Friday, December 23, 2011

Bocce Courts are open

I am pleased to announce that the bocce court renovation project is complete and the courts are now open for play. Please remember that these courts are not designed to have the balls 'lobbed' onto the surface. This simply creates pit marks underneath the surface and causes the bocce balls to alter their trajectory on the return end. Please release the ball as low as possible to the surface, similar to a 10 pin bowling style. This will ensure an extended life of our courts and make play more enjoyable for all.

Posted by David Dore-Smith Director of Golf Course and Grounds Maintenance

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tee Marker Enhancements

They say that "the difference is in the details". I have known that our tee markers, that were purchased over 4 years ago, needed a little TLC for quite some time to bring them to the high levels expected at Copperleaf. A good clean and a fresh coat of paint was what was needed to bring these faux rocks back to life. Unfortunately, time and finding the right employee to handle the delicate strokes between the veins of the leaves on the Copperleaf emblem engraved into the concrete forced me to delay the task. Fortunately, two of our own members, Lora Eikelberner and Helga Reynolds, had offered to"help out in any way" one day as we were talking about the many tasks undertaken on the golf course. I quickly thought of the tee markers and how the two of them could masterfully apply the paint to the rocks like nail polish to a manicured finger nail. Once the markers were cleaned, the ladies set about one afternoon applying the blue, white, gold, green and red paint to the rocks. The finished product looks fantastic and the markers look new again.

Next time you see Lora or Helga, please let them know how much you appreciate their efforts. If you would ever like to communicate an idea or offer to help in any way, please do not hesitate to let me know. Thanks again ladies!! Posted by David Dore-Smith Director of Golf Course and Grounds Maintenance

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bocce Courts

Our Bocce Courts, that were constructed over 3 years ago by the maintenance staff are receiving a face lift during the month of December. The existing surface of the courts will be removed, the base boards replaced with a lower, permanent plastic based product, the courts gravel base compacted and leveled, pergolas re-painted, and the surface re-installed and sanded. The entire project will be completed within a 10 day period with the courts open for play by Friday, December 23. So please, stuff those stockings with a new set of Bocce balls and come out and enjoy the new courts with your friends and fellow members after Christmas 2011.

Posted by David Dore-Smith Director of Golf Course and Grounds Maintenance

Constant Improvements

We are constantly making minor improvements to the playability of the course throughout the year. Adjusting mowing heights on the fairways and roughs to accommodate the different growing seasons, replenishing sand in bunkers, and applying pine straw among them. Recently, additional sod was installed along the perimeter of one of our fairway bunkers on hole 4 to open up the shot availability to the green, if desired. Several native grass plants were removed and turf grass planted into the location.

The new sod will take several weeks to establish, however, the finished product will be a welcome addition. Posted by David Dore-Smith Director of Golf Course and Grounds Maintenance

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bunker on hole 11

During the past week, the staff and I completed the renovation of the bunker to the right of hole 11. This bunker had been compromised with foreign material due to the summer rain events and a diminishing sand supply and was in need of an overhaul.

Sod was removed from the perimeter of the bunker to allow for new soil to be added to create a raised mound of turf between the green and bunker. The previous bunker was quite flat and allowed for a fairly easy golf shot back on to the green.

The original bunker sand and perimeter sod is removed

The existing sand was removed and the drainage lines cleaned and inspected to ensure that they are performing correctly. Riaan Potgieter, our Assistant Superintendent, had the idea to create two smaller bunkers rather than one larger one earlier in the year. This would allow golfers to see the depth of the bunkers from the tee and create a visually appealing greens complex. After discussions with Gordon Lewis, our golf course architect, the idea was approved.
The base of the bunker is then cleaned and smoothed to improve drainage and prevent native soil contamination.

Trying to find the correct height for the new bunker face to make it fair yet visually appealing

The base of the bunker is cleaned and the perimeters cut down to provide a defined edge between the bunker sand and turf grass before the new sand is installed

New sand is then placed into the bunkers at a depth of 4 inches around the perimeter to approximately 6 inches toward the center. A vibratory plate is then used to compact the sand to prevent 'fried eggs' and ultimately firm up the hazard to provide a fair shot for golfers.

