Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Irrigation Project

The greens complexes on all 18 holes and the putting green have been completed with piping, wiring and sprinkler heads.  The new satellite system has also been installed.  The project was completed is on time, in budget and the irrigation system has been shut down and blown out for the winter season.   The contractor has de-mobilizing and has removed the heavy equipment and the trailers from the parking lot.

In the spring the contractor will return and test the sprinkler heads and adjust the spray patterns for optimal performance.  Any settling of the ground affected during installation will be repaired at that time.    This winter the greens crew will be simulating the irrigation system operation and developing watering routines.  We look forward to using this tool next season to improve water management, which will directly benefit the turf grass and playing features with-in the greens complexes.

Greens Drainage

Sod removed #12 Green
Now that the early signs of winter are here, we are very close to having the golf course prepared for over-wintering.  The Flags have been moved into their winter locations on fairways in front of the greens.  The course hardware has been removed from the golf course, and our dormant fertilizers and snow mold protection have been applied.

Over the past winters we have developed a plan that has been successful in removing excess water as it melts off our greens surfaces.  The goal is to help water moving off the greens, move quickly to prevent freezing on the greens surface. Ice developing on the greens surface through freeze thaws can lead to turf loss.  Through the winter we shovel these channels keeping them clear from snow and ice accumulations.
Sod in #13 bunker
Preparing sod for the winter
We have identified the greens that will develop puddling water.  The process begins by removing a strip of turf  with a sod cutter, thus creating a channel for the water to move freely off the greens surface.  The sod removed from the green is laid in the closest proximity bunker. The bunker sand is pushed up against the sod edges and used as top dressing to protect the turf through the winter.
In the spring time this sod will be placed back onto the greens surface and will root in recovering quickly.

This week we will also put rope and stakes around all of our greens to keep cross country skiers and walkers from traveling across them through the winter.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Course Conditions

The first signs of winter arrived on Wednesday with a light coating of snow and ice.  Temperatures in the long range forecast are settling down to the traditional 30-40F range for this time of year. The greens maintenance team is close to having the course put to bed for the winter.  There will always be smaller projects around the golf course we will tackle as weather permits.  As we do enjoy seeing membership enjoying the golf course property year round we have placed "Provisional Flags" in the fairways for the winter golfer.  We are also getting ready for our 3rd year of providing an outdoor skating rink, which will be located in the tennis area.  Details will follow, as the weather is not quite ready for the rink to be constructed.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Irrigation System Update

Irrigation System Update

November 9th, 2011

FLCC Golfing Members,                                                                                 

I hope you all have been enjoying this mild fall on the track at FLCC.  The weather has been decent for golf and good for golf course improvements like our irrigation system.
Directional Bore #5 Creek
I am happy to report that holes #1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,11, 13,15,18, and the putting green are completed.  That leaves #10, 12 14, 16 and 17 – Five more holes to go before the snow flies!

Most of the work is underground and to the right you can see the horizontal drilling we did under #5 to connect the greens irrigation complex.

Week of November 11thInstall the irrigation system on holes #10 and #12 and repair gate valves.
Week of November 14th – Install the irrigation on holes 14, 16, and finally #17.  Ryan’s crew will begin blowing out the completed systems for the winter.
Week of November 21st  - Complete wiring to satellite control and spray zones.  All underground work completed.

As we dug up our 50 year old system we were sure to find some surprises, both good and bad.  We found a few isolation valves that were broken and inoperable.  This would have been a hot issue if we ever needed to isolate part of the golf course and they didn’t work.  But these valves are being replaced this week.  The cost of these valves is minor but the ability to isolate the system is important.
Gate Valve at Tie-in #18
On the positive side FLCC’s new Greens Superintendent, Ryan Moore, and his team were able to utilize the old hydraulic system in new ways.  They connected the old hydraulic lines to individual sprinkler heads in the fairways.  This took some of our zone areas and made them individual control heads. Individual control is the key to manage turf water requirements and we made these improvements without any additional cost.

  This winter Ryan and his crew will be simulating the irrigation system and developing watering routines to utilize the control we have added to FLCC.  They will have the software, and our new GPS located irrigation plan uploaded on the new computer station so that they can become comfortable with the new controls as well as familiarize themselves with new irrigation software programs.
The members of FLCC have been very cooperative with our construction and the work force would like to thank you for your patience and understanding.

 Remember: Safety is all of our responsibility.  Please help protect the safety of the workers as they make the improvements to our gem of a golf course.
On behalf of the Board of Directors and Members we thank you for your support.

Yours truly,

Frank Taube
Forest Lake C.C.

PS. I hope to see many of you at the Gourmet Dinner next Saturday the 18th.  I can’t wait to see what Chef Jim has in store for all of us and the wine committee is sure to please at this event!

Winterizing the Irrigation System

On Monday November 14th we spent the day winterizing the irrigation system.  Although we are not quite finished with construction, (irrigation still to be installed this week on #16 and #17) this is part of the process of putting the golf course to bed for the winter.  We will test all the new sprinklers installed this fall, in the spring time when we turn on the irrigation system.  In the spring we will ensure that everything is working to peak performance.

Blowing the water out of #7 Fairway

Compressor set-up behind the Club House

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Over the past weekend we finally experienced our first heavy frosts of the year delaying tee times to 10 - 10:30.  We would like to thank the early morning golfers in being patient as frost becomes a waiting game for the course to become available for play.  Cart and Foot traffic in a heavy frost can/will cause damage to the turf, which will not be able to recover until we have suitable growing weather in the spring. 
     The above photo of 1 green, as well as the rest of the putting surfaces at Forest Lake did not have frost this weekend.  The reason for this is a product "Civitas" that we included this year in our winter fungicide protection program. Civitas has created a coating on the turf plants eliminating dew from accumulating, and thus no moisture for frost to form.  Although not the goal for the product but an interesting side benefit that will last 3-5 days.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Superintendent’s Corner

Superintendent’s Corner
Autumn Blaze Maple #5
       Fall is a beautiful time of year in Michigan, with the changing of colors in the trees, and usually great weather to enjoy a round of golf.   Some of our trees have lost their leaves but there still are many trees going through there fall transition before they drop.  We have definitely have had more than our share of wetter days this fall, but the maintenance team has kept the golf course in good shape ready for your enjoyment.

Irrigation System
The Greens and Surrounds Irrigation install has been moving along well.  So far the contractors have been able to install the pipe, sprinklers and wiring on holes 1,2,3,4,5,6,15,18, and the putting green.  Many players have seen the installation first hand during their golf rounds, witnessing the amount of work involved in trenching, digging and installing new irrigation components around the greens.  The quality of work performed and the detail to restoration to the greens complexes has been first class.  Below are a couple of photos from the installation.

#1 Green during installation
#1 Green after restoration


New Satellite installed #1 Tee
The other component to the irrigation project was modernizing the control system. The addition of new satellites on the golf course (seen on the right), and updated central control, will allow us to properly manage the water requirements for the individual areas in our greens complexes, improving these areas.  Our goal is to have all of the new irrigation installed by the end of November. 
 Thank you,                                                                                    
 Greens Committee