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 davidd@copperleafgc.com.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Golf Course Renovation Update

The golf course renovation began on April 13 and has moved along at a rapid pace. The project began in March with the application of Round Up to eliminate the existing turf grass. The application was performed by an outside contractor using GPS technology and sophisticated equipment to accurately apply the product.

Round Up being applied to Hole 6

The application was extremely successful with the green grass soon turning to a straw-brown color as the herbicide took effect. The golf course remained open as the grass continued to die and provided some interesting comments from our golfers as they enjoyed the firm conditions, The greens remained alive until the closing day to provide a quality putting surface and a stark contrast to the surrounding turf grass.

Hole 2 Fairway treated with Round Up

The putting greens remained alive to provide an interesting contrast

Landirr, Inc, our construction contractor will be completing the golf course renovation in stages. It is simply not feasible to work on every hole of the golf course at the same time. The first holes that will be impacted are Holes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 18 and the practice greens. These holes are grouped together and makes it possible to move the heavy equipment from hole to hole. Once completed, the next holes to undergo construction will be 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12 and 13.

Work commenced quickly on the practice area and Hole 18
If the weather continues to cooperate, all construction work will be completed at the beginning of August allowing sufficient time for the new turf grass to establish and mature. The golf course is scheduled to open in mid November.

For those members that call Copperleaf home for the summer, guided tours of the golf course will be held every two weeks to highlight the changes and help educate members on the construction process.

Over 50 people attended the golf course tour to get an education of the progress
I will continue to update progress of the renovation with photos and videos highlighting the changes to the golf course. It is exciting to see the Master Plan approved by the members being implemented and transform the golf course. Our architect, Kipp Schulties, has been on property weekly to oversee the construction progress and continues to fine tune his plan.

With questions or comments, please contact David Dore-Smith at davidd@copperleafgc.com

Friday, March 13, 2015

Round Up Application Update

                      Round Up Application Update 
The golf course renovation starts March 16 with the application by professional contractors of the herbicide Round Up to all turf grass on the tees, fairways and rough.  Round Up is a herbicide that when properly applied has been shown in decades of studies by the EPA and other governmental safety agencies to not pose a health threat to humans or pets.  The Round Up will not be applied anywhere near existing plant material on the golf course or near residents' gardens.  Appropriate nozzles and surfactants will be utilized to eliminate any drift potential. 
Within 7 days, the turf grass will turn brown as it begins to die.  However, the integrity of the turf grass will allow golf play up until when the golf course is closed April 13 for the beginning of the construction phase of the golf course renovation.  After the Round Up application, divots will not recover, so please remember to fill divots with sand so that those behind you can avoid landing in your divot hole. 
This image, taken by the USGA at another Florida course, is an example
of what Copperleaf will look like in April 2015
The golf course greens, the putting green and the chipping green will not have Round Up applied to them.  These greens are going to be completely excavated during the renovation.  They will remain green until the course closing on April 13.  Round Up will not be applied to the practice tee. The golf practice tee will not be changed during the 2015 renovation work; except to add two practice fairway bunkers, one on each side of the current practice tee.
The golf course will be closed from April 13 until a projected course opening date of November 15, 2015.    
The plan, weather permitting, is to apply the Round Up to the turf grass for two hours beginning at 6 am on Monday, March 16.  Tee times will begin at noon on March 16, allowing for the Round Up to be completely dry on the turf grass before play resumes.  If that plan changes because of unsuitable weather, then the Round Up application will be re-scheduled; members would be informed of that development as soon as that is known to be the case.
A second application of Round Up will be made Monday, March 30, to guarantee the successful elimination of the original turf.




Thursday, January 29, 2015

Golf Course Renovation Update

Golf Course Renovation Update

January 2015
David Dore-Smith, Class A Golf Course Superintendent

I have received many compliments from our golfing Members with regard to the current conditions of the golf course followed by the same question; "Why are we renovating?" The standard answer provided is that the course was scheduled to be renovated in 2020, but due to the overwhelming response of the membership vote in 2014 regarding the Master Plan, the renovation was accelerated to 2015.  From an agronomic point of view, we know that there are substantial issues under the surface of turf grass with regard to drainage, the overall elevation of the greens, inconsistencies within the bunkers, and degrading cart path surfaces that need to be corrected.

Hole 17 in January 2015

A new lake forms on Hole 2 Fairway during heavy rain events in the summer of 2014

The golf course renovation is fast approaching with construction starting on Monday, April 13. The course will remain closed until mid-November so please plan accordingly.

The contract has been signed with Landirr Inc, our construction company who has been in business for 30 years. They have performed all facets of golf course construction from irrigation and drainage work; bunker renovations; greens building; complete golf course renovation and new construction.

Most notably, they have performed all of the construction work at The Villages in Central Florida where they are based. The Villages consists of over 600 golf holes ranging from Executive courses to Championship courses including designs from Nancy Lopez and Arnold Palmer.

Kipp Schulties, our golf course Architect, is excited to work with Landirr Inc. and to make the necessary corrections to our golf course and provide some new challenges for all golfing members to enjoy. Primarily, our greens will be elevated by over 12 to 18 inches and our bunkers will be redesigned to improve both form and function. An exciting change from both a playability and maintenance perspective is the elimination of all Coquina cart paths.

Recently, Kipp was on property marking several trees scheduled to be relocated throughout the property. These trees have been tagged with orange ribbon and will have their roots pruned in February to prepare them for relocating in April. Many trees will be relocated between Holes 4 and 5 and between Holes 16 and 17 to provide improved separation between the Holes and protection to golfers. It will be important to get these trees in position early to ensure a successful transplant and develop a root system before Hurricane season commences in June. Stakes will be used to secure the trees in place.

These Palm trees on Hole 2 will be removed when the lake bank is modified and replaced back in a similar location

The week of March 16 is when the herbicide, Round Up, will be applied to all turf grass areas. A repeat application will be made 2 weeks later to ensure successful control of the existing turf grass. Spot treatments of Round Up will be applied throughout the construction period before the planting of the Celebration Bermuda grass. The application of Round Up will have a dramatic effect on the green turf grass we are currently enjoying by turning it straw brown.

All turf grass will turn straw in color and appear dormant as the Round Up application takes effect

Once the golf course is closed on April 13, and the grass has been eliminated, our usual summer practices of scalping the grass, verti-cutting and aerification will begin. These practices are completed to remove excess thatch and provide a suitable bed for the Celebration to make contact with the soil. It is critical to have this sprig to soil contact, similar to planting a seed. to ensure successful germination of the new grass.

Fortunately, the golf course irrigation system will remain operational throughout the project and will help to keep dust to a minimum. Members should expect to be impacted by debris similar to what is experienced every summer during our cultural practices such as aerification, verti-cutting and vacuuming of the turf grass. As always, it is suggested to remove outdoor furniture for the summer due to the threat of Hurricanes and to have your pool filter inspected weekly for contamination from debris.

You can expect to receive many updates throughout the construction period in an attempt to keep all members informed on the progress of the project. As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email David Dore-Smith at davidd@copperleafgc.com