The sand used in the new bunker is the same sand that has been used at Copperleaf for many years and is mined locally
 Finally, the sod is replaced around the perimeter of the bunkers, top-dressed to fill in any voids, fertilized and watered. The bunkers will remain as 'Ground Under Repair' for 2 weeks to allow the sod to establish and new sand to settle. Overall, the bunker renovation was very successful and now provides a true bunker shot back onto the green as well as an improved view from the tee for all players. I cant thank my staff enough, especially Ricardo Gomez, for their work on this project. There are several other bunkers throughout the course requiring renovation. These will completed regularly throughout the year.

The finished product provides a stark contrast between the new, white sand and the green turf grass surrounding it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

New Signs

Copperleaf golfers will recognize that the directional signs throughout the course have recently been updated. All existing posts were re-painted with a black stressed metal paint and new signs attached. There were various signs replaced including the cart path stop signs, 'Golf Carts Only - No Pedestrian Traffic', and other informative/directional signs.

In 2012, all existing tee signs that indicate the current hole and yardage distance will be refurbished. The signs will be sandblasted and re-painted black and a new post installed that will sit behind the sign. Overall, the new signs will provide a fresh appearance to the entire golf course. Posted by David Dore-Smith Director of Golf Course and Grounds Maintenance

Drainage Work

As you are enjoying your next round of golf you will notice several areas throughout the course where the sod (turf grass) has been removed from the edge of the cart path. This procedure is being completed to prevent puddles from accumulating on the cart paths and creating an unsightly condition and one that can muddy up our golf carts.

The underlying rhizomes and roots remaining in the soil will quickly regrow providing a smooth transition and healthy turf. These areas will be marked 'Ground Under Repair' until the Bermuda grass has fully grown in; typically a couple of weeks.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask at any time.

Posted by David Dore-Smith
Director of Golf Course and Grounds Maintenance

Location:Ardore Ln,Estero,United States

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


During the month of October, Copperleaf received almost 14 inches of rain on top of the 13 inches measured in September. This volume of rain unfortunately has a leaching affect on the fertilizer applied to the turf. Leaching is the affect of moving fertilizer through the soil profile with the use of irrigation water and rain. Ultimately, this renders the fertilizer unavailable as it is out of reach of the plant roots. We will be applying fertilizer to the entire golf course during the afternoon of November 21 to help replenish the nutrient levels in the soil and provide a sustainable food source for the turf grass as we enter the cooler months. The Proshop will be blocking tee times in the afternoon to allow for the fertilizer to be applied without affecting golfers. I also encourage you to replenish fertlizer around your own plants, especially those potentially affected by frosts, during this time of year to help strengthen them before the cool weather arrives. Posted by David Dore-Smith Director of Golf Course and Grounds Maintenance

Location:Copperleaf Golf Club

Grass Clippings

I was asked recently what the dark lines are on the fairways? Due to the volume of rain during recent severe weather events, grass clippings created when mowing the fairways float to the surface and move with the water toward the drainage basins. As the water begins to soak into the soil, the grass clippings are left behind in a clump. The end result is what is now seen below.

As the fairways are mowed and the turf grass continues to grow, these marks will soon disappear. If you ever have any questions you would like answered on this blog, please do not hesitate to ask. Posted by David Dore-Smith Director of Golf Course and Grounds Maintenance

Location:Copperleaf Golf Club

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Clubhouse Entrance Landscaping

Residents currently at Copperleaf will notice that the Native grasses have been removed from along the roadside before you enter the clubhouse from the security gate.

The native grasses are being replaced with more colorful shrubs to compliment the existing landscaping from the front entrance all the way to hole 13. Due to the weather events over the past few days, the project has unfortunately been delayed. However, I anticipate having the new plants installed by the end of next week. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Copperleaf Golf Club

Tropical Depression Rain Event

Overnight, the golf course received almost 5 inches of rain that saturated the already wet soil. This rain event added to the over 1 inch of rain received Monday and now puts the monthly total at 9 inches.

This volume of water caused our lakes to rise by over 1.25 feet and prevented our usually excellent draining golf course to 'back up'. Ultimately, the golf course was closed for a second day as conditions were simply too wet to allow for play.

