Last September there was nothing but dirt and dust in our former driving range. Slowly over approximately two months, the area transformed into what will become our new Practice Facility.
A large amount of earthworks happened last fall making significant improvements for our future.
This photo was taken on the Thursday before the Thanksgiving weekend, sod had been installed ringing the new practice greens and bunkers. By the Sunday the entire new Practice Facility had been seeded and the new greens had been tarped. We had perfect weather heading into winter and witnessed light germination to all areas before snow cover. Of course we all know what happened over the following four and a half months.
When we removed tarps from the greens in April we had respectable catch to the putting greens. The rest of the practice facility was another story, for weeks we could not find any living grass on the tee deck, and we felt we had lost any where from 70-90% of the seed everywhere else due to the extreme winter weather. We prioritized the greens and course clean-up from the ice storm as the area to receive most of our attention, the practice area had to wait. However, even if we had time to spend on the practice facility growing conditions were so poor we would not have seen any improvements early on and the range is so big we couldn't feasibly tarp it like we did the greens.
Meanwhile inside the practice area we had four separate and somewhat significant washouts. We have Vergeer Golf on stand by to return to repair these washouts when weather co-operates. We have had to cancel them a couple times because weather was not conducive to repairing the washouts. We currently have them scheduled to return this Friday to complete this work. This restoration will not cost the club any additional money as it was part of the original contract.
This is the seeder that originally was used last October to seed all but the greens, and we will be bringing this unit back in to over seed all bluegrass areas in order to fill in the range. We have seen more germination in all areas than we originally found as little as 4 weeks ago, but in order to get this practice area grown in and open we must introduce more seed to replace seed that died off during our winter.
Weeks after the photos above were taken we are mowing all new greens daily, and this photo shows significant growth compared to the 3rd picture above.
This is the tee deck which has a good overall haze of green growth, but as you can see below...
...this is not at all dense enough. Over seeding will take place soon and with the perfect weather finally with us we will see a significant jump to the growth. Weeds beginning to grow along with the grass is of no concern at all. Most will not survive the first time we mow the area, and an application of weed killer after the grass is mature enough to handle the application will complete the control measures. Although we are behind where we had planned to be only because of the long winter and cold spring, we are picking up speed and will get this practice area open in the not too distance future.