Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Assistant Golf Course Superintendent

We are pleased to introduce Tyler Green as the new Assistant Golf Course Superintendent.  Tyler is from Dinwiddie, Virginia and is a graduate of Virginia Tech.  He received his Bachelor's Degree from VT with his major being Crop & Soil Science.  Tyler served as the President of the Virginia Tech Turfgrass Club and interned at Nags Head Golf Links.  Therefore, he is familiar with and excited to be working again for Club Corp.  Before accepting the position at Stonehenge, Tyler was the Assistant Superintendent at Salisbury Country Club in Midlothian.  Tyler will be assisting me in all phases of managing the golf course and the maintenance crew.  We couldn't be happier to have Tyler on board and we look forward to the many contributions he will make at Stonehenge.  Please introduce yourself when you see Tyler riding around the course and make him feel at home.  

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Stonehenge GCM is now on Twitter

The Stonehenge GCM department now has a Twitter account and will be posting updates regarding course conditions and projects.  The website address is https://twitter.com/StonehengeGCM and the Twitter handle is StonehengeGCM.  We are always looking for better ways to communicate with Members and we feel that Twitter will help us accomplish our goals.  Twitter will allow the GCM department to be able to provide updates on the golf course while we are away from the desk and out in the field.  The posts will be short and to the point and cover topics such as cart path rules, course setup, frost delays, and project updates.  We will continue to update the blog monthly while utilizing Twitter on a more daily basis.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Front 9 Greenside Bunker Renovation

The Front 9 greenside bunkers were recently renovated using the Better Billy Bunker method.  All 22 bunkers, making up 21,650 square feet, were renovated in 3 weeks by Forefront Construction.  The weather couldn't have been better for the project and the cooperation from the Members allowed the project to fly by without any major setbacks.  The following is a summary of the step-by-step process.

All of the old contaminated bunker sand was removed and dumped on-site.  Some of the sand was stored in the dump facility to be used at a later date.  The remaining sand was placed on holes #3, 4, and 5.  In front of the creek on #3 used to be a gravel road used predominately by the maintenance department.  Sand was placed on the road to allow the bermudagrass to grow over this area and eliminate the shortcut.  The remainder of the sand was placed on holes 4-5 in the rough where the ground conditions were hardpan.  The sand will be spread out evenly and then topsoil will be brought in and hydroseeded with a 4-way cool-season blend.

Drainage was then inspected and replaced as needed .

A 2" layer of gravel was then applied to the entire bunker.

The grates seen in the photo were 2" thick.  The crew would place these grates in an area to make sure they were at a 2" level and then pick them up and move to the next area.  Here is a picture of the leftside bunker on #9 with gravel.

The next step was the application of the Better Billy Bunker polymer.  A licensed spray applicator, solely for the BBB polymer, was brought in to perform this task.  There was a 3-man crew who performed the job.  Robert sprayed the bunkers while another crew member held the hose.  The third crew member would rake and smooth out any imperfections to the surface right before the polymer was applied.  The polymer was heated during the process with a diesel forced air heater that was placed right against the barrel being used.  Heating the polymer allows the product to be pumped out of the barrel and sprayed without interruptions from clogged lines.


The following picture shows the bunker on #9 with the right-half sprayed and the left-half not yet sprayed.

Here is the right-side bunker on #8 with the entire bunker sprayed.  Stakes were put up to deter golfers from walking on the freshly sprayed polymer.  The polymer was given a 24-hour period to dry before sand was applied.  Every bunker was also inspected to make sure that the polymer was thick enough and that there weren't any imperfections, such as a golf ball making an indention.  A few ball marks were spotted and these areas were resprayed.

Once the polymer was fully inspected, fresh sand was placed in the bunker.  The sand is 4" deep and consistent throughout the bunker.

The entire bunker was compacted numerous times.  Water would be applied and the sand would be compacted again to make sure the depth was consistent at 4".

Every bunker was then checked thoroughly to make sure the sand was at the proper depth.

