Monday, October 14, 2019

August, September, and October

We hope everyone enjoyed their Summer as we are now gearing up for the winter season with overseed in full swing.

We are now a full week into watering after getting the course fully seeded and the temperatures have been ideal for overseed. The G&G department spent the week of September 30 scalping and preparing to seed which took place on October 7th.  We were able to seed the entire golf course in one day taking 10 hours to complete. This year’s overseeded areas will be very similar to last season. We overseeded all the fairways, tees tops, approaches, aprons, green surrounds, and the greenside bunkers. This year the intermediate cut in fairway’s has been expanded from about 4 feet to 7 feet. This intermediate expansion went further into the existing rough and thus the fairways stayed the same width and were not narrowed.

While the water is running through the day G&G is staying busy with many tasks in preparation for opening.  We are sand blasting and painting all the tee markers and yardage plaques. All tee accessories, trash cans, ball washers, sand bottle boxes, and coolers are being cleaned and re-conditioned. We are trimming, raking and cleaning deserts throughout the golf course. We will get a good start on the deserts, but it will take several weeks to get all areas cleaned up. The winter annuals around the clubhouse, #1 tee, #10 tee and the range house have been replanted. We will be doing some plant replacement around the clubhouse as well. The mechanics are busy sharpening all the mowers in preparation for the first cuts on the fresh rye grass. We also take this time to do a very thorough deep cleaning and detailing of all our equipment.

Overall the bentgrass collars were very successful this year. We had a couple of areas that still struggled during the stressful summer weather and we will be doing some plugging in those areas during the overseed closure. Also, while the course is closed, several members of our staff have been working on fixing ball marks and filling them with green painted sand mixed with bentgrass seed.

We also had a busy summer with multiple on-course projects.

The 12-day summer closure to perform all cultural practices was a big success. G&G was able to aerify and verticut every area of the golf course and apply 1200 tons of topdressing sand to the tees, approaches, fairways, and the first 10 yards of the rough. The continued topdressing is helping to create much better conditions for our players and the overall health of the golf course. Better drainage and soil help create firmer and faster conditions as well as helping to build a much healthier growing medium for the bermuda grass.

The 3 additional fans that were installed on #15, #16 and the practice area were also very successful this summer. The fans helped take the most troublesome greens and create a much more manageable environment for the bentgrass surfaces during our hottest months of July, August and September. With the continued success of the fans we anticipate adding them to several more greens next summer. The fans have been removed for the winter season and will be re-installed around the 4th of July next summer.

The north driving range tee was expanded in August. The bunker on the east side of the tee has been removed to create more teeing space with the rising demand of golf and our limitations of our driving range. About 200 tons of soil was brought in to fill and raise the area were the bunker was located. With the expansion we were able to add about 4 additional hitting stations on the tee.

The area behind #9 green was raised to match the changes to the cart path that took place with the clubhouse renovation. A 12” drain basin was added to the cart path to solve the water pooling issue that had been created with the elevated cart path.  A 6” drain line was also run into the small pond next to #1 tee. A small section of turf was removed and replaced with landscape next to the small pond. The raised area will help provide more space for our walkers to access the cart path directly behind #9 green.

May through August we spent a large amount of time trimming all trees as well as having a contracted tree company address the larger trees. During this time, we were able to trim every tree within the golf course property.

In addition to the tree trimming we added 38 new trees and removed 17 trees from the golf course. This was in accordance with the plan our golf course architect and arborist developed for us a few years ago. Both the architect and arborist make visits to the course each year to re-visit the plan and ensure we are meeting the needs of the golf course as it relates to safety, tree health, turf health, aesthetics, course design and playability.

We look forward to getting everyone back on the golf course very soon and to a great Winter season at Pinnacle Peak Country Club.


PPCC G&G Department


Cart path behind #9 Green - Cart path was elevated with the CRP

Cart path behind #9 green before

6" Drain line to drain pooling water on the cart path - ALOT of irrigation to go around or through...

