Thursday, May 27, 2010

May 27, 2001

These past few days a local demolition company has been cleaning up the area couched between the 11th and 12th holes. Over the years this area has served as a collection spot for branches, leaves, grass clippings, etc that we routinely clean up from the course. From now on, we will put organic debris in a 30 yard container that will be taken to a local recycling center. There, our “yard waste” will be shredded and turned into mulch!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

May 26, 2010

On Tuesday and today, Wednesday, our staff planted over two hundred California privets along the 3rd green and 4th tee to screen off Route 9 and Village Drive to seclude us from the car traffic, greatly enhancing our golfing privacy.

Assistant Chris Lare uses the auger to make the planting holes.

Isidro, Max , and Baldomero plant to the right of the third green.

Taking a quick break from a long day of planting are Adan, Silvio, Isidro, Baldomero, Edgar, and Max.

Monday, May 24, 2010

May 24, 2010

I thought I would share a few facts about mowing greens…

At Greate Bay we send out four persons every morning to mow the greens. For tournaments, special events, and shotguns, we sometimes send out six to eight persons.

With four persons mowing greens, each person walks on average 2 plus miles mowing their assigned greens.

We walk mow our greens to get a better cut and to reduce the compaction and wear stress that a “riding mower” would cause.

Each day we mow greens a different direction so that “grain” does not develop. For instance, if you would take a moment and picture a clock face, we mow our greens 12:00 to 6:00, 3:00 to 9:00, 2:00 to 8:00, 4:00 to 10:00, and so on.

We measure and set our greens mowing heights in thousandths with a specially made gauge. Choosing a cutting height depends on many factors that I must weigh out: health of the turf, the weather, the type of coming golfing events, disease pressure, anticipated greens speed, membership comments, etc.

We do not change height of cut on a daily basis as that would be too stressful on the turf. In other words, green height change is planned out so that the height is changed over a period of days, and sometimes weeks, depending on the difference of change.

The greens mowers are checked for mechanical problems each day. There is no tolerance for error, as an error on a green could cause loss of turf.

Our staff collectively spends approximately 12 -15 hours a day mowing greens and checking mowers. During special events, we spend considerably more time!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May 17, 2010

Many times I am asked about what the crew does when it rains like it is doing today…

The answer is that we do a lot!

Although every rain day is different, today offers a few good examples of what we do when it rains, so I took a few pictures.

The first thing we did was to have a staff meeting where we discussed equipment safety and training, upcoming events, and general turf maintenance topics.

Silvio is using a drill press fabricating a part for one of our maintenance carts. Rainy days are sometimes the only time our carts can be worked on.

Don, our new mechanic, and Pedro, one of our long time staffers, inspect the mowers on one of our rough units. Rainy days are great opportunities to do preventative maintenance on our equipment, such as the rough mowers.

We did other things today which I didn’t get a picture of – pumping the water out of the tunnels, putting trailer hitches on carts, doing building repairs, cleaning the equipment, organizing tools and inventories, and for Chris and I there were meetings and stacks of paper work to finish!

Rainy days may not be for mowing, but they give us a chance to catch up on a lot of other work that is just as important.

Friday, May 14, 2010

May 14, 2001

Today, Faro Lanuza, our mechanic, is retiring. Faro is planning to travel, work on his farm, and spend a lot of time with his family and pursue his various and eclectic interests. We will miss Faro - he's part of our family here at the club, and for so many years he has contributed to our success.

The following is a reprint of an article about Faro and his career that I wrote a few years ago and posted around the club. It's quite a story, and I am sure he will be adding a lot more to it during his retirement!

Faro was born in the Philippines of Spanish parents who emigrated there from Spain. He attended and graduated high school in Iriga City, and then moved to Manila where he worked his way through college employed at an electronics manufacturing plant. He first attended Mapua Institute of Technology, and transferred to Feati University, graduating with a degree each in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering.

After graduation, Faro was recruited by many manufacturing companies to work for them, and over time, held many positions in these competing companies as plant supervisor, production supervisor, head of engineering and production, head of manufacturing design, etc. During these years, he also began his own engineering/electrical/ mechanical design consultant company, and later moved to Saudi Arabia to run a container manufacturing plant.

In 1986 Faro took time off from his career to visit relatives in the United States, and after touring the country, decided to stay here, settling in West Virginia, and starting a home improvement/ home construction company. On a job in Brigantine, he met his future wife, and after they married, settled in Galloway Township. During this period, at the urging of a friend, Faro appeared as a performer in the Broadway production of “Oklahoma”. In 2001, he became a United States citizen, disbanded his construction company and began a construction equipment repair business in Galloway.

Wanting to do something new, he came to Greate Bay in 2002, where he has used every bit of his knowledge and experience to help us do our best. Faro, who we nicknamed “Einstein”, can fix anything! And if he doesn’t like how something is made or works, he fabricates his own designs and parts to make them better. We could not do the things we do without Faro – he is special, and is arguably the most important person on our staff!

Faro lives in Galloway Township with his wife Prudence, and his teenage son. Faro is very active in many church organizations, sings for his church, plays piano, organ, violin, and harmonica, and is known to sing karaoke now and then!

