Saturday, September 28, 2013

Thankfully, the past two days have been mostly rain free and the course is beginning to slowly dry out.  The maintenance crew has been working overtime to make up for time lost due to weather over the past week and will continue throughout the weekend.  Pond levels are slowly receding with the help of additional trash pumps, and should vacate the fairways over the weekend allowing us to complete the first cut on every surface by Monday.

  While the course is getting drier, it is important to remember that while we are able to begin mowing most of the surfaces, the mowing heights had to be raised significantly to avoid causing a decline in plant health that would be felt throughout the winter months.  The standard rule of mowing heights is that removing any more than 1/3 of the leaf tissue at one time will significantly reduce the health of the plant.  With the height of all short grass surfaces being below 1/2 an inch when the golf course is open, missing multiple mows means we have had to raise the heights significantly and will need to work them back down one day at a time.

  The greens are mowed seven days a week to achieve acceptable green speeds, with the fairways, tees and approaches being mowed a minimum of three times a week to avoid removing too much leaf tissue at one time.  In order to account for the missed cuts we will be increasing the number of times each surface is mowed over the next week allowing us to work the mowing heights down incrementally without shocking the plants.

  Another point to remember is that each surface, with the exception of the rough, is only 90 days old, and it takes a year for the plants to fully mature.  While it would be possible to simply scalp down all of the playing surfaces in order to open sooner than next Friday, doing so would be a disservice to the entire membership as the shock to young plants would cause a slow decline of plant health throughout the cooler months and likely result in less satisfying playing conditions.  Both the pro shop and golf maintenance staff are just as disappointed by the unavoidable delay as the membership is, but to disregard the conditions of the golf course for the entire season in order to gain one week would be unforgivable.  We ask that you bear with us for one more week and allow us the opportunity to provide you with a golf experience worthy of your patience over the past four months.

The greens were fertilized on Thursday to replace nutrients flushed through the soil profile by the excessive rain.

A close up view showing the difference between our target height of cut and the current height.

View from the cart path to #4 green.  The pond is nearly halfway across the fairway, but is receding quickly.

The tee and approach mowers filled their carts with clippings after only 5 holes.

This shot from the afternoon shows how far the water has retreated thanks to the addition of a second pump.

The water feature at the fourth tee will recede as the level of the pond it drains to drops.

We were able to mow a number of the fairways at the increased height of cut this afternoon.

Despite the increase in mowing height, the fairway mowers still removed a lot of grass.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Opening Delayed Due to Flooding

Over the past several days, Avila has received substantial rainfall in excess of 6 inches. Unfortunately, this has delayed our opening date for the golf course which was previously set for September 27th. Our maintenance staff was eager to share the results of our summer renovation with everyone, but the substantial rainfall has delayed us for several reasons.

Nearly the entire property is at field capacity, and our soils simply cannot hold any more water, creating runoff and puddling that will take several days to drain. In addition to final touch ups prior to opening, the rains have added additional work to our schedule including bunker repairs, pumping water bodies down to normal levels, and repairing mulch and pine straw washouts throughout the course. Our staff will continue with final preparations and course repairs with a new target opening date of October 4th though an earlier opening is plausible. Please feel free to check in with the pro shop in the coming days for more information regarding an opening date.
View from #1 Tee
Right of the white tee on #3
#4 Tee
#4 Fairway
Pumping down pond levels
#7 pond

Canal overflow at #11 green

#14 Fairway

#15 at the green

Fairway bunker flooding on #16

Friday, September 13, 2013

Nearly there...

  The past month has been a busy one around the golf course here at Avila.  The grounds maintenance team has been working diligently to hone the course and prepare all of the new surfaces for play.  We are all getting excited as we see our hard work come to fruition, and each new day brings us closer to the exceptional playing conditions we have been striving towards.  Below are a few pictures from the past month, some of the processes shown have been repeated multiple times to refine each surface.  Others depict some of the final touches being applied to prepare for the course opening.  The tentative opening date is Friday September 27th, and more information regarding the opening weekend will be sent out next week from the golf shop.

The Bunkers have received a bit of attention to provide more consistent lies

Sand was added or removed as necessary in addition to being tilled, evened out, and tamped, as shown above, to help eliminate fried egg lies

Rolling all surfaces of the new #3
All of the tees and approaches have been topdressed with sand to smooth the surface, improve plant health, and provide better playability

Dragging in the topdressing sand

#4 Green

The rebuilt bunker on the right side of #16 green

#6 approach

#2 view from the fairway

This week, fresh pine straw was added to all of the bed areas

Even Randy couldn't resist getting in on the action