February 23, 2018

Number 3 green soaking up the sun

The agronomy staff has been busy since my last post.  Sandpines had a nice stretch of warm sunny weather in early February.  At that time, we were able to mow fairways and most of the rough.  Typically this time of year, mowing is limited to greens, collars, tees, and approaches.  These mowing decisions are based on growth, conditions, and weather.  We were also able to make some foliar fertilizer applications on greens, tees, approaches, and fairways.

Chuck mowing number 12 fairway

Tee markers have recently been refurbished and are looking good.  It always makes a big difference when the freshly painted tee markers are put back out on the course.

The process of reel rebuilding and grinding is in progress.  One set of triplex reels have been completed.  The first set of fairway reels is currently in progress.

Freshly refurbished tee markers

Most recently, we started a bunker project that is transforming our bunker edges from the rough and natural look to more of a traditional smooth and groomed look.  The process is pretty time consuming and labor intensive.  So far it has taken 149 man hours to complete 15 bunkers.

Hole 1 green side bunker before the project

Hole 1 green side bunker after the project

First, the bunker edges are painted.  Next, the edges are cut and hauled away.  Then, sand is added as necessary.  Finally, sand is redistributed and raked.

Cutting the painted bunker edge

Removing the sod edge

Adding sand
Sand redistribution

We recently hired Joe Watson as our new mechanic.  Joe is a great guy and is fitting in well with the rest of the staff.  We are excited to have him.  If you happen to see him around, be sure and say hello.

Our new mechanic, Joe Watson

January 23, 2018

5th hole on a gorgeous December day

December 2017 was a gorgeous month at Sandpines.  We had quite a bit of play, which was a nice change from December 2016. Consequently, the agronomy staff spent the majority of the time preparing the golf course for daily play.  Typically, we have a few more slow days in December and there is more time for projects.  It was a welcomed change to say the least.

Jerry hand watering the clubhouse putting green

Believe it or not, we actually had to hand water greens in Decemeber.  This was a first ever at Sandpines.  There were enough dry spots on greens with no rain in the forecast that we felt it best to play it safe and give them a little water.  Sandpines received less than 5 inches of rain for the month of December.  You can check out Sandpines monthly rainfall by clicking on the precipitation history page if you are into that sort of thing.

Dylan, Lilly, and I playing short sleeve golf on Black Friday

The picture above is from late November.  Black Friday to be exact.  It's not to often you can play golf in short sleeves the day after Thanksgiving in Florence.  I would love to make it an annual tradition.  Hopefully the weather will cooperate next year.

Jerry repairing an irrigation leak on hole 6

January's weather hasn't been quite as good, although there have been some beautiful days.  However, we were able to get a few of the projects done that we started in December. 

Cart path edging was recently completed.  Chuck and Thaddeus did the lions share of the edging, with Aaron and Mark contributing as well.  The finished product looks really nice. 

Quite a bit of brush and salal mowing was completed as well.  The dry days allowed us to get more mowing done than usual.  The mower we use doesn't work very well in wet conditions, needless to say we didn't get much brush and salal mowed last year.

We have been dealing with a few irrigation challenges.  A few leaks and broken valves have been repaired.  Some weren't very fun to deal with.  As always, Jerry did a nice job heading up those projects and getting them completed.

We also put out different rakes that were acquired from Oswego Lake Country Club.  The rakes are used, but they provide a much better playing surface than our old rakes. 

7 green on a cool January day

We are still in the process of looking for a mechanic.  Dennis has been doing a nice job keeping us up and running in the interim.  Thaddeus and Chuck have also helped out in the shop from time to time.

March 21, 2016

View from behind 17 green

It seems finding the time to blog has not made my priority list in a long time. I ran into one of our patrons recently, and he was telling me how much he enjoyed my posts. I told him I would make an effort to make a post soon.

Hole 5

The weather since December has been wet to say the least. The water table is currently pretty high. We have ground water in some of the bunkers and low lying areas on the course. That being said, when we get dry weather the golf course is still very enjoyable to play.

Jerry aerating 3 fairway

Thankfully, we were able to aerate all the fairways last fall, which has helped to increase the infiltration rate. Once the rain stops, we dry out fairly quickly in most areas.

Our resident Coug fans

There is nothing to spice up work life like an occasional bet among friends. Now and again, Jerry and I make a bet which involves the loser wearing a shirt with the winners favorite college team on it for a day. We have always been good sports and followed through with honoring the bets.

