After 11 years in service some of the course signage was in need of refreshing. Also for the last couple of years we have wanted to incorporate movable yardage easels on the practice range.

After researching different easels and prices, I determined these items were very expensive ( average $ 750 each ) and I wasn’t sold on the durability and/or longevity of the current offerings. Over a few brainstorming sessions with Bobby Flynn, we decided on a design and started the process in house.

Bobby Welding Easel Frame

After the frame was welded, horseshoes were placed in the inside corners and a 16 ga steel plate was plasma cut to fit. The steel plate was used for sturdiness as well as a base for the magnetic numbers.

Finished Raw Product

Once we reached the finished raw stage, the frames were sent for powder coating and the plates were sent off for a digital layover.

While at the sign shop finalizing the easel layovers, new course signs were ordered. The signs were ordered without frames and once again Bobby and I went to work on designs and fabrication.

Last Friday the first two new signs went out on the course with the rest to be replaced as frames are produced.

New " Cart Path Only " Sign on Hole #14

And on Tuesday the first of two movable yardage easels was placed on the practice range. The easels are placed behind the hitting area with yardages measuring from the easel to the flags.

New Yardage Easel at Practice Area


Last week Tony Trevino and I attended the Golf Industry Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. The GIS is the national convention for the Golf Course Superintendent Association of America which is held annually in various cities around the United States. In conjunction with the show, Tony and I attended meetings with Western Golf Properties on Wednesday. The convention can be broken down into two parts, education and trade show. The GIS offers classes and seminars in areas from soil science to accounting. These sessions allow superintendents to remain current in the changing field of golf course maintenance. On the trade show floor, the biggest exhibitors such as Toro and John Deere can be found as well as individuals selling a single product they developed. I am very grateful I work for a club which allows their superintendent to attend such an informative event.

The highlight of the show was the keynote speaker on Thursday morning. This year the duty went to Golf Channel’s David Feherty. I have posted a video of the interview for all the Feherty fans out there.


Week of 02 / 27 / 12

When the giant elm on hole # 2 only produced leaves on its west side last Spring, an arborist was called to the site for an assessment. The arborist determined the entire tree was dead and only produced the partial leaves through reserve carbohydrates. On June 12th  a crew was on site to bring the tree down. During the removal process, HR resident Shirley Taylor had a vision to turn the tree into a work of art.

Saw man climbing down from tree on 06/11

After HR board approval, the felling of the tree stopped at 20′ high, then the work started. Shirley formed a committee  which located an accomplished artist and raised the financial amount through raffles, donations, and a silent auction.

All of Shirley and the committee’s hard work was on view last week when Cam Dockery arrived and began sawing.

Cam Dockery carving with a chainsaw in a boom lift

Cam created the 20′ tall carving with the help of a sthil chainsaw and an electric boom lift. Cam worked 12 hour days for three days to complete the carving. The carving consists of two large hawks ( the top hawk is six feet in height ) and three racoons on the lower portion.

The Finished Product

The new carving will be a unique landmark for residents and golfers to view for years to come.

Top Hawk

On a separate note, HR resident Julie Lewis alerted me to a colony of trout lilies growing along the north walking trails. She was kind enough to meet up and guide yours truly to the site. The lily colony is an area I have driven by hundreads of times, but if I ever noticed the blooms, I have simply written them off as honey suckle as I drove by.

The trout lily is one of the areas earliest and rarest spring wildflowers. Each plant sprouts one leaf for six years, finally producing one flower and two leaves in its seventh year.

Trout Lily along walking trail

Thanks Julie

Question: How do you eat an entire cow?

Keep reading for the answer

I originally wanted to post about the completion of the latest two projects at Heritage Ranch. The first was renovation of the drainage on the front third portion of fairway on hole #7 in an effort to speed up flood clean up.  The original drain pipe was at the end of a network of basins, undersized, and did not adhear to the 3% slope rule. Actually we found the pipe rose in elevation between basins when it was exposed.

