Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Summer Update 3

It has only been a few weeks since my last update, but our progress on the golf course and the new driving range has been significant so I felt an another report was warranted.  The golf course was closed last week (August 17 - 24). This was the fourth closure of the summer. Among other tasks, my staff performed a vertical mowing of the greens and completed the final fairway aerification of the summer.

#1 green and fairway
Last week we also finished the tee project. As a reminder, we added or moved twelve tees on eight holes. The holes impacted are 1, 6, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16 and 18. The project was a joint effort with my staff and Glase Golf, a contractor who has performed work for me at Olde Florida in the past.

After my staff removed all of the existing turfgrass, the contractor constructed the tees. I then approved the size and elevation the new tees. Following approval, the tees were laser leveled to a 1% front to back slope. My staff provided the final smoothing, a pre-plant fertilization and then re-grassed all of the areas where tees were removed or added. After the turfgrass was rooted, my staff began smoothing the surface with topdressing and a vibratory roller.

Greg Muirhead, Senior Vice President at Rees Jones, Inc., has since visited Olde Florida and provided his final approval of the project.
Using a laser transit to set the elevation of the new forward/ super senior tee on #16  

Removing the old forward tee on #14

Laser leveling the new forward/senior/super senior tee on #14

The new middle tee and forward/senior/super senior tee on #10 ready for grass

Grassing the new forward/super senior tee on #9
Rolling the new forward/senior/super senior tee on #1

My staff has also been creating the new tee markers that will be used to distinguish the five marked sets of tees. The championship tees will remain in place and will be noted on the scorecard, but they will not have a tee marker.

To create the tee markers, wood of a similar diameter was cut with a band saw into pieces 1 1/2" thick. The pieces were then sanded with a belt sander and "branded" with a custom made electric branding tool. Roman numerals one through five were used. Spikes were added to the bottom of each marker and the final step is the application of a wood sealer.
1 1/2" thick pieces of wood

Smoothing the surface of a tee marker 

Branding a tee marker

The final product

We have also made terrific progress on the driving range in the last few weeks. Grassing is now 75% complete. After the final shaping was approved by Rees Jones and his Senior Vice President Greg Muirhead, my staff applied a combination of pre-plant fertilizers and a pre-emergent herbicide.
Pre-plant fertilizer being applied
All mounding on the new driving range, the north tee and the short game practice facility have been grassed using rolled sod. The grass that is being used is Celebration bermudagrass. Celebration has improved traffic, drought and cold tolerance as compared to earlier varieties of hybrid bermudagrss. It also has an excellent recuperative ability. SMR Farms in Bradenton, Florida is my preferred vendor for Celebration and they provided all of sod and sprigs.
Rolled sod arriving from SMR Farms

Rolled sod being installed on the north range tee

Rolled sod being installed on the north range tee
The landing area (center) of the range, and the south tee were sprigged using a "sod to sprig" method. The sod to sprig method decreases the grow-in period by several days. Once sprigs are on the ground it is vital they remain wet all day, everyday until well-established.
Machine planting sprigs on the landing area of the driving range

Hand planting sprigs on the new south tee

Irrigating sprigs on the driving range

The irrigation system that was installed on the new driving range utilizes the same components and technology we used on the golf course during the irrigation renovation in 2010.   The system on the driving range was installed by Leibold Irrigation. Leibold was chosen because they are a terrific irrigation installation company, and they are the same company who performed our irrigation renovation in 2010.
Connecting signal wires from the individual irrigation heads on the new driving range to a field satellite   
Both of the greens in the short game practice facility have also been completed and grassed. The greens were constructed to USGA specifications. The collars were sodded with TifGrand bermudagrass and the greens were sprigged with TifEagle bermudagrass. These are the same varieties of turfgrass used on the greens and collars on the golf course. The TifGrand and TifEagle came from Pike Creek Turf, which is also where the turfgrass was purchased for the greens and collars on the golf course.
Providing the final float on the east chipping green prior to grassing

Pre-plant fertilizer being applied to the east chipping green

Hand sprigging the west chipping green

Slicing in the sprigs on the east chipping green

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Summer Update 2

The summer continues to be very busy and extremely productive at Olde Florida! A brief report on what has been accomplished since my last summer update is below.

The weather has been seasonable this summer. In July we did receive 12" of rain, which is slightly more than the historical average, but it did not created any major issues.

The normal cultural practices are being completed. Since my last update the entire golf course has received an additional aerification.
Fairway/rough aerification on #16
Fairway/rough aerification on #10 

Collar aerification on #15
Construction on the driving range has also made significant progress since my last update. A comprehensive subsurface drainage system has been installed on the entire range, both the north and south tees have been constructed and the irrigation installation is progressing. The two tees will provide over 65,000 square feet of teeing surface. 

Subsurface drainage being installed on the driving range

Irrigation being installed on the south range tee

A mainline isolation valve being installed on the driving range

The short game practice facility is also nearing completion. Both of the chipping greens were constructed to USGA specifications with two bunkers on the east green and one bunker on the west green. The contouring of the area will allow for a variety of surface conditions to replicate shots on the golf course. Fairway bunkers have also been constructed next to the north and south tee.   
At the base of a USGA specification green is a 4" gravel layer 

Under the 4"gravel layer is a subsurface drainage system

Sand being added to a green side bunker on the east chipping green

The view looking south from the east chipping green

In addition, construction on the twelve new middle, senior, super senior and forward tees is underway. Work is being done on holes 1, 6, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16 and 18. After I located the tees in the field from a plan prepared by Rees Jones, Inc., my staff removed 70,000 square feet of existing grass.  Glase Golf is currently constructing the tees. When finished, my staff will install Celebration bermudagrass on the tees and surrounding slopes.   

Sod beng removed from what will be the new middle tee on #10

Sod being removed from the new forward and senior tee locations on #9

Soil being added to new forward tee on #10

The new middle tee on #10

Today, Rees Jones and Senior Vice President of Rees Jones Inc., Greg Muirhead were at Olde Florida to review the driving range and the additional tees being constructed on the golf course. Both gentlemen were extremely pleased with the work that is being done.  
(L-R) Rees Jones, Darren Davis, Greg Muirhead