Thursday, November 29, 2007

1500 GPM - gallons per minute

It can run higher (1800 gpm), but in the picture the pump station is flowing 1493 gallons per minute at 98 psi. The lower the pressure the more efficient. It isn't uncommon to have pumps running at 125+ psi and higher. We do not have to traverse any mountains.

The demands of water at grow-in are the greatest and what the pump station is often designed around. We've had a very gradual grow-in and do have quite a bit of flexability for our regular watering regime - which translates to a low concern for the demand on the pumps -- and the lake is pleanty big.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Installing the Pump

What is long and blue and has a head and bowls? The above photo shows the installation of one of three pumps into the wet well. The long blue item is the pump -- the motor will sit on top once installed. The round things are called the bowls and each one has an impeller inside. It gets lowered into the well up to the flange and gets bolted to the green base that sits above the hole from the pictures earlier this week. The water exits through the discharge head and passes through the filters (the red horizontal component). The filtered water then merily passes along the network of pipes until it exits through a rotor or sprinkler.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Irrigation Wet Well almost finished

Taking my cue from the survey at right (please share your opinion)... This picture was taken last winter, note the jackets. Here the crew is adding the third stage to the wet well. The lake is connected at the bottom and the pumps will sit on top of the hole and draw the water out and it is fed by the lake. Aside from the final structure being the Taj Mahal of pump houses, what I found most unique was where we had the pump station located. The picture below gives a hint.

This 24" diameter pipe is what we used to connect the lake to the pump station. Each piece is 14' long, and not all are shown. The unique part is that the pump is over 600' away from the lake -- hidden in the trees. We went to great lengths to hide everything that wasn't grass or a bunker. This link contains a picture from a previous post about our maintenance facility. The stone road passes through the two buildings and then heads to the pump station, which is near the end of the live oaks. If you look at the far left edge of the picture you will see the beginning of the lake -- 600 feet away. The cleaner unincumbered look was very much worth the effort. It is also much easier to get to the pump station from the maintenance facility, and it is on the way to the course so Don and the staff will easiliy be able to check on the pump throughout the day.

Irrigation Crew starting the Wet Well

The crew is the Irrigation Crew, and yesterday's picture was the hole dug for the wet well. The hole is this large for safety reasons, the steps keep the walls from collapsing. It is this deep because it connects the bottom of the lake with the pump station. The opening in the concrete base attaches to the pipe in the lower portion of the picture which runs to the lake. I'll share a sketch and more details tomorrow.

Please fill out the survey, it will be open for two weeks.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Where is this crew?

In honor of adding a new item to the blog -- a coming soon section -- I'm asking two questions: Where is this crew? and What would you most like to see in the future?

To the right I've listed some ideas that I will be posting for this blog -- some sooner -- some later. I'd say this picture falls under the catagory of "behind the scenes construction". Everything about this project has been interesting to me. I'd very much like some your opinions about what is interesting and what you'd like to see or learn. Please let me know what coming soon items would be of most interest and any other topics are welcome too. I added a survey above the coming soon section for easier feedback.


Friday, November 23, 2007

A Big Swale

Please note the banner image above. The 8th & 18th greens are a large double green. They are separated by a large swale that can be seen in the above picture. I'm standing on the edge of the 8th green for the picture.

Originally the greens weren't attached. During the refinement process, I kept shifting the 8th green towards the 9th tee, eventually it got so close to the 18th green it seemed natural to join the greens. They aren't attached by a thin mow strip -- a gimmick I've seen often -- but from above look like one giant green. The combined surfaces are approximately 13,000 sft.

This complex is going to be a blast to practice on and have short game matches through the evening hours.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

The crew put in an extra effort yesterday. Two truck loads of sod -- as can seen by the mud on the front of everyones shirts. The beers tast that much better in a perfect setting sun.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

15th Green getting greener and meaner

The above picture is of the 15th green - a short hole of 150 - 180 yards. I showed an image approximately 2 months ago of the finished (or polished) surface just prior to planting - see here. The camera is looking back towards the tee. Those ripples are 2-4 feet deep and both surround and bleed into the green. The putting surface is the largest on the course and its final shape won't be exact until we start mowing -- the green grass was planted into the surrounds as well. This should help minimize grassing lines, create tighter chipping areas, eliminate the need for a collar and provide flexibility for mowing. I've never seen a green like this one before. I love it.

Monday, November 19, 2007


I thought this moth looked more like Snuffleupagus from the back. All the pictures featured on this blog have been taken with a Canon SD500 Elph. This one was with the macro setting.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The 13th From Above

I thought the above plan view of the 13th would help explain the playability. It looks like there is a bit of room between the last bunker and the green, but that is only from above as the ground slopes downhill away from the bunker across the back of the green. The two bunkers are also built in a rather large land form -- if you hit the left side of the fairway, you will not be able to see a back pin. This hole is quite testing.

