Saturday, January 18, 2014

Winter course improvements

Some people think the golf course maintenance department staff take the winter months off since there isn't any mowing to be done but that is far from the truth.  In most all cases the winter months are our time to renovate and refurbish the golf course so we can spend the majority of our time during the growing months maintaining the turfgrass.

Our irrigation renovation project of installing part circle irrigation heads around the greens is rolling along on schedule.  Willie, Jonathen, and Eric have been working hard and have completed the renovation work on nine holes so far.  This project will be most beneficial to the greens as we will be able to apply the correct amount of water needed to the putting surface without overwatering the surrounds which is a benefit that our golfers will enjoy.  The environment is going to benefit from this upgrade in that we will not be using as much water to maintain our greens.

Reducing the amount of water we use on the golf course is important but we also need to protect the water supply that surrounds the golf course and where we get our irrigation water from.  Surrounding all the waterways on our golf course we have created vegetative buffer strips which help to filter chemical, fertilizer, and soil residue from entering the water.  During the winter months when TVA drops the water level in the lake is a great time for us to do work on these areas which might have gotten overgrown through the years.

Most areas can be done with hand tools or a bush hog on a tractor but then there are areas like #3 green and #5 tee slopes which pose a safety issue of working on these steep slopes that we have to call out the "big guns" for.  We rented a BrushCat from Bobcat of Chattanooga which allowed us to remove the overgrowth of trees and shrubs in these areas.

This is a shot of the bank on #3 green before Mitch began the renovation work.  As you can see the overgrowth is blocking not only a great view but also much needed air movement on this green, especially since it sits in a hole and has restricted air movement anyway.

It took Mitch only a few hours to safely and efficiently clear the lake bank off.  A project of this size would have taken us weeks to clear by hand and we would have had a tremendous amount of plant debris to remove.  The BrushCat allowed us to remove the material safely and cut it up into mulch which will serve as a barrier for any water movement down the hill protecting the water supply.

With just a little hand work to remove some trees that were too large for the BrushCat to handle we now have the air movement we need for this green restored along with the view of the lake which will be very nice in the summer when TVA brings the lake level back up to summer pool.

I am very thankful for my crew who take on the responsibility of maintaining the golf course with such passion and dedication.  I tend to get the credit for the condition of the course or the environmental projects that we do but it is truly the guys in the trenches and on the equipment that make Harrison Bay what it is.  They are the ones who deserve the credit.

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