Rain Or Shine, Course Enhancement Continues

The Open Doctor doesn’t wilt in the heat…
On Friday July 6, Rees Jones spoke to members attending the member cookout and provided a brief update on the renovation.  Rees also provided insight into how a golf course architect works, while speaking about a few of the many great golf clubs he has impacted with his design talents.  What many in attendance did not see were the hours in the 100+ degree heat Rees spent on the golf course reviewing alterations with Sr. Vice President of Rees Jones Inc., Greg Muirhead.  Rees and Greg have combined for 4 onsite visits to provide feedback and guidance to Old Chatham staff in the first 2 weeks of our project alone during the important stage of implementing alterations to the putting surfaces on the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 11th, 15th, and 18th greens.  All parties involved are excited about the results of the improvements and the interest they will add to the golf course.  It was a special treat for Rees to stay Friday evening with the membership.

And then the rain came…
Old Chatham experienced some heavy rain on July 6th.  As a result of the rain, some temporary damage occurred to some of the construction areas.  While this is not uncommon in this type of work, it is frustrating as it can cause a delay to any carefully planned schedule.  In our case, we have moved the planting of the greens back until July 11 (Wednesday) to accommodate the repairs.  Judging by this week’s forecast, it may not be the first delay we encounter as a result of rainfall.

Green collars get a face lift…
As part of the CEP, Old Chatham is converting its “collars” to a different type of Bermudagrass which should provide a finer playing surface than their predecessor did.  The improved variety (Tifgrand) is a bit more diminutive, and tolerates lower mowing better than the older Bermudagrass (Tifway-419) used previously on the collars.  All 21 collars were successfully replanted last week.
Collar removal and preparation on the 12th green.
Homogenous fairways…
During the previous week, we also removed and replanted the landing area (fairway) on the 7thhole to homogenize the turf used on that hole.  In the past we had replaced only an area of turf with a more winter hardy Zoysiagrass to better withstand winters.  With the work completed last week, the entire fairway will look and play uniformly and survive the winter more efficiently.
Removal of grasses on 7th fairway.
Preparation to plant grasses on 7th fairway.
Replanted 7th fairway.

Also, the 2nd fairway has had the same process completed as of this post, and we hope to complete the final fairway we are impacting similarly, the 12th hole, next week.


Rock Chalk Jay Hawk…
The staff isn’t turning into Kansas fans, and we certainly aren’t for anything with the word “Rock” in it.  As part of the new bunker installations, we are relocating irrigation pipe and wiring at 5 of the sites we are adding new bunker complexes.  If you ever wanted to know what it’s like to run a 96 pound jack hammer in 105 degree heat with no shade, we’ve got an experienced staff that can now talk at length about it.  It was a happy day when the jack hammer we were renting went back to the rental store.  I think the staff hopes it doesn’t find its way back to Old Chatham again.
Jack Hammer work to remove rock in irrigation trench in 18th hole rough.
A few more statistics:
(6) Most consecutive days of 100+ degree weather ever recorded at RDU July 3-8
(105) Highest temperature ever recorded at RDU July 8, 2012
(17) Number of days staff has worked out of a possible 18 despite record heat to continue schedule
(45)  Number of man hours spent raising or lowering irrigation heads around greens to accommodate changes to green surround undulation changes
(55) Number of minutes remaining prior to his flight when Rees Jones left Old Chatham for RDU Friday night
(15,000) Number of square feet of new Caviler Zoysiagrass on the 7th and 2nd fairways

What’s next?
Planting of Greens Wednesday July 11, 2012
Removal of non-homogenous grass on hole 12 fairway and replanting – week of July 16
Begin removal of dilapidated concrete cart path areas
Additional work on new bunker complexes
Continued leveling near greens as new construction work settles – ongoing
Mowing fairways, tees, rough, bunker banks etc… (It would seem the grass on the golf course is oblivious to all the other work we have to do and continues to grow)
Best wishes,
Brian Powell, CGCS

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