Thursday, January 28, 2010

Preventative Maintenance

I always get asked what do you do over the winter? Well here is the answer. During the winter months we perform many maintenance practices on and off the course. The single largest practice is our PM (preventive maintenance) program. We perform PM on all of our large equipment, small tools, amenities and small equipment. The reason we do PM in the winter is simply preparing everything for summer. With our large and small equipment our mechanic looks over the machine like it's getting a physical. He takes a good look inside and out and references notes taken earlier in the summer for items that need to be addressed for that particular piece of equipment. Once the machine has had a extensive look through it's time to get to work. Below is a small list of a typical PM program on a fairway mower.

- Steam clean dirt, oil and grease off
- Wax body
- Grease all fittings
- Oil change if needed
- Sharpen cutting reels
- Replace bed knives
- Check cutting heights
- Inspect electrical components and wiring
- Inspect hydraulic cylinders
- Inspect hydraulic hoses and fittings
- Inspect or change air filters
- Inspect or change hydraulic hoses
- Inspect tires and tread
- Inspect any external damage
- Inspect or change seals or bearings
- Repair or replace items as needed

Working on a fairway reel
prepping for grinding

Working on small equipment

The other PM we perform is on all of our small tools, club and course amenities. We basically clean, repair, paint, varnish and stain all of the amenities and small tools, so come summer they all look like and feel brand new. These preventive maintenance practices not only protect our investment but it keeps us very busy all winter.

Wet sanding ball washers
prepping for paint

Working on small tools

Monday, January 18, 2010

Fly South Geese

This year we seem to have more migratory Canadian Geese that ever before. We do understand why we have so many more geese than in previous years maybe it was related to the very cold December north of Colorado? The damage we have received is extensive in small areas, and the goose poo is everywhere. We are more concerned about desiccation in the areas the geese have eaten. The geese eat the top layer of turf exposing the crown. This top layer of turf helps hold in much needed moisture to keep the crown hydrated. Now with the lack of snow cover in these areas and minimal turf we have to water the areas and try to cover them back up with snow. Our preventative measures are still working by using bird bangers basically fire works. This is at least keeping the geese somewhat under control. These loud noise makers keep the geese moving on. But with such large numbers it is difficult to keep all of them off the course.

Here are some interesting facts about the Canadian Goose

- They can fly 16 hours at a time
- Typically cover thousands of miles every migration
- Can fly as high as 8,000 feet
- Have flown the same migratory path for millions of years
- Can fly as fast as 60 mph
- Can live up to 30 years
- Mate for life
- Migrate south for more food and less predators

Probably the most interesting fact of the Canadian Goose is the flying V formation. The V formation does not necessarily point the way the geese are going but it has to do with air resistance. The first bird in formation breaks up the wind creating less drag. During their flight the birds change positions until all of them have taken the front position. This keeps the birds form getting over tired.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Some Good Weather

The last few days we have caught some warmer weather so it outside we go. This last December 2009 went down as the 7th coldest December in Denver history. The average temperature was 24.1 degrees, it hasn't been that cold in December since 1914. So we spent most days inside working on indoor projects. Now with temperatures in the 40's and 50's this week we are anxious to get outside. Some of the items we will be working on in the fair weather are as follows.

- Winter watering southern exposed bunker noses
- Moving snow from fairway areas to exposed areas under trees
- Seam cleaning equipment
- Cleaning club and driving range amenities & prepping for stain
- Trimming trees and perennials

As of now we are right on pace to have all of our winter projects completed by April 1st. Then we start aerification of the course.

Steam cleaning equipment

Moving snow on to southern exposures

Adding snow under trees
(Beneficial moisture for the turf and the tree)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Preventive Pump Maintenance

With the irrigation system shut down for the season and the course covered in snow it time to start our preventive maintenance on the pump station and injection equipment. We have two types of injectors. One type is a simple diaphragm pump that allows us to pump liquid fertilizer or any other type of liquid chemicals. The other pump is a hydro cell diaphragm pump that allows us to inject various types of material from very viscous liquids, material in suspension or material in solution. This includes such amendments as potassium sulfate, calcium sulfate, magnesium sulfate, Iron sulfate, manganese sulfate and many different soluble fertilizers. The single diaphragm pump can pump 2 to 50 gal per irrigation cycle while the hydro cell pump can inject 10 to 1000 gal in one irrigation cycle. The nice thing about the hydro cell pump is that we can apply a large amount of material on the course in a small amount of time. So we can custom mix the 1000 gal tank for each irrigation cycle, different weather patterns , amount of play and turf stress. With this tool we can monitor the turf and make changes to our amendments on a daily basis.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Audubon International

Recently the Pinery Country Club joined the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses. This program is part of the Audubon International Sanctuary that is respected world wide. The program focuses a emphasis on Environmental leader ship, commitment, and setting the highest standards of environmental stewardship. Some of the programs we must develop and implement are as follows.

- Environmental planning
- Wildlife and Habitat Management
- Wildlife and plant inventory
- Chemical use, Reduction and safety
- Native plant conservation
- Water Conservation
- Water quality
- Outreach and education

Once all the standards are meet we will achieve certification and receive the title of, Certified Audubon Sanctuary. The certification of the golf course is a long detailed process usually taking 1-3 years depending on the time put into the program. Since only 2 % of golf courses are certified by Audubon world wide, 37 certified courses in Colorado and 728 world wide. It will be a great honor to be associated with a environmental hero such as Audubon International.