Finally, here is the bunker after having been raked.

The process couldn't have gone any smoother.  As mentioned earlier, this is a testament to the construction crew and their professionalism and the patience and cooperation from the membership.  While the new bunkers will take a little time to get used to playing, we hope everyone is happy with the final results.  We look forward to continuing this project in 2016.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Berm Project #14-15

The creek that runs through holes 14-15 has been an ongoing problem for many years and effected both the playability and aesthetics of the golf course.  Major rainstorms channel water, sediment, rocks, and debris down the creek with tremendous volume, which leads to overflowing and blockages.  Water and material then would run over onto the golf course and pose playabilty and maintenance issues.  We believe that these issues have been alleviated with the creation of the berm in-between holes 14-15.

Material was moved from the creek bank along 15 over to the side of the creek bordering hole 14.  This material was used to create the berm on 14.  In addition, material was removed along 15 creek bank, where the creek turns toward the pond, in order to widen the creek at this juncture and disperse the water.  We believe this will reduce the flow and force of water and sediment and help alleviate the impact placed on the berm.

The berm along 14 is approximately 250' long, 6' wide, and 3' tall.  120 tons of recycled concrete was placed along the berm to stabilize.  The concrete has a wonderful color and similar appearance to rock.  In addition, we're very happy to be able to reuse this concrete for such a needed cause.  The berm has been seeded and strawed and the seed is germinating as planned.

We would like to thank Chesterfield County with all of their help with this project.  All of the 120 tons of recycled concrete was donated by the County along with some labor.  We realize that this creek will continue to need maintenance and improvements, but we believe that this berm installation will improve the playability on #14 while also adding to the aesthetics of the golf course.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Golf Course Update

The golf course is coming in nicely due to all the hard work performed by the GCM staff. I just wanted to take the opportunity to elaborate on a few issues on the course. I have been receiving a lot of questions regarding the patches in the fairways and large areas of turf that are thin/dead. The patches on a select number of fairways are Spring Dead Spot. This is a perennial disease that occurs on bermudagrass and different factors play a role in the severity. Cold winters, poor drainage, and soil compaction are just a few factors that can increase the severity of the disease. Fairways on #4 and #17 were the worst hit with this disease this year. Therefore, we will apply fungicides in the fall preventatively on these two fairways and a couple other holes and monitor if this practice helps combat the disease.

Hole #10, once again, didn't fair well over the winter. The majority of the fairway/left rough on the hill is in the shade for most of the daylight hours in the winter. This area of the hole also receives a great deal of foot traffic whenever it snows due to sledders. The foot traffic compacts the snow and delays melting. Excessive shade and cold temperatures are a combination that can lead to winterkill. Virginia Tech has found that Vamont bermudagrass performed well coming out of dormancy this year. However, Tifway struggled in areas susceptible to winterkill. The turf areas on #10 that experienced winterkill are predominately Tifway. In addition, the north-facing slopes on #12 and #16 also experienced winterkill. The following are a couple articles detailing the severity of winterkill experienced in the Mid-Atlantic this year:

 That being said, we are working to fix these areas. Fescue sod was laid on the left rough on holes #10 and #16 in place of bermuda. The fescue will perform much better over the winter being in shade and on a north-facing slope. I'm hoping the fescue on #10 will also help hold some golf balls before they roll into the woods. Hole #10 continues to be prepped for sod that will be laid early next week. We have decided to go with a different variety of bermudagrass that we hope will transition from dormancy with little/no setbacks. After the sod is laid please abide by the signs and rope/stakes directing golfers to the cart path in order for the sod to tack down as quick as possible. Thanks for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you out on the course.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Additional Vandalism

