Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Driving Range Update

We are several weeks into the driving range renovation project so I thought an update with was warranted.

When construction of the new driving range is complete, it will be grassed with Celebration bermudagrass. Therefore, to avoid contamination it was necessary to eradicate the mixture of bermudagrasses on the existing driving range.  To accomplish this an application of RoundUp, a non-selective herbicide was applied on March 30th. It is impossible to eradicate bermudagrass with a single application. Therefore, after regrowth was evident, the range received a second application of herbicide on April 27th.
Almost a month after the initial herbicide application
regrowth was evident on the driving range. 
Both existing driving range tees had previously been renovated to Celebration bermudagrass. Celebration has improved traffic, cold, shade and drought tolerance. Since both tees were 100% Celebration I did not spray them with the herbicide. Over the last few weeks my staff has removed all of this turfgrass (over an acre) and we have relocated it to high traffic and/or shaded areas on the golf course.

Removing Celebration bermudagrass from the east range tee
for use on the golf course. 

Preparing an area to the left of #11 green for Celebration sod.
Area to the left of #11 green after installing Celebration sod
 from the east range tee.
This week construction on the range has progressed rapidly! All of the dead turfgrass on the driving range was removed by bulldozers. This organic material was relocated and is being buried beneath rock that is used to construct the sub-grade of the new driving range.

In most areas of Southwest Florida soil is scarce, but limestone rock is abundant. When we constructed Olde Florida Golf Club in 1992 the entire sub-grade was constructed from limestone material that was excavated from the lakes we created. Approximately three feet of soil was then placed on top of the limestone sub-grade. This is how the existing range was constructed and the new range will be built.  

Turfgrass being removed around the west range tee.
Turfgrass being removed around west range tee.
In the background a trackhoe is stockpiling good soil. 
Also this week good soil from the existing range is being removed and stockpiled for use on the new range. Existing rock is being relocated and additional limestone material is being imported to construct the sub-grade.

Soil being removed from the top of the rock sub-grade on the existing range

Large boulders being crushed by a hydraulic hammer. These boulders are located
 under what will be the mounds that frame the west side of the new driving range.    
Limestone material being added under the area that will be the south tee
The plan that was provided by golf course architect Rees Jones, Inc. details all of the features on the new driving range, as well as the required elevations.  The north and south tees, as well as the chipping greens (north of the north range tee) have been located and are currently being constructed.
This pipe is located on the center of what will be the north range tee.
As you can see by the elevation depicted on the pipe, as compared
to the area behind where the new tee will be located,
significant fill must be added to the entire area.  

Monday, May 11, 2015

Olde Florida Gives a Hoot!

Last year Olde Florida placed four Screech Owl nesting boxes on the golf course. All four of the nesting boxes are currently being utilized. In two of the four, hatchlings are being nurtured.

Eggs remain unhatched in the other two boxes.

The Screech Owl is still widespread and fairly common, but thought to have been gradually declining. However, the decline has been helped in some areas by the installation of nest boxes.

Screech Owl’s are a robin-sized night bird. They are common in city parks and suburbs, where many human residents are often unaware they have an owl for a neighbor. The owl spends the day roosting in holes, nesting boxes or in dense cover and become active at dusk. Despite the name, Screech Owl’s do not screech; the voice of this species features whinnies and soft trills. 

Next year additional Screech Owl nesting boxes will be added around the golf course and the clubhouse.