May 13 , 2010

Thursday morning I was walking up the 7th hole when I saw a bird that I have never seen before. It was crouched, drinking water from a puddle on the cart path near the three left side bunkers. When I approached, it swept up into a sassafras tree, perched, and cautiously watched me as I slowly walked by.

It had a red stripe on its white breast, red under the wings, and white specked feathers on black. Later in the day I got out my birding book and learned that what I had seen was a "rose breasted grosbeak". According to my book, it is not a rare bird, and this part of NJ is well within it's habitat range. For me though, it's very exciting,and to see it here at Greate Bay reinforces the fact that our commitment to environmental stewardship is continuous,rewarding and successful.

(The picture of the grosbeak is from a web site on birds. I did not take the picture.)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

May 12, 2010

Wetting Agents

On Wednesday we sprayed wetting agent on the fairways and on Thursday we plan to spray the tees. Wetting agents need to be watered into the soil, which is why the sprinklers were on during the day.

A wetting agent is a compound that reduces water tension and allows irrigation and rain water to penetrate the soil with better efficiency than it would naturally. With the use of wetting agents we use less water, are able to water the course more evenly, and lessen the amounts of “localized dry spots”.

Collar Fertilization

Today we fertilized the collars. We fertilize collars separately from the greens and/ or the rough, due to the wear they take from the greens mowers each day. So that the fertilizer does not burn, or get picked up by the mowers, we water in the fertilizer right behind the spreader!

Flower Planting

We have begun planting the summer annual flowers around the clubhouse, the 1st, 7th and 16th tees, and the wedding area. The annual varieties that we use are impatiens, vinca, geraniums, and petunias. Impatiens grow best in shade and need plenty of water, while the others prefer full sun and drier conditions.

In many of our beds we have added perennials over the years– these include hosta, day lilies, salvia, black eyed susan, phlox, daisies, dusty miller, vinca vine, coreopsis, bee balm, and cone flowers.

I am always asked what we do to keep the flowers growing big and colourful. It’s really very easy . We are always careful to match the plant with its preferred environment – shade plants for shade, and sun loving plants for full sun. We are careful to water, but not to over water, and lastly, we give our flowers a little bit of fertilizer often, rather than a whole lot once in awhile! It’s really that simple!

Friday, May 7, 2010

May 7, 2010

This morning we were greeted by the sight of a water geyser! The head that is located in the approach of 11green “blew off” and water was shooting approximately 20’ into the blue morning sky. I am not quite sure what time the break occurred, but I am “guessimating” that what we later diagnosed as a defective coupler had broken some time after midnight, and must have run for a few hours. The water drained over to the cartpath, flooding the area to the left and to back of the green.

The blowout was not hard to repair, but the clean up took some time. Pebbles, rocks, and sand had been shot up into the geyser and were littering the green and approach. We used brooms to sweep them up so that we could get the green puttable and so that our mowers blades would not be ruined when we cut. We pumped the water to the closest drains – this took approximately four hours!

Anyhow, it’s fixed and we are back in business so to speak! We will have the cartpath opened up tomorrow morning as if nothing ever happened at all!

May 6, 2010

Yesterday we re-installed the fans on the 7 tee complex.

We the use fans on this tee to circulate the air because the winds and breezes are blocked by the trees to the left , the fence vines to the back, and the halfway house to the right. Without air circulation, the air stagnates and humidity builds into it, which creates an environment for disease and stress. The fans help to minimize these risks.

Unfortunately, the 7th tee complex has other problems including poor soil, small size, and shade. We have been addressing these problems with aeration, verti-quaking, extra fertilization, hand watering, and some rebuilding. With all the extra attention and the fans, through the years the tees have improved tremendously.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May 4, 2010

On Sunday afternoon I was on my normal rounds checking the greens and tees, and probing fairways when I found that a pipe had broken to the left of the whites on the 2nd tee. The water was spilling across the cart path and into the rough, and then pushing through the cedars and into the pond before the 18th tee. I quickly drove my cart to the shop and got the gate valve keys and was able to turn the water off before it washed out the cart path and caused more and other damage.

The area was so saturated that I decided to let the area drain out until Monday morning before making repairs. On Monday morning, after 3 hours of careful excavation we located the break on a 6” main. It had split beginning at a joint, and the split extended about four feet down along the pipe. It was a pretty bad leak as far as leaks go. It was also serious – to repair the pipe we had to shut down the water for holes 1, 2, 3, 16, 17, and 18, along with the wedding garden and practice green. Luckily the weather was cloudy and we were able to get along without syringing or watering.

We spent the rest of the day on Monday cutting out the broken section and replacing it. This had to be done surgically and with a lot of patience. With the main ran bundles of irrigation wires that control the sprinkler heads and supply power to the controllers. We had to be very careful not to stretch, nick or cut them.

Tuesday morning, we stabilized the new section of pipe and flushed out the system. Afterwards, we pressurized it to our operating pressure of 120 psi, and checked for any leaks at the couplers. Everything held tight!

As I write this we are filling the hole and flushing out the system once again. Invariably, no matter how careful we are to avoid letting sand and soil enter the irrigation system through breaks such as this, it still gets in and takes a lot of work to flush it out.

Hopefully by this afternoon we will have all of this finished up, and the irrigation system fully functional.