If you follow my blog it's very obvious I have not done a great job of keeping it up-to-date. This fall was very busy for our staff with a multitude of projects to keep us extremely busy. So here's a little recap of projects that kept us going.
The croquet lawn is a very important entity of the property. Weddings are hosted on the lawn, tents are erected for major club events, children play numerous games on it while taking a break from swimming, tennis courts are set-up twice annually and this is the location of our ice skating rink.
The last time any significant work was done to the lawn was when it was constructed in the early 90's. The edges and corners of the lawn were no longer straight and square and there was over 1% slope from corner to corner. This 1% slope created too many difficulties when trying to create an ice rink. Ultimately we ended up with too much ice on one end and not enough for good ice on the opposite end.
The soil was tilled and then laser leveled to a .5% slope from west to east. No additional mix was required as they were able to make the fill adjustments with the existing mix.
The green was then sodded, using creeping bentgrass sod. Interestingly the sod did not come from anywhere on site, nor was it purchased from a sod farm. The sod came from the approaches at Olympic Hills Country Club in Eden Prairie. They were going to kill all the sod for their remodel project. They had an excellent bentgrass stand and we deemed it acceptable for our croquet lawn.
Due to the work we did this fall we decided we would forgo the ice skating rink this winter and allow the sod to gain proper establishment before we attempted to install the rink.
XGD on all remaining greens.
During the past two years the club installed XGD drainage in 5 greens (1,4,6,11 and 17). It was decided this spring to continue with the process on all remaining greens. So beginning in late September, XGD arrived to begin the greens drainage project. On average each green took between 1.5-2 days to complete.
The entire process went quite smoothly. Only one greens irrigation loop was cut as we could not locate it, but of course the trencher did. It was interesting to see the sub-soil make-up in these old greens. There was not too much that surprised us. The greens that are typically on the dry side had a sandier or more gravelly mix and the greens that tend to hold more moisture had the heavier soils. All and all its amazing how well they built these greens 100 years ago with no soil testing labs and no specific soil recommendations, they just used what they had on site.
Now with the internal drainage we have brought the greens to the 21st century without the need to completely rebuild them. Only one green was taken out of play at a time and the day following completion members were allowed back on the green to play. The staff from XGD did an outstanding job and I had many members comment how surprised they were at how good the greens were immediately following their completion. I'm looking forward to seeing how the greens will perform from a play-ability standpoint and agronomically.
First Tee Area
Local hardscape contractor, Westlake Landscape, was brought in this fall to rebuild the 1st tee terrace. Over the years the blue-stone was beginning to fail and required replacing. The old stone was installed with gaps between the stones so turf could grow in between. This approach did not work. Over-time the grass died and crabgrass filled in and some cracks were void of turf or weeds, leaving a less than desirable look.
The new stone matches the look on the entire terrace. The size of the terrace was also expanded slightly, thus providing more space for the caddies to stage bags and a better location for them to stand and reduce the wear and tear on the turf next to the tee.
Play it Forward
While looking for locations to tee it forward, we also looked for areas where we could extend the length of the course. We were able to extend the 9th tee an additional 20 yards. The new blue tee on 9 will now play 570 yards. Good luck from back there gents. You won't find this guy teeing it up from that location.
Tree removal at Tennis
This fall it was finally time to remove the arborvitae from around the tennis courts. I have no idea how old the arborvitae were or when they were planted? They had to be at least 40 years old. Well it was decided this fall it was time to remove them and replace them with new plant material. Initially the removal was quite shocking. Once the new plant material was installed I think the shock subsided.
The new arborvitae provide a fresh new look to go along with the new tennis courts that were installed in 2011. In a few years the arborvitae will be as tall as the fence and all will be normal once again and yet provide a better look than the old plant material did.
With all we had going this fall I'm sure I even missed a few other minor projects we found a way to fit in this fall. All and all it was a wonderful season and we were able to accomplish a great deal of work.