Back filling soil to raise turf

New drain and turf line to match the cart path

New drain and tuft line to match the cart path
New landscape to replace steep turf from cart path to pond

Barry scraping the old turf out on the east side of the north driving range tee

East side of north riving range tee scraped and bunker partially filled in

Fill dirt being brought in to fill the bunker and level tee

Bunker and tee backfilled and sand capped

G&G staff laying new sod - Tee was was expanded about 6000 sq. ft.

New tee all sodded

Expanded tee overseeded - Little way to go yet

View of the expanded tee from the range house. 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

We hope everyone is enjoying the summer and for those of you that are here, you know the heat has finally set in and the humidity is now kicking in. We have been quite busy since our last blog update and wanted to let you know what has been taking place on the golf course.

The greens are holding up quite well with the heat and humidity. We have been slowing raising height of cut to help protect them as the difficult weather has begun. As the humidity, air, soil temperatures and dew points rise, the bentgrass will begin to go into a protective mode to combat the less than ideal environment for growth and health. The greens will be slower over the summer months compared to the speeds we enjoy during the fall, winter and spring. We will continue to strive to provide the best playing surfaces possible while protecting the health of the greens throughout the monsoon season.

You can now see that fans have been installed on #3, #15 and the putting and chipping greens. There is one more fan to be installed on #16. The installation has been delayed due to the fan being damaged in transport and the permitting process to run electricity into the golf course from the HOA to the west of #16 green. We hope to have this final fan operational by July 26th – August 1st. The fans help to circulate the air above the greens and give them relief during the high temperatures, humidity, and dew points of monsoon. These greens with fans were selected based on their location and lack of air movement due to surrounding walls, homes, etc. and the difficulties we have traditionally had on these greens during the summer. We will run the fans 24 hours a day during the monsoon season and remove them in September when the weather begins to cool. The base of the fan will be sodded over during the winter season. We changed the fans this year to a direct drive fan with a variable frequency drive (VFD). These fans are much quieter, and the speed of the fan can be controlled. They also are within the City of Scottsdale sound ordinances. 

The transition from our cool season rye grass to our summer bermudagrass turf has been very positive so far. The fairways, tees, and approaches look very good with only a few minor barer areas that will fill in over the next few weeks. With the humidity kicking up the remainder of the ryegrass will finally die off. Especially the remaining ryegrass in the green surrounds that has been protected by shade. As the ryegrass burns off there will be some challenges with transition around the green surrounds that will have to be addressed with sod, additional water and/or fertilizer to repair. The green surrounds are typically our most challenging areas due the ryegrass being maintained at higher height of cut in-season. The taller ryegrass overseed is much harder on the bermuda compared to the shorter areas of fairways and tees.

The bentgrass greens collars are doing well so far and are effectively serving as a solution to the troublesome buffer area between the bermuda grass and our bentgrass putting surfaces. You may have seen the discolored rings around the outside of the collars. We continue to use an herbicide that targets the bermuda grass to slow and stunt its growth and help control encroachment. The herbicide will turn the bermuda white and temporarily discolor the bentgrass. The bentgrass usually greens back up within a couple of days while the bermuda will take 2-3 weeks to recover and begin to grow again. We continuously spray every 2-3 weeks to maintain control of the encroachment. Not all the bermuda is visible on the surface and can grow under the bent. Eventually we will need to re-sod the outer portion of the collars. Typically, the outer portion may have to be re-sodded every 2-4 years. Being proactive with the herbicide treatments will continue to slow the encroachment and reduce the frequency of sodding.

In late April a new nursery green was constructed between #17 tees and #2 green. The nursery green was added to give us a better sod option for the greens in cases of repair. The other nursery green is located north of the tennis courts surrounded by two 8-foot walls and the employing parking lot. That particularly nursery green can struggle tremendously in the summer due to its boxed in surrounding and location. The new nursery is intended to provide healthier sod and more of it if necessary.