New Basins and pipe installed on #7 Fairway

After removal, new basins and larger pipe were installed at a 3% or greater slope, and ran directly to the creek in front of the green.

The second project was a larger storm drain underneath the rock road behind the restroom on hole #8. The original 10″ pipe was undersized to handel heavy development storm drain runoff.  The staff enlarged the drainage ditch down past the road and installed a 36″ pipe under the road. Concrete headwalls were poured on the ends of the pipe and erosion rocks were placed in the new ditch.

Both projects were near completion when the rain started. When the rain stopped, Heritage received 5.5″ in a 15 hr period and flood levels on the course reached 2′ higher elevation than previously witnessed.

View of holes #5, 6, and 7 fairway from #7 green

As superintendent I have had the pleasure of cleaning up over 20 course floods. This one is the winner. Silt, debris, water heaters in the rough were at a level we have not seen when the water receded. The positive was both projects withstood the test. The front of #7 fairway was cleaned in 1/3rd of the time without any drain clogging.

Approach at #2 Green

The staff has been great. They attacked the course last Friday and haven’t let up, even with the cold and flu bug running through the shop. We plan to have all the playing areas cleared by Friday and #7 back playing as a par 4 next week.

Thanks to all the adventurous golfers this week for having patience with the process. Here’s to hoping for a nice 1″ steady rain on Friday.

Question: How do you eat an entire cow?


One Bite at a Time

Matthew Armstrong removing silt from #7 Fairway



Happy New Year

First off, I want to thank everyone who donated to the employee holiday fund. This year end bonus really means a lot to my staff. They have shared with me how the bonus helps them provide a better Christmas for their families. The staff starts asking around mid December and I explain that it is donations from the community. Every year the community has come through, and for that I am very grateful.

The new year finds the maintenance staff in project mode. Leaf clean up, tree pruning, accessory painting, etc. The staff is also repairing the perimeter fence of Heritage Ranch as well as cleaning brush along the walking trail.These common area tasks allow the maintenance department to keep dedicated employees working during the dormant months as well as complete projects for the HOA at a cheaper rate than an outside contractor would charge.

What’s with all the digging around # 1 green?

Last week the irrigation system was drained for leak repair at #1 and 9 green areas. While the system was dry, two stripped valves on #1 and valves on #2 and 3 were replaced.

Why were the lake wells running when the lake was full?

The wells are powered by 75 hp motors which are located 800′ below the surface. These motors are turned on periodically to protect against bearings freezing up. By simply turning the wells a few times during the winter months, we are extending the motor’s life span, and in turn, saving on costly repair bills.

A commercial backhoe will arrive tomorrow for work on golf course and common area projects.  It looks to be a busy week so look for posts and pics to follow.

Last week in the middle of # 1 fairway a six-inch gate valve decided to start leaking. Why an installer decided the middle of the fairway, dead in the landing area, was a great location for this valve is another conversation in itself. Due to the poor quality of the original valves, the area was not able to be isolated and the entire golf course system had to be drained for the repair.

Digging Up the Leaking Valve

After the area was excavated, the valve and a section of pipe was removed and replaced with a new valve and bolt coupler.

The excavation started on Wednesday morning, installation occurred on Thursday, and clean-up of the area took place on Friday.  Grass will be laid back  on Tuesday.

On the 24th of May a visit from the USGA turf advisory service was conducted. Mr. Bud White, who serves as the Mid Continent advisor, preformed a 4 hour survey of  course conditions, budget, and water source quality.Mr. White performs over 150 course surveys a year for the USGA.

This visit was spearheaded by Tom Collins of the Green Committee. Along with myself, members of the Green Committee, Golf Committee, Charlie Mabie, and Tony Trevino attended the survey.

MR White along with staff and HR members

There were several good recommendations that came out of the meeting. A written report of Mr White’s findings will be available in two to four weeks.

Good Timing

During the USGA survey, the convoy was passing by # 16 green just in time to witness Harry Icke record a Hole In One.

Congratulations Harry

Hole In One