Friday, December 1, 2017

Bunker Project Update

Before and after view of No. 14 bunker.
If you missed our last post, we covered the specifics of this winter's bunker renovation project. After about a month of work, dramatic changes are starting to take shape on the course. As of this writing, work has been completed on holes 11 through 14. Although sand is in place, and they may look playable, we ask all golfers to follow the signage on the course to allow all new sod a chance to establish. This week, work continues on holes 10 and 16. Below are a few before-and-after pictures from our completed holes.
Before and after view of No. 11 from 100 yards out.
Before and after view of removed bunker No. 11.
Before and after view of No. 12 from the blue tee.
Before and after view of the removed bunker on No. 13.
Before and after view of No. 13 west bunker.
Before and after of No. 14 bunker.
Last month, we highlighted the plans for the bunkers on holes 11 through 14. Today, we will be highlighting the plans for holes 10,15,16,17 and 18. As with any large project, plans are subject to change for a variety of reasons.

Design plan for No. 15 fairway bunker.
Design plan for No. 15 green bunker.
Work has almost been completed on No. 15. Sand still needs to be added to the green-side bunker, and some cleanup work needs to take place, but the heavy construction on that hole is finished. Neither bunker was changed dramatically, with slight shape changes taking place. The green-side bunker was also reduced in size.
Design plan for No. 16 fairway.
Design plan for No. 16 green complex.
Construction on No. 16 has also progressed quickly. One fairway bunker has been removed, a new one has been added, and the left green-side bunker needs a little more sod to be completed. The right green-side bunker has been cleaned out and reshaped, and work will continue there this week.

Design plan for No. 10 green.
Design plan for No. 10 green complex.
Number 10 has quite a few changes in store, as well. The fairway bunker is being reshaped, with new gravel, drainage, and sand. The green complex will see the front bunker reshaped and moved further in front of the green. The back bunker will be removed entirely with a lot of shaping to match the current contours.

Design plan for No. 17 green complex.
One of the more substantial hole changes will be taking place on No. 17. All the bunkers on that hole will be reshaped, and most will be moved to make them more visible from the tee. Moving these bunkers to their new locations also makes more sense from a playability standpoint. The back left bunker in its current location is basically wasted, with very few shots ever finding it. In its new position, we are confident more tee shots will find this area, making for a more challenging shot in.

Design plan for No. 18 green complex.
No. 18 will also undergo one of the more dramatic transitions on the course. The first thing you'll probably notice is the bunker behind the green is being removed. Not only does this area rarely see approach shots, it is also a maintenance nightmare, leaving little room to mow or spray the green. In its new design, maintenance on No. 18 green should be much easier to perform. In addition to removing the back bunker, the east bunker will be reshaped and slightly moved to make it more visible from the fairway and put it in a better location from a playability standpoint. A second green-side bunker is planned to be added to the west side of the green. These changes will make for a more challenging and more aesthetic finishing hole.

We appreciate your patience during this hectic time on the golf course and encourage you to continue following all signage on the course. Check back in next month to see before-and-after pictures from the holes we've highlighted today and to see our plans for the front nine.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Winter Bunker Renovation

Discussing plans for the west bunker on No. 13.
On Monday October 30, Adams Pointe will be breaking ground on a major bunker renovation. The current scheduled completion date is March 15, 2018, although this date will be flexible, depending on weather conditions during the winter. CE Golf Design will be the architecture firm in charge of the project, and Mid-America Golf and Landscaping will be the contractor handling construction.

We will use the Better Billy Bunker Construction Method, which is a several-step process. First, the existing sand will be removed, and drain lines will be inspected. Next, a 2-inch layer of gravel will be added to act as the bunker floor. A polymer is then sprayed over the gravel to essentially glue it in place, eliminating the need for bunker liners that generally have short life spans and lead to unplayable bunkers. The polymer needs a full 24 hours to cure, and we ask that all golfers pay attention to signage around these bunkers. Not only will foot traffic disrupt the polymer, it will also destroy your golf shoes. The pro shop and this blog will keep you updated on which bunkers to avoid. After the polymer has cured, new sand will be added, and any disturbed turf will be sodded. If you'd like more information about the Better Billy Bunker method, click here.

Some bunkers on the course will be eliminated entirely, while others will be reshaped or moved. As with any large project, plans are subject to change for a variety of reasons. We will provide periodic updates on which bunkers we are working on and which are coming up, as well as the design features of those bunkers.

A familiar sight after heavy rains will hopefully become a thing of the past.
As you can imagine, a project of this magnitude requires a lot of material and equipment. Sand, gravel, and drainage pipe will be stored in the lower parking lot at the clubhouse. Any other materials and equipment will be down at the maintenance shop. Our goal is to keep disruption of play to a minimum, so holes will only be closed when absolutely necessary.

Legend for design plans.
Design plans for No. 13 bunker complex.
Work is scheduled to begin with the bunker complex on No. 13. We will start at this far point and work back toward the middle of the course. As you can see from the plans above, the south bunker will be eliminated. It will be filled in to match the surrounding contours and will be sodded with fescue. Assuming the drainage is in proper working order, the west bunker will not change much, aside from a slight shape adjustment and new sand.

