Sunday, October 23, 2016
Saturday, October 22, 2016
The rare weather this weekend presented a few challenges for the maintenance staff. On Friday, 50mph gusts brought down a lot of leaves and pine needles. When the staff arrived Saturday, every blower we own was out the door! I used 4 tanks of fuel in my backpack blower alone! White pine needles specifically, are difficult to blow because they don't move far in grass, making them our nemesis. This requires more back and forth with the tractor. After the front nine fairways were finished being blown at 11:30am, our operator, Jerry, noticed an oil leak coming from the gear box on the blower. This isn't a good thing. That said, the blower was taken out of commission and we were unable to clean the back nine Fairways. After a 10am start golf was already on the back nine, making blowing fairways an impossible task at this point. With our only fairway blower out of commission, we will be using a smaller unit Sunday morning and doing the best we can. Your patience is appreciated. Losing your only blower in the middle of leaf season isn't ideal but Paul will have it up and running later in the week. On Monday, he will be able to order the neccesary parts.
As I said before, our continued tree maintenance program helps with this by backing trees away from playing surfaces. However, we have a long way to go. Trees can be a nice addition when properly planted but when growing on top of playing surfaces, fallen leaves, acorns, pine combs, etc come with the territory. We do make an effort to keep staff on the course with backpack blowers but to have every green clear for every group isn't practical. Eventually it comes down to what the priority is...the game of golf or an arboretum around greens.
I recently read a good quote, "think about why you don't find grass growing in a forest or trees growing on a sod farm." Of course the answer is: there is no sunlight and too much root competition in a forest for grass to grow and on a sod farm, trees would result in poor quality turf that wouldn't be of value. Grass requires 8 hours of direct sun/day, good air movement and well drained soils. The game of golf requires quality turf achieved through those environmental conditions and playing surfaces void of debris. Trees work against us as a staff and you as a golfer. A golf course inundated with trees requires more water, more pesticides, more fertilizer and more labor. What most would think is an environmental asset, in this case, results in more negative consequences.
The wind prevented frost from forming although after yesterday, we have a fairly large clean up effort taking place. The wind is gusting again today but we are able to clean up and mow greens. The golf course opens at 10am and practice facility will open around 9am. Thank you for your patience.
Friday, October 21, 2016
Above, drainage is being installed and tied together behind the 18th hole. Again, this area is being raised up several feet to eliminate the low lying area that served no purpose and is often difficult to maintain depending on rainfall.
The rock wall on #10 is being erected that will serve to create a larger pull off for golf carts.
A 4" tee slipped off the irrigation line on #6. While we will be able to fix it, we do not have the parts on hand. 4" parts are something we don't stock because there isn't much 4" pipe on the golf course. Things like this are common on old irrigation systems. New systems use HDPE pipe, rather than PVC. HDPE is fused together which eliminates this from occurring. With PVC, slip couplings and pressure couplings will ultimately slide off and need to be repaired. This is particularly the case if the installer tried to bend pipe around a rock, resulting in a fit that isn't 100% square.
The meteorologists where right on the wind! It is a nice day but gusty winds are making it cold. We didn't receive any rain as expected with none in the 10 day forecast. Macon County is one of 3 NC counties in extreme drought.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Tomorrow's weather is looking pretty rough with winds gusting to 50mph. We will not be blowing greens tomorrow, rather spending time focusing on several projects. With that kind of wind, leaf cleanup is a loosing battle. Furthermore, staff will be sent home if we reach a point where it becomes unsafe on the golf course. Falling trees and limbs are possible if that wind comes to fruition. With most trees still holding leaves, the chance of broken limbs due to the increased wind resistance is a reality.
You may have noticed some more marking paint on the ground, this time near #11 tees. As you know, this area can be a bottleneck of sorts, with members from the Piper's court area driving towards the Clubhouse or maintenance workers trying to sneak through to get to their next job task. The golfers, putting on the 10th green, are often parked in the middle of the path, forcing others into the grass- which happens to be a low lying wet area. In order to allow others to quietly pass, we are creating a bigger parking area by digging into the bank along the path, building a rock wall and making it more comfortable and natural for carts to pull off to the side while they putt on #10. This will be a good project and appreciated by many. With our excavator parked on #11, we are planning to start this Friday and then take it to #18. It's a slow moving machine, so it's important to take advantage of it when it's in a certain area.
Today marked the 41st anniversary of the Town of Highlands Scholarship Golf Tournament. The event, which started in 1975 is designed to raise funds for graduating seniors from the Highlands School who are pursuing college degrees. Each year, the Town gives out in the neighborhood of $35,000 to graduates of the Highlands School. This is a pretty unique program- the only one in the State of NC. State statutes prevent municipalities from operating any kind of investment fund for obvious reasons (loosing taxpayer money in the stock market). However, in 1975, through the hard work of several Highlands folks like Jack Taylor and Jack Brockman, this was passed and has been going strong since. The principal alone has grown to $800,000. For the last 6 years, I've served as the Chairman of the Scholarship Fundraising Committee which in that time, has generated over $100,000. Many of the participants who will play are people who directly benefited from the funds themselves or, have children who benefitted or are benefitting from it. None of it would be possible without the help of Wildcat Cliffs CC! The membership and staff have gone above and beyond to make the tournament a great success. Today's event generated around $23,000. The scholarship fund is also partially funded by the ABC store (state statutes regarding ABC store profits are interesting to say the least) and other contributions.
Paul Dalton, Chad Stockton, Matthew Green and Brian at WCCC