Friday, March 27, 2020


By now you more than likely have heard that the playing field is closed due to the "stay at home" order given by Gov. Inslee.  You are allowed to walk the grounds and get some fresh air, but for everyone's safety we have removed most of the objects that can be touched and may spread the virus (i.e. bunker rakes, flagsticks, sand and seed bottles etc.).  The order is effective for a minimum of 2 weeks, and as we wait to see what happens next, I thought I'd update you on what this means for our maintenance operations.  
Fortunately we were given 48 hours notice before the order took effect and during that time we scrambled to lay 12,000 sqft of sod to finish off some of our projects like the new fine turf wrap around the putter.......
and the removal of the cart path on 7 tee.
We also closed up the area of disturbance by the new buffer near the 8th green..........
and behind the 9th green.  Yes, the new sod is a little off color, but this turf came from a farm on the east side near Moses Lake and over there it's quite a bit colder so the plants are slightly dormant.  In a week or two the new sod should green up. 
I'm excited to report that we were also able to aerify greens before the "stay at home" order went into effect.
This is very good news.  By the time we re-open, the greens will be healed up and in pristine condition considering they will have 14 days of rest.  So during this "stay at home" order we are allowed to maintain the golf course, but in a manner that is considered the minimum level of maintenance to ensure the property retains its value.  We have reduced the staff's schedule so that there are only a few individuals here each day.  This means we can keep the grass mowed and apply disease control products when necessary.  
We will also be applying some virus control products.  This bottle of bleach solution is our new friend, and we are spraying down everything at the maintenance facility in order to keep things disinfected.  This is another reason we are keeping a minimum number of staff on site each day.  The fewer people we have moving around at the shop the easier it is to keep things clean and maintain social distancing.  

Sunday, March 15, 2020

The Putter

If you've been around the Club at all lately then you undoubtedly noticed the work being done around the main putting green.  What's happening?  Well, as good as the putting green is at Tacoma, we're about to make it much better.  To put it simply, we're adding an area of fine turf around the putter so you can practice putting from off the green.  This sounds easy and it is, but the putter covers about 10,000 square feet so there is a lot sod to move in order to complete this project.  We should be finished in a few days but here is what we've done so far. 
First we removed all the rough from around the putting surface.  That rough sod was then hauled down to #11 and used to make repairs on those areas where we released some native oak trees.
Then we lifted the putting green surface on the north corner where it was really too steep to be usable given today's green speeds.  
We imported some quality sand to elevate that area, making it less steep and giving us the opportunity to create a feature that resembles something you commonly encounter on the golf course. 

The new feature in front of the putter has a slope of about 18% which is the same as the slope to the right of the second green or to the left of the 8th green.

We are currently in the process of installing the new fine turf which is being harvested from the 18th fairway near the forward tee.

This area will be restored using aerification cores generated during our normal fairway aeration process next month.  

I'm very happy with how it's turning out. The crew is working very hard and I'm always amazed by their level of skill with this type of project.  Lastly, this new putting green space is just that, a place for putting.  It is only going to be great, and stay great if people respect that this green is for putting only.  As always, there is NO CHIPPING allowed at the main putting green.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Making Omelets

You know the saying, "You can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs".  Well, we are definitely breaking some eggs right now as all our winter projects have gotten started, but the wet weather won't allow us to finish anything. Our average rainfall in January is upwards of 6 inches and we are already there with still a week left to go.   The rain and snow has made it challenging, but things are finally starting to come together. We're almost done making messes and the team is excited to get things cleaned up and restored.  I guess you could say we're ready to pour the omelet into the pan.  Here's an update our winter projects.
 We always have a project planned for when it snows.  Weather like this is limiting, but with good planning we can always keep the crew working at peak efficiency.  Last year when it snowed we expanded the parking lot at the practice hole.  It was then that the Committee and the Board discussed the next snow event and put in motion the project you see here which is to replace the huge cedar trees in the guest parking lot.  They had simply gotten too big for their space.

This is what it looks like today.  The stumps have been pulled out and we'll be getting some new plant material for these planting strips as soon as possible.  Typically, it isn't till March or April when we can get a nursery to dig up and deliver new plants.  In the meantime it looks pretty good, and it's certainly a lot safer now that you can clearly see down the road when trying to pull out of the parking lot.  The project on the 8th green is also starting to look a lot better.  The new evergreen buffer is going in quickly.  Check out this series of pictures.

Here's another series of pictures from a different angle.

You can see that we're about half way done with the planting phase.  It looks fantastic and there is so much more light, air, and space to play golf over there near the greenside bunker.  I knew this project was going to turn out great, but it's already exceeded my expectations.  Things aren't going so well on holes 11 and 7 where we're working on an "oak release" project. Work started on New Years Day but since then little has been done given the wet weather.

Getting the trees off the property requires the use of big machines and to avoid injury to the fairways we need to wait a little longer for the right opportunity.  Lastly I want to show you where we're at with the project on #9 green near the driving range tee.

Yes it's kind of a mess right now but once we get a couple of dry days this should come together quickly. The new plants have been dug out and they should easily be transplanted to this location when the opportunity arises. Thank you for your patience as we try and get these omelets cooked up to perfection.