Friday, August 28, 2015

Divot Party a Success!

I want to thank everyone who came out for our first divot party.  We had over 80 participants which helped make quick work of filling divots throughout the course.  A special thanks also to the Ladies Golf Association who put in the extra effort to make this event a success.
Fred giving instructions on how to repair ball marks and how to properly fix a divot

Filling divots

Enjoying a good time caring for the course

Sometimes it takes a team effort
I certainly hope that everyone has a renewed appreciation for basic golf etiquette.  During the hour of filling divots, over 10,000 divots were filled and 2 tons of sand were used.  Remember to continue to fix your divots and repair your ball marks while you are playing golf.  Other than being the right thing to do, it saves the club over $15,000 in labor per year!

Bodel loves a camera

Chris helping fill sand bottles

Dick Chitty came prepared for any work we had for him

Josh thanks Rick T. for his help on the course

The staff discusses the days fun

A little rest after hard work

Divots everywhere

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

New Bunker Rakes

Anytime we change course accessories such as divot boxes or ball washers, we must make sure we are purchasing a quality product.  Over the past month we have been sampling and testing various  styles of bunker rakes from different manufacturers.  We tested the rakes on their ability to perform in our style of bunkers and their build quality.  Price was not considered as all of the rakes are priced similarly.  Our testing revealed that not all bunker rakes are created equal, even though on the surface they may look equivalent.
Various style of bunker rakes
First an foremost a bunker rake must provide an even pattern of disturbed sand without deep furrows.  Our testing showed that all of bunkers rakes provided satisfactory results.  Next we tested the rakes ability to push sand up a hill.  This is important mostly for the maintenance crew so that we can push sand after a washout.  Four of the five did a satisfactory job at pushing sand but two stood out as being superior.

After testing the rakes on the course, we chose three rakes to determine their quality of construction and materials.  This is where it became obvious that not all rakes are created equal.  Two of the three rake heads had a shallow neck for the handle to attach.  We determined that this was a weak spot that would put added stress on the rake handle, especially when pushing sand. 
Different head styles.  Note that the teeth are similarly spaced, this provided similar results raking the sand.

Different rake head styles.
However, the most obvious inequality between the three rakes was the construction of the rake handle.  All three had different levels of build quality in their fiberglass handles.  Each handle had a different level of fiberglass thickness while two had the addition of a plastic honeycomb inside the handle to improve durability.
Obvious difference in fiberglass thickness of the handle.
So which one did we choose?  I am happy to report that we have chosen the Par Aide AccuCurv bunker rake.  This rake has the longer neck in the head and also the thicker rake handle.  Additionally, it performed flawlessly in the bunker.  As an added bonus, the rakes are made in the USA!  The new rakes should arrive in about two weeks after which we will put them together and distribute throughout the course.

The WINNER!  The Par Aide AccuCurve bunker rake.

Friday, August 21, 2015

New Antennas Improve Reception

The irrigation system is the lifeblood to every golf course, providing water when Mother Nature won't.  One of the main components is the field controller of which our course has 13.  The field controller receives information for watering from a central computer that is located in our maintenance department.  We type in how much we want something to water and the computer sends it to the controller. This is done using a two-way radio.  Each field controller has its own radio to receive commands from the central computer. 
3 element Yagi antenna
Over the years, we have had trouble communicating with some of the field controllers.  This has been mainly due to our hilly terrain, so its not a new problem, but we have managed through it.  For reasons unknown to me, the problem has been worse this year, with several controllers unable to receive the vital commands needed from the central computer to water the course.  When this happens, we have to go to each controller and manually input the nights watering schedule.
Davis preparing the antennas for installation
To solve the problem, we have installed Yagi antennas on almost all of the field controllers throughout the course.  These antennas are far superior to original built-in antennas that came with the controllers.  You will now notice a 10 foot pole next to the field controllers with an antenna at the top that looks like the old TV antennas that many houses use to have.   After testing the new antennas, I can confirm that we have excellent signal reception at every field controller.
New Yagi antenna installed next to a field controller