We began trimming trees with our in-house staff in May and continue work our way through the entire course. We have several holes remaining on the front nine to complete. The contract tree trimming began the 1st week of June and was completed during the 12-day closure of the golf course. 17 trees were removed this year as part of the tree plan developed by our Golf Course Architect and Arborist. The most noticeable trees will be around #8, #15, #17 greens. It was critical that we remove these trees to alleviate the shade and air circulation challenges on the greens. The golf course architect reviewed the entire plan for addition and removal in May before the work began. An additional 38 trees will be planted from the end of July to early September as part of this ongoing tree plan.

Earlier this year the Club adjusted the calendar to close the golf course for 12 days in July. This closure allowed for all the cultural practices of verticutting (dethatching), aerification, topdressing of all fairways, tees, approaches, and roughs to be performed all at once. The goal was to provide better golf course conditions through the week of July 4th while condensing these practices into a shorter time window rather than stretching them out over 6-8 weeks.  This allowed us to be better conditioned longer and recover more quickly following the closure thus reducing the impact to players. The golf course reopens July 19th with all practices complete. Players can expect the golf course to be cleaned up and ready for play but still a little “beat up” from these aggressive practices requiring another week or two to fully recover. Fairways, tees, and approaches will be sandy and a little shaggy. It will take this small recovery period for the grass to fill in and to get a quality cut from our mowers.

While these practices are disruptive, they are very beneficial to the health of the golf course and necessary to continue to provide the best possible playing conditions year-round. We sincerely appreciate the Memberships patience and support as we continue to strive to elevate the quality of the golf course today and in the future.

Best regards,

Your Green & Grounds Department

Ranger - Barry's Dog, has been hanging out with us

Shade on #17 Green

Shade on #8 Green

Shade on #17 Gree
Shade on #15 Green

New Nursery Greens Shaping

New Nursery Greens - Filling The Sand In

Contract Tree Trimming

Fransisco Aerifying Practice Green Area

Jesus Cleaning Plugs @ Practice Greens

Day 1 of Verticutting - The Pile Grew 4x

#18 Verticut

Jose Aerifying Tees

Victor Cleaning Behind Verticutting

Juan Topdressing Fairways

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

December / January / February 2019

It has been a cold and wet season so far. Since January 1st we have received 4.25 inches of rain. The temperatures have been much cooler this winter compared to past winters. So far this season we have had 18 frost delays. While no one enjoy the delays, including the golf course maintenance team, we do our best to minimize them while still protecting the turf from damage. While most frost delays only freeze the top leaf tissue of the plant, we must be careful not to step or drive equipment and carts on turf which can crack the leaf tissue and damage the plant. Usually a plant can grow out of this damage over a period, but the damage is visually noticeable and unsightly. In cases when the lower portion of the plant called the crown freezes, complete death can occur. (see picture below)

One negative side effect of all the rain, as many of you have probably noticed at your homes and communities, is the excessive number of weeds that can appear. While we take a lot of preventative measures with the use of pre-emergent treatments, we have still realized a large increase of grassy weeds in the deserts and especially in the non overseeded roughs. We have been spot praying post emergent herbicides to kill these weeds, specifically poa. Unfortunately, the herbicides that selectively kill poa also kill ryegrass and bentgrass so we must be extremely careful when we spray in proximity to team members and golfers, so the herbicide is not tracked into the overseeded turf. It is very important to keep up on these applications to help prevent the spread of the poa into the overseed and especially onto our greens. We do our best to avoid spraying during play, but we ask that if you see a team member spraying in the rough to please avoid the area.   

Green and Grounds has been busy with many projects. Over the last several months we have trimmed, raked, cleaned, and edge all deserts. In addition, Green and Grounds has re-rocked the entire parking lot and club area, including running all new irrigation and planting the patios on the new clubhouse.

