Friday, February 26, 2016

Equipment Manager's Utility Vehicle

With less than ideal conditions outside this winter, we have focused on refurbishing several pieces of equipment while working inside.  One of the more exciting projects has been repurposing an older utility vehicle into a multi purpose vehicle dedicated for use with our Equipment Manager, Aaron Brown.

We started out with an older John Deere ProGator utility vehicle and stripped it down to its frame.  As a testament to the quality of this machine, very little work was needed to the frame or any of the major mechanical components.  Most of the work that was necessary was cosmetic in addition to some small repairs.
Stripping the ProGator

ProGator stripped down to make repairs.

To improve the vehicle, we sprayed a polyurethane bed liner on the floor board, bumper, and the bed.  This material is very durable and better than the paint that originally came on the machine.  We also removed all the cowlings and made some minor repairs due to some cracks.  After the repairs, we painted the entire vehicle.

Drilling a new support for one of the cowlings.

Putting the newly painted and repaired cowling back on the machine.

After paint, we added new seats and applied new decals.  Additionally, we built a custom bumper to mount a 10,000 lb. winch which will be used to pull out equipment that gets stuck.  We also, added a generator, air compressor and retractable hose, welder, tool box, and a removable vise.

The new machine is equipped with a portable welder.

The new machine is also equipped with a generator and air compressor.
Dedicated course vehicle for HFCC Equipment Manager, Aaron Brown.
The new vehicle will be used to make minor repairs to equipment in the field and for small construction projects where a generator and air compressor are necessary.  It was important that we made this machine look as new and as professional as possible so that it would represent the Club in the best manner possible. This vehicle will serve Highlands Falls for many years to come and at a fraction of the cost of a new one. 

New bumper with 10,000 lb. winch.

The finished product.

The finished product.

Friday, February 19, 2016

2016 Golf Industry Show

Last week I attended the Golf Industry Show in San Diego.  The GIS is an annual conference and trade show that brings together golf course superintendents, owners, architects, and suppliers from all over the world. The conference features several days of educational seminars followed by the annual trade show.   The following is a brief synopsis of my week at the conference.

Seminar - Enhanced Weed Management for Cool-Season Turfgrass
     While I have extensive knowledge of weed management in all types of turfgrass, chemical and cultural methods for managing weeds is always changing.  This class provided the latest research and methods for managing annual bluegrass in bentgrass which is a major problem for many golf courses including ours.  Additionally, I learned of new electronic resources for weed control information through several land grant institutions.

Seminar - Cool-Season Putting Green Improvement - Changing Species or Cultivars, Interseeding or Regrassing
     Since we use a lot of bentgrass seed every year, this proved to be a valuable class. New genetic research has led to significant improvements in bentgrass cultivars.   As we continue to interseed our greens, tees, and fairways with these new varieties, we have the ability to reduce water and fungicide usage and increase the playability of the surface.  This class highlighted the pros and cons of changing cultivars along with the latest improvements which will help us select the best type for our conditions.
Learning about new bentrgrass varieties.
Golf at Torrey Pines South Course
     I again had the opportunity to play in the TurfNet "Emerald Challenge" where Superintendents from North America played against Superintendents from Ireland.  While we lost the challenge this past October in Ireland, we rose to the occasion and brought the Hurley Trophy back home while playing at the famed Torrey Pines South Course.  The course was in spectacular condition and the weather could not have been better.

Hole #3 - Torrey Pines

North America brings back the Hurley Trophy

Trade Show
     As usual, the trade show was exceptional.  Everything from equipment, fertilizer, chemicals, consultants & designers, building products, and computer programs are displayed throughout the trade show floor. I takes me almost 2 days to walk the show floor, talk to vendors, and see what new products are available.  Like many, I truly enjoy this part of the convention as it gives me the opportunity to see some of smaller niche products that just might help our operation improve its efficiency or help us deliver a better product for the membership. 
Ewing Irrigation

The Jacobsen booth gets busier every year!

Busy on the trade show floor.
Finally the best part of the show was the interaction with my peers.  The amount of knowledge that I gather from simply “talking turf” with the guys is immeasurable. I would like to thank everyone at HFCC for providing me the opportunity to participate in the GIS and for understanding the value in continued education. By attending the trade show and participating in the educational seminars, I have consistently been able to bring back useful information that has benefited the Club both in savings and efficiencies, not to mention the agronomic information that improves the course.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Yes It Does Flood in the Mountains

When it rains it pours and boy is it raining!  We have received over 4 inches in 8 hours and the course is flooded in many areas with more rain to come.  While this much rain is normal for this area, the conditions which are causing the flooding are not.  With the ground frozen, the rain cannot be absorbed into the soil and thus it just flows across the surface collecting in the streams and ponds throughout the course.  However, there is so much water that the drain pipes and even the bridges cannot handle the deluge and the water just backs up and causes the flooding.  Here are some pictures of todays adventure around the course.
Left of #16 green complex

#16 Fairway

#15 green
The Cullasaja river to the left of #15 green

#14 fairway