Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Irrigation Blowout

We blew the water out of the irrigation lines yesterday. This is to prevent the water in the lines from freezing and cracking the pipe. In order to do this, we rent an air compressor from a large equipment rental company in Detroit. About a dozen golf courses around Ann Arbor go in on this compressor together in order to cut down on costs. We rent it for 3 weeks and shuttle it from one course to the next until everybody is done with it. You may have seen lawn care companies around town blowing out home lawn irrigation systems. They will usually use a 175 cubic foot per minute (ft3/min) air compressor. The one that we get is 825 ft3/min. The pressure that we run is around 60-70 psi. This contrasts with the normal water pressure of between 108 and 118 psi.  Anything higher that 75 psi with air and the irrigation heads are at risk of breaking. Here is a picture of the compressor set up in front of the pumphouse.

Here you can see the 2 inch hose running directly into the 10 inch steel line coming out of the pumphouse.

This is the view of the pump controller.

Our two 50 horsepower, variable speed, vertical turbine pumps.

When blowing the water out, the goal is to get 90 percent of the water out. In theory, as long as 70% is out of the line, the pipe should be able to withstand water freezing. The problem is that with the pipe changing in elevation, some low areas might have 2 or 3 times the water that high spots do.

When you first turn on the irrigation head, you get out pure water.

After a few minutes, most of the water is gone.

When you have a large volume compressor, you can have up to 20 heads running at any one time.

Here is a video of the process on #5 green. I apologize for the shakiness.

I borrowed a dump truck from NAP to take the compressor to Tim Dark, Superintendent at Barton Hills Country Club.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fall Projects

It has been a busy couple of months here at the golf course. We are almost done with aerification. Only #16 fairway has yet to be completed. We will then do selected approaches and tees a second time. Next week, we will blow out the irrigation system.

The two biggest projects so far this fall have been a drainage project on #16 fairway and a new tee box for #11.

The drainage on #16 involves the landing area about 240 yards from the green on this long par 5. For the last several years, we have not been able to mow this part of the fairway until June or July. This year, it never really dried up. It had been on my list of things to do when we got a chance, but the wet weather this year moved it up the list.

This is the transit that we used to make sure the drainage would drain properly.

A picture of the pipe in the ground before we hooked it together and filled it in with pea stone.

Another view before pea stone was added.

Laying the pipe on the pea stone and filling in the trench.

Cutting the pipe to length.

This is how the area looks today, over a month later. The trench was seeded with bentgrass. I think you will be able to tell where the trench was for years to come, but it has dried the area up noticeably.

The second project was to add a new championship tee to #11. This par 5 was often the easiest hole during the tournaments, with numerous birdies and even eagles recorded. This tee box will add 22 yards onto the hole from the current black tee markers.  Overall length could go up to 504 yards.

This is where the tee is going to be. Notice the aerification plugs on the tee.

After removing some trees and starting the project with our front-end loader.

I decided a bulldozer would make the work go easier. Luckily, the city has it's own little 'dozer.

Here, the tee has been leveled and tee mix (80% sand, 20% soil) has been put on top.

We laid bluegrass sod around the perimeter and seeded the actual tee with bentgrass.

The view from the back, right corner.

Ten days later, the bentgrass has started to grow. (The blue pellets are mulch that we put down to help with moisture retention.)

A close-up of the seedlings and mulch.

The tee should be open for use by May. Good luck!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

September 2011 Weather Summary

It has been a busy couple of weeks. Sorry for the delay in this summary.

The highest temperature recorded was 93.7 on the 2nd. Two days had high temperatures above 90. Lowest temperature was 38.9 on the 16th.  The average temperature was 61.8.

We had 14 days of rain with a maximum of 1.00 inch on the 26th. Total rain for the month was 5.22 inches.

High wind speed was 33 mph on the 3rd.

The rain at the end of the month put off greens aerification until the 3rd and 4th of October. As it sits right now, the greens and tees have been aerified and 8 of the 14 fairways have been aerified. The weather this week has been great for aerification and the greens should heal very quickly.