Welcome to Legacy Ridge Turfgrass Maintenance. We hope that you find our blog to be informative and please feel free to ask any questions about the golf course. We will answer them as promptly as possible.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Big Melt

With 60 degree temps and high winds we are finally seeing a substantial amount of melt on the course today.  Wind can do in a few hours what takes a few days with warm temperature alone.

On a day like today, you can definitely identify where/how well water moves on the course, an easy way to find more drainage projects that are needed.  The rate and amount of melt on a given hole says a lot about it's level of exposure and can provide keys on what areas may require additional snow mold or mite protection, winter watering or even what areas we will see green up first.

It's also worth noting that the more snow we receive in an event, the greater the discrepancy between the first and last hole to melt off.  For instance, if we have a couple inches it may only take a few hours for the course to completely clear.  If we get 20", there can be a difference of many weeks between the first hole clearing and when the final snow drift melts off.  It all depends on exposure and soil temps.  The funny thing about our brief discussion today is that they are calling for additional snow tomorrow!  UGGH 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Blazing into the 21st Century

We recently purchased our first flat screen television for our break room....  I know, but our 10 year old JVC was very difficult to see and truly a 170lb safety hazard hanging from the ceiling.   Upon installing our new 46" beauty, we came to the conclusion that we could more efficiently deliver training/safety information via our new television once connected to a PC.

A quick trip to the world wide web yielded a simple hardwired solution from B&H that installed in about 15 minutes.  Now anything we can create, view, play on our computer can be viewed in the break room in beautiful HD.  It should prove to be especially handy for the irrigation design and auditing class we put on for Front Range Community College.  Big thanks to Lance for buying our new flat screen, he always takes care of his employees. 

Crummy picture, but you get the idea.  The converter scales and transmits our monitor signal so that it appears clearly and in the correct aspect ratio on the screen.  Handy little device when a wireless signal isn't available.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Good to know a welder

Last fall, after our first snow of the year, I noticed another pinhole leak in our pump station manifold.  As we have discussed off and on the last year, much of our infrastructure is approaching twenty years old and is definitely showing it's age.  This time the 2" line from our pressure maintenance pump was victim to rusting and possibly electrolysis.  At the most basic level, rust is the result of a reaction between iron and oxygen in water or at least the presence of water, while electrolysis is basically the transfer of current through free ions like sodium.  

The PM pump is a submersible (much like a sump pump in your basement) high pressure pump.  It does exactly what it sounds like, maintains our pressure set point saving wear and tear on our main pumps which are designed to run for extended periods, instead of short bursts.  Anytime we have to make repairs to our pump station, we inspect the condition of the steel pipes, as of late they are not in good condition.  There is a pretty significant amount of rust inside the pipes which is normal with mild steel, but in our case it is accelerated by the high sodium content of our water.  Thus, we are forced to make annual repairs to our pump station plumbing to repair leaks.

Today our leak consists of a pinhole leak in the bottom of a weld.  It is currently a tiny drip, but behind that pinhole leak is a 1-2" cavern in the inside wall of the pipe, and this is what makes fixing these leaks a little more challenging.  The other challenge in this case is actually getting to the area to make a repair...

We are sealed back up for now, hopefully we can make another season without needing more welding on our station.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Quite a storm

No, we aren't shoveling greens quite yet.  Just checking in on a few of our greens to check for snow mold and or an ice layer building up.  As you can see we still have a minimum of 8" of cover on our greens and at this point, we aren't terribly worried about snow mold.  We are still under the protection of our snow mold products (barely) and we had ample time to harden off prior to this storm.  Typically snow mold is far less likely when the turf plant has had the chance to fully harden off and the soil temps have dropped sufficiently prior to extended snow cover.  Certainly not a definitive rule though, there are always exceptions.  If we continue at this rate of melt, we shouldn't expect to open until the end of February/ beginning of March.... Yikes!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Another round of snow

