The first load of sod came in this past Tuesday and I think that afternoon we almost hit 80 degrees. Not ideal conditions for laying sod. Not only did the heat put a lot of fatigue on the guys, it also put a lot of stress on the sod and I really thought I was going to loose some of it. The crew knew this stuff had to get off the pallets and many of them put in 12 hours that day to get the job done. I honestly have the best crew ever. They did get the job done, we got the water on it, and I'm happy to say we didn't loose any sod. The first thing finished was sodding of the bunker floor. Once the sod on the floor is established and rooted in, it will be sprayed out and the bunker sand will be installed. The sod decomposes under the sand and becomes an impermeable layer which protects the bunker sand from being contaminated by rocks or native soil within the bunker floor. There are many fabrics or other materials being used in the industry to line the floors of bunkers. Simply put, at 28 cents/sq ft. (delivered), nothing comes close to the affordability of sod.
Here is the same bunker today. You can see we have cut the sod off the drain lines so there will be rapid infiltration over the drain pipe.
Above is the bunker to the right of #6 green. It really turned out beautiful. Although the grass on the floor looks similar to the grass on the bunker lip, it isn't the same at all. The grass on the floor is straight perennial ryegrass. The grass on the robust lips is fine fescue and it will be kept at a higher mowing height than the surrounding turf which will add a dynamic, classical, rugged look.
Here is a close up of the robust bunker lip which architect John Harbottle III refers to as a "bull-nose" style. I simply love this look and I'll give props again to John and the guys from Ridgetop Inc. for their excellent craftsmanship. Next Tuesday the remainder of the sod will be laid and then its just waiting till there is good enough rooting to kill the stuff and put the sand in. I'm guessing that they will be done for U.S. Open Field Day on June 9th. These bunkers are going to be so cool.
On a side note, our fairway mowing height is back down to 0.340 or 340/1000 of an inch. Now you can again enjoy that extra roll and a lie that allows you to spin it enough to hold the greens.
Lastly, the teeways are definitely starting to take shape. This one on #8 is probably one of the biggest since there is a lot of distance between each set of tees on this monster hole. Next week we will drop the mowing height down and they should be even more defined. I am so excited about the teeways. I love the look, but on top of that, it will for sure be a time saver. Even now in the establishment phase we are enjoying that no longer do we need to mow dew strips and rough between tees. Our efficiency is already improved. Next week we will take them down to 500/1000 or 1/2" and then we will stop mowing the tee decks with the walkers. That will save at least 16 man hours a week. Stay tuned for next weeks pictures. The drop to 1/2" will be very noticeable.