Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays to everyone!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Update

The start of our winter has not been ideal.
We do not have much snow cover; if any in some areas.
We had several warm-ups that have cause some ice accumulations on the putting greens. Most of the ice is very porous but some is solid and black; the kind that does present problems. Ice becomes a duration issue meaning the longer it is on your putting surface, the worse the winter kill becomes. This ice formed in mid-December, we have a long winter to go, not a favorable situation.
Our best springs come after we get a thick blanket of snow early that stays all winter.
Some may say: why not just go out and remove the ice?
We have done this in the past; when ice was thick, solid and black on the entire green surface. If you just have pockets of ice on the surface, removal will cause more mechanical damage to the surface than good. Not to mention I am the only one on staff over the winter months, hard to do with one person.

Friday, December 9, 2011

2011 ReCap

2011 - A challenge

It was another very dry year as June-July-August was the driest on record.
Once again we became so limited with water on the Heritage course that we had to stop irrigating the fairways in-order to save enough water for the Greens-Tees.
(The Orianna Creek provides us around 60,000 gallons a day during dry periods in the summer. That is about half of what we need to irrigate the Greens-Tees in one night. To irrigate all Greens-Tees-Fwys on the Heritage with a full program it takes about 340,000 gallons.)
The new retro-fit controls we had installed in the Heritage pump-station worked very well. The pump-station malfunctions were far fewer than the past; the ones we did have were pump issues that we repaired in-house. Our water tracking is now wonderful, something that is very critical when operating on a limited supply.

A frog climbed between two capacitor terminals on one of our VFD’s in the Greywalls pump-station in May. The frog was nuked, our drive fried and we had to pull the pump out of the wet well to repair melted wire connections (which means we had to pull the roof off the pump-house to lift it out). Our distance from the repair shop and their inability to repair the drive three different times had us operating with only one irrigation pump on Greywalls all summer.
After the drive was installed for the third time (after repairs were made) and still did not work, we received a brand new drive at cost and did not pay any repair charges. By this time it was September and our big irrigation months (June-July-Aug.) were over.

The wind storm in early October added another little surprise for us to deal with. We had about 30 trees that had to be clean-up right away so the course could open and the rest we worked on as time allowed. Some will have to be finished up next year.

- I had seven employees leave early for various reasons. (Some were finished with college and got full time jobs others decided to just leave and go back to school early)
- Garry was out for a month with heart surgery and was limited before and after the operation. He is feeling better now and his health is improving.
- Several employees were on extended leave for personal issues.
- My Assistant Scot Haynes took another job at PGA West. This was a great opportunity for him to further his career so he also left early to move out and start that position.
This was all on top of the fact that we started with staff levels lower than ever. Needless to say this was the most challenging year I have ever had trying to get everything completed because we just did not have the bodies.

One major positive this year was the Lastec 4520 purchase we made to maintain the rough on the Heritage golf course. This unit provided a new level of efficiency while mowing the rough and allowed us to achieve our mowing needs with less labor. This one mower completed in 2.5 days what two of our older mowers did in 4 days. When you factor in the fuel, labor and maintenance savings this unit pays for itself.

The Grounds Blog continues to be a very helpful communication tool. It is loaded with information about the grounds department; from our maintenance standards manual to information on the MTESP program. I also write updates about our activities on the grounds.
If you want to know something about the grounds look on the blog and you might find the answer.

The Bluebird program we started has been a complete success. We had nesting pairs in most of the boxes. In previous years we were happy to see a couple all season while one morning this year I counted 6 pairs flying together. There are still several areas I could add some more boxes and I hope to do so next year.
We also added some additional bird boxes in the interior woods between the courses to provide nesting sites for other birds.
In addition to the bird houses we also made some bat houses. We did not see any bats in them this season but from what I read it can take a couple years.
We made all of these houses out of scrap wood I had at my house left over from home projects.

In addition to the birds the rest of the wildlife around the course continues to be awesome. The albino deer was back this season, we saw a bear on the course, we had a territorial grouse staking claim on Greywalls, we had a bobcat and a fox hanging out on the Heritage and there were even some reports of the cougar again this year.

The new Greywalls non-motorized Trail around the course is spectacular. This trail is part of the Noquemanon red trail and connects the Township trail to the Heartland Forest trails. Everyone I talk to while on the trail says it is the best section on the entire trail and they can’t believe how good it is.

The short course (MGCHSC) we created on the Heritage was utilized by many younger families during the evening hours. I hope it becomes an even more popular option next year.

Myself and the entire grounds staff would like to thank Pete Belpedio for giving us a monetary donation this summer so we could have a party. We used the money to get pizzas from the clubhouse, party trays and beverages from Econo then had our fun afternoon at the Greywalls shop. Thanks Pete!

It amazes me how every year I seem to learn much more about ‘how to do things better’ or just ‘different’. Without problems to force oneself into an unknown situation, little would ever change. It is the challenges and changes in this job that creates situation for us to become better and more efficient at what we do.
I am really looking forward to next season and the challenges it brings.

Craig Moore
Marquette Golf Club Superintendent

Thursday, December 1, 2011

November is now behind us and the course still does not have that nice blanket of snow. Several minor snow events came, but they just melted off with-in a week. A snow dusting last night did not provide much. Still waiting for that first major snow to cover the course.

For the winter months ahead I will be on snow removal duty, cleaning/organizing both shops and finalizing all of the record keeping and paperwork done during the season. I will then move onto mechanical work, reel grinding and complete the painting/sealing of our course supplies and signs.
Along the way, I also hope to make some improvements to the blog this winter.

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