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Driving Range Renovation Update

Jeff Holmes, CGCS, Golf Course Manager

The driving range renovation is practically underway! The landing area is currently very brown because we killed the grass and turned off the irrigation. Once we start to work the soil, the sod will fall apart much easier with the grass being dead and the soil relatively dry. We’ve also gone in and removed the sprinkler heads, which, along with swing joints, can now be used for irrigation repairs to the golf courses, as the same models are in use on the fairways and tee boxes.

The actual date for the action to happen would be the day you’re reading this: Monday, August 7. This is when the big excavating equipment will be working, so for any of you who have young kids that like to watch equipment work, this will be the time to take a look! The equipment will be working for several days through the month of August.

The first steps will be to remove the grass off of the teeing area in a process called “fraise mowing,” which removes the grass plant and thatch but leaves the good soil intact. Once the turf is off the teeing area, the soil mix will be removed and set aside to be replaced after the tee sub-grade has been leveled to one continuous teeing surface. The teeing area will no longer be two tiers, as the area between the two tiers is a valuable spot to be used for tee surface. Along the back edge of the teeing area, we’ll have a synthetic 150 x 8-foot surface from the brand “Turf Hound” installed. The matting system will allow for use of the tee when the turf is not growing in the spring and fall time of the year. Monday outings and other high-use times can also be directed toward using the matting system.

While the tee is being worked on, the fairway and rough landing areas will be getting reshaped. The final range will have a fairway look with target greens to shoot at or just play the golf shot up the fairway. Over to the left side of the driving range where the little putting green currently sits, the green will be removed. There will be a new major grade change over here, and the green is going to be converted into a short 50'x6' game teeing area with various targets positioned out in the range for short game practice. As many of you know, it’s hard to hit short shots to a target from our current tee when the tees are back. This new area will be for working the short game and the synthetic tee will allow it to always be in pristine condition. We won't have to wait for the turf to heal up!

Along with all the shaping and changes, we also need to install some underground drainage and a new irrigation system. We’re going to be looking for nice weather through this process so production can keep moving forward. Ideally, we don’t want seeding dates to be pushed any later than the planned finish date of September 15. This would give us some good growing weather in the remaining season. We’d like a somewhat warm fall and a nice spring to follow so we can get all of the grass in a mature state as quickly as possible.

I really hope Mother Nature will be our friend for the next couple of months! Enjoy watching the progression of the driving range.