Friday morning we were literally digging our way out of our shop following the latest round of snow here in Westminster.  We haven't had a snow event this big for a couple years.  The snow is supposed to taper off this afternoon, but we are looking at around 16" so far.  The snow came just in time, as many of our south facing slopes were in need of moisture, and pressuring up our system appeared to be eminent.  We were fortunate to finish our irrigation installation on our new tees before the snow started, so when the snow does melt, we can focus on pressuring up our system and tidying up our new tees.  I may be getting a little ahead of myself, as it may take an entire week, just to get our cart path opened up.  The better part of next week will likely be spent cleaning up from this latest snow storm.  

Saturday, January 28, 2012


We have exhausted our supply of fill material for the tees on #16, just shy of what we needed, so after the snow clears, we will haul a few loads of compost from our in house pile out to top off our new tee.  The mounds that used to dot the left side of the cart path are now only a distant memory, thankfully.  We will finish grade this area, spread native seed and lay down some leftover straw mat from another project first thing next week.  Irrigation should follow shortly thereafter.  We are all looking forward to some irrigation work, as it has been a little while since we were able to do more than add/move a head here and there.  Because #11 and #16 are completely new tees, obviously we need completely new irrigation for them.  Our parts are on order, and should be arriving in the next few days.     

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

#16 Tees

We have started hauling dirt to the site of our new forward tee on #16.  We have determined that it will play approximately 152 yard to the center of the green, shortening the hole by 20 yards for the forward tee players.  To facilitate quicker construction, we will be cutting into native mounds to the left of the cart path on the same hole.  The mounds grow nothing but kochia, so we certainly won't miss them.  We should have this tee completed by the end of the week.  I will post pictures as soon as I have them.  We anticipate installing our irrigation sometime late next week.  We are sharing a trencher with the Heritage, so we can save a little money on rental.  Based on nothing more than a hunch, I think this tee will be the most popular addition of the four we have done this winter.  It shortens a pretty difficult par 3 to a more manageable distance for most players.  i will add pics as soon as I take them.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A touch of moisture

To this point our winter weather has been nothing short of erratic, 60 degrees one day and 30 degrees with snow the next.  We haven't had the extended snow cover we typically experience from December to January, which means we are handwatering greens with our water trailer one day, and shoveling snow the next.  Winter desiccation can happen quite quickly with the strong winds common to the front range and without our irrigation system up and running, we are left to water with a 300 gallon tank mounted on a trailer.  Many courses enjoy irrigation systems with frost free components, we aren't one of those courses.  If we were to pressure up our irrigation system too early and get an extended cold snap, we could sustain a large amount of damage from freezing.  On top of that, most sprinklers aren't really designed to operate under winter temperatures, o-rings shrink, springs are slower, and plastics are much more fragile.  The point is, irrigating is far more challenging in the winter time than it is in the heat of the summertime, so the more snowcover we can maintain, the better.      

Monday, January 16, 2012

Good as new

There are days where working on the course isn't practical or possible due to snow or very cold weather. We are grateful to be busy in the shop cleaning, organizing and building instead of outside freezing our tails off. However one of the least popular tasks that must be completed each winter is repainting course accesories like tee markers and signage.  It won't be long until we will be gearing up for a new golfing season, so the more we can do to prepare, the better off we will be come spring. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012


One of our fiercest enemies this time of year, aside from mother nature of course is the Canada goose.  Aside from the copious amount of excrement they leave behind, when feeding on grasses Canadian geese tear the entire plant from the ground instead of just the foliage.  If left to feed on a given area too long, a gaggle of geese could consume a tee box in a short amount of time, leaving bare ground and many pounds of excrement behind.
While Canadian geese are traditionally migratory, interbreeding with non-migratory species along with plentiful year round opportunities in areas that were historically seasonal, they have changed their tendencies in recent years.  The last few years we have a tried a number of deterrents, with varying levels of success.  We have found that winter fencing around our lakes along with regular patrols by a staff member is typically enough to minimize our goose damage.

