About Me

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Los Gatos, California, United States
Kevin is currently the certified superintendent at La Rinconada Country Club. Kevin was the Director of Maintenance at Lahontan Golf Club for over 14 years. Some of the responsibilities over the expanse of his career include the daily upkeep of multiple golf courses, natural resources, environmental compliance, and roads and streets. The wide ranging expertise has come from a combination of education and experiences. Degrees in Meteorology (1987 University of Nebraska/Lincoln), and Horticulture (1992 Colorado State), complete the formal side of this important combination of qualifications. A lifetime of experience around golf courses, and the game of golf was provided by Kevin's father.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Cleaning Up and Growing Grass

Time always seems to go quickly growing grass from seed, maybe because it never happens quickly enough.  In the case of the last few days there has been a significant change in the amount of grass and the appearance of the course that has been very satisfying. 

After one week of heavy irrigation it is time start to cut back the watering.  To germinate seed it needs to be moist for prolonged periods of time. To grow healthy grass the roots need a balance of oxygen and water in the soil. We have enough seed germinated that we are now in the period of growing grass and we can cut back the from 11 waterings a day to 4.

Friday Sept 21, 9 days after first watering

Rolling greens with a 1,000 lb  compaction roller is not for the faint of heart. But in the right hands it takes care of imperfections very well. The sod that was put back onto the 15th green improved dramatically with the use of this technique.

Rolling the new 15th greens surface

Although grubs do not feed on seed they did cause some areas of existing turf to come up when our seeder went through them. These were then treated with an insecticide. Another example of adjustments made during our conversion work.

Dead grubs

The projected re - opening the first week of November looks very achievable at this point.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Finishing Week 2

Two weeks ago La Rinconada was open and there was play on the course.  Today it is in terrible shape and definitely unplayable.  For the remainder of the time until re-opening every day will be spent on getting things back into shape and growing grass.

The seed is beginning to germinate, which is reassuring.  I have grown enough seed to know that it will happen, but there is something special when that green hue comes over the surface.  The first areas seeded where holes 14 and 18, and there is grass just starting on those holes not more than a week after planting.

The remaining work that needs to be done is on the 1st hole, where the drainage is being improved.  The old 4 inch drain pipe was removed and  600 feet of new 6 inch pipe and rock put in.  Five 12 inch drop inlets where installed, a detention basin was created, and the entire area regraded.  I am anxious for the first rains so we can see it perform.

Laser level of the drainage installed in #1
Drain line location on the first hole

The 15th green was enlarged by over 2,000 feet creating a shortage of existing grass to put back onto the green.  A combination of aeration cores, bentgrass seed and sand will be used to re-establish about 25% of the surface area and it should be in good shape by November.  This new green is much more interesting than the old version, however, you will still recognize its signature right to left hard break.

The old sod being replaced onto the 15th green
Check list of completed items
All surfaces prepped for seed and sand
Existing green edges located
Irrigation grow in programs created
Sprinkler heads raised
All surfaces sprayed with herbicides at least once
6,000 tons of sand delivered and spread
30 acres of hydroseed applied
60 acres of dry seeding
20 tons of fertilizer applied
All greens, tees and roughs aerated
15th green rebuilt
13th left bunker re-shaped and size reduced
Tree work done
Check list of to do items
Grow seed
Repair damaged areas from truck traffic
Grow  in areas as new green space that were not before
Establish mulch areas around trees
Contract netting for the 5th hole
Re-establish cut lines around the course
 Open ASAP


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Daily Challenges of the Turf Conversion Project

Things are continuing to go well, but I wanted to illustrate a few of the difficulties in case we were making this process look too easy.  Possibly, I look like I am enjoying myself more than I should?
Making sence of cut irrigation wires
 Cut irrigation wires while installing the new drain pipe in the #1 fairway.
3 Sand delivery and 3 sand spreading trucks in the parking lot
 Equipment congestion in the parking lots and on the surrounding residential streets have lead to contracts staking out there space.
Exposing old drain lines at the 15th green
Uncovering multiple drain lines leading out of the 15th green makes for archaeological interpretation of how to tie in the new to the old.

And despite these challenges (some call them opportunities) we continue to move forward as shown in this last photo showing the 9th green aerated, hydro seeded, surface area enlarged, approach re-graded, and sod going down in the collar.  All this in our first week of closure.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The First 3 Days of Conversion

Here at mid week we are hitting on all cylinders and moving through the course on schedule.

Sod has been removed around the new green edges on holes 2,3,12,13,14,16,17.
Tree work is being done throughout the course.
Trees being thinned south of the 10th green.

All fairways except on #1 are prepped for sand.
Tree roots in #9 fairway while prepping for sand

Fairways on holes 2,3,14,16,17,18 are todressed.

Spreader trucks putting down sand on #14 fairway

Fairways 14,18 are hydro-seeded.
Hydro seed on #14 fairway sand.

The 15th green complex has been stripped of sod.
Sod removal on #15 green


By Saturday we should double the amount of work done and we will be close to turning on the water in order to germinate seed.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Last Week Open for Play and Final Preparations for Sand

The cutting blades on the flail that removes the turf and sweeps the area clean
This past week has been very busy and productive and we meet our goal of scalping down the fairways, and preparing for sand topdressing that starts Labor Day Monday.  It has been inconvenient for golf and I apologize for that, however when the course is back into shape we will all have some stories to tell about the dust bowl of 2012 that hit La Rinconada.

After the first pass with the flail unit

In the past week we have removed hundreds of yards of grass off the fairways.  Instead of paying to have the material taken off site, it will be re-cycled on the golf course.  This is a financial savings and is better for the environment. 

This week is all about getting off to a good start laying down the sand.  The processes that follows the sand is applying granular organic fertilizer, dragging the sand to smooth the surface, and then the hydro-seed.  The hydro-seed starts Wednesday, which gives the sand spreading operation a 2 day head start.

Also planned this week is the removal of sod around greens. When the round up was sprayed a 36 inch buffer was left around the edges to lessen the chance that the herbicide would be tracked onto the greens.  These areas will be leveled when the sod is removed to improve the playability and surface drainage.  You may have noticed the different colored paint around the greens in preparation for this work.