Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

We will all be on vacation during the week of Christmas and New Year, so this will be my last update until next year!  Have a safe and wonderful holiday season!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Visiting HFCC for the Holidays?

Coming to Highlands Falls for the Holidays?  I would like everyone to be aware of what to expect on the golf course.  Currently, there is no “real” snow in the immediate forecast.  However, with the cold temperatures becoming more consistent, we have covered 7 greens with covers to ensure great putting conditions for the Spring.  If you plan on playing during the Holidays, please be mindful that these greens will be covered; putting green, 4, 7, 11, 12, 14, and 15.
Installing a green cover on the putting green.
Maintaining greens sometimes includes placing covers on them to protect them against harsh winter weather and speed up the greening process during early Spring.  Covers also stimulate grass growth, especially those that are seeded late in the season (several greens were inter-seeded in the Fall).  The greenhouse effect created by green covers allows the grass underneath to breathe and retain a certain amount of heat and moisture, even on cold days. The end result is faster germination of seeded areas and deeper and stronger root development, even throughout the winter months.
Green cover on #14 green.
Even though several greens will be covered, limiting play on those holes, better than half of the course will be open for play.  Due to some favorable weather, we have been able to mow the fairways and greens along with preparing all the bunkers and changing hole locations.  Even though we do not prepare the course for play during the winter, the course will be in good condition should you decide to play while in Highlands.
University trials showing the use and non-use of greens covers.
The entire HFCC golf course maintenance staff will be on vacation from December 23 through Jan 1st.  Should you have any questions or need assistance, please feel free to email me at
Ready for play - December 18th 2013.
Ready for play - December 18th 2013.

Sink Hole

There is one thing that is an absolute in golf course maintenance, expect the unexpected because it is probably going to happen.  On a hole with few problems and after a week of rain, a small hole on the side of the cart path on #13 was noticed.  Only this was no ordinary hole because on further inspection, what was a small hole on the surface was a large cavern underneath.  Needless to say this was not expected.
A view of the sink hole from the surface
The "cavern" underneath.  Still over 3 feet from the top of the pipe.
Like many areas throughout the course, the original steel corrugated drain pipe under the fairway had corroded and deteriorated to the point that the bottom and sides were no longer present.  As a result, a large sink hole had formed causing a serious safety hazard.  We immediately began to replace the pipe but it soon became clear that this project was not one that we could perform safely.
Beginning to remove deteriorated pipe.
Bigger equipment was needed to do the job safely.
Not only was water still coming through what remained of the pipe, it was very deep and the soil around the excavated pipe kept collapsing.  Having a friend in the construction business who had an employee killed due to a trench collapse, I quickly decided that this was not a project to be done in house.  Fortunately, we have a local contractor that we have worked with in the past that was able to come in with bigger equipment and do the job safely for us.
Prepping #13 fairway for sod after pipe replacement.
Sod prep on #13

Monday, December 2, 2013

Lake Dredging Update 12/2/13

We have finished dredging silt from the lakes on #9 and #5.  We have now moved on to what is joint project between the Club, the HOA, and the Chestnut Cove HOA.  Over the years the pond between the tennis courts, Chestnut Cove, and #11 has lost approximately half of its surface area due to excessive silt.  We have begun dredging this pond and have already removed as much silt as we did on #9 and still have at least that much more to remove.
Removed silt material will be used for the turf nursery on #11
When we finish the dredging, we will re-grade the area and then seed it with a bluegrass/fescue mix.  Even with all the disturbance, the pond already looks much better.  In the end, the pond and the area around it will be something everyone will be proud of.
Silt removal at Chestnut Cove