Fortunately there was no further rain during the day today and coupled with breezy conditions, should allow for the course to re-open Thursday morning. Please be considerate with where you drive your golf carts as there will still be many wet areas in particularly along the perimeters and low lying areas. There will be signs and stakes placed throughout the course to help guide you to the driest areas.

Work commenced today to start the clean up process and repair the washed out bunkers. This process will take several days to complete and cause many of our other detail projects to be postponed. I appreciate your understanding and patience.

Location:Copperleaf Golf Club

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

St. Augustine turf areas

As you drive throughout the community, you may notice some off color turf in our St. Augustine common areas. The turf was treated with a herbicide late last week to remove and control the Nut Sedge weeds that were beginning to infest the area. due to the high rainfall over the past several weeks (12 inches in September), the Nut Sedge has become prolific. The herbicide is extremely successful in controlling the weed, however, it does cause a mild, temporary discoloration to the existing turf grass. In fact, much of the discoloration is the weeds turning brown and dying. This discoloration and dead weeds will be eliminated through mowing and irrigation and will disappear within 7 to 12 days providing a healthy, weed free turf grass.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Copperleaf Golf Club

Hole 18 tees

As you are playing your next round of golf, you may notice a change on the 18th Blue and White tee complex. These two tees have been enlarged to utilize as much playing surface as possible. In fact, the White tee is now two tiered, increasing the length of the hole slightly The increased tee area will allow for improved playing conditions as the turf will have a greater period of time to recover before the tee markers are placed in the same location. The newly mown turf will take approximately two weeks to adapt to the new mowing height. All tees are scheduled to be top dressed with sand tomorrow as part of our cultural practices. The sand on these new areas will help protect the turf and encourage new growth.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Copperleaf Golf Club

Palm tree trimming

The Palm tree trimming continues this week with most of the work complete on the front nine. The contractor, Go Green, is doing a wonderful job of removing any dead and dying palm fronds as well as any seed stalks. The finished product provides a much cleaner appearance yet maintains the natural look and health of the plant.

Go Green hopes to complete the trimming of over 1300 trees by the end of next week. I appreciate your patience as the workers continue to prune the trees throughout the course. Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Copperleaf Golf Club

Monday, September 26, 2011

More Rain

Copperleaf has experienced over 20 inches of rain over the past 30 days. Some recent photos taken last Thursday afternoon highlight the effect the rain has on the golf course.

Fortunately, our course continues to drain extremely well with today, Monday September 26, being the only day we have used cart path restrictions. Unfortunately, the amount of rain continues to slow progress on our course projects and detail work. The amount of labor required to repair bunkers and other washouts to prepare the course is significant. The most challenging aspect of this is that on several occasions, our staff have completed the repairs only to have another significant rain event wash out the repairs again.

I appreciate everyone's patience during these challenging times and give full credit to my staff for enduring through the rain, lightning and repeat work. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Copperleaf Golf Club

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


There is an immense amount of trimming required to be completed throughout the property over the next several months.

This week, work commenced around the tee boxes to improve the line of sight to the fairway. Holes 3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 13, and 18 will be completed within 2 weeks.

The view from the white tee on hole 6. The tees were top-dressed with sand today as well.

Once these areas are trimmed, a growth regulating product will be spread throughout the garden beds to slow the growth of the plants and increase the time between re-trimming.

Following the completion of these areas, additional pruning will continue throughout the property as we prepare for our annual pinestraw application in December.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Palm tree trimming

Beginning next week there will be an outside contractor on property trimming our Palm trees.
With over 1300 trees to trim, I expect them to take 2 weeks to complete the task pending no adverse weather conditions.

Please be patient with their employees and the noise of their chipping machine as they move through the course. Work will not commence until after 7 am each day with both pruning and chipping being completed on the golf course. The mulch that is generated will be hauled to the maintenance facility for later use.

