Golf Course Management

JAN 2017

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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56 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 01.17 timetable. What if we decided to spray out a part of the golf course we weren't permitted to renovate? If a government agency shut us down after the fact, what would we do? To help navigate these tricky waters, the club enlisted Scott McGuire of Knight, Mc - Guire & Associates, an engineering firm with extensive experience in golf course construc - tion projects. Much of Riomar's front nine is within what's known as the Coastal Con - struction Control Line — established to help preserve beaches and protect against erosion — where any work requires a field permit from the FDEP. The permit would allow the club to work within the zone as long as said work resulted in no net loss of earth from the area. With all of those ducks in a row, the final preliminary step was to propose the project to the membership, and it would require a ma - jority vote to gain final approval. To pitch the initiative, I prepared a "What to Expect" Pow - erPoint presentation based on my previous ex- periences with renovation work. (While super- intendent at Dolphin Golf Course at Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Fla., from 2010 to 2014, we rebuilt the greens and the bunkers, constructed a new short-game facility, and re - grassed fairways, tees and approaches to Cel- ebration bermudagrass.) Along with the visual aid, Riomar's trea - surer, Ted Michael, explained the financial ob- ligations of the project, Haverland described how the project had evolved to its current point, and Fazio answered questions relative to the proposed scope of the work. Member - ship gathered to vote in mid-December 2014, and in an unprecedented showing of support, the proposal passed with all but two votes cast in favor. Digging in Early 2015 saw the team meet several times to review plan details and make tweaks as needed to ensure the aggressive, seven-month construction schedule would be feasible. On Monday, April 6, construction commenced, and by the beginning of May, Riomar was completely closed and the renovation was in full swing. The trio of Superior Golf Concepts proj - ect manager Kevin Patterson, Fazio and myself quickly established an order of op - erations. One crew of workers got started on the construction of new USGA greens, and another began the process of stripping and burying the old turf. That process was made more challenging by the fact that the bury pits needed to be found among existing irri - gation lines, as the course's relatively new irri- gation system wasn't being replaced. After old turf was disposed of in the bury pits, drainage was shot into the subsurface, and sand mined from digging the bury pits was transported around the property to raise the grade of the fairways. This was one of the most remarkable as - pects of the project. The back nine required more than 50,000 cubic yards of fill to raise the grade by 12 inches, and all of this fill came from bury pits and pond excavations around the property — none of it was pur - chased off-site. We estimated this saved more than $500,000. The majority of the fill mined was of beach sand spec, so it drains at a phe - nomenal rate — much faster than any fill we could have brought in. Now, when it rains at Riomar, the back nine drains faster than the front nine. Taking all that into consideration, the fact that the back nine went from old turf to new sprigs in just two months' time was incredible. Granted, we did get some serious help from Mother Nature. Throughout the first 100 days of the project, only 7.5 inches of rain fell, and we lost zero days of work to weather. We finished grassing on July 15 — day 100 — and then, like clockwork, the typical Florida sum - mer rains came. Over the next 100 days, we received just under 30 inches of rainfall, mak - ing the grow-in a breeze. A personal goal I'd set for myself with this project was to keep Riomar's membership — who had shown tremendous support through - Superintendent PJ Salter on Riomar's third green, post-renovation. Since wrapping up the improvements to Riomar in 2015, PJ has taken on the role of director of agronomy at Riviera Country Club in Coral Gables, Fla., where he'd previously worked as assistant superintendent from 2006 to 2010. Photo by Jared Blais The back nine required more than 50,000 cubic yards of fill to raise the grade by 12 inches, and all of this fill came from bury pits and pond excavations around the property.

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