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.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

One of the biggest updates to golf course maintenance this year has been the installation of the irrigation control system. I have taked about the installation and you maybe thought that it is now done and running, but that is also partially true.

We are discovering that there are some changes that make it easier to create new irrigation programs and make adjustments quickly.

One of the things that has been a real help is the dual monitors showed in this picture.

Duel monitors in the office
The second monitor is 51 inches and you may think that excessive, but when you are looking at 1,500 sprinkler heads on 100 acres that big monitor gives a much better representation of the course. The duel monitors also allow me to get Google earth up on the a monitor while looking at the irrigation map and programming spreadsheet.

I walk the course at least once a week and probe for wet and dry spots. I use a gps tracking app called my tracks and I put in markers for wet and dry spots. This kmz file is then loaded up on Google earth where I have created a layer of sprinkler head positions with their addresses. When I put the Google earth program up on the monitor next to the irrigation program it makes it really quick and efficient to adjust run times.

 Now, I recently got an I Pad that enables me to make changes while on the course, and I will be working on importing an Apple gps tracking app into the Toro program as a layer. At this time Toro does not provide this capability, so if you are reading this and are into this type of project, I would love some help figuring it out. After all I am in Silicon Valley, with a lot of very talented creative people.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wet Heavy Bunkers

I have never been at a course that did not have bunkers as one of the topics of course improvements. Tactics  to improve those bunkers ranged from washing the sand  while running it through a screen to complete replacement of all the sand. I have used spray on bunker liners, inherited a few variations of synthetic cloth liners and had just compacted soil under bunkers sand, and in each case the only way to get the bunkers to the liking of the player came in the form of a lot of manual labor to clean the sand and make sure that drainage was good. And then annual sand replenishment and silt removal kept things in good condition.
Standing water in the bunker causing wet heavy sand

The bunkers here at La Rinconada have an impermeable plastic liner under them and the only place for water to exit is through a drop inlet that sometimes is in the lowest point in the bunker bottom. In many cases the water does not leave the bunker because the bottom does not have enough fall to carry the water out of the drain.

Water out of the bunker after puncturing liner

I found standing water under the sand in the fairway bunker on the right of the 14th hole. I followed the water to the deepest point and found no drain. So I made one with a pick. Within a matter of seconds the bunker drained. I will be doing more of these around the course where we find standing water under the sand. Although this will not make the bunkers great, it will go a long way to improving the playability.

The practice buker drainage holding water

One bunker that has been extremely difficult to keep in good condition is the practice bunker. After exposing the drainage it is apparent in the picture why this sand was wet and heavy. It was constantly wet and the liner was retaining the water in the bunker rather than it draining. New sand has been ordered. Additional rock and pipe will be installed, and the plastic liner removed in the bottom, and this bunker will improve tremendously.