February 2, 2015

4 green soaking up the sun

The weather in January was so good, I couldn't manage to squeeze in a blog post. We had some busy days as players were taking full advantage of the great playing conditions. On January 25th, we hit the 70 degree mark! Sandpines received less than 4 inches of rain for all of January, and no precipitation in the final 12 days of the month. I went to Eugene this past Saturday afternoon. When I left Florence, it was around 60 degrees and sunny. In Eugene it was 42 degrees and foggy. No wonder people have been flocking to the coast.

Jerry and I installing our new weather station

Earlier this month we installed a new weather station at Sandpines. I was hoping to find a station that was inexpensive that would provide reliable weather information. I was also interested in finding a weather station that could be accessed from anyplace with an internet connection. We ended up purchasing the Ambient Weather WS-1400-IP weather station. So far, I feel pretty good about the data we are getting. The station is registered with Weather Underground. The station name is Sandpines Golf Links (station ID is KORFLORE27). I added a link to the weather station near the top right of the blog. The data is stored on Weather Underground, and can be accessed by anyone. Check it out if you get a chance.

Sandpines Weather Station
Weather Underground ID KORFLORE27

Tee markers were recently sandblasted and repainted. Ball washers and ball washer posts were also repaired, sanded, and repainted. Thaddeus did a nice job making the tee markers and ball washers look like new.

Thaddeus sandblasting tee markers

Tee markers painted and baked

Thaddeus painting a ball washer

Freshly painted ball washer on hole 8

Greens and approaches were top dressed in the middle of January. The sand was brushed in, and then washed in with the rain that fell shortly after the top dressing.

Jerry top dressing 2 green

Stairs and handrails were built for the new tee on hole 8, which really helped to improve the access to the tee. Jerry did a great job on the project. I have received many compliments about the new tee. The improved access should make the golfing experience even better.

Early stages of stair project on hole 8

Jerry installing the 1st handrail

Completed stairs and handrails on hole 8

In addition to the projects above, we used the dry weather to mow all areas of the golf course. We also put light fertilizer applications on greens, tees, approaches, and fairways.

14 green basking in the sun

December 30, 2014

Clubhouse putting green

December and January are typically the months when the golf course maintenance staff focuses on projects. The grass is still growing, just at a much slower rate. Therefore, the mowing frequency is greatly reduced. This is a great opportunity to get things accomplished that we do not have time to do during the growing season.

The rest of the trash boxes were finished and installed on the course since the last post. The Sandpro front end was rebuilt, the hydrostatic drive linkages tightened up and adjusted, and the front blade was improved. It is now a pleasure to operate. Sprinkler head edging has been ongoing as we have time, the heads on holes 1-14 have been edged so far.

Below are some the other projects we have recently completed.

Refinished signs at the clubhouse entry

The Sandpines and Tavolo signs located at the clubhouse entry were both refurbished. First they were sanded down, which took quite a bit of work. Next, the lettering was carefully repainted. Then, the signs were refinished and cured.

Wet area right of 6 green (work in progress)

Area right of 6 green (after work was completed)

The low area right of 6 green was soft and holding water. We started off by removing the turf, thatch, and poorly draining sand. Once we got down to clean sand, sand was added to bring the grade up and capped with a thin layer of aeration cores. Finally, the area was seeded.

Wet area short left of 5 green (work in progress)

Area short left of 5 green (after work was completed)

The area short left of the green on hole 5 was similar to the wet area on hole 6 (above). It was soft and holding water. The renovation process was the same as on hole 6.

Pro-Gator clutch install in progress

It seems like we are always using our four wheel drive Pro-Gator. Since it can't be used while its being worked on, scheduling it for shop time is difficult. Recently, it was taken out of service in order to install a much needed new clutch. The shift linkages were also tightened up and adjusted. Prior to the repairs it was hard to push in the clutch, and almost impossible to find reverse. It is now a pleasure to operate.

17 bunker edge repair

The bunker edge on the small bunker on hole 17 was in need of repair. A portion of the bunker edge was unstable and had poor performing turf. That area of the bunker edge was replaced with sand, cores, seed, and was braced.

Early stages of turning 2 dead Gators into 1 running Gator

We have two Gators that are currently not in service. We are in the process of stripping them both and using the best parts to create one functional utility vehicle. One has a functional chassis, and the other has a functional engine. We will need some additional parts, but the cost should be minimal. If all goes as planned, we will have it up and running by the growing season.

November 28, 2014

A gorgeous fall day at Sandpines

The golf course maintenance staff has been busy since my last post. The aeration of greens and approaches went well. The surfaces have healed up nicely and are currently in good playing condition.

