Friday, January 23, 2015

Projects Update

The winter weather has been kind to us this year.  While it is raining today, the majority of January has provided acceptable weather for working outside. 

We are nearly complete with the new rock wall at #18 tee.  I must say that I wish we had done this project sooner as it looks spectacular!  After we finish #18 tee, we will be doing some rock work behind #2 green and on #7 and #19 tees.
Rock wall #18 tee.

#18 tee.
In addition to rock work, the staff has been busy with installing drainage.  We have completed the drainage projects on #19 and the clubhouse and have begun a large project on #13.  Not only are we installing the "turfdrain" system on #13, but also leveling a large area of the rough and fairway.  This includes removing the sod, adding soil, and preparing a smooth grade before we install drainage and relay the sod. 
Installing turfdrain on #13.

Cleaning out a drainage trench.

Removing trench spoils the turfdrain way.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Man Behind the Scenes

In every operation there is someone who is extremely valuable for success but who is often times not seen.  That person at HFCC is our Equipment Manager, Aaron Brown.  Aaron came to us after our previous equipment manager fell ill and retired.  Aaron started with HFCC almost 2 years ago on July 4th, our busiest time (and day) of the year. 
Aaron working on the club's truck.
Aaron is a local from Sylva where he graduated from Smokey Mountain High School.  After high school he attended and graduated from Nashville Auto/Diesel College followed by stints at Mountaintop and Trillium Country Clubs.  He has been married to his wife Jordyn for nearly four years and they have three children; Bruce, Gavin, and Lawson.  He likes to spend time hunting and fishing but mostly enjoys spending time with his family.  One thing most people do not know about Aaron is that he can play the piano.
Changing tires is a regular occurrence.
While our employees are our #1 asset, our equipment comes in 2nd and without it, we would not be able to provide the quality conditions that we do on the course.  With nearly 1.5 million dollars worth of equipment at HFCC, Aaron has his hands full.  He is responsible for the maintenance of all the equipment as well as the maintenance building.  In his short time at HFCC, he has reorganized several areas within the shop and changed procedures to improve efficiency and upgrade quality. 
Aaron records all maintenance performed on equipment.
So the next time you look out and gaze at the beautiful grounds that make up HFCC, remember there is someone behind the scenes helping to make that possible.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Winter Work On Track

As part of the 5-year course improvement plan, rock walls are to be added along the lakes at #8 green and #9 tee, and also at #18 tee.  Despite cold and rainy weather, I am happy to report that the wall at #8 green and #9 tee is finished.  This is some of the best rock work our staff has ever done and I am sure everyone will be pleased.  Since the weather is going to get VERY cold here the remainder of this week, we will be holding off on #18 tee.  As soon as it warms up a bit we will start that project.
Rock wall #8 green.

Rock wall #8 green.
In addition to the rock work, we have been working on various drainage projects. We have just completed installing Turfdrain on hole #19.  This turned out to be a major undertaking as the ground was heavily saturated and quickly became a fight in the mud.  However, in the end, we won and the area is already benefiting from the Turfdrain system.  In addition to #19, we are also working on a few smaller drainage projects on the club grounds.  Other drainage projects that we have yet to do are on #11 fairway and #13 fairway.
Drain pipe install at the clubhouse.

Drainage at the Clubhouse
As some of the crew have been working on drainage, others have been working on tree removal.  Several dead trees have been removed throughout the course along with a few not so well placed landscape trees.
Cleaning up a downed tree.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Cavity Nesting Bird Research

Highlands Falls Country Club is partnering with the Highlands Plateau Audubon Society on a community wide experiment to determine if offering identical bird boxes but with larger and smaller diameter entrance holes, may increase nesting success for native bird species in our area.
HFCC staff installing a bird box.

HFCC partnering with HPAS on bird research.

Close-up of a bird box.
Seven pairs of boxes have been placed throughout the course and will be monitored throughout the year to see which size entrance hole will be more successful.  Results will be shared with the NC Audubon Society.  Some cavity nesting birds that we hope to attract are the Eastern Bluebird, Carolina Chikadee, Tree Swallow, and Carolina Wren.
Carolina Wren

Tree Swallow
Since the ecology and environment at HFCC is just as important to the beauty of the golf course as perfectly mown grass, this project will only enhance the allure of the property.