All Palm trees will have their dead and dying fronds removed as well as all seed heads. This will produce a clean, natural appearance.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Another lightning strike

There was another direct hit from a lightning strike at Copperleaf yesterday. This time, our irrigation system antenna was hit causing it to explode into hundreds of pieces. Fortunately no one was injured although many of our employees, including me, were a little shaken. I was in my office at the time when the lightning hit which is only 8 feet, and a thin piece of glass, away from the antenna. The power of the lightning unfortunately caused our irrigation communication repeater, or base station, to be damaged as well. Toro, our irrigation company has sent a new base station overnight and with a new antenna being installed today, irrigation will once again be able to take place.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Bonita Springs, Florida

Friday, September 16, 2011

More rainfall

During the week there was more heavy rainfall causing damage to the course, and in particular, the bunkers. Although the repairs are made within two days to make the bunkers playable again; this additional labor takes away from the many other projects underway throughout the course.

The bunkers on hole 9 were, once again, washed out by heavy rainfall.
 These washouts are detrimental to the playability of the bunkers in the long term as well. Native soil and gravel used for drainage are exposed and are extremely difficult to remove from the bunker sand. Unfortunately, some of this foreign material gets incorporated into the white bunker sand causing inconsitencies from one bunker to another.
All efforts are made to prevent this and to also add new, clean sand to the bunkers. During November and December; once the heavy rain season has finished, many bunkers will have new sand added to them in preparation for the golfing season.

There was also significant thunder and lightning during the storm. In fact, one lightning strike had a direct hit on a sprinkler along hole 14 rough. The force of the lightning was so powerful that the sprinkler head literally exploded causing water to flood the area until we arrived early the next day. Thankfully, the lightning surge protector in the control box sacrificed itself to protect other major components.

This sprinkler exploded out on the golf course and the electrical current traveled underground to the control box causing the electrical board to short circuit.

The take home message here is to please listen for the lightning detection warning sirens and take shelter at the clubhouse. Copperleaf is not immune to a direct hit from lightning. Sprinklers can be replaced!

Hole 13 Landscaping now complete

The landscaping along Copperleaf Blvd and hole 13 is now complete. Hundreds of plants and dozens of trees were installed along the roadway to help frame the hole and enhance the view from both the golf course and the roadway. The plants installed include Dwarf Bougainvilleas, Dwarf Oleander, Trinet, Star Jasmine, Fire Cracker and Thryallis.

Also incorporated into the design is a hedge of red flowering Jatropha and also Silver Buttonwoods. This hedge will create protection for golfers on the tees from passing cars.

Practice tee and Par 3 tees Open

As of today, September 16, the practice tee and par 3 tees will be open for normal play.

These areas were reconstructed in June and have now matured sufficiently to allow for regular play to resume.

Back in June, the original turf was removed to a depth of 2 inches and then leveled using additional soil. The level surfaces were then re-grassed with a new variety of Bermuda grass; 'Celebration'. The Celebration quickly established and was allowed sufficient time to mature and become stable. It will take one full season for the turf to fully mature and develop a significant root system; however, with increased fertility and cultural practices, the playing surface will be presented to a very high standard on a daily basis.

The practice tee has been leveled and re-grassed an is now open for play

Cart Paths

In 2013, the Copperleaf cart path's are scheduled for re-sealing. Some of you may notice two strips of black seal coat near the bathroom of hole 4. These are test plots for two different seal coat options.

The test plots will be monitored to determine which one is best suited for the high and concentrated traffic our cart paths experience.

Results and cost differences will be presented to the BOD for their review in 2012. Prices will also be obtained to overlay the cart paths with new asphalt. There are several areas experiencing damaged asphalt from either a thin original application and also continual washouts undermining the base rock.

Friday, August 26, 2011

I-75 Berm

I am pleased to announce that the CDD approved to spend up to $13,000 to install 3,000 1 gallon Florida Slash Pines along the outside perimeter of Copperleaf, Shadow Wood and Lighthouse Bay.

Once the construction work on the concrete fence was complete, a local company, Earth Balance, quickly moved in to weed eat the berm before installing the plants.

Over time, these new saplings will mature into 40 to 60 foot specimen trees and provide much needed noise suppression as well as reduce maintenance practices, secure the soil with their extensive root system and prevent soil erosion.

