Tuesday, March 29, 2016

News and Notes 3.29.16

  • Weather reports show April 2-7 will be especially cold and that Spring should arrive for good April 10th.
  • Due to the rain on Monday the bunker on #18 is too wet for drainage installation. Once it is dry, drainage, gravel, Better Billy Bunker liner and new sand will be installed. Plus new sod along the top of the bunker.
  • Our regular staff should be on-site in the next 3-4 weeks. Hopefully before opening day.
  • There are 7 temporary workers who will be mulching around the clubhouse, picking up sticks on the course and helping rake and distribute sand in our bunkers. 
  • We are lowering the height of cut on the greens a little each week.
  • Greens aerification is April 4-5th. We will be using solid tines (not removing cores) and applying sand topdressing. Look for a blog post next week as to why we are doing this and not hollow tining and as to why we are aerifying when the holes from last October are not completely healed.
  • Depending on weather the plan is to open the chipping green and to move the driving range tee to grass on April 9th.
  • We will be putting tees back in their regular locations by this Thursday and removing the extra hole locations on the greens next week.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Durabunker Construction Day #6

The stacking of the Durabunker material was completed Saturday morning. Afterwards the bottom of the bunker was shaped and is now ready for drainage installation.

In the next few days I will be updating the blog as to the status of our seasonal workers as well as what we will be focusing our resources on in the next week.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Durabunker Construction Day #5

By the end of the day on Friday there was just a few rows left to finish the stacking portion of the project.

On Saturday morning the final rows will be stacked and Miguel from Southeastern Golf  will shape the bottom of the bunker. When shaping the goal is  for the middle of the bunker to be the low spot. Therefore the perimeter of the bunker floor will be sloped away from the edges in order for a golf ball to not rest against the wall or along the bunker edge but funnel to the middle.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Durabunker Construction Day #4

Thursday was all about stacking.

Hoping to finish the Durabuker stacking by end of day on Friday. Then Miguel will shape the bottom of the bunker possibly Saturday morning. From there the Fieldstone Agronomy staff will install the drainage and gravel possibly next week depending on weather and other factors.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Durabunker Construction Day #3

After a couple of hours in the morning of cutting pieces the entire crew went to #18 for installation.

The goal is to use as little as backfill as possible behind the Durabunker material. As seen in the picture below Miguel is building the stack sod bunker as close to the existing soil as possible.

Our golf course architect David Whelchel was onsite Tuesday and Wednesday to ensure the design matched the original intent of the bunker when he did the layout for Fieldstone in 1998 while working with Hurdzan/Fry.

An important design decision that he made was to double stack the Durabunker material. Two pieces of Durabunker are laid on top of each other vertically. Then the next row up is offset slightly back so the wall is at a roughly 60-65 degree angle giving it additional strength compared to a wall built at 90 degrees. This picture shows an up close view of the stacking.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Durabunker Construction Day #2

On Tuesday finish shaping was completed and the stacking of the Durabunker material began.

The most important part to successfully building a bunker with the Durabunker material is to have a compacted and level base as shown in the picture below. We were able to accomplish this using a plate compactor and laser level.

The above picture shows an example of a curve using the cut where triangles were removed from the pieces.

This picture shows an opposite curve to the bunker where pieces were cut with straight lines to achieve the needed angle.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

#18 Durabunker Construction Day #1

Yesterday (Monday) Southeastern Golf had two experienced personnel arrive to help with the Durabunker installation. Miguel has more experience than anyone in the United States constructing these types of bunkers and we are fortunate he was working with Southeastern on a project nearby in Maryland. He immediately had us set-up a system to cut the pieces of material so they would fit the shape of the bunker.

The material, which is impregnated with sand needs to be constantly wet during the cutting and installation process in order to not lose the sand. Therefore a system was set-up with hoses for this purpose.

There are two types of cuts made. Depending on whether the bunker shape moves inward or outward.

The upper piece in the above picture is what the Durabunker arrives as. The next piece in the picture has two straight cuts made about 1 inch from the top of the material so when laid the piece can be fit along an inward facing curve. The third piece from the top is the second type of cut made in which two triangles are removed. These pieces are laid to fit along an outward facing curve. An example of this is the bottom piece in the above picture. I will try and illustrate how these cuts are used through pictures of the installation process in another post.

Finally yesterday, some fine shaping was started on the bunker itself.

The plan for Tuesday is the finish the fine shaping and get the base made and compacted where the Durabunker will be laid. We will also continue to cut the pieces of the Durabunker material in preparation for the beginning of installation which should occur late Tuesday or Wednesday morning.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Upcoming Schedule

Starting today for the next 3-4 days we will be working with Southeastern Golf to install the Durabunker portion of the fairway bunker on #18. Next week we will be working on the drainage and floor of this bunker with in-house labor.

Unless we find a major leak when we start our irrigation system at the end of the week the halfway house restroom should be open for the weekend.

Starting next Monday we will bring in some outside labor on a temporary basis to work on getting the bunkers into shape. First starting with the greenside bunkers then the fairway bunkers.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Seasonal Labor

Each year we bring back a very experienced staff of workers from Mexico through H2B visas. Some staff members have been here for 15 years. Their knowledge of the course and how we operate along with an amazing work effort gives Fieldstone a major advantage. Without this staff we would need to hire additional workers to make up for the shortfall of not having the knowledge already in place that our associates have.

Last week I hosted an informal lunch of local superintendents with the major discussion centering on labor. Some courses can go through as many as 100 job applicants to find 20 that work. Only to have to retrain new staff each year due to the seasonal nature of the work. This is time consuming and costly.

Through no fault of Fieldstone's the government has delayed the start date of our returning workers. This is the case for the entire H2B program. Their exact start date is not known but we are hoping by the end of April. In the meantime we will hire an outside contractor to help with course clean-up and bunker repairs. The mowing will be done by myself, our mechanic Tim and Assistant Superintendent Matt. Potentially a new staff member will come in to also help with the mowing.

A replacement for former Assistant Superintendent Carey Bailey will come at the end of May via the University of Delaware's Plant Science Program.

As of now our weather forecast is the following:

It looks like the recent streak of warm weather may be it for awhile.

Please do not hesitate to contact me directly regarding any questions or comments about our current labor situation.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Good Luck to Assistant Superintendent Carey Bailey

Today is Carey Bailey's last day working at Fieldstone Golf Club. He has been an Assistant Superintendent here for the past three years and is a major reason for our success during that time. His new position is Golf Course Superintendent at Heritage Hunt Country Club in Gainesville, VA. We wish him and his family the best of luck in this great opportunity!

We are proud to have had two Assistant Superintendents move on to Head Superintendent jobs in the past year. This shows how strong Fieldstone's reputation is for turfgrass management and helps us attract better assistants who are looking to further their career in golf course management.

Monday, March 7, 2016

#18 Fairway Bunker Prep

Last week we removed all of the old material from the fairway bunker on #18.

As of right now, next week the DuraBunker material will be installed.