Friday, March 7, 2014

Construction Update and Weekend Golf!

Hello and welcome to "The Greenkeeper"!  Today is Friday, March 7th and the golf course is currently closed due to unplayable conditions.  Over two inches of rain has fallen in Charlotte since late yesterday, with more expected, and the golf course is saturated with widespread areas of standing water.  More on these conditions and their impact later.  First I want to bring everyone up to speed on our golf course renovation projects, then we'll discuss course conditions and what to expect this weekend.

In my post from January 17th, Bunkers, Tees, Twitter, and More! I mentioned our contractor, Golf Course Services, Inc.(GCS) had wrapped up the bunker renovations and we were getting started on a few tee projects. First, a new back tee for number 13 was built.  Architect Kris Spence was on hand to locate and design the tee.
Architect Kris Spence and JD of GCS
Next, we moved to the new range tee located at the far end of the driving range.  Again, Kris designed the tee and GCS performed the construction work.  This project took a little longer than hoped due to the two snow storms experienced in late January and mid-February, but I am happy to report this project is also complete.  I posted several photos of this project on January 29th, Winter Weather, Project Updates, and The GIS! and here are a couple of the finished product.  The tee's large size does not allow for photos to accurately capture the features. This project turned out better than anticipated, and you will just have to wait and see it in person to truly value and appreciate what has been created for your enjoyment.
View of Range From New Tee
View of Short Game Area From New Tee

We then moved on to the most notable change to the golf course, the teeing areas for numbers 14 and 18.  You may recall in that same post from January 17th I referenced a new option emerging with respect to the teeing areas of those two holes.  The original idea was to join the back tees of the two holes in a fashion similar to what currently exists on holes 6 and 8.  However, when examined in the field that day Kris developed a stronger plan that required additional discussion at the committee level and board approval.  To their credit, the Greens Committee and Kris met on a very cold day in late January to hear Kris's idea and review its merits.

To make a long story short, the new plan was approved and the design change implemented. Essentially what we have created is a new tee for number 18 significantly lengthening the golf hole. Kris explained to the committee when Ross designed the hole the pond fronting the green did not come into play off the tee, but rather was a hazard to be navigated on the approach shot into the green.  Unfortunately, with modern technology and agronomics the pond had become a reachable hazard from the tee while simultaneously being blind to the player. Lengthening this hole allowed us to restore the hole to be played as Ross originally intended.

How did we do this?  This was accomplished by constructing a new tee in the area where the back tee for number 14 used to be located.  In order to do that, we had to relocate the back tee for number 14 to the right side of the golf car path. In the process, a few trees were removed, another relocated, and another trimmed significantly.  Also, the old golf car path was removed and a newly routed path installed providing better flow and accessibility.  
Clearing For New Tee #14
Kris Spence Aligning New Tee #14
Small White Oak Being Transplanted

Sand Cap Installed and Compacted New Tee #14

Newly Routed Cart Path Installed

New Back Tee #18
New Path Between Back Tees #'s 18 & 14 
Although the new tees for numbers 14 and 18 are complete, they along with the newly constructed tee for number 13 will remain out of play for the near future.  The sod needs time to take root and provide stability to the newly constructed areas before they will be ready to accommodate traffic.  I know there are many of you anxious to try out the golf holes from the new tees, but please exercise patience as we allow nature to take its course.

This renovation project is nearly complete as GCS has just a few loose ends to tie up.  It has been a long, cold, and wet four months (GCS started on the bunkers November 4th), but the benefits to the golf course and your member experience will be evident soon.  It has been fun working with Kris and JD on this project.  Many days reminded me of the fond times we have shared during the other projects we have all worked on together helping make Carolina what you enjoy today.  This job also reunited JD and I with Paul Yandle of The Maplewood Company.  Paul helped us relocate the small oak tree.  His company did quite a bit of tree transplanting for us during both the course restoration in 2008 and the driving range construction project in 2006.  We also brought back Charlie Trapasso of Union Paving Contractors out of Monroe.  Charlie and his company paved all the cart paths during the course restoration project in 2008.  It was almost as if we "got the band back together".

Real quick before I wrap up.  The golf course is extremely wet and the next two days are forecasted to be nice days...with very busy tee sheets.  We will be carts on paths everywhere both days.  Also, those of you who use push carts, or trolleys as they say in the U.K., need to exercise caution proceeding.  Push carts have very narrow wheel bases and actually can apply more pressure to the turf per square inch than an actual golf cart (especially the motorized varieties equipped with heavy batteries).  Under extremely soggy conditions they can be damaging to the turf, so I ask you operate them with this in mind.  Keep to the high ground when possible and avoid low lying areas.  If everyone, walkers and riders, will be mindful and respectful of the course the next two days it will pay big dividends to course conditions later this spring and summer!  Thanks in advance!

Next week I will have another update with regards to course conditions, recent and upcoming agronomic practices, and what to expect from Mother Nature this spring.  Until then...

See you on the course,

Matthew Wharton
Golf Course Superintendent

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