Design plans for No. 11 and No. 12 bunker complexes.
After No. 13 bunker complex, we will begin working east toward holes 11, 12, and 14. No. 12 will undergo one of the more dramatic changes on the course. The west bunker will be eliminated and turned into rough. The east bunker will be shifted toward the northeast, bringing it farther out into the approach to guard the front of the green. Tree removal will take place on the left side of the hole to make the green more accessible. No. 11 will also see major changes. The bunker on the north side of the green will be removed and turned into rough. The south bunker will be reshaped and moved back to the west.

Design plans for No. 14.
Finally, No. 14 is a straightforward renovation. A minor change in shape and new sand is all we have currently planned.

As stated above, plans change for numerous reasons, and we might not always work in the order described here. We will do our best to provide timely information pertaining to where work is taking place and the scope of that work, so check back here regularly for before-and-after pictures and updates on progress. We look forward to the positive affect these changes will have on our course, not just aesthetically, but also with regard to playability. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this busy time on the course and hope our efforts improve your experience here at Adams Pointe.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Fauna of Adams Pointe

A baby Eastern Cottontail sits on No. 1 green
One of the most special traits of Adams Pointe Golf Club is the abundance of wildlife on the property. From small, indistinguishable insects to white-tailed deer, every round played has encounters with the animals of Adams Pointe. And with numerous different habitats, ranging from native grasslands and deciduous forests to riparian zones and protected native wetlands, the viewing options are endless.

An unexpected find on the first hole of the day.
The baby Eastern Cottontail pictured above was inside the cup on No. 1 green on a morning in the spring. While the rabbit was undoubtedly nervous about being trapped, we recovered it from the cup unscathed, and it hopped right off. 

A young White-tailed deer heads toward greener pastures.
While many animals visit Adams Pointe at various times of year, our permanent residents are abundant. White-tailed deer can be spotted nearly any day on the course, especially during morning and evening golf rounds.

But one species that has even the deer outnumbered is the wild turkey. Large groups gather on different holes in the mornings to feed on seeds and insects, and in the heat of summer, you can hear them foraging in the shaded woods. Their high-strung nature can cause some entertaining moments, as they do everything possible to get away from approaching carts.

One of the most overlooked segments of our wildlife population is the large variety of birds on the property. Seasonal visitors such as the Killdeer and Red-winged Blackbird can be seen and heard around No. 10 and No. 18 pond during the summer. In winter, Black-capped Chickadees and Brown Creeper take over the woods on No. 8, while American Kestrels invade the grasslands on No. 15 to hunt for a rare January meal. We have observed more than 100 species of birds on the property.

An osprey perches in a tree overlooking the pond on No. 14.
This spring, we were visited by a migrating Osprey. During its rare and brief stay, we were lucky enough to spot it in the trees above the water south of No. 14.

Our most mysterious resident by far is the solitary bobcat. A lucky few have had the privilege to see one while playing a round, but the views are usually fleeting. Although bobcats prefer the dense woods and are nocturnal, there have been several sightings in the day and out in the open. If you do spot a bobcat while on the property, it is best to give it space and just enjoy the view. 

A bobcat patrols the native on No. 11. 
A bobcat kitten runs across the path to the maintenance shop.
While the bobcats might get more attention, another cat at Adams Pointe is more famous and rightly so. Affectionately named Knucklehead, the cat pictured below has lived at the maintenance shop for at least 15 years, although historians argue about the exact number. Serving as a therapy cat, head mouser, and lunch hour entertainment, she has been the best shop animal in the golf industry and continues to do her duties without complaint. If you happen by the maintenance shop and see old Knucklehead, feel free to give her a pet.

Knucklehead hiding in the tallgrass.
During your next round at Adams Pointe, be sure to keep an eye out for our wild course companions. Spying a bobcat or watching the bluebirds harass a perched Red-tailed Hawk can further immerse you in the joy of golfing. Just remember to be respectful of their space, as these creatures are nice enough to allow us to golf on their front yard.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Adams Pointe Photo Gallery

A perfect Adams Pointe sunrise on July 31, 2017.
This month, we're sharing some of our favorite 2017 pictures from around the property. Our maintenance crew is in a unique position to see the course at interesting hours of day and from uncommon vantage points. Capturing moments like these is definitely a perk to the job.

Crew dog Murray patrolling for geese after a rare snowfall in January.
Looking good shortly after spring aerification in March.
No.10 pond glistens in the late March sun.
A season of amazing sunrises started early and hasn't let up since.
Sunrise on No. 7 tee box.
Good looking finish down No. 18 in mid June.
It isn't all beautiful sunrises and green grass. Here's one of the clogged drains we fixed this year.
It's almost getting old isn't it?
Foggy start on No. 14 in July.
Clouds threaten No. 15 the morning of the solar eclipse. We were lucky to dodge them and have a clear viewing of totality.

Above is a timelapse from hole No. 12 taken in May. Stay tuned to the blog for upcoming posts about the animals around Adams Pointe, plans for fall projects, and information pertaining to the much anticipated bunker renovation.