Thaddeus mowing 13 green

This past summer, we began using a "collar stick" when mowing green cleanup passes on edge. While this isn't a new concept for us, it was the first time we used the collar stick on a triplex mower. When I first arrived at Sandpines, we primarily walk mowed greens. At that time we outfitted our walk mowers with collar sticks in order to keep a more consistent collar width. The collar stick is inserted when mowing the cleanup pass.  The collar stick is a fiberglass rod has a zip tie at the end which is placed on the collar/rough transition line.  It isn't a perfect system, but it helps quite a bit.

14 green basking in the sun

As I am writing this post, it is raining like crazy, so it is nice to see all these pictures with fabulous weather that will hopefully be coming our way soon. I am definitely looking forward to some blue sky and sun.

View from the clubhouse putting green

This winter the right green surrounds on hole 18 was pretty soggy. We added some drainage trenches in an effort to dry the area out.  It has helped quite a bit. We are hoping to aerate the area next time we have an aerator in the vicinity.

Hole 9 on nice fall afternoon

Another recent project was the brush removal on the right of hole 8. The trees and salal had encroached the right of the hole quite a bit. It was beginning to affect tee shots from the right side of the tee boxes. Brush was removed from the tees all the way to the green. An errant shot right of the green has a much better chance of being found as well as kicking down into the approach.

Hole 18

May 13, 2015

Beautiful view of holes 16, 17, and 18 on 5/8/15

The Sandpines Agronomy staff has been busy working on the golf course since my last post (nearly 2 months ago). Since that time, the tees and approaches were aerated with 5/8" hollow core tines and are now healed. The greens were aerated with 1/4" hollow core tines and are also healed. The fairways were spot aerated as needed with 5/8" solid tines to help with infiltration. All of the aeration took place using our Toro 648 aerator.

Thaddeus harvesting cores on a tee on hole 15

Jerry solid tine aerating 9 fairway

We recently upgraded our 150 yard markers. The old markers were 1 1/2" white PVC poles. The new ones are 2" PVC poles with black and white stripes. They turned out really nice, and are much easier to see from the teeing areas.

The driving range targets were also upgraded. The old temporary targets were 2" white PVC poles. The new targets are 4" PVC poles. Each target is a different color (red, white, blue, and black). They are much easier to see, and look much better than the old temporary targets.  In addition, the driving range tee has new hitting area dividers, which are made from authentic driftwood.

The hazards stakes were also refurbished. They were sanded, primed, and painted. They are also much easier to see and are looking sharp.

New 150 yard pole on hole 3

Cart path edging is in progress. The process of edging all of the paths is going to take some time, but they look much better after being edged.

The clubhouse landscape has received quite a bit of attention over the last couple weeks. Weed pulling, a few new plants, and fresh bark mulch have made a huge difference in the appearance of the landscape

Clubhouse landscape with fresh bark mulch

March 17, 2015

View from the clubhouse putting green on 2/16/15

OB Sports was recently selected by SPG Properties to manage Sandpines. SPG Properties acquired Sandpines in October of 2014. OB Sports began managing Sandpines on 2/16/15. Checkout the press release below for more details.

13 green under bright blue sky 3/16/15

The first ten days of February yielded nearly 10 inches (9.73 inches) of rain at Sandpines. On the other hand, the last 18 days of February yielded less than an inch (0.91 inches) of rain, including a 15-day dry stretch. In fact, between February 24th and March 9th, a combination of spot watering and hand watering was required in many areas throughout the golf course. Irrigation at Sandpines typically starts in April at the earliest. Needless to say, there has not been much time lately for blog posts.

The on course signage was refurbished during the wet weather in early February. First the sings were sanded down. Then some of areas on signs required carving out due to the amount of sanding that was necessary. Next, the lettering was carefully repainted. Finally, the signs were refinished and cured. The signs have been put back on the course, and are looking great.

Rainbow Pump working on the well on hole 15

Rainbow Pump Company was here the week of February 16th working on well 5, which is located on the right side of hole 15. The well is now operational. A new motor, pump, pipe, and wire were installed. It was tested out during the recent stretch of dry weather while we were irrigating. The guys from Rainbow Pump did a nice job, and its clear they take pride in their work.

Peterson installing a rebuilt engine in the rough mower

The Toro 4700D rough mower had a really tough time during the growing season last year. It ran, but just barely. It did not have the power to pull hills or mow wet grass. It was a struggle to get the rough mowed. Peterson determined that the mower was still in good shape overall, but it needed a new engine. We were recently able to purchase a rebuilt engine for the mower. Peterson installed the engine, and it went out for its first mowing last week. The new engine ran great and provided plenty of power to mow wet grass and navigate hills.