Trust me when I say that this is not the next course update I wanted to be writing.  Unfortunately, the golf course suffered additional vandalism overnight on Friday, February 14.  When assessing the damage, I'm 100% certain that both acts of trespassing/vandalism have been committed by the same person(s).  This time they entered the property on the left-side of the gates in between the main gate landscaping and the condominiums at Fairway Villas.  They preceded to drive over the practice putting green, do another loop on #10 fairway, and then go back to #2 green.  They had another campfire on #2 green in the exact same spot as the night before.  They then drove their vehicle onto the green and did a few circles.  I'm optimistic that the areas where they drove onto both the practice putting green and #2 green will be ok.  They could potentially thin out a little but I think they will bounce back.  Hopefully our saving grace was the fact that the tires were on snow/ice rather than directly on the bentgrass.  I tend to be a very optimistic person and a glass half full kind of guy, but I'm worried about the area where the fire occurred on the green.  We will take a wait and see approach with this area and monitor closely everyday.  I'm hoping that warmer weather and aerification will potentially allow this area to fill-in.  That being said, even if it does fill-in it will probably be weak all season long and appear stressed.  If the area doesn't bounce back we will either have to plug or sod the area and monitor/care all throughout the growing season.

The Chesterfield County police were on property again on Saturday to assess the damage and file a report.  They have a couple potential leads and I'm hoping that they can catch those responsible.  The main gate is locked every night when the last employee leaves and this practice has been in effect for a long time.  Scott and I are currently discussing different options in order to secure the rest of the front entrance.  My hope is that this can be a project that's completed soon and I can go back to getting some sleep at night.  Thank you for your understanding and once again I'm sorry that this had to happen.  The Golf Course Maintenance Dept. will do our best to fix the damage and have these areas fixed ASAP.

Long Overdue Course Update

I realize that it's been awhile since I have updated the blog and explained everything that the Golf Course Maintenance Department has accomplished in the last few months. As you all are aware, it's been a severely cold winter with an abundance of rainfall and snow. However, we have gotten a lot of projects completed and the following highlights a few.
 We cut down some trees this Winter throughout the golf course and grinded the stumps. The majority of the trees removed were dead and posed safety concerns. A couple of trees were removed to improve conditions in order to grow and maintain healthy bermuda/bentgrass. Topsoil will be placed in the holes where the stumps were and sod will be laid in the Spring. Below is an Oak tree that was removed on #3 because it had been hit by lightning.

The bunker drainage on #7 was fixed and water now drains as it should in this bunker with no standing water. Not only had the drainage collapsed within the bunker, but roots from a neighboring tree had completely clogged the drainage line.  The bunker drainage runs across the fairway, through the rough, and exits in the creek in the woods to the left of #7.  Tree roots had entered the drainage at a coupling joint and completely clogged the line as shown in the photo below.This area has been GUR since we fixed the drainage because I'm not able to get the YBD pure white bunker sand at this time. The sand comes from Maryland and it has been too cold for them to mine the sand. I have been assured that when conditions improve, sand will be delivered as soon as possible. Once the sand is on property we will fill-in #7 bunker and add additional sand as needed to other bunkers throughout the course.

All course amenities have been brought in during the winter and have been refurbished. The guys have done a tremendous job making most of the amenities appear new again. In particular, the tee yardage plates have been repainted, sanded, and the yardages have been re-engraved. I believe the finished project turned out great.

In other news, we did experience some course vandalism overnight on February 13. The main gates were locked throughout the night but a vehicle bypassed the gate and drove around the right side of the front entrance column. They then preceded to drive on #10 fairway and turn around and then they drove around the maintenance shop and down behind #2 green. They parked their vehicle behind the green and had a campfire on #2 green. They then drove back up the hill behind #2 green and exited the property. Luckily, they didn't drive onto the green. However, the fire appears to have reached the putting green surface and is an area we will closely monitor. The area may bounce back or we might have to plug this area. The Chesterfield County police were contacted and a report was filed and they came out and observed the damage.

We still have a lot of work to do before the winter is over including adding drainage around greens, beginning to replace curbs with cobblestones, and finishing our Roundup/pre-emergent herbicide application. I can't wait for the warmer weather and to see all of you again out on the course.