The exposed berm along the east perimeter of Copperleaf, Shaddow Wood and Lighthouse Bay will have up to 3,000 Florida Slash Pines installed in August. In this image, the concrete fence can be seen to the left and I-75 to the far right.

Changes to the golf course

If you are playing golf at Copperleaf over the next two weeks you will notice several areas where orange paint has been marked on the turf.
The paint is used to guide the machine operators where to mow. There are several areas throughout the course that are being scalped down to a new mowing height, whereas there are other areas that will not be mowed to enable them to reach their new height as either a fairway or rough cut.
This area on hole 18 has been extended to act as golf ball catcher. It will allow golfers to easily put back onto the putting green.

Tees will also have paint marks on them as we enlarge the teeing surface in preparation for the upcoming golfing season. This will allow for more tee locations and ultimately provide increased time for the turf grass to recover from divots and golfer traffic.

Greens encroachment

Over the past 11 years, the Tifway 419 Bermuda grass that is planted on the course and used for our tees, fairways and roughs has been encroaching into our Tif Eagle putting greens.

The 419 is designed to be mowed at 1/2 an inch or higher to provide superior playing conditions whereas the Tif Eagle putting greens are designed to be mown at 1/8 of an inch or lower.

During the summer months when the 419 turfgrass is actively growing, it persists into the putting green where increased moisture and fertility are used. Unfortunately, when the 419 is mowed at greens height, it is easily scalped and produces a white appearance around our greens perimeters.

The white/yellow color is the Tifway 419 Bermuda grass that is growing into the putting green as seen here on hole 18.

To help mask the issue, a specialised mower has been dedicated to mowing the perimeters of the greens at a higher height and which also utilises a solid roller to keep the blades from digging into the turf grass as it turns.

To correct the issue in the future, I am working with Green Committee Chairman, Ike Eikelberner, to gather costs to present to the BOD to have the affected areas removed next summer. This practice would involve spraying Round Up on the affected areas, mechanically removing the dead turf and then aerifying the greens. The cores generated would then be raked into the perimeter and encouraged to grow. The benefit of this program is that the turf being used is the original turf from Copperleaf and not one from an outside sod farm.

Although the entire process would take approximately 8 weeks to accomplish, the end results would be worthwhile. Only the outside perimeter of the green would be affected for golfers during the summer months.

I will keep you informed as to whether this project is approved for 2012.

Manhole covers

Now that the road work has been completed, the finishing touch on the entire project was to repaint the manhole covers throughout the community. Over 100 manhole covers exist throughout the property but the task has proved to be worthwhile with the finished product complimenting the new asphalt.



Over the past week, Copperleaf has experienced over 9 inches of rainfall on the property. Our lakes that were still very low for this time of year are now full after increasing by over 1 1/2 feet over the past week.

Unfortunately, there was damage to the course, and in particular the bunkers, that had our maintenance staff scrambling to present the course to our usual high standards. In fact it took 3 full days of 6 to 8 employees to simply repair the washouts that affected nearly every bunker.

The front bunker on hole 10 green complex is notorious for washing out. The black layer is organic material that floats to the top of the puddle that forms during heavy rain. The maintenance staff have to first remove this organic layer before pulling the sand back to the edges.

The bunker behind hole 18, with its steep face, had no chance on the Saturday rain event that saw 4.5"s of rain fall in less than 4 hours.

Other areas of the course were also affected including cart path edges and newly installed landscaping beds with fresh pinestraw.

This area on hole 3 had large volumes of water wash the fresh pinestraw away.

Thanks to the hard work of our staff, most of the damaged and affected areas were repaired by the end of the week. There remains a few isolated areas that will require further work in the coming week. I appreciate your patience as we continue to work in these areas.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hole 13 Landscaping

I appreciate everyone's patience with regard to the landscaping of the roadside along hole 13. It is important to remember that the first priority of the maintenance department is to 'maintain' the golf course. All other enhancement projects are secondary to the overall daily presentation of the course.

Last week, all of the ferns were removed from under the Shady Lady and Oak trees and new plants installed along half of the area.

A hedge of Silver Buttonwoods and Jatropha have been installed along the tee complex. This hedge, once matured, will provide a screen between the road and the golf course.