This past December we re-surfaced our small nursery green located east of the tennis courts. This nursery green is used to repair the greens and collars. While we did not use much of our nursery green it had to be resurfaced because of its location where it is surrounded by the tennis courts, parking lot, and a seven-foot-tall wall. Due to its less than ideal location we will be constructing a new nursery green located in the desert between #2 green and #17 tee. Construction will begin the week after the El Cannip.

In January, Green and Grounds also installed the new clock next to the putting green. Unfortunately, the only way to get electricity to the area was to install a new sub panel next to the clock. The other alternative would have been to bore under the concrete from the clubhouse and trench around the putting green.  We hope everyone is enjoying our new clock. 

The biggest project we have been working through has been the replacement of our aging pump station. The planning process began almost 2 years ago. Multiple vendors, consultants, and experts have been involved including an electrician, welder, cranes, demolitions trucks, new pump station installer, APS, City of Scottsdale, irrigation architect, and the pump manufacturer who all collaborated over the entire planning and execution of the project.

The project was initially planned to be completed in December, but due to unforeseen circumstances was pushed back to February. Our old pump station was 25 years old. A typical pump station has a life expectancy of 20-25 years. We got every ounce of life out of our old pump station and operationally, it was in pretty good shape. However, structurally it was very corroded and technologically outdated. Many of our computer parts that control the station we no longer being made, and replacement parts were no longer available.

The process included making several major changes to the pump station. We first re-designed the layout to make the station more accessible by rotating it 90 degrees to reduce the amount of turns the water made coming out the of the station. The old station pulled the water up and the pipe turned around 180 degrees before it went out the golf course. We also added an additional 25 HP jockey pump. This smaller “maintenance pump” helps in our day time operations by running the small water tasks such as syringing greens and misters. By taking the bulk of the small water tasks it helps avoid the large 75 HP motors from turning on and off frequently. This in turn makes the station more efficient and saves wear and tear on the large motors. With adding a new pump, we also had to upgrade our electrical service from a 400 AMP panel to a 600 AMP panel. This included running all new wiring from the APS transformer to the pump station.

With the new station being on a larger platform we had to pour new concrete to support the station and avoid setting it on the 40-year-old concreate. The new concrete was also poured to help level the station and meet city code. The old station and wet well were not very level and caused vibration issues adding to the ware and tear of the station.

Another major change was the piping that creates the water fall feature next to #1 tee / #9 Green. The pipe was relocated to create more access to the control panels. Prior to moving the pipe, we had to jump over the pipe and stand on wood raised stand to access the 460-volt panel. This created a very un-safe working condition. So, by rotating the station and moving the control panel we created safe access to the control panels.

On February 18-20 the new station arrived. As you may have seen, there were a lot of people and trucks involved. Other than some missing and wrong parts that had to be overnighted there were no major challenges with the installation and everything went very smoothly. The cool weather and all the rain could not have could not have come at a better time to get everything perfect before brining the station on line.

Overall this was a very important project and a critical capital investment for the long-term health of the golf course. 

We hope everyone enjoys the upcoming tournament season and golf at the Club.

The top number is an infared reading of the surface temp of the grass, the bottom number is the air temperature 4 feet about the ground........its doesn't take 32 degree air temp to freeze at the surface of the grass.
Damage from walking ont he grass when it was frozen
 Dead grass from being walked on when frozen

Old pump station

Excess corrosion on old pump station

Olds electical disconnect on right wall and old concrete 

 New Pump Station Concrete 

  New Pump Station Concrete

 New wiring from APS to Pump Station
New disconnect panel from 400 AMP to 600 AMP

Worn and coroded shaft on old pump

25 years of build up on pumps

Old platform, lots of corrosion

New punp station from Dallas, Texas

New platform 

First punp column going in

1 of 3 - 75 HP Motors

3 of 3 75 HP Motors

All pumps and all new pipes installed. Much better access to the control panels and electrical service.

All pumps installed and running with new canopy

Station Painted and re-rocked

Station Painted and Re-Rocked