Course Blog

Update: Fresh Air – April 13, 2015

Our greens are looking fantastic right now and we work so hard to keep them this way all season. Earlier this year, we posted images of our project to help introduce cool, clean air into the sub layers of our greens.  We will focus our efforts for this task in the early morning.  This allows cooler air to be pushed into the drain pipes which will help raise soil temperatures during the middle of summer.  Below are two videos showing how we intend use this capability to help maintain healthy greens while pushing the fast, firm conditions during the summer months. Staff members will blow air into the drain pipes on a regular schedule to maximize root depths throughout each green.  Pushing our roots deeper allows us to conserve water enabling a better balance of sustainability and playability.

Description:
We have attached back-pack blowers to the open ends of our drain pipes which run underneath #10 green. Our goal was to introduce fresh, cool ambient air into the pipes forcing air out into the gravel layer and soil to provide a healthier growing environment for our roots. We probed holes into the green to check for the strength of air flow. A ping pong ball was placed over the hole to display air flow.  Here’s what we discovered!

 

Please check volume before playing videos.  The engine noise in the background is loud.

Fresh Air 1 (1 of 2) from Dylan Senn on Vimeo.

Fresh Air 2 (2 of 2) from Dylan Senn on Vimeo.

Upcoming Greens Aerification – March 23, 2015

Next Monday, our staff will begin the necessary process of aerifying greens.  We apologize for the inconvenience this brings but it is imperative that we complete this step to provide fast and firm conditions while still maintaining healthy turf.   Our experienced staff work at an arduous pace to open the course as quickly as possible so play can resume.  We target this time of year because temperatures are cool and our bentgrass greens are growing vigorously which allows the plant to heal quickly.  This means the turf will spread and grow laterally to fill in the aerification holes getting back to a true rolling putting surface.  Usually, there will be no sign of aerificiation in about two weeks.

This week, team members are preparing the greens to endure all the stress aerification brings with it by providing  the essential fungicides and nutrients needed to sustain strong, dense turf during recovery.   The equipment managers bring the aerifiers out of storage and inspect it for repairs before we begin.  All equipment is tested on our nursery green to ensure no errors happen on the championship course.  Thank you again for your cooperation as we ramp up the golf course to its high level expectations.

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

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.