Even on an almost daily basis during winter months we are removing goose "stuff" from our putting surfaces.  After extended snow cover in the past we have had extreme amounts on other playing areas and been forced to drag and blow off the goose "stuff".  While Canadian geese do provide exceptional recreation opportunities in the way of waterfowl hunting, we would ask that no one attempt to harm any of the geese on the golf course.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

#11 Tees

In between snow storms we have continued hauling fill material down to #11 tee complex for the addition of another new tee box.  This tee is located directly behind the forward tee which provides a much nicer angle of attack than the current white tee box.  The tee surface will be 1250 sq ft, which is ample teeing ground for a par 5, where the majority of shots are teed up.  Overall we are pretty happy with the look of it and are eager to get it irrigated and grassed.

Dave doing some grade fine tuning with the Lenker rod.

View from the new tee

You can see the current tee at the far left of the picture.  A shot from that tee box demands a high cut which not many high handicappers can play accurately

We plan to build one more tee this winter on #16.  We will discuss that hole in more detail, as there will be changes beyond adding a tee that will change the look and strategy of that hole.  Look for us to start the irrigation installation after the tee on 16 is complete. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year

For the first time in over a month we will have 18 holes open for play this afternoon.  We still have a couple of lingering patches of ice on a few greens that still need to be cleared.  Now that the snow is gone, we have to begin thinking about pressuring up our irrigation system to irrigate in the absence of moisture.  As we mentioned in earlier posts, winter dessication is a serious concern without snow cover and can set in fairly quickly with the warm dry winds we have had the last couple of days.  We try to give mother nature every opportunity to provide natural moisture, but when she fails us we have to rely on our irrigation system.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

It's Christmas day, all staff members are home with their families today where they belong.  The course is closed, but will reopen weather permitting tomorrow for those itching to play some winter golf.  Have a safe and enjoyable holiday. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

A day with Jim

Many superintendents will agree that the single most important position at a golf course is the Equipment Manager or Mechanic.  Without the mechanical knowledge, fabrication skills, preventative maintenance and attention to detail that a good mechanic possesses, maintaining a golf course is not possible and our facility is no different.  Without equipment to operate and carts for golfers, we wouldn't have much to offer our guests. 

Jim Bloesch has been the Equipment Manager at LRGC since grow-in was well under way in 1994 and has remained an incredibly valuable asset to the operation.  Prior to working at Legacy, Jim worked as the Equipment Manager at Riverdale Dunes, Heather Gardens, the local Toro distributor and prior to that was an over the road trucker hauling freight all over the country. 

Some of the equipment originally purchased when the course opened is still running as well as it did the day it arrived.  Jim has seen three new equipment packages and 5 cart fleets through his time here and adapted his maintenance plans to suit each wave of new machines.  Aside from a strict attention to detail in his PM schedule, Jim is an excellent fabricator, having built everything from implements for cultural practices (see our spiker post), to smaller items that make everyday tasks that much safer/easier.  He is responsible for the layout and organization of our entire shop, so we can efficiently store and access all of our equipment.  Here are a couple items Jim has built recently that makes our job easier:

Trailer for hauling inoperable carts back to the shop
Stabilizer for lifting bulk fertilizer bags with our forklift, a very dangerous endeavor before this baby was built
  These are small examples, but Jim is great at understanding the challenges we face in certain tasks, designing a safe, easy-to-use solution.   

It's rare to find Jim idle at any point in the day, especially during our growing season when he is constantly grinding bed knives and reels, servicing, troubleshooting and repairing damaged equipment throughout the day.  On top of all that, Jim also maintains our fleet of 64 Club Car golf carts for the golf shop. 

