Thursday, May 19, 2016

Get the Rock out of here

Over the past month, the Copperleaf Maintenance Department has been tirelessly working to remove buried rocks and other debris from beneath the turf surface on our tees and now fairways.

Our machine in action on Hole 7 using solid tines to find rocks
Rocks identified on Hole 17 Tee

Rocks being removed on Hole 12

There have always been several problematic areas throughout the course where the turf grass simply does not perform as well as the grass surrounding it. These areas are maintained the same way with regard to irrigation, fertilization and mowing, however, they show signs of stress and discoloration throughout the year.

Several years ago, a machine was contracted in an attempt to relieve the compaction in these areas to allow for increased water and fertilizer penetration and improve oxygen exchange in an attempt to provide a consistent and healthy playing surface. Unfortunately this machine discovered areas of buried rocks that would need to be physically removed to improve the area.


This machine is called "The Beast" and it struggled to penetrate into our fairway on Hole 6

The task of identifying and removing the rocks has been on the "to do list" for many years but due to the demand of completing other projects such as building rock walls as well as landscaping and irrigation projects, this task has always been postponed.

The rocks have always been under the surface since the course was built back in 1999/2000. Please remember that the construction work performed last year consisted of a "no till" grassing process where the new grass was installed into the existing fairway contours and teeing grounds. There were modifications made to the greens complexes only. A rock the size of a softball or even a basketball is not felt by the heavy equipment used to move the soil, however, it is noticed by our smaller specialty equipment used to improve soil conditions. Several rocks have been quite large and have simply been buried by 3 inches of soil making them impossible to see from above.

Although this is a tedious, time consuming, labor intensive process the effort will be well worth it. It should be no secret that buried rocks in the soil where you are trying to grow manicured turf makes it very challenging to provide the a quality playing surface.

Large rocks were found in the same location "The Beast" was used back in 2014 on Hole 6

Not surprisingly, it is difficult to grow quality grass in these conditions

Providing a consistent growing media for our turf grass roots to grow in will allow for a high quality and uniform playing surface for our members and guests to enjoy. Compaction will be reduced, water infiltration will increase and turf health will improve. When we begin the aerification process later in the year, the removal of these rocks will reduce the damage to our expensive machines and help to make the process more efficient. Looking at our tee surfaces today, you can clearly see the improvement to the turf quality making the project worthwhile.

I appreciate your patience during this process and please know that this will take several months and possibly into next summer to complete. I can't thank our staff members enough for been persistent during this hard work and repairing the damage to the turf areas where the rocks have been removed to a high standard.

This beauty was found on Hole 1 Gold Tee
Tireless work during golf play to rid the area of buried rocks on Hole 6
With any questions or comments, please email me at

Monday, February 1, 2016

Florida - The Sunshine State

They call Florida the Sunshine State. After the month of January; I would like to know who "they" are. Out of the 31 days in the month, there were 24 days that were cloudy and overcast and over 12 inches of rain fell on the golf course. Not what I would call "sunshine".

Constant rain and overcast weather have plagued most of the State in January

Those are some staggering numbers that have made it extremely difficult to present the golf course to highest standards expected on a daily basis. During the month there was also frost experienced for a brief time. To help combat those issues, several cultural practices have been implemented on the golf course including:

  • applications of liquid fertilizers to promote growth and strengthen the turf grass
  • applications of plant protectant products to prevent diseases from impacting the turf health
  • applications of sand to the greens to help protect the turf canopy
  • spiking of greens to encourage oxygen exchange
  • increased mowing heights in fairways, tees and greens to capture more sunlight
  • trimming of trees to allow more sunlight to turf canopy
  • the use of the golf cart computer system "Visage" to prevent golf carts from entering wet and low lying areas
  • the use of directional signs and stakes to guide cart traffic through compacted areas
Shade has been an issue on two of our greens on Holes 7 and 10. The Palm trees on Hole 7 to the left of the green as well as the Shady Lady trees behind the green of Hole 10 have recently been pruned to allow more sunlight and to help increase soil temperature. Not only does the lack of sunlight cause a problem but the shade also decreases the temperature of the soil. Our warm season grass needs both direct sunlight and soil temperatures above 65 degrees to actively grow. With the sun so low in the sky this time of year, the effective sunlight is diminished due to the low angle in the horizon. This creates greater problems from surrounding trees and buildings as they cast a larger shadow across the turf.

Shade from trees on Hole 10 have a detrimental effect on turf grass quality at the back of the green
The suns elevation in the sky is at its lowest point in the horizon during the winter months

The cool weather experienced during the month, including a mild frost, has had an impact on the color of the turf grass as well. The warm season Bermuda grass that is used throughout the golf course turns to a straw color during the cooler weather as it struggles with dormancy. This, coupled with excess traffic that compacts the soil makes it difficult to grow green, healthy turf. As the warmer weather returns and cultural practices resume, the turf grass will return to its natural vibrant green color.

As a golfer, there are many things that you can do to help prevent damage and make the golf course as enjoyable as possible for other members and, importantly, your next round of golf:
  • repair ball marks by pushing the sides in to the middle
  • fill divots with sand
  • keep four wheels on the cart path - please
  • use the 90 degree rule as much as possible to get your next shot
  • keep golf carts out of low lying areas and drainage basins
  • scatter your driving pattern to help reduce cart compaction
  • follow directional signs and warning notices
  • encourage your playing partners to do the same
Your golf maintenance team is doing everything it can to provide quality playing conditions for all golfers. With your help, and hopefully some sunny weather from Mother Nature, the golf course will remain healthy and enjoyable for the remainder of the golfing season.

