Course Blog

Welcome Back Members! – February 27, 2015

The golf course is now officially open for 2015.  We are very excited for you to see the new changes with you own eyes.  Although the weather hasn’t been cooperating lately, it hasn’t stopped us from continuing our projects.  The latest change is on hole #4.  We have expanded the pond to help resolve some drainage issues.  The rough will now continue all the way to the pond so be more careful with club selection.  Besides removing soil, the project required a redesign to the irrigation plans.  A pipe feeding water to the irrigation lines around the green was compromised by the new pond design.  Pipes and wires were installed to go around the pond expansion and reconnect with existing lines.  Once the temperatures warm up enough that sod can be delivered, we will lay and staple the sod to hold it in place while the root systems develops.

Shaping the new shoreline to #4 Pond and removing all native plant material form the proper slope.

Shaping the new shoreline to #4 Pond and removing all native plant material.

It took several days to remove the dozens of loads necessary to form the new pond shape and slope.

It took several days to remove the dozens of loads necessary to form the new pond shape and slope.

All of the soil in front of the excavator was removed to expand the pond size.

All soil in front of the excavator was removed to expand the pond size.

Approximately 1,600 cubic feet of soil were hauled out of the pond.  Daryl is showing a depth of three feet of soil above water line being removed.

Over 2,500 cubic feet of soil were hauled out of the pond.  Daryl is showing a depth of three feet of soil above water line being removed.

The pond is starting to show it's new shape.  The rough will now be maintained to the water's edge now.

The pond is starting to show it’s new shape.  The rough will be maintained to the water’s edge now.

Fresh Air – February 2, 2015

When our greens were built in 1996, they were built with the best materials, products, and ideas available at the time.  All of our greens have drain pipes below the surface to help quickly move excess water from the green.  This drainage system is what allows our greens to firm up quickly for play after a heavy rain.  Some of these drain pipes lead directly down into a body of water.  Unfortunately, new research shows these submerged drain pipes can cause a major problem.  Water can back up in the pipes trapping gases such as hydrogen sulfide, methane, and nitrogen from the decomposing matter in the pipe.  (Remember: Plants need oxygen to complete the respiration process.) When organic materials decompose, they can consume what little oxygen may exist in these drain pipes after that the process continues anaerobically.    These past few weeks, crew members have been installing parts that will solve these issues.  Valves and vents were placed on the pipes near the bodies of water allowing these gases to escape out of the pipe before making its way into the soil underneath the green.  From this installation, we can also close the newly installed gate valve to blow fresh air (using a back-pack blower) into the drain pipes to move oxygen-rich air through the pipe.  This process can also help lower the soil temperature during the hot summer months.  We have completed these installations on greens 9 and 10.  We will be completing the same project on a few more holes before we re-open for play this year.

This drawing shows how our project will benefit the health of our greens  (Image by Craig Loving)

This drawing shows how our project will benefit the health of our greens (Image by Craig Loving)

Several tools and staff were needed to tackle this installation

Several tools and staff were needed to tackle this installation

The is what the vent and valve project look like before installation

The is what the vent and valve project look like before installation

After installation

After installation

Paisa and Bryan complete the final details leaving very little trace of our work

Paisa and Bryan complete the final details leaving very little trace of our work

Christmas Party – December 12, 2014

Our Christmas party is always a big hit with all the employees at the club. Great food was consumed by all and great stories were shared from 2014. Thanks to everyone for stopping by to enjoy.  Hope to see everyone again next year!

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Update: #5 Fairway Bunker Facelift – November 26, 2014

The crew has completed the newly shaped fairway bunker just before Thanksgiving.  It took many hours of hard work and team effort but we all enjoyed doing it.  The Grounds Team at Flint Hills National takes great pride in the small details on the golf course which is why we continue to be nationally ranked every year.

Bryan poses with his excavator.  His skills played a key role in the dirt shaping for the new bunker design.

Bryan poses with his excavator. His skills played a key role in the dirt shaping for the new bunker design.

The staff is proud of their work. Pictured L to R: Ken, Trevor, Lizandro, Ernesto, Jared, and Paisa.

The staff is proud of their work. Pictured L to R: Ken, Trevor, Lizandro, Ernesto, Jared, and Paisa.

Before:  Notice how the white sand is not visible from the tee.

Before: Notice how the white sand is not visible from the tee just beyond the fairway.

After:  Now the sand can be seen from all tee boxes making this bunker no longer a hidden hazard.

After: Now the sand can be seen from all tee boxes making this bunker no longer a hidden hazard.

#5 Fairway Bunker Facelift – November 17, 2014

With the new professional tee construction, Hole 5 is stretching further and further. From the new back tee, the right side fairway trap is becoming less visible to players. Decisions have been approved to raise the lip of the bunker a few feet improving the bunker’s visibility from all tee boxes. Boards were staked into place to begin a clearly defined bunker lip.  Existing sand was shoveled back from the outer edges by hand to prevent soil contamination during the project.

Brian speeding up the process with his excavator

Bryan speeds up the process with his excavator skills

The staff has battled blistering cold weather this past week in order to stay on schedule with our list of winter projects. Many weekday mornings reached single digit temperatures turning the soil into ice blocks. Special heaters were brought out to make the soil more pliable for shaping.  You can see the heater in the image below.

Using a vibratory soil compactor to provide firm bunker face for players

Using a vibratory soil compactor to provide a firm bunker face for playability

Once the face is firmed up enough, new bunker liner material will be stapled in place to prevent soil from mixing into our white sand over time.  This liner also helps prevent native weeds from growing.

The newly defined edge to #5 right fairway bunker

The newly defined edge to #5 right fairway bunker

With the new bunker face flashed up, players will see a few feet of highly visible white sand from every angle.   Now everyone will be aware of the dangers lurking for a long, straight tee shot.