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Dog Days of Summer

Sunrise on No. 10 July 31, 2017
July typically provides the most challenging growing conditions we see each year at Adams Pointe, and this year proved to be no different. Temperatures in the 90s or above most days and never dropping below 70 degrees at night, combined with high dew points and humidity, little to no wind, and high amounts of foot and cart traffic, wreak havoc on the turf. Overall, we had a much better month compared to July 2016, but some areas still struggled to withstand the extremes of summer.

No. 3 Poa annua decline in fairway.
As predicted in our May 22 post, Poa annua on the course was no match for the summer weather conditions. The above picture illustrates how decline on our course tends to be contained to the Poa annua, with bentgrass in the same areas doing fairly well, despite unfavorable conditions. As noted in our earlier post, this is an annual event, the damage from which we are constantly trying to limit, and it should not be construed to mean our spring drainage project is not working.

View of clogged drainage pipe on No. 13
We had a drainage project of a different kind take place in July, as well. After observing continual saturation on No. 13 green, we investigated to find a major clog in the green's drainage. After some wrestling, we were able to remove the clog (all 30 feet of it), and the green has dried up exceptionally fast.
Clog in No. 13 drainage removed
Luckily, we finished this project before a large storm rolled through on July 27, dropping more than 5.5 inches of rain on the course. While we did not see the extreme flooding that troubled other local courses, we had enough standing water to necessitate a full course closure the following day. After a full day of pumping out bunkers and newly created water hazards in the fairways, we were able to open Friday, July 28 on schedule.
Looking down No. 2 fairway on July 27
Please follow all signage on course
Looking ahead, we have fall aerification currently scheduled for Monday, August 28. The course will be closed for the day but we will reopen Tuesday, August 29 with minimal disruption to play. Check out our Aerification Alert post for more information about this vital cultural practice.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

No. 8 and No. 12 Tee Expansion

No. 8 tee establishing nicely one month after sod being laid.
Last year, some of our maintenance efforts at Adams Pointe focused on developing ways to maintain the health of our tee boxes. A few tee boxes have always caused us problems, most notably No. 8’s green and white tee and No. 12’s green tee. Lack of sunlight, lack of air movement, and excessive traffic are the main reasons these tees fail to withstand the full length of the golfing season. To address these concerns on No. 8’s green and white tee, we began a sun study in the fall of 2015 to determine what trees, if any, around the tee were contributing to our lack of sunlight. Five large trees were identified as problematic, as well as a few smaller trees, and we started removing them in January 2016. Below is a video showing the cutting and removal of these trees and the amount of material removed from the area.

While the lack of air movement and sunlight definitely play a role in the struggles of the turf, the size of these tees is the biggest limiting factor. For all tees, golf course architects typically recommend 100 square feet of usable teeing surface for every 1,000 rounds played. For example, if a specific tee sees 20,000 rounds a year, that tee would ideally be about 2,000 square feet. While a few tees at Adams Pointe hold up to this design standard, most of them do not come close. The vast majority of our rounds are played from the white and green tees, creating a situation where these tees are overused for their size and have no chance to recover from damage.

No. 8 green and white tee before expansion began.
In March 2016, we began work to expand the teeing surface on No. 8’s white and green tees. This expansion was challenging because of surrounding trees, limited space, and a hard slope on all sides of the tee. Westward expansion was our only option, and we took great care to not disturb the environmentally protected wetlands around the tee. We began by filling in the slope off the tee and building it up slowly to create a new teeing surface. 

First load of soil added to No. 8 tee.
As you can see from above, it took several dozen loads of soil to get us to our desired height. To help avoid erosion or outright collapse of the new teeing surface, we spent a lot of time packing down the soil to create a firmer base. That is also the main reason we waited to sod it until this season. We wanted to be absolutely sure that the new teeing surface was structurally sound.

Using the Bobcat to shape the tee and pack down soil.
New teeing surface beginning to take shape.
After allowing an adequate amount of time to pass to ensure stability, we were ready for sod this spring. In total, we added 950 square feet of playable teeing surface, creating a tee approximately 2700 square feet in size. While this doesn't quite meet the architectural standard discussed above, the tree removal and added square footagshould make a dramatic difference in the tee’s ability to survive a full golf season.

No. 8 green and white tee on sod day.
Many of the same factors on No. 8 caused us issues with the green tee on No. 12. Once again the size of the tee was our biggest limiting factor. We did drop two trees to help increase sunlight to the tee surface but expansion was our main goal. In November 2016 we stripped the old sod off and began adding soil to expand.

Soil being added to No. 12 green tee.
Because of the cart path’s north-side location, we focused on building out the tee in the other three directions. In total, we more than doubled the teeing surface here, from 400 square feet to 820 square feet. Like No. 8, we were unable to reach the 10:1 design standard, but the large expansion will undoubtedly help the turf recover from damage.

No. 12 finished on sod day.
As you’re out playing a round, you will probably spot us continuing to do these tee expansion projects. It’s just one more way we’re striving to make Adams Pointe a great place to enjoy the game of golf.