Unfortunately, as the project commenced, it was realized that there was insufficient irrigation coverage in the area south of the tees. Rather than install hundreds of plants in an area without sufficient water, it was decided to improve the irrigation first and complete the plantings at a later date. Neil Johnson, our irrigation technician, has now installed new pipes and sprinklers and the plants are on order. The area will be completed within the next two weeks.

Irrigation Work at front entrance

There has been a lot of activity at the front entrance of Copperleaf this week. Brinkman Group, the contractor responsible for maintaining the landscaping and irrigation along Three Oaks and Coconut, identified an irrigation mainline leak last week. They valved closed the affected pipes and have now begun the arduous task of digging up the affected area directly in front of the Copperleaf sign.
The exposed hole was over 6 feet in depth and revealed a network of pipes and wires.

Brinkman expects to be completed within the week at which time they replace any affected flowers and plants. 

Road Work

After weeks of preparation, the roads within Copperleaf have all been coated with up to an inch of new asphalt. Ajax, the company responsible for the work completed their final clean up last week and the finished product looks great.
A street sweeper makes its final pass throughout the Community to complete the project.

All of the man hole covers were sand blasted to clean them of any residue and are now in the process of being repainted to blend into the new road surface. This repainting project has been delayed due to the recent rain events and will be completed within the next two weeks.

Also delayed due to rain is the re-striping of the cart crossings. Three crossovers remain to be painted; hole 8 to 9, 9 to 10 and 17 to 18. As weather and time permits, this will soon be completed.

I appreciate all of our summer members patience throughout the process and am confident you will be satisfied with the completed product.

Mole Update part 2

After several weeks of limited activity around the hole 12 green complex, the Mole returned with a vengeance and tunneled its way on the green over the past weekend.
The damage was quite severe and took 2 employees all day on Monday to repair the putting green surface.

Mole damage on hole 12 green

On Tuesday morning, I came to Copperleaf at 4 am to try and capture the pest personally. When I arrived, the Mole had already been busy and tunneled back onto the putting green. After viewing some activity, I made several attempts to dig down and capture it but without success.

This is what the green looked like at 2:30 am
On the following day, Wednesday, I came to Copperleaf at 2:30 am, determined to rid us of this nuisance once and for all. It had already made progress deep into the green and I was confident I was in the right location to trap it. To my utmost disappointment, the Mole somehow avoided my attack and was gone. After waiting patiently in complete darkness for another 2 hours, I made another attempt and was finally rewarded with the Mole's capture.

This is the Mole in the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket

It is truly remarkable that such a small animal can cause such destruction. It is the about the size of a large thumb with sharp digging claws and covered in fur. Needless to say, this Moles tunnelling days are now over.

Rain Event

Wednesday, August 10, there was an intense storm that rolled through Copperleaf halting work and causing washouts in several bunkers throughout the course.
This is a photo of hole 2 green after 1" of rain fell within 1/2 an hour.

Fortunately, Copperleaf drains very quickly and so the course was open for play on Thursday without any restrictions. It will take at least two days to get the bunkers repaired so please be patient.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pump Station

Unfortunately, the pump station was affected by the storm last Sunday which prevented irrigation for two days. One of the components of the system, the Variable Frequency Drive, that controls the 3 pumps had an electrical short circuit that prevented the pumps from running.

In the short term, we were able to use one pump manually to water the greens early in the morning before maintenance work began.

However, due to the high heat during the day and lack of irrigation, some areas on the fairways have been affected by golf cart traffic. The turf was literally so hot that when a golf cart travelled across it, the weight of the vehicle crushes the cells within the plant and causes die-back.

Fortunately, our pump station contractor was able to over night a new component from Texas and the pump station was up and running by Friday night.

The turf will soon recover and be uniform again. To help the maintenance staff, please keep golf carts off any dry looking turf to help prevent this from happening again.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sunday Storm

Sunday afternoon a fairly significant storm rolled through Copperleaf. Over 1" of rain fell during the event; however, several trees were blown over and a lot of debris scattered throughout the course. The staff were out early this morning removing branches and fronds in preparation for the days play.

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