Wednesday, April 17, 2013

17th Hole Progress

   During the past couple of days, we experienced a nice break in the cold and rainy weather pattern that we've been stuck in, which allowed us to finally focus our efforts on preparing the 17th hole approach for bentgrass sod. Many hours were spent hand-raking and perfecting the soil sub-grade before the new sod could be laid out. Once we were satisfied with the soil preparations, we began to cut all of the necessary sod from our large bentgrass nursery, which you may have seen on the driving range.

Carefully laying out the new bentgrass sod.
The finished product.

   We are extremely happy with how the approach turned out. In the coming weeks, we will be fertilizing and frequently topdressing the approach so it can be ready to withstand excessive play. Also, we will be installing bluegrass sod around the approach and bunker to finish up the area.

   Also, we were able to finish our green's aerification on the golf course, yesterday. To date, aerification has been completed on the greens, tees and fairways. We still plan to aerify all the collars and approaches once the weather clears again.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

2013 Golf- Finally!

We are pleased to announce that the golf course is now open!  Old Man Winter just did not want to relinquish his snowy grip on the golf course throughout March.  We were hoping for an early spring much like 2012 to get a jump on projects and preparations for the Principal Charity Classic.  We did not get the weather we wanted and now, with our backs to the wall, we will be working long hours to finish projects and prep the course for the Champions Tour.

I see this as a good opportunity to outline our preparations and to let our members know what they can expect to see on the golf course this spring.  We still have some heavy lifting to do and not much time to do it.  We will try and keep updates on the blog, but we will be very busy. 

The rock wall on 17 was finished last fall, but we have yet to sod the approach.  Preparations for sod were underway before winter.  The irrigation has been repaired, the bunker was repaired, and the area has been rough graded.  We were fortunate to have waited through winter before finishing as we experienced some settling behind the wall.  Criteria for finishing this project are dry soil conditions and warmer temperatures to break turf dormancy.  We will finish this project as soon as possible and have 17 back in play once the sod has rooted down.  We also have to sod the construction trail through the rough at 5 tee.

Bunker renovations continue on holes 6, 7, 8, 9, old 9, and the chipping green.  There are 9 bunkers in total.

We will also continue with some tree work throughout the property.  You will see where we removed several trees this winter.  The majority of these removals were due to death, decay, and damage- trees which were aesthetically compromised or posed a safety issue to our golfing members and spectators.  We will also be renting an aerial lift to prune damaged branches and to open a few lanes for the tour.  The PGA Rules officials have already visited the property and have confirmed that the course will "play from the tips" and have requested we trim up a few trees to accommodate the abilities of the tour players.

The event management team will begin constructing tents, grandstands, and offices the week of April 15.  The course will resemble a construction zone for six weeks, but the people performing this work are a great group of professionals who are very experienced.

All this is going to occur amidst our regular spring activities such as: putting up the range net, raking sticks, blowing leaves, mowing, raking bunkers, etc.

You will also notice a couple other minor changes.  For example, we will not be painting hazards until after the tournament has ended.  The tour will simply mark the course differently for the Pros than we do for our members. We want to avoid the situation where there is any residual paint causing confusion in rules enforcement.  Also, you will see us mowing "dew strips" or "walk paths" from the tee to the fairway on most holes.  These walk paths are temporary and we will simply allow them to return to regular rough following the tournament.

 Finally, we are currently expanding the practice tee to the southeast.  The event promotion team has determined that the tour players will be able to hit drivers diagonally from the southeast to the northwest if the tee is extended.  Once the tour has left our members will be able to use this area for drivers!  There will be some logistics to work out for safety's sake but we know this will be a huge improvement for Wakonda.

You are probably beginning to wonder how we are going to pull it off and how is this going to affect the golf course.  We are confident that we will achieve our goals and provide a fantastic venue through hard work and LONG hours.  We do need your patience and understanding this spring.  With all the projects going on we will likely have to sacrifice some routine maintenance.  For example, we may not rake bunkers as often or change the hole locations every day. 

Once the tour has departed there will be a three week period where the course will undergo some repairs.  Bleachers, spectators, and corporate tents will all damage some of the rough and seeding and sodding will be used to repair these areas.

The challenge may seem overwhelming and can be a bit stressful.  But, with hard work, your patience & support, and (hopefully) fair weather we will achieve success one day at a time.  We try to focus on the end goal: once the tour has come and gone we will have made a number of huge improvements to this golf course for you, our members.  We will have state of the art bunkers with the best sand in the state of Iowa.  We will have remedied the failing rock wall on 17.  We will have a range tee capable of drivers.  The resources, publicity, and scrutiny this event will bring to the golf course will ultimately heighten the Wakonda Experience!  We hope you will enjoy this exciting time with us!