Greens have healed up nicely following greens aeration

In early November, we were able to aerate, overseed, and top dress the hydrophobic areas in the green surrounds rough. A wetting agent was also applied to these areas in an effort to increase water infiltration.

The fairways were recently spot aerated with 5/8" hollow core tines during a nice stretch of dry weather. The areas that typically collect water during heavy rain events were targeted. This will help the fairways dry out more quickly after rain storms.

Jerry spot aerating 3 fairway

During wet weather and frost delays, we have been making new trash boxes for the golf course. The old ones are in pretty bad shape. So far, 12 boxes have been completed and are out on the course. They are turning out really nice.  Thaddeus and Jerry have been doing a great job on them. We hope to have the rest of them completed in the near future.

New trash boxes

Jeri (from the golf shop) has some great fabrication skills. He recently built a new ball picker for the driving range. The old one was in bad shape and was constantly breaking down. Nice job Jeri, it looks great.

Jeri's new ball picker

Jerry has really been in the Cougar spirit this year. Since the Apple Cup is tomorrow, I thought I would include a couple of pictures of him. Go Cougs!

October 15, 2014

View from the cart path above 18 green

It has been quite a while since my last post. It was a beautiful summer with many warm (for the coast) days. It has been hard to justify spending time in the office writing a blog post. However, today it's raining, so I thought it would be a perfect time to let everyone know what the maintenance staff has been doing at Sandpines.

As always, we have been focused on providing the best possible playing conditions with the resources available for golf course maintenance. Therefore, the vast majority of our efforts are concentrated towards preparing the course for daily play by performing routine golf course maintenance.  In addition to routine golf course maintenance, we have been working on the items below since my last post.

Jerry venting 17 green

In late August, the greens were vented again. I really like the improved rooting we get from this process. It helps the turf remain healthy in between core aeration events. It also has minimal impact on play. I would have liked to vent the greens in September, but we weren't able to fit it in.

A green after venting and rolling

Also in August, the fairways were aerated with solid tines on our GA-60 aerator. There was basically no effect on play with this process.

The hydrophobic areas (dry spots) in the fairways have been more noticeable during the last 2 summers due to decreased use of wetting agents and longer stretches of dry weather throughout the year. In September, the hydrophobic areas in the fairways were aerated with solid tines on our Procore 648 aerator. The areas were then over seeded and top dressed with sand.

Jerry solid tine aerating fairway hydrophobic areas

These areas are starting to recover. The key to long term improvement will be the consistent use of wetting agents on the hydrophobic areas. Once the areas dry out, it is a real uphill battle trying to get them to recover during the summer. At that point, it is sort of like trying to growing grass on concrete.

Clinton over seeding hydrophobic areas

Greens aeration is coming up quickly. The practice greens were aerated on Monday. The greens aeration process is scheduled to be performed on the rest of the greens beginning this coming Sunday (October 19th) after morning play. The course will be closed on Monday (October 20th) and Tuesday (October 21st) in order to complete the process.

I am often asked why aeration is important. The video below does a good job answering that question. I encourage you to check it out.

August 23, 2014

View from the Clubhouse putting green

The greens are in great shape and rolling nicely. Come out and enjoy a round at Sandpines and see for yourself. I was able to get out and play with a friend from high school yesterday. We had a great time catching up and enjoying the golf course. Golf is a fantastic way to enjoy a day with a friend.

3 green basking in the sun

The agronomy staff has been hard at work keeping the golf course ready for play on a daily basis. Our focus has been on routine golf course maintenance tasks such as mowing all turf areas, changing hole locations, rolling greens, making fertilizer applications, hand water greens, raking bunkers, weedeating, and performing maintenance and repairs on equipment.

Flyboarding at Sandpines

On July 24th, I had an opportunity to do something called flyboarding. It was an absolute blast. I want to thank Jason Hardy, owner of Fly Board Of Bend for the opportunity to fly over the lake at Sandpines. I would also like to thank Michael Pearson for connecting me with Jason. I would highly recommend taking the opportunity to go flyboarding. Check out the video below that was captured during my flight.


Jason is a great instructor, he had me flying within a few minutes of getting in the water. He travels to multiple locations in Oregon. Below are some upcoming dates I pulled off Fly Board of Bend's Facebook page:


Florence Oregon: Fri 29th, Sat 30th, Sun 31st

Newport Oregon: Mon 1st, Tue 2nd, Wed 3rd
Florence Oregon: Fri 5th, Sat 6th, Sun 7th
Newport Oregon: Mon 8th, Tue 9th, Wed 10th

Reserve your flight today!!! http://flyboardofbend.com/index.php?id=book-your-fly-board

(541) 419-5458

July 23, 2014

Hole 11 prepped for EARS (Eugene Area Radio Stations) Tournament

Sandpines has received over three quarters of an inch of rain so far today. The last time we had this much rain in one day was on May 8th. We really need the rain. According to the forecast, the sunny weather will be returning tomorrow, so I am going to enjoy the rain today. What a perfect opportunity for a blog post.

