio cover and then replacing it 2-3 times we knew we did not want to go that route again. We also knew that the 50 year old flat roof design was a very poor design for our building that had been expanded  multiple times. after getting quotes the powers that be decided on replacing the whole roof with a pitched roof with the patio cover built into it as part of the building. This was a major improvement because many members kept telling me how much our building now looks like a country club building. The patio cover was an amazing improvement over what we had and it will not get blown away again.
   Wow just typing all of this stuff up makes me realize just how much had been accomplished with our building in 2013. It one thing to be here working on it each day but I guess it is a lot like living with my Great Dane from the time she was two months old, you never really see how much she grows since you see her everyday but after she is grown up and you look at a puppy picture all you can do is say wow.
   I know that none of the above could of been possible or would of been possible without the help of your 2013 board of directors. yes some may have done more then others but you also have to remember that a large percentage of them also got flooded out of their houses. I will not mention any names for credit because in one way or another they all had a helping hand in the clubs rebirth, the key is that without them this would not of been accomplished, the club would of been simply put back like it was before.
   The joy I received while doing the work was whenever I would overhear members showing the improvements off to their friends and bragging about how much nicer it was. now I hear people that have not been here since the damage walk in and say how amazed they are at the improvements. I thoroughly enjoyed working side by side with many of our board members throughout the process and I am very thankful to everyone who helped out with the renovations. What the members should be proud of beside the finished product was the boards ability to accomplish the renovation without borrowing or asking its members for funds to make the improvements. They simply kept to our budget and got the most out of every dollar we had.

Due to the massive project we undertook with the clubhouse the course had to be put on hold for a while. after completing the renovation my crew was again put to work in providing you with the product you have come to expect. But we were able to do a few more things in 2013 then in the previous 7 years before. We implemented a weed control program and made it a point to use more fertilizer on the course. with some timely equipment notes ending we were able to acquire some more needed equipment for the course which includes a greens mower, bunker rake, rough unit and a greens roller. While I would not say the course excelled in 2013 I would say that it moved forward and made progress.
   One area that I believe we can all agree on is that our bunkers are in need of attention. This area has not been forgotten but due to other areas of need they had been put to the back burner. hopefully 2014 is the year where we can get some bunkers rebuilt.
   One are where we did make major improvements on is my shop area. Riverlands has never been big about having the most updated maintenance facilities to the point where we are ancient. almost 20 years ago Pat Lambert got us two old wooden buildings that were donated by Marathon Oil. for the last 19+ years one has operated as my small office and the other as a lunch room for my crew. We never complained about them because they were better then what we had but lets be honest, they were raised buildings with no insulation and was really cold in the winter and hot in the summer. 2013 brought and end to the way these buildings were being used. Allen Constantine located a 14'x70' commercial office building with central air and heat for the low cost of $3,000 delivered and set up. It took us a few months to get moved in due to the construction in the club house but eventually we made it and turned our other buildings into great storage buildings for our chemicals and course supplies. I have to say that central air and heat is the way to go and my crew is actually thrilled about taking turns in keeping it cleaned.
   In 2013 we also had to rebuild both of our big 50hp motors for our irrigation system and replace both of the soft starters. Eventually everything got repaired or replaced and we are now 100% operational on our irrigation system.

As you can see 2013 ended up being a very good year for Riverlands Golf and Country Club. If only 2014 can be as nice to us. I know I most likely forgot a few things but in general you can see just how busy we have been in 2013.