Michael Madden demoing the Air 2G2 on 7 green

Last Wednesday, Michael Madden (Turf Commander) brought his Air 2G2 machine out for a demonstration. He used it on 7 green. The machine uses air which is pumped through tines at a 12 inch depth to aerate the soil. There is no cleanup. The green was ready for play right away. There are not many holes left behind due to the machine only having 3 tines. Each aeration air burst aerates an area 6' x 9'. Check it out if you get a chance.

February 2, 2015

4 green soaking up the sun

The weather in January was so good, I couldn't manage to squeeze in a blog post. We had some busy days as players were taking full advantage of the great playing conditions. On January 25th, we hit the 70 degree mark! Sandpines received less than 4 inches of rain for all of January, and no precipitation in the final 12 days of the month. I went to Eugene this past Saturday afternoon. When I left Florence, it was around 60 degrees and sunny. In Eugene it was 42 degrees and foggy. No wonder people have been flocking to the coast.

Jerry and I installing our new weather station

Earlier this month we installed a new weather station at Sandpines. I was hoping to find a station that was inexpensive that would provide reliable weather information. I was also interested in finding a weather station that could be accessed from anyplace with an internet connection. We ended up purchasing the Ambient Weather WS-1400-IP weather station. So far, I feel pretty good about the data we are getting. The station is registered with Weather Underground. The station name is Sandpines Golf Links (station ID is KORFLORE27). I added a link to the weather station near the top right of the blog. The data is stored on Weather Underground, and can be accessed by anyone. Check it out if you get a chance.

Sandpines Weather Station
Weather Underground ID KORFLORE27

Tee markers were recently sandblasted and repainted. Ball washers and ball washer posts were also repaired, sanded, and repainted. Thaddeus did a nice job making the tee markers and ball washers look like new.

Thaddeus sandblasting tee markers

Tee markers painted and baked

Thaddeus painting a ball washer

Freshly painted ball washer on hole 8

Greens and approaches were top dressed in the middle of January. The sand was brushed in, and then washed in with the rain that fell shortly after the top dressing.

Jerry top dressing 2 green

Stairs and handrails were built for the new tee on hole 8, which really helped to improve the access to the tee. Jerry did a great job on the project. I have received many compliments about the new tee. The improved access should make the golfing experience even better.

Early stages of stair project on hole 8

Jerry installing the 1st handrail

Completed stairs and handrails on hole 8

In addition to the projects above, we used the dry weather to mow all areas of the golf course. We also put light fertilizer applications on greens, tees, approaches, and fairways.

14 green basking in the sun

December 30, 2014

Clubhouse putting green

December and January are typically the months when the golf course maintenance staff focuses on projects. The grass is still growing, just at a much slower rate. Therefore, the mowing frequency is greatly reduced. This is a great opportunity to get things accomplished that we do not have time to do during the growing season.

The rest of the trash boxes were finished and installed on the course since the last post. The Sandpro front end was rebuilt, the hydrostatic drive linkages tightened up and adjusted, and the front blade was improved. It is now a pleasure to operate. Sprinkler head edging has been ongoing as we have time, the heads on holes 1-14 have been edged so far.

Below are some the other projects we have recently completed.

Refinished signs at the clubhouse entry

The Sandpines and Tavolo signs located at the clubhouse entry were both refurbished. First they were sanded down, which took quite a bit of work. Next, the lettering was carefully repainted. Then, the signs were refinished and cured.

Wet area right of 6 green (work in progress)

Area right of 6 green (after work was completed)

The low area right of 6 green was soft and holding water. We started off by removing the turf, thatch, and poorly draining sand. Once we got down to clean sand, sand was added to bring the grade up and capped with a thin layer of aeration cores. Finally, the area was seeded.

Wet area short left of 5 green (work in progress)

Area short left of 5 green (after work was completed)

The area short left of the green on hole 5 was similar to the wet area on hole 6 (above). It was soft and holding water. The renovation process was the same as on hole 6.

Pro-Gator clutch install in progress

It seems like we are always using our four wheel drive Pro-Gator. Since it can't be used while its being worked on, scheduling it for shop time is difficult. Recently, it was taken out of service in order to install a much needed new clutch. The shift linkages were also tightened up and adjusted. Prior to the repairs it was hard to push in the clutch, and almost impossible to find reverse. It is now a pleasure to operate.

17 bunker edge repair

The bunker edge on the small bunker on hole 17 was in need of repair. A portion of the bunker edge was unstable and had poor performing turf. That area of the bunker edge was replaced with sand, cores, seed, and was braced.

Early stages of turning 2 dead Gators into 1 running Gator

We have two Gators that are currently not in service. We are in the process of stripping them both and using the best parts to create one functional utility vehicle. One has a functional chassis, and the other has a functional engine. We will need some additional parts, but the cost should be minimal. If all goes as planned, we will have it up and running by the growing season.