Jerry venting the clubhouse practice putting green

The greens were vented at the beginning of last week. The tiny holes healed up quickly. They were only visible for a few days. Venting is great because the holes don't have much impact on play. The greens get the benefits of improved gas exchange and infiltration. Venting is one of the reasons we have been able to keep our greens in such good condition. It allows us to keep the greens healthy in between hollow core aeration events.

Putter cam

During my last post, I mentioned we had a hydraulic leak on 13 green. Unfortunately, three weeks later, we had another hydraulic leak on 14 green. It was similar in severity. This time the culprit was a hydraulic line instead of a lift arm. All hydraulic hoses on the greens mower were replaced after the leak on 14 green. Hopefully, we will not have any more hydraulic leaks on greens. Both greens are healed up nicely at this point.

Robert from Leisure Excavating removing sand off the cart path

We recently reached an agreement with Leisure Excavating to have them remove sand from the cart path behind the tees on hole 8. The encroaching dune can make it a real pain to keep the path navigable for golf carts and maintenance equipment. The big loader that Leisure has makes quick work of the sand. The sand removal typically takes place in the morning between 8:00 and 8:30 before players arrive. They can move more sand in 20 minutes with their equipment than we can in 2 hours with ours. This allows us to spend more of our time working on the golf course.

Peterson working on the rough mower

One of the challenges we have been facing over the last couple of months is mowing rough. Our Toro 4700D has been in the shop for a few different issues. It started off with a cracked cylinder head. Then, it was having some issues with the injector pump and injectors. Peterson has been working on it while juggling all the other maintenance and repairs that are needed to keep the golf course equipment operating. There were several weeks we were using our Toro 3500D (surrounds mower) and Laztec Articulator (previously retired) in order to get the rough mowed. Working with diesel injectors and injector pumps requires special test equipment in order to properly diagnose problems. It took awhile to acquire these items. The Toro 4700D  is currently operating, but not at 100%. Peterson is in the process of making and installing custom shims in order to get the mower performing at its best.

Filling multiple divots

Thank you to those of you who have been filling your divots. I noticed the lady in picture above filling multiple divots while waiting for her turn to hit. I thanked her for filling so many divots and snapped the picture. I know there are many other people that fill multiple divots as well, so I thought I would take this opportunity to thank you. Your efforts do make a difference, so keep up the good work.

June 12, 2014

9 green basking in the sun

The agronomy staff has been keeping busy just doing routine gold course maintenance tasks such as mowing, rolling, changing hole locations, fertilizing, hand watering, raking bunkers, repairing equipment, making irrigation adjustments, and weedeating. Our hard work is paying off, as I am continuing to receive compliments on the condition of the golf course. Most of those compliments have been specifically regarding the condition of the greens, which are rolling great.

Putter cam

The Boys & Girls Club Tournament is one of our biggest tournaments of the the year. This year it took place on Saturday May 31st. While mowing the 13th green in preparation for the tournament, one of the hydraulic lift arms blew apart, leaving a hydraulic oil spill right in the middle of the green (see the picture below). We had just enough time to get the reels cleaned up and swapped onto another mower so that the rest of the greens could be mowed prior to the start of the tournament. Needless to say, that really wasn't the way we were hoping to showcase the 13th green.

Hydraulic leak on 13 green

Jerry and I repaired the hydraulic leak with sod from the chipping green first thing on Monday following the tournament. The damaged sod was placed on the edge of the chipping green where the repair sod was taken from.

Jerry repairing the hydraulic leak on 13 green

The repair process went pretty smoothly. First, we cut the sod on both greens. Then, we took out the damaged sod from 13 green and swapped it with the good sod from the chipping green. Finally, the sod was tamped down and swept off. The repair turned out great. Hopefully, we won't have to try out our greens sodding skills again anytime soon.

Finished product

The new tee on hole 8 had filled in enough prior to the Boys & Girls Club tournament that I thought it would be fun for the players to try it out for the first time during the event. It wasn't perfect, but I think everyone enjoyed the opportunity to give the new tee a try. We will work the new tee into the rotation for regular play in the near future.

New tee on hole 8

I had a great time playing in the Boys & Girls Club Tournament. I think our group finished somewhere in the middle of the pack (67 gross). We had all the usual highs and lows associated with scramble golf. In the end, it was all about raising money for our local Boys & Girls Club and having fun in the process.

2014 Boys & Girls Club Tournament