Because Jim operates at such a high level of efficiency, we are able to spin-grind all of our reels/bed knives on tighter intervals than many courses, which results in a much better cut and conditioning.  In a typical month during the growing season, Jim grinds:

Greens mowers:  10 reels x 4 times/month    40 reels
Tee mowers:  9 reels x once/month               9 reels
Fairway mowers: 15 reels x once/month       15 reels
Step Cut:              3 reels x once/month         3 reels

That's 67 reels per month, not including the rough mowers, utility vehicles, hand held power equipment, fly mowers, topdressers, sprayers, tractors and implements that all require preventative maintenance as well!  Keep in mind that with each reel, he grinds a bed knife also.  Reels and bed knives can only be ground so many times until they must be replaced.  That is an even more time consuming process he has to plan out in advance.  An EM of lesser experience and expertise would likely be overwhelmed by the volume of work Jim accomplishes everyday.  All tasks are done with same precision each and every time no matter the circumstances.    

It is important to note that grinding must be performed when the machines are not in use, so his time management skills are put to the test on a daily basis.  Throw in unplanned repairs and equipment breakdowns and it's a wonder he has time to eat lunch or take a break at all.  So the next time you are out on the course and you see a mower cutting to perfection, know that Jim is the one behind the scenes keeping that mower running as good as the day it was purchased.  Big thanks to Jim for keeping our operation going.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tis' the season

We are STILL covered with snow and the forecast doesn't appear to be offering much in the way of melt.  We were ready for moisture three weeks ago, but at this point we are all experiencing some cabin fever. 

Since the snow arrived we have completed our GPS project, finalized our fertilizer/pesticide early order with the Heritage, taken a full inventory at both courses, created and printed new irrigation maps for the controllers, began working on our safety training information, and many of us have taken some much needed time off.  If snow persists and we cannot continue working on our tees, we will start refurbishing course accessories like tee markers, trap rakes, flag sticks and course signage.  This is an annual tradition and while time consuming, it's a great way to stay out of the cold and still improve the appearance of the course.  After the first of the year we will begin taking delivery of the years inventory and we will be busy storing and organizing everything for the growing season.

Just a reminder, the course will be closed December 25th and January 1st, two of the three days we are closed all year. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


The course is still buried under 6 inches of snow and with the temps barely climbing above freezing for the next week, we are hunkered down working primarily indoors.  One of the projects we have been working on the last few days is our new irrigation map.  Our irrigation computer operates Rain Bird Cirrus, and one of its many features is a map which displays our irrigation components over a map of the golf course.  Since 1997 we have used a fairly basic map utilizing a hand drawn version of the golf course taken from our scorecard.

This version worked well for many years, but we could improve upon this map and accomplish a couple other things if we made a GPS based map.  Any course built in the last 12 years was likely GPS'd during the construction process.  We weren't one of those courses.

In working with the City's GIS department, we put together a plan to map and catalog ALL irrigation and drainage components, calculate yardages for sprinkler caps, and verify the actual size of all playable areas.  It sounds simple, but the last piece will be very valuable for future project estimating and pesticide and fertilizer planning and calculations.  All of the pictures are of #14 and #15.

Wish they took aerial photos in June, not March...
To start we borrowed a Trimble handheld data logger for basically the summer of 2010 and began collecting data.  The data collection process was completed outside of normal maintenance duties, so it took a better part of a season.  We mapped sprinklers, valves, electric valves, splice boxes, drain basins and cataloged each by type, size, brand, model, and date installed. 

Any and all traced areas can be quickly measured
The completed GIS map, the yellow dots are sprinklers with yardage, the red dots are front center and back of each green.  The yardage info can be displayed in a tighter extent, pretty handy for replacement purposes

The second portion of the project was to define/trace various areas of the course (ie greens, rough, bunkers, etc).  We completed this portion during the winter of 2010.  To bring the new map over to our irrigation software, we enlisted the help of Brian Keighin, Owner of Irrigation Technologies a local irrigation designer, consultant, expert.  With his knowledge of both ArcMap, Auto CAD and Cirrus he was able to help us take the data from GIS into Cirrus.  The result is an aerial photo with dots representing sprinklers in their exact location.  Not quite done yet...

