Friday, December 31, 2010


The course opened this morning after the overnight rain, windy and warm conditions.  The freeze layer moved down through the sand and is now deep enough to allow water to release through the profile and roots will not be sheared off near the surface.  Conditions are pretty sloppy but the opportunity to get out of the house on a warm day at the end of the year is great.

Enjoy your day and I hope you have a safe and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Current Course Conditions/Course Still Closed

The snow melted overnight but the course is still closed today 12-30.  The greens thawed on top but are frozen only about 1-2" below the surface.  The snow that has melted cannot move quickly through the soil/sand mix due to the frozen layer which makes the surface of greens act like a giant wet sponge.  This is also a perfect recipe for the roots of the greens to be sheared off just below the surface where the thawed and frozen layer meet if golfers were allowed out onto the greens. 

I will be in early in the morning on 12/31 to evaluate any potential changes in the conditions which could allow us to open the course with the prediction of 60+ degree temperatures.  There are thunderstorms in the forecast which could make all of this planning a mute point. 

The following is an excerpt from January 2010 USGA regional report.  Darin Bevard, Senior Agronomist from the USGA from the Mid-Atlantic region discusses freezing and thawing cycles in his part of the country which we are currently facing here in St. Louis.  The Mid-Atlantic region of the USGA covers the same turf growing zone as St. Louis(Transition Zone)so we have very similar temperature and growing conditions during the year.

Roots Are Not Elastic!By Darin S. Bevard, Senior Agronomist USGA

January 15, 2010

WOW! The mercury pushes above the freezing mark for a couple of days in much of the region, and the questions regarding winter play have come rushing into our offices. The negative impacts of winter play are hard to quantify, which is what makes the topic so controversial. However, it is generally accepted that golfer traffic on dormant, frozen greens can create problems, even if only early in the growing season.

A bigger concern is playing on greens during freeze/thaw cycles, which are the conditions that are occurring right now. In recent days, the surfaces of greens have thawed, but underlying soils are still frozen within one or two inches of the surface. Under these conditions, the potential for root shearing is greatest. How much this actually occurs in debatable, but it is best to err on the side of caution and keep greens closed until thawing occurs deeper in the profile. Remember, if the underlying soils are frozen, water infiltration will not occur, thus keeping the greens spongy and more prone to mechanical damage from foot traffic and ball marks. In some instances, the need for revenue may trump caution, but beware of potential problems of subjecting greens to winter play.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Equipment maintenance shop improvement

Former Superintendent Scott was instrumental in changing the overall appearance of the maintenance facility in 2006 with a general clean up of the complete facility.  The complete replacement of an aged fleet of
equipment and a general cleaning has provided us with a better looking and organized maintenance facility. 

After a few years of accumulating stuff(junk) in the main mechanical repair area plus a floor that is soiled with many years of grease and oil, its time for an overhaul in the most important area of our facility.  The repair and parts area is not large by facility standards, 22'x40'.  Our parts and supplies are stocked in a separate parts room but along the walls in wooden pigeon holed shelving.  This reduces the space in our maintenance area that is already limited and makes it difficult to determine the supplies that we have on hand.   

We plan to remove everything from the shop, all benches, desks and storage bins, clean and repaint the walls, acid wash the floor, patch the cracks and holes in the concrete and epoxy paint the floor a light gray which will sharpen and enhance this most important work area.  The epoxy paint will be light reflective and will be much easier to keep clean.  Shelving to hold parts and supplies will be streamlined and improved.  I will post additional pictures of the improvements as we move forward.

Benches have been removed out of the center background and right side where our parts storage shelf was located.
The equipment lift is the red unit with the cross bars in the middle.  It is permanently set in place.

This is the view from the other side looking toward the reel grinder in the back ground and to the right is the bedknife grinder.

Continued winter maintenance

Maintenance continues on some of the course equipment.  

Completed tee signs.

Repainted broken tee caddies

Tee benches being prepped for a new coat of fresh paint.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Indoor winter maintenance projects

The bitter temperatures of early week and the subsequent freezing rain later in the week pushed our staff into the maintenance facility this week.  We have some maintenance work that requires inside duty and this was the perfect time to get some of it completed.  Below are some pictures of our tees markers and tee signage that are being cleaned and spruced up for next season.

Tom is sanding the old stain off of the wooden tee markers.  We are preparing well over 125 with some being back ups for the season.
Assistant Mike is putting a stain on the freshly sanded markers.  The markers are then clear coated and the old electrical tape is removed which you can see is wrapped around each marker designating the appropriate teeing ground.  New tape is wrapped in place and the markers are ready for next season.   In the middle of the season, a touch up clearcoat is done to keep the markers looking nice for our members and guests through the rest of the year.

Every few years, the hole signs are removed and freshly painted.

Jason is using a grinding wheel to remove the paint from the raised letters exposing the hole number, name, teeing ground and its yardage. The staff then have to hand paint the circle which designates the three teeing grounds and their course rated yardage.     
The finished product after removing the paint from the letter.  We still have to paint the small circled area for the appropriate teeing ground.

Russ is pulling apart ball washers, cleaning and making sure the brushes are in good shape.  

Sunday, December 12, 2010

First Snow plowing of the season

It was my weekend so I got the first opportunity of the season to push some snow.  I always enjoy this job, boys and their tractors and  snow.  Good thing the tractor has a covered compartment because the wind was ferocious this morning.  Maybe a couple of inches but I bet their will be some nice drifts in places after the wind is finished blowing today.  A little chemical and salt on the lot and we are ready for anyone who wants to brave this weather today.  
The view from inside the cab

A little more clear hanging out the door. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Securing facility

Over the past few months, we have experienced a number of issues of vandalism at the facility involving carts being taken from the maintenance facility and used for joy riding and damaging some of our turf.  In the past month, the facility has been burglarized through shop windows which were broken allowing the individuals to climb into the facility and do their damage. 

The staff installed heavy gauged metal screens over the windows today to protect the windows from damage and eliminating this area of potential entrance into the facility.  We have taken other steps within the facility to prevent equipment from exiting the doors and will be adding some additional security measures over the next few days to help secure the facility in total.
Mechanic Harry welding the heavy duty screen to the window frame