An update just two short weeks from Opening Weekend
Wow, a ton has taken place since the Waterfall Crew has last seen most of you. The month of December included 16+ inches of rain, well above average temperatures and a Smart new head coach at UGA. Thus far 2016 has been active for the Waterfall Club family with another National Championship for coach, a massive winter storm that dropped 10″ of snow, a procurement of new specialty turf equipment and the grading/site work has begun for our new tennis court that will be located close to the construction gate.
The excitement of so many good things happening in 2016 is indication this year is going to be special. Jason will tell you “it’s all about Ian” so I’ll take this opportunity to focus on what has been happening on the golf course so you’ll understand why I am also excited about the coming year.
The month of December is typically our slowest month in the grounds department. I like to use this month to “recharge” the “batteries” of the crew. Some like to take vacations and we all take a little extra time around the holidays to spend with our families.
With a more choppy schedule than normal we like to take on smaller projects that can be completed quickly such as drainage, tree work and brush cutting in the native areas. While we were able to get quite a bit of tree work completed the unseasonable amounts of rainfall made drainage work virtually impossible and brush cutting difficult at best. This year’s El Nino weather pattern has been especially harsh with record temperatures (highs/ lows) and precipitation for the better part of three months throughout the southeast. While the weather did keep us soaked in for most of the month, it did allow me the time to work with vendors and owners to put together a small equipment package that has already proven to be useful.
Shortly after the calendar flipped to 2016 we took delivery of a new Ventrac Tractor with a flex deck and stump
grinder attachment. The flex deck is larger than the standard straight deck we currently have and will hug the contours throughout the course giving us a more consistent cut. The new deck will also allow us to mow some of our more severe slopes without scalping which will relieve some of our hand work that has been necessary in the past allowing us to extend our influence over more areas of the golf course. Where you will see the most immediate impact from the Ventrac will actually be in what you do not see.
With all the tree work we have been doing over the past few years there have been a number of stumps left scattered throughout the course. Our new stump grinder attachment will turn the Ventrac tractor into a solution for the stump issue. Having our own grinder will keep us from depending on outside contractors to do the job.
While you will get to see the new Ventrac in action quite a bit on the course the new piece that has brought the most excitement to the crew won’t be seen quite as much but is extremely valuable to our operation. On February 1st we took delivery of a brand new Kubota mini excavator. In the handful of days we have had the mini-ex we have already completed the drains on #10 hill and finished shaping and placing boulders on the right side of #2 green complex. Among the more noticeable projects this equipment will enable are a new black tee box on our signature hole #2, drainage in the approach on #9 and #14 and fixing the undermining that is occurring in #15 little fairway. Our mini-ex came with 2 buckets, a 12″ for drainage and small projects and 24″ for larger earth moving projects.
We also added a bush hog attachment that will be used to clear brush in natives and steep areas throughout the property. The mini-ex is obviously smaller than a full size tractor and will allow us to take on important projects in a more timely manner with less impact to golf.
We think there will be a number of completed projects that will stand out upon your return to the Waterfall Club. The changes to #2 are some of my favorite with it being the most notable hole on the course. Several of our other changes may not stand out as much but will have a significant impact on playability and aesthetics.
I will continue to keep you updated on the happenings on the course. Those of you that would like a more constant stream of information about the course you can follow me on Twitter @iemurfturf. Once season begins I will start offering up daily course conditions but for now I’m posting pictures or short videos of ongoing projects. We will share some through the Club’s Facebook page, as well. This looks to be a great year at Waterfall Club with steadily rising membership numbers, additional amenities, unparalleled support from ownership and all the natural beauty surrounding us…there truly is no better Club experience around.
Wishing you a productive rest of winter,
Golf Course Superintendent