The 13th

This is one of the bigger bunkers on the course -- although there is one bigger just a few yards away. The one pictured is nestled next to the 13th green -- the sand to the right of the bunker. It is the longest par 4 on the course -- pretty close to 500 yards depending on your tee -- it is also downwind. If the ball carries the bunker it may bound down to the green, or maybe a little long. You could always play to the right side of the fairway and not have to contend with the bunker -- depending on pin location.

You can see the two biggest bunkers on the course in the new banner image on top of this page. The one to the right is much nastier.

Earlier Holes Featured: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 -11 - 12 - 14 - 15 .

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Virescent Green Grass Growing In

The above picture was taken of the 17th green. It is growing in very well. It is very exciting for me to see the changes in person each visit. We did a number of things quite differently with both the design and construction of the greens. Don mowed one of the greens yesterday - the 2nd. He said it was very large and took him a long time to mow. I'll tell a good story about the 2nd green when I get a picture of it looking good in the early morning light. It is a stunning green.

Can you guess what type of grass this is?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Turfnet: The Newsletter

Recently Don and I were interviewed for an article in Turfnet: The Newsletter. The story was based on our use of GPS at our project. Please click if you'd like to read.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A new bunker....

It has been many months since we've added, or removed, a bunker at the course. This week we are going to do one of each. I should say we may be replacing a tiny one with a bigger one. The above image is a sketch of what the proposed bunker will look like -- it is the one in the middle background. It looks good in the picture, and we'll see how it looks on the ground. Don wasn't looking for any new projects, but this one seems worth the small expense. This is the last area we are grassing -- it should be covered in sprigs and sod in a week or two.

Friday, November 9, 2007


The first armadillo I tracked on site was in the woods at the beginning of the project -- he had the advantage. This is the first one I saw on open ground -- my advantage. He was trotting along the 11th fairway. I learned that I am quite a bit faster than one -- my legs are longer, but he really didn't get the idea of a trap, or he knew I was just bluffing as he ran right by me. I also did learn that I'm not as fast as one when I'm trying to take a picture....

Thursday, November 8, 2007


Wednesday, November 7, 2007


The cold season is upon us. It was a chilly 70 degrees today in Houston – a few warmer at the golf course. Don was determined to not use any sod at all for the grassing -- if we didn't have the rainiest year ever I'm sure he would have succeeded.

Sod is more costly as compared with spriging -- many modern courses sod the entire golf course at an expense between 1/2 & 1 Million US dollars (sprigging is a small fraction of that expense). When sprigging we also control the plant’s growing medium, either sand or sandy loam and all the nutrients – sod farms usually grow their grass in Texas gumbo soils – although our sod farm is top notch. The sprigs also get trained from an early age towards our final maintenance practices -- deep infrequent watering. (Golf turf bermuda grasses are either sprigged or sodded -- there are no seeds)

Well with only a bunch of grassing days left it was decided we'd need some sod to finish. It looks very much like it will be completely grassed by early next week -- "grassed out" is the industry term. I'm still rooting for an Indian Summer to keep everything growing.

In the picture above the crew is sodding around a drain basin. Water collects at the basin while watering -- it is too wet during the heavier demands of growing in the sprigs. The sod gives the area a great big head start. The black plastic pipe is the basin before trimming. The pipe is perforated to allow water in and keep soil infiltration to a minimum -- this one flows back into our irrigation lake. After sodding we trim it and install a small green color drain grate.

Congratulations everyone. I’ll be bringing a lot more beers on my next couple visits.

Monday, November 5, 2007

14 - Long

The 14th hole is a longish par 5. The tee shot has several bunkers in play, and not so in play. During the final phases of routing there was a beautiful live oak and I couldn't decide which way to go around the tree. Don suggested playing around it, we could always cut it down. I would have been uncomfortable with the idea, even though our client expressed his fondness of the live oaks on site from the very beginning. I think it is working out very well. We'll see how it plays very soon.

My favorite aspect of the hole is the crowned fariway in the 2nd landing area -- just past the tree. It was a natural turtle-back bookended by two existing drainage swales.

You can also see the green in the foreground -- it is quite undulated. It is just after sprigging the green -- it will be rolled several times and take on a perfectly smooth appearance once cutting and rolling have become part of our regular maintenance.

Earlier Holes Featured: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 12 - 11 - 15 .

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The weather is just fine for grassing

It was in the mid 80’s today. It looks like we are getting a good planting season this fall. It is a race now to the first frost. We are very, very close. In the picture above we are prepping the 10th hole, I’m shooting from over the 9th green side bunker -- which is also prepped.

It is incredible what Don is accomplishing with a crew 1/3 the typical size.

It is going to be verdant this spring -- I'm hoping for a hot winter.
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