After a one-year hiatus, I have decided to resurrect the annual review of the season at Pheasant Run. While I won’t be diving into each and every detail of this past golf season. I will provide some highlights of the good and bad in 2014.
Some of the biggest challenges this season occurred early on, while others seemed to linger right through to the end of the year. A few of our greens incurred some ice damage coming out of the harsh winter.
Highlands 1 in early April;
Highlands 4 in April as well;
The ice damage came from a couple of different issues. The first being standing water for an extended period of time, and, traffic issues from snowmobiles that had driven over certain greens. Many greens were affected, though the levels of severity was different from green-to-green. Early on after a slow weather start we decided to sod the affected areas. While the look of the patched areas was not pretty after the repairs were completed. Our recovery time was much faster than going to temporary greens and trying to grow seed into the affected areas.
Highlands 1 before and after;
The one green which had been a perpetual issue for us was Southern Uplands 2. This green tucked in behind our shop in a black hole of trees and on the drainage pattern for everything surrounding it again was damaged this spring with ice. The annual recovery to only have it die out in the summer due to airflow issues, poor drainage and a predominantly Poa annua stand had grown monotonous. It was decided quite early on in the season that it was time to fix this green and move forward. The project moved forward in mid-May with Ian Andrew hired on as the consulting architect.
Sod cutting begins;
Pushing cut sod into piles for removal;
A lot of material was scraped away;
Once the area was stripped, grading began;
Preparing the green for final raking and seeding;
Irrigation install and grading for hydro seeding of green surround;
Green seeded on June 2nd with Luminary Bentgrass and later over seeded with L97 Bentgrass;
Green surrounds hydro seeded on June 3rd;
Wash away of seed on the green #1 June 12th 35.2mm (1.4″);
Wash away of seed on the green #2 June 18th 31mm (1.25″);
Attempted tarps on 2 occasions to expedite germination on the green;
We finally arrived at this in late November;
The surround now provides a nice amphitheater setting as opposed to being suffocated;
The biggest changes to the green and the green surround include; removal of the bunker at the front of the green, removal of the bunker at the back of the green, the green was built up about a foot and a half, a swale surrounds the green to divert water (worked really well as the pictures above can attest to) around the green rather than over it. While it will not open immediately in 2015 for play. It will be ready to go early in the season. This project will end up costing in the $20,000 range.
We were fortunate this season to have cooler weather and optimal growing conditions. We did receive more rainfall this summer 482.4mm (19″) vs. 2013 446.8mm (17.6″). There were also only 4 days recorded over 30 degrees Celsius vs. 12 from 2013. Due to the wetter/cooler season we also reduced our total irrigation output for the 4th year straight. We used just over 22 million gallons in 2014 vs. close to 34 million in 2013. All these numbers also equated to reductions in pesticide use as well. In 2013, we used 107.794kg of Active Ingredient vs. 98.355kg in Active Ingredient this year. In fact, we didn’t spray greens between August 12th and November 4th. That is unlikely to happen ever again. This weather also allowed us to push things a little harder, but, its hard to push when it seemed to rain almost everyday.
Among the unseen things that occur at a golf course for us this year was major work and repairs to our irrigation pumphouse (building on the left side of Uplands 6 pond). An issue with our wet well heaving out of the ground caused us to have to replace all 3 of our pumps in 2013. With a recommendation from Pumps Plus (Steve Wilkinson) we shortened the turbines, insulated the building and added a heater. Total cost for this project will reach $50,000. If you factor in the replacement of our control panel a few years ago ($67,000). We have put over $100,000 into that building in the last 5 years.
We were able to get all of the high maintenance areas (greens, tees and fairways) aerated this year. Greens were done August 11, 12 and 13th. Then again October 12, 13 and 14. Fairways were done in the fall and the tees were done in August. Factor in bunker edging, cart path edging and regular maintenance and we have had a very busy year.
Once again to my core crew Frank, Peter, Blenchard, Bob, Troy, Rob, Jonathan, Rosie, Alli, Olivia, “The Beibs”, Nik, Tom, Brent and Dave a huge thank you for your hard work and dedication in 2014. We had our most trying human resources year that I can remember and all of you held things together. To Craig and the Evans family, thank you for believing in me and my team. Difficult decisions have been made for 4 years now and hopefully we will start to reap the benefits of all this hard work.
While we hope that 2015 brings not only bigger and better things for us here at Pheasant Run. We will continue to strive for continual improvement in 2015, our 35th anniversary season. To all of you out there Happy Holidays and Happy New Year. Enjoy the offseason, and see you all in the spring.