The dots are just dots at this point, stations from the database still need to be added to make the map usable in Cirrus

Looks a little bare without the shading.

Completed map in Cirrus
The last piece of the project was to populate our Cirrus map from our database, which basically entails placing individual "stations" where they belong on the map and labeling them properly.  I have a dozen more stations to add and the map is completely finished.  A nice added feature we incorporated was to display the address of each home bordering the course so that when a homeowner voices a concern we can quickly identify where they live and address the problem properly. 

We want to thank Joe Simpson, Dave Murray and Sandy Malesky in Community Development for all of their help in making this happen.  They were great to work with and excellent in explaining things in layman's terms so we grass-guys could understand. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

#8 Tee

I forgot to post these pictures last week when I took them.  #8 has progressed nicely and is basically ready for sod, though by springtime it will likely need some more finish work and cleanup.  Because we filled in a natural drainage way  between the two tees to add teeing ground, we had to add a drain basin to the south side of the tee.  It should capture water that would have ran between the two old tee boxes.   

The tractor is parked on what will be part of the tee surface.  Here's a pic of the added ground between the tees and to the south of the blue tee.

Overall, we are pleased with the way it came out, with a minimal amount of money and time we were able to add around 30% more teeing space to each tee box.  After the latest round of snow melts I will try to take pics of the finished product.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Let it Snow

Another beautiful day here at Legacy Ridge GC, today it's beautiful only if you love free moisture in the form of snow.  Though we can't continue working on our new tees, it is most definitely a blessing to have this blanket of snow.  One because it will insulate our drained-but-not blown out irrigation system, and two the recent weather pattern has left the course thirsty for moisture. 

On days like today we have a pretty standard schedule consisting of snow removal and more snow removal.  In addition to plowing/clearing all of the paved areas around the golf course,

we maintain 5 miles of bike trails and bridges that connect the neighborhood to a large network of trails throughout the City of Westminster.  Depending on the timing of snow storms, we run through bike trails at least twice each day to make sure they are clean and haven't drifted over.  If you happen upon our gator, tractor, or truck plowing, the operator will stop and allow you to safely pass them by.  We would also ask that sledders, snowshoers or walkers please stay off of the golf course at all times.  Golf course features like bunkers, drain basins, and other hazards can be hidden under the snow, making it an unsafe option for snow day recreation.   

Monday, November 28, 2011

Course work

This morning we started the week off right by changing pin locations and mowing greens and collars.  This time of year, mowing is less about managing growth and geared more toward cleaning and smoothing the putting surface.  As long as the weather is warm, we will continue weekly mowing to keep our greens in shape for play.  In the coming weeks we will apply a heavy layer of  topdressing sand as cold weather sets in.  The sand serves as a blanket for the winter, protecting the crown or growing point of the bent grass (and poa) plant from winter desiccation.  Desiccation is a concern without snow cover, and to this point we haven't had much in the way of snow and have been irrigating fairly regularly.

Just as snow protects the plant from desiccation, too much snow cover can lead to snow mold, and for that we are planning our second preventative fungicide application this week.  For this application we will be applying Instrata and Rhapsody, which should carry us through February.  About a month ago we applied Spectro90 which we use for a short term preventative in case of big, early snowstorm.  That product has all but worn off, so as soon as the wind dies down we will put out the Instrata/Rhapsody combo that has worked nicely for us that last couple of years in preventing snow mold.  As winter sets in fully, we will discuss different forms of snow mold and hopefully continue answering the age-old question, "so what do you guys do in the winter".

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope everyone has a safe a relaxing Thanksgiving this Thursday.  The golf course will be closed for the holiday, but will reopen on Friday for play.  We are closed for only a few days a year and with the warm weather we are experiencing the course can use a break from all of the cart traffic.  Enjoy the holiday and we will look forward to moving our projects along next week.