Turf Has an Exciting Announcement for Our Members
28 APR 2022
Turf update from Christine Kumagai, Assistant Golf Course Superintendent
It has been a pleasure seeing everyone, catching up, and hope you are enjoying being back at the Club and got in a round (or two) these past couple of weeks.
It is also nice to see the Spring bulbs blooming and the trees starting to bud!
Spring weather conditions have been up and down, but the April showers have been manageable, and we are increasing maintenance on the golf courses to get them back to mid-season form.
Power carts have been off the paths most days and our maintenance equipment has not created too much damage. However, the fluctuating temperatures are a challenge to provide firm fast greens, manicured bunkers, tight fairways, and rough.
As we wait on the turf to outgrow lingering winter damage, overnight temperatures should soon stay above zero allowing our poa annua greens to recover properly.
Did you know a foursome takes approximately 300 steps on each green (as per the USGA)? That means our greens see a lot of traffic as we normally get over 200 golfers daily on each golf course. That is a lot of steps!
While the greens continue to recover from winter damage and the ground slowly drains, we are very careful not to cut the grass too short as longer leaf blades help protect the crown of the plant during those frosty mornings and near subzero overnight temperatures. Especially considering we had a significant snow day last Tuesday, April 19th!
Most of our grasses are starting to pop and the rough, tee decks and fairways are also starting to grow in.
Our maintenance operators have been working throughout the property to get everything down to height. We also have several high school students back in action for bunker maintenance on the weekends. Our university students are finishing their exams and will soon help with our weekday maintenance of bunkers. We expect most of our students will be back to work by May 2nd.
You may notice SideWinder and Rattler tee signs were upgraded over the winter and see some laying on the ground next to where it will be placed. As the ground water continues to drain, we are digging holes to pour concrete to anchor these new tee signs.
You may also notice a large pile of trees in the fescue between holes 9 and 2 on CopperHead. Unfortunately, we lost several pine trees over the winter due to over-saturated soils and high winds. These are shallow rooted trees that did not hold up in the 80-90 km/hour winds. We plan to burn these on a calm wind day soon.
The new Starter Hut is under construction, and we are making good progress with plans to install the roof very soon.
We look forward to seeing you on the course!
Christine Kumagai, Golf Course Assistant Superintendent
Bunker Renovation Project Update from Bill McAllister, Golf Course Superintendent
We are pleased to announce a complete bunker renovation project at Rattlesnake Point Golf Club beginning in June 2022 and targeting completion in 2026.
RattleSnake Point Golf Club is designed by world famous golf course architect, Thomas McBroom, and opened in 1999 with 45 gorgeous holes carved from over 780 acres of farmland.
The original design included many visually appealing bunkers, which was the trend 20 years ago. However, playability and practicality is more important and after much consultation with Members and other experts, we hired Rhino Golf to help us construct all new bunkers over the next 3-4 years.
Over the past several years, we have redesigned and filled in many bunkers, with significant maintenance effort and expense to replace sand and drainage systems.
Over the past 23 years, we have seen significant weather events causing damage and repeated washouts to our many bunkers. We have also substituted the type of sands used, repaired bunkers walls, and repaired drainage systems many times, which have not stood up to the high winds and monsoon type conditions we’ve seen here over the years.
The life span of bunker sand and its drainage systems is 10 to 15 years and we are well past that timeframe. Bunkers slowly deteriorate over time through failed drainage, sand contamination from washouts, and grass face deterioration from sand splash. Our bunkers were built with many high sand faces that are prone to washouts.
The use of newer and more expensive angular sands assists in washout prevention but cannot stop torrential rain events we have seen. However, our newly constructed bunkers will have a new drainage system and use premium sands at a depth of 6 inches which will assist in the long-term health and longevity of these new bunkers.
We have hired a contractor named Rhino Golf to construct the new bunkers with the help of a small RattleSnake team to assist them in sodding, hauling, and watering of sod.
The sand type chosen is an angular sand from Ohio, called Signature, from Lakeshore Sands and Minerals and will be installed at a depth of 6 inches throughout the whole bunker.
The Better Billy Bunker (www.billybunker.com) drainage system will be used, which involves removing the old sand and inspecting (or replacing) drain lines, installing a 2-inch gravel layer blanket throughout the sub grade, and then adhering a polymer to ‘glue’ the gravel in place, which hardens into a strong flexible bond. This layer effectively holds sand on the steepest of bunker faces allowing water movement throughout at a rate of up to 350 inches per hour, which prevents contamination of subgrade during heavy storms.
The hard soil lip we are accustomed to seeing in our current bunkers will be replaced with a grass bull nose lip, which also prevents sand contamination from soil lip erosion.
Picture showing a bull nose lip
We currently have over 10 acres of sand bunkering on the property and through the course of this multi-year project will reduce it to 5 acres of bunkers. We also plan to fill-in some bunkers that are deemed unnecessary and were purely for design aesthetics, which never come into play. The sizing of many bunkers will also be decreased considerably throughout this project.
The project is expected to start June 2022 and will affect all 3 courses, beginning with renovating the practice/chipping area bunkers so we can all experience the feel of this new type of sand and bunker construction. Upon completion of the practice area, the project will then focus on CopperHead holes 2-7, 12 and 18.
History and Current Status
In 2017, we began filling-in bunkers starting with the driving range bunkers. In 2020 and 2021, we filled in almost 1 acre of bunkers on SideWinder holes 7, 8, 14, 17, CopperHead holes 2 and 11 (replaced with an armour stone wall to protect green), and Rattler holes 2, 5, and 9.
We are currently waiting for sod delivery to finish fill-ins from last Fall on Copperhead holes 2 and 12, Rattler hole 5, and SideWinder hole 15 left side fairway bunker.
These improvements to the golf courses will result in even better first-class golfing experiences here at RattleSnake. We will keep you apprised of affected holes and overall project progress through the Club newsletters, social media, and golf department teams.
Our Golf Shop is also well stocked with sand wedges to help you adjust to these new bunkers.
Bill McAllister, Golf Course Superintendent