Members  enjoying a round of golf on Hole 18 February 1, 2016

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Golf Course Renovation Update

We are now entering the 7th week of the golf course renovation and almost reaching the halfway point of the construction phase. Landirr, Inc. has been extremely busy and has some sort of construction happening on 14 of the 18 Holes as well as the practice area.

Over the next couple of weeks construction efforts will focus on completing some of the finer details to the impacted golf Holes as they prepare for sod and sprigs to be installed. This includes irrigation, bunker modifications, fairway shaping and tee leveling. By mid-June, 10 of the golf holes will be planted with grass and the grow-in portion of the project will commence in earnest.

The rock wall at the practice greens has already been modified and expanded to allow for the construction of an improved Chipping green. Soil generated on Hole 1 will be used over the next 10 days to make the necessary changes to provide an improved practice facility.

The rock wall at the practice area has been expanded to allow for an improved Chipping Green

Hole 1 has seen the green elevated by over 2 feet and some re-working of the right side fairway bunker. A large bunker to the left of the green will create an intimidating approach shot.

Hole 1 greens complex has been elevated and a more appealing bunker installed to the left side

Hole 2 has had the addition of a beautiful rock wall to the greens complex completed. The green has been brought forward with bunkers placed at the front left and rear of the green. The risk/reward shot will become a tough decision for the longer hitters on this Hole.

The new green and rock wall have been completed on Hole 2

Hole 3 has had the green elevated by 3 feet and extended toward the fairway. A bunker to the front right of the green will play an integral part in the shot making decision on this long Par 4.

Hole 3 green has been completed by elevating it by over 3 feet

Hole 4 has had the green elevated by around 1.5 feet and a new green-side bunker installed along the right edge of the putting green. The mound that was to the right of the fairway for the second shot has been lowered creating a visual effect that the area around the Green has been widened. The Coquina cart path that crossed in front of the green has been eliminated.

Hole 4 approach looks wider by simply lowering an existing mound and removing the Coquina cart path

Hole 5 has seen some of the most dramatic changes to the original layout with a substantial lake modification to the left of the Hole. The soil generated by this excavation was used to elevate Hole 4 greens complex as well as elevate the tees and green on Hole 5.

Hole 5 has seen substantial changes with a large lake modification to the left of green

A look down Hole 5 from the Back Tee

Hole 6 green has been elevated by over a foot and positioned closer to the rock wall that was created last year. Large mounds at the back of the green help to hide the structures from the neighboring community. Bunkers surrounding the green have been strategically placed and will create a visually pleasing approach.

The new rock wall is now more prominent on Hole 6

Hole 7 green is under construction with the greens drainage currently being installed. The putting surface has been elevated and the back right portion of the green widened to be more receptive to incoming shots. The bunker that was in front of the green will remain and will have some of the "Kipp Shulties" design work completed on it to make it more visible from the fairway.

Hole 7 greens complex is getting drainage installed
Hole 8 is also under construction. The placement of the green has been established and is now awaiting approval from Kipp Shulties this week as to the actual undulations for the putting surface. The green has moved forward by at least 25 yards creating a substantially larger area behind the green. Bunkers have been strategically placed around the new green and will provide a stunning new greens complex.

Hole 8 will be a new Hole with a change in both tee and Green locations

Hole 9 has had the green elevated by over 3 feet to make it the prominent feature of the Hole. It is now visible from the tee and also from the Dining Room of the Clubhouse. A lake modification along the left side was used to create soil to make the changes and creates a more challenging approach to the green. Large bunkers to the left and right of the putting surface will provide an intimidating second shot.

The lake to the left of Hole 9 was enlarged to create the necessary soil to elevate the green

Hole 11 has had the modification to the existing rock wall completed. This has allowed for a greater approach area in front of the green to be created. Mounds will be placed behind, and to the left, of the green to create an impressive greens complex.

The rock wall modification is completed on Hole 11 and looks fantastic

Hole 14 has seen the construction of the rock wall in front of the green commence this week. The wall will stretch for over 300 feet and become a prominent feature of this long Par 5.

A new rock wall on Hole 14 commenced this week and will look impressive

Hole 18 has had the green elevated by over 2 feet and the greens complex enhanced to provide for an outstanding finishing Hole. Fairway bunkers are being enhanced and the cart path removed from crossing the Hole. A large bunker to the right of the green will be provide intimidation for the second shot and the mounds behind the green will remain an excellent viewing area for our feature Member tournaments.

Hole 18 is still under construction, however, within 3 weeks grass will be installed on the entire Hole

Construction will continue in earnest over the next 2 months on the remaining Holes 10, 12, 13, 15, 16 and 17. The guided tours of the course will continue throughout the summer for those members remaining on property. The tours have been extremely popular and have been an excellent method to communicate progress and also educate the membership on the construction process.

As always, with any questions, please do not hesitate to contact David Dore-Smith at

Current Golf Course Information

Greens Height: .120

Greens Speed: 10.2

Fairway Height: 0.500

Rough Height: 1.5

Tees and Approaches: 0.400

Current Lake Level: 11.6

Control Level 14'

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