Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Glimpse of the Past

This past week I have been going through the many floppy disks I have and transferring all the pictures they contain to a more modern digital format.  As an early adopter of digital photography, I took a lot photographs of the many projects that have been completed at HFCC.  Viewing these pictures brings back a lot of memories and really makes me appreciate how far the club and myself have come in the 16 years that I have been the golf course superintendent.

#1 green renovation, November 2002.
#1 lake standpipe replacement, April 2003.
#1 green today.
After my first year at HFCC, it quickly became apparent that there were a couple of systemic problems throughout the course.  One was the irrigation system was VERY inadequate and poorly maintained, and the other was that several greens were poorly constructed.  Fortunately, all of these problems have been corrected.

#10 green renovation, November 2002.
Large tree trunk dug out from under the old #10 green.
#10 today.
Irrigation installation on hole #4, November 2000.
Hole #4 today.
In addition to changes on the golf course, the maintenance facility has undergone a transformation through the years.  Originally, a large portion of the equipment was stored outside, today almost all of the equipment is under roof.  In 1998, the staff break room, locker room, and Superintendents office was one small room.  Today we an addition to the main building that houses complete facilities for the staff and professional office space for the Superintendent and Assistants.

Maintenance facility staff offices in 2002.
Maintenance facility before improvements.
Maintenance facility entrance today.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Course Projects Update 2/13/15

With the various temperatures we have had the past month (one week above freezing, next week below), we have had to make some changes to our winter project schedule.  While drainage projects remain a major priority, our ability to stay focused on it has been limited due to the weather.  At this time, I feel we are a bit behind schedule.  However, with warmer weather, I feel certain we will make positive gains and finish  the drainage projects before the season starts.
Turfdrain being installed on #13 fairway
Drainage installation #13
 With the weather affecting some projects, we have had to refocused our efforts on other projects throughout the course.  One such project has been the beautification of the course with stone walls.  As I have reported in past posts, we have finished stone walls on #8 and #18.  We are currently finishing a major wall at the red and gold tee on #7.  This is part of our landscape master plan that will not only improve the aesthetics at the tee but also make maintenance easier.  In addition to #7, we have started on a stone wall behind #2 green.
Thank you to our friends at Jacobsen who have loaned us one of their new Trucksters to test.  I must say that it is doing very well and helping us with our projects.
Finished stone wall at #18 red tee.
The start of the new stone wall on #7 tee.
All of the stone must be hand picked and then hauled to the intended location.
#7 red tee.
Main wall on #7 is finished as the staff start the secondary wall.
By adding a secondary wall at #7, we can better manage the steep slope with landscaping.
Stone walls are not the only other projects we are working on.  We have been busy removing dead and diseased trees throughout the course.  While taking out a tree is relatively straight forward, taking out the stump can pose challenges and create extra work. 
Digging a stump.
All of the stumps will be collected and hauled off to the dump.
Lastly, in an effort to continually improve the maintenance facility, we have finished creating a new entrance to our building.  We have also, added extra covered storage to better protect some of our tractor implements and other equipment that was stored outside.
New entrance to the maintenance facility.  Additional landscaping will be added in the future.
The staff building additional covered storage.
Completed covered storage.

Monday, February 2, 2015

HFCC Community Service Project

Each year the HFCC maintenance staff perform some form of community service.  Past projects have included clearing land for a community park, cutting and splitting firewood for the needy, planting trees throughout the town, clearing land for the animal shelter, and many others.  Our newest project is actually an extension of another project and continues to demonstrate Highlands Falls commitment to the community and the environment.
Constructing Nesting Boxes
Constructing Nesting Boxes
Earlier this year we began a cavity nesting experiment with the Highlands Plateau Audubon Society.  This project has turned out to be very popular throughout the community as the HPAS ran out of nesting boxes.  Not to worry, the HFCC maintenance staff has come to the rescue and built 50 nesting boxes so that the project can continue to grow.
50 Nesting boxes ready for the outdoors.
The boxes will be placed throughout Highlands with the intent of attracting native bird species such as the Eastern Bluebird and Carolina Chikadee.