Course Notes, 10/4/2020

Although the weather was not the best on the golf course much last week, lots was accomplished by our team and the team from Golf Creations. Our team is beginning to get the golf course prepared for winter, and a huge step begins Monday with Back 9 greens aerification. As in past years, we will be solid tining these greens and the small Practice Green with 1/2″ solids, followed with a healthy dose of sand to fill the holes left behind. Here is a previous blog I wrote on the process of how we accomplish aerification, while here is a link to a great video from the USGA explaining the process and why we perform it. The Front 9 greens will be aerified October 12th, weather dependent. We will be deep tining the fairways throughout the month of October, as staff and weather allow. Thank you for your understanding while we perform this necessary maintenance!

Below are summaries of what our team and Golf Creations accomplished last week on the Golf Course Improvement project. It is truly neat to see some bunkers shaped and ready for Better Billy polymer. In speaking with the Golf Creations leadership team, you will see more staff next week to form 2 finish teams, one shaping team, and a polymer team. As bunkers are sprayed, the leaders at Golf Creations along with myself, Tom Thome, and Tom Zimmerman will be performing quality control to ensure the polymer has been applied to BBB specifications. Once all the bunkers on a hole have passed all tests, the hole can reopen, with the total disturbed area treated as ground under repair. Sand will begin to be added by the team at Golf Creations as their levels and productivity allow. Please continue to check in with the Pro Shop to see what holes are open when you decide to enjoy some golf at Elcona.

Above is a slideshow of the bunker “finish process”. The first step is to use a mini excavator to remove all soil around and inside the bunker to create the base depth and shape. After that is complete, the mini excavator switches buckets and digs a series of drainage channels, such as in the video below. These channels are for the installation of slotted pipe that will take water out of the bunker and into a drainage pit outside of the bunker. After all the plumbing is done, pea gravel fills the pipe channels, and the entire bunker to a 2″ final depth. This gravel serves as the liner aggregate that receives the BBB polymer spray to create the final liner.

The 4″ pipe at the top of the bunker serves as both a vent for the system as well as a clean out in case the system becomes clogged in the future. The 15″ pipe outisde of the bunker is the pipe that will accept all waters from the bunker, and allow them to drain naturally though the pipe into a large area of river rock that surrounds the pipe, and into our beautiful sandy soil. While above the ground currently, these pipes will be cut to grade once the sod is installed.

Drainage Install at the Short Game Area

I continue to be quite proud of our staff and their efforts this year, and last week was no different. Besides cutting and laying some of the new bentgrass sod in areas, all irrigation changes are our responsibility. above are pictures of the installation process on 17 fairway. Last Thursday was the first time participating in this work for many of the staff, and they all were intrigued by the process. We all enjoyed working together to accomplish a single goal that day! Below is a tool that made the job much easier, the tractor mounted trencher. Thanks to your continued support, we continue to invest in equipment that make Elcona a great place to be a part of, and work!

Our staff installing irrigation on 17

The bunker at the Practice Facility and 18 are ready for polymer. These will be the first bunkers to be sprayed this coming week.

All the bunkers on 17 are ready for polymer as well. The darker soil on the first picture indicates where the fairway will be extended to. This extension was seeded Thursday and hopefully we will see grass seedlings emerge by the end of this week. A drainage pit was added in the new bentgrass collection area behind the left greenside bunker, and that sod has already begun to root down in its new home.

Trenching inside 17 fairway bunker

The bunkers on 16 were finished Saturday and are ready for BBB polymer as well.

The bunkers on 14 green are where the finish crews will begin work on Monday. The right greenside bunker has its final shape, and our staff will be adding sod behind it as another run off area. The white line in the second picture above marks where the bentgrass will end and rough will begin. The fairway bunkers are rough shaped and ready for the finish crew Tuesday.

Not much was worked on 13 last week, but this hole is ready for the finish team to work their magic.

Moving earth on 12 fairway bunker

Rough shaping was started on 12 late last week, with the fairway bunker requiring the most work. As the media above shows, the heavy equipment was brought out to move the bunker farther down the hole, and additional mounding added as a backdrop on the left. Much work still needs to be done before 12 is ready for the finish crew, including finishing the rough bunker shape near the green, and rototilling the fairway expansion to the left of the green.

It is exciting to see the entire process of making these much needed improvements at Elcona, and I hope you are enjoying seeing them too. It truly is an exciting time for the club. If you have any questions, please ask me at ryan@elconacc.com. Have a great week!

Ryan