Friday, 26 April 2013

Friday April 26th 2013

A busy day preparing the golf course for opening.

On the same day, staff are shovelling snow and ice from greens, and on other parts of the golf course fairways and greens are being verticut & mowed to prepare for opening. 

Shovelling snow and ice off 18 Hawk green to remaove the last of all the covers on greens.

Mowing fairways - the first cut of the year (18 Raven)

Verti cutting fairways (de thatching) - 18 Raven

Sweeping the debris remaining after verti cutting a fairway

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Green Cover Removal # 1 Hawk Green - April 25th , 2013

Before the projected 50 -70KM / Hr winds, staff are removing greens covers this morning as fast as possible.

18 Hawk Retaining Wall

Turf Care staff, along with an equipment operator from Goodwin Golf Construction started the project to replace the failing wooden retaining wall around the first landing area pond on 18 Hawk. Once the wooden wall is removed, the new rock wall installation will begin. This project will take approximately 2-3 weeks to complete. 

Removing failing wooden retaining wall - 18 Hawk Tuesday April 23 2013

Retaining wall removed - Wednesday April 24th 2013

Sunday, 21 April 2013

A Challenging Start to Spring - A Members Perspective

We are all becoming just a little frustrated with the ongoing weather delays that have continued to prevent the course from opening for the season.  As a member of the Priddis Greens Golf & Country Club and a member of the Turf Care team it has become doubly frustrating for me.  This is my 23rd year as member and resident at Priddis Greens and is also my second year as a member of the Turf Care team, so I thought I would provide a brief behind the scenes view of the Turf Care Department from a club members’ perspective.

For many of you with the only golf in your life being that which you can watch on TV, rest assured the Turf Care team is very hard at work everyday preparing for that eventual Opening Day at Priddis.  Although the snow cover limits some of things that need to be done on the courses, there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of other chores to be done.  We are frantically attempting to get these jobs finished, so that when we can get out on the course to remove tarps from the greens and prepare the greens, tees and bunkers for play, these other tasks will have been completed so the courses can be setup and ready to go.

Besides all the work being done with the Tree Management program that has already been talked about in previous blogs, there are lots of golf course accessories and equipment that needs to be attended to.  Some of which include the repainting of hundreds of out of bounds & water hazard markers, checking and assembling hundreds of bunker rakes, cleaning over 100 on course garbage/recycle containers, cleaning all ball washers and adding new towels, assembling hole signs and other on-course signage all of which have to be installed on the course before we can open.  The maintenance shop has been busy servicing the 100 club owned golf carts (plus resident carts), utility carts and trailers.  There are also large fairway mowers, rough mowers, tee mowers, greens mowers and hand mowers that need to be cleaned, serviced and blades sharpened and ready to be put into service.  (This same equipment service has to be performed on a daily basis throughout the golf season.)

The Turf Care Department takes great pride in everything they do to provide the members with the best golf experience they possibly can.  Many things that they do everyday may not even be noticed or are just taken for granted because they are always done. (which is actually our goal.)  So, next time you are out on the course take a look at how carefully the fairways and greens are mowed with nice straight cut lines that add to the beauty of our golf course.   Notice the care taken in raking bunkers for better playability and how all this daily and on going work gets done with as little interference as possible between golfers and the Turf Care teams.

As a club and Turf Care team member, I have learned and come to appreciate even more, just how much work is required to make Priddis Greens such a beautifully fantastic golf course.   I encourage all members to keep talking to friends and co-workers about the value of becoming a member of Priddis Greens so they too can enjoy everything we have here.  You after all, are the best ambassadors of our club and your continued support will help us to improve and grow.

                                                                                                                                                 -  Dave Harron
                                                                                                 Priddis Greens Member (Past President)

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

9 Hawk Pumphouse Work

Turf Care staff  (Steve Lockhart & Ben Spencer) have been modifying the piping configuration in pump house # 4 near 9 Hawk in order to improve the management of the irrigation ponds underdrain system. Throughout the season the liner in 9 Hawk pond comes to the surface due to water pressure caused by high ground water. Fortunately there was an underdrain system designed into the base of the pond to deal with this situation. The only way to keep the liner down is to pump it out which during the golf season interferes with the irrigation system. Prior to this project the irrigation system and the underdrain could not operate at the same time. The issue with the setup in the pumphouse was that there was no way to separate the underdrain water (below the liner) from the effluent water (above the liner), as both sources feed into the same well  in the pumphouse. It is important that the two types of water are separated because environmental regulations only allow effluent water to be pumped off the property once a year. To separate both the effluent and fresh water sources,  a 4" pipe attached to the underdrain system at the bottom of the well was installed. This pipe acts as a well within the well of the effluent water. The pump installed within this new pipe will now be able to pump out the underdrain water, which will prevent the liner in the pond from surfacing and will also now provide the flexibility to operate both the irrigation system and the underdrain system at the same time.

Underdrain source now connected to a separate pipe inside the well (right).
Effluent water source (left).

The pipe for the underdrain being lowered into the well.

A view from the top of the well with the new pipe installed.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Blog Post


The recruitment of seasonal staff is one of the largest and most important endeavours tackled in the off season by the Turf Care Department.  The Assistant Superintendents spend a significant amount of time ensuring the proper people are brought on board to provide the best possible playing conditions at Priddis Greens.  As part of the department’s strategic goals there is a commitment to invest resources towards recruiting, interviewing, and training our team in preparation for the season.  The process begins in mid-January with a letter to all personnel from the previous year inviting them back.  Once we have established who is returning we focus our attention on acquiring new employees. There are many avenues used to meet the department’s requirement of 60 seasonal staff.  Some of which include referrals from our staff and membership, job opportunity websites, newspaper help wanted ads, and university career placement centers.  The Turf Care Department received over 70 applications to fill 16 positions of various capacities.  The pool drawn from was made up of excellent candidates with 6 new employees having previous golf course experience.

The Turf Care Department is fortunate this year to have a return rate of 74% for full-time seasonal employees and 68% for part-time.  The success achieved with such a large return rate can be directly attributed to the great working environment and the culture that has been fostered over the years in our department.  Those who have worked in Turf Care enjoy coming back year after year because of this focus put on the workplace.  Some have been returning for a few years while others are being recognized for 15-20 years of service.

Another key to staff retention is a development program in place with our part-time employees.  They are mainly comprised of high school students and the program sees them move up the ranks to full-time employment once they enter their university years.  We call them the Farm Team, very similar to that of a hockey team.  This allows us to groom them while they are young and prepare them for full-time responsibilities down the road.  There are currently 7 members of our full-time crew that are graduates of this program.

Course Update

It should be no surprise to any of us that Mother Nature has once again delayed the arrival of spring.  The Turf Care Team is still working hard in preparing the golf courses despite the 4 inches of snow received earlier this week.  Although there is not much Turf Care can do to the turf at this point, the crew continues to stay busy. 

There is a push to move snow with the tractor mounted snow blowers from the shaded sides of holes into the trees.  This helps facilitate drying out the turf in areas that would normally hang wet or hold the snow due to the low sun angles.

Turf Care staff are taking advantage of this poor weather by making progress with our tree management program.  Daily there are two chainsaws continuing the removal of dead and dying trees on the 36-hole property.  There is a crew working alongside them picking-up the logs and chipping all the branches as they go. You will be informed on a weekly basis as to when there is firewood available in the compound. 

Time is also being spent in the shop building golf course accessories that have recently arrived from our suppliers.  From benches to ballwashers, additions to the course both new and old are getting the once over to ensure they are ready for the upcoming season.

New Turf Care Twitter Feed

Please follow @PGTurfCare on Twitter for all the latest updates on conditions and other information regarding day to day golf course operations at Priddis Greens.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Week in Review March 30th - April 4th

Turf Care Staff Orientation

On Saturday March 30th the annual Turf Care staff spring orientation took place. There were 56 staff members that spent 5 hours in the annual orientation program. During the orientation all staff members learn about the clubs mission and vision and how their role contributes to the success of the club.  This large group of staff also go through Occupational Health and Safety training, WHMIS training, learn many of the club's policies and procedures and are given a presentation about the club's environmental program - the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System for Golf.

Following this training that takes place in the comfort of the club house dining room the entire group moves over to the Turf Care Operations Facility to complete a 1.5 hr training session in break out groups. Each staff member will be given a training session in the maintenance shop and learn equipment safety and shop etiquette, also a yard tour where they are shown where they can park equipment, how to safely fuel and wash equipment as well as many nuances to the outside compound that are important for safety and efficiency. The final breakout group is a meeting in the staff lunch and locker room where all staff have more club policies explained such as how golf privileges work. Also uniform fitting and staff schedules are explained.

The end goal of this orientation training is to ensure that on a  first day of work, staff members understand their role and are prepared to contribute to the success of the operation in a safe and effective manner.

Driving Range opened April 2nd.

With very warm weather on Sunday and Monday, enough snow melted that staff were able to prepare the driving range for opening on Tuesday April 2nd. A beautiful day with temperatures pushing 20 degrees saw many members working off the winter rust. It was great for all staff to see many familiar faces returning after a long winter.

Golf Course Preparations / Spring Conditions

With 10 staff starting this week Turf Care Department were able to take advantage of a few warm days earlier in the week and begin preparations to get the golf course open. As of Tuesday afternoon we were able to inspect 12 of the 40 greens that no longer have snow on them. We are encouraged with the turf conditions on the greens and that we have been able to inspect so far. There is still a lot of snow to melt before we are able to perform the essential maintenance tasks required before opening the golf course. However, because the sun is higher in the sky this time of year, it does not take long with a week of good weather.

Covers coming off 15 Hawk green this week. Staff removed this cover because melting snow was trapped under the cover.
Staff removing standing water before it re freezes, then the green was covered again.

16 Raven - South exposed areas with little shade are almost snow free

Small area of weak turf (8 Raven) that was not sprayed with snow mold fungicide in October

#1 Raven remains snow covered
13 raven green cleared and looking good so far
Ice covering the pond on 15 Raven. We have observed over the years that the golf course is ready to open within a day or two, once the ice is off this pond.

Vole damage on turf surrounding a vole bait station (Cheeky)