Thursday, September 29, 2011

Some more DCC Challenges...

We have had some challenges lately at DCC and this is just to inform you as a member or guest playing here.

We had some debris enter the suction line form the dam and blocked the water suction causing the pump to over heat. With that the gasket melted and cracked , spraying water all over inside the pump house causing the electrics to burn.

This has now been fixed and we are currently looking to install a new suction line with a better sieve.

Last week the water coolers that was on the course got vandalized and all the water tanks where stolen from them. This is the second time this has happened in the last 8 months and we have removed them. We are now in the process of upgrading the old exciting water fountains we have and we will try to make sure the pressure stays consistent.

Due to the extremely wet winter we had , and even now going into spring with very little hot days so far, We have found that some greens stay wet for a long period of time. With the greens not having any drainage in them the water just sits. The water only evaporate and run off over long periods of time. Shady areas are the worst and we found that the greens get BLACK ALGAE growing on them.

We have started dusting the greens on a more regular basis (once a week). We have also started Verti-draining the greens with 10inch long needle tines that punch 6inch deep holes in the green assisting them with the draining and drying process. The verti-darin also helps with compaction and releases the toxic gasses trapped under the surface giving the plant a chance to breath.

These holes can hardly be seen 2 days later and are fine to play on the next day after the greens has been cut or rolled.

We had a hydraulic leak on the small putting green by halfway. One of the pipes cracked due to wear and tear / old age. We are very lucky the operator picked it up so quickly and that we use a biodegradable oil in our mower that helps with the recovery process.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Iron Bacteria killing the irrigation system !

A group of microorganisms commonly called iron and sulphate reducing bacteria cause a chemical change in the water they infect. Iron bacteria are found in all parts of the world, with the exception of the southern polar region. In KZN they occur naturally in dams, swamps, watercourses, lakes and groundwater. Reports of iron bacteria in bores have increased rapidly throughout these regions in recent years. Iron bacteria are micro-organisms which obtain energy by oxidizing soluble ferrous iron into insoluble ferric iron which then precipitates out of solution. This energy is used to promote the growth of thread-like slimes which together with the ferric iron, form a voluminous mass. Many species of iron bacteria have been identified. There are also some bacteria which live on manganese in water. However, as most groundwater's contain lower concentrations of manganese than iron, it is iron bacteria which have caused the majority of problems in bores. The resultant growth of iron bacteria in bores, cause water pumps, pipes, and bore holes to block up with a brown, slimy, clay like material. Sometimes there is a bad odour from the water, like rotten eggs. Iron bacteria are not harmful to humans, as are other forms of bacteria, but are harmful to bores and pumps. If left untreated they will cause the eventual blockage of the bore and failure of the pump.

Well point suction that is the main supply of water to the course.

The picture above is a 110mm pipe reduced to 40mm cause of the growth !
The irrigation system and main line at DCC is very old and due to that we have seen that pipe bursts are occurring more frequently and the pressure is decreasing due the the Bacteria growth in the pipes.

A leaking hose pipe connected to a bore hole spraying onto a log and this took 3 days.

Bore hole pump...

The bore hole pumps needs to be lifted and cleaned every so often as the sieve on the pumps gets blocked and even stops the pump from pumping. 

What are we doing : We are cleaning pumps and filters on a regular basis and have done test on chemicals testing to see if it help. We have applied a chemical to the well points and flushed the system for 12 hours to see if it will get rid of the build up. It worked but it was very expensive and only helps temporarily...
We are now looking for a more cost effective way of dealing with our problem...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Worlds most expensive green

Never mind moving the tee markers in the morning ... lets just move the green !

The 15,000 square foot gigantic green is the most expensive green ever built and can weigh up to 5,000,000 pounds when wet.

One of the really cool things about the green is that it moves via underwater cables. The 14th can be moved into shore or out to sea and can be played at a range of 95-200 yards.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Possessed African Mole Rat...

What are those heaps of soil we see every now and then on the course ?

A common question from members and guests as the walk of the course and its all to thank to our friend the mole rat and his other mole friends...

Common African Mole Rat

They not really possessed just very unhappy when you catch them to "relocate" of the golf course as seen in the video below.... they can do damage to the turf and give the maintenance staff a lot of work to repair areas.

One very unhappy mole rat...

They are quite a bit different to the other Moles we get in the course and these mole rats occurs in a wide range of substrates from friable sandy loams to sandy, stony soils. It is apparently, unable to utilize heavy red clay soils or the hard soils associated with mopane woodland. In South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province where DCC is located for those foreign readers, it occurs in a variety of habitats from short, mesic grassland to dense coastal forest, and from stony soils on hill slopes in the Drakensberg. In many parts of the range (e.g., Pretoria, Swaziland, and KwaZulu-Natal), they are found in a variety of man-made habitats including lawns, golf-courses and gardens. The species is subterranean, and social, with a colony size of around five animals (and up to 14) including a single reproductive pair. It has a litter size of two to six young and a generation time of about three years.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Climate Change ???

This is a comparison between the winter of 2010 and the winter we just went through in 2011.

2010 DCC had 28mm of rain between 1st of May and the 1st of Sep.
2011 DCC had 354mm of rain between 1st of May and the 1st of Sep.

2011 winter min temp average 2-3 C colder then 2010.
2011 winter max temp average 3-4 C colder then 2010

All this data was taken by the weather system on the course. This proves that we had one of the coldest and by far wettest winters Durban has ever had. With so many cold , cloudy wet days the Poa annua really loved the winter of 2011. We have seen Poa in areas we have not seen before and we are going to have to be a lot more aggressive with our spraying program leading to next winter especially on the paspalum areas on the course like tee's etc.

Will next year be back to normal or will it be worst ??? We will have to wait and see...

Monday, September 5, 2011

Testing the new Spider radio controlled slope mower.

Last week i had the chance to test the new Spider Radio Controlled mower. This mower is controlled by an operator with a "radio" remote and remotely send the mower up and down to mow severe banks like tee surrounds etc.

As you can see the cutting unit looks like any other rough mower on the market. It has a few prosoperating and tasks.

- The operator is not manually handling a brush cutter (swaying side-to-side) while standing on a slope that is covered in cut grass and debris.

- Reduces slip hazard and potential for ankle and knee injuries.
- Reduces strains.
- Combined with the productivity offered, the Spider Mower significantly reduces the amount of man power required on potentially hazardous slope situations like we have at DCC

- Steering and speed/direction is done by joystick controls.
- Fatigue is reduced by eliminating the manual activity associated with brush cutters and hover mowers
- No weight bearing.
- No direct contact with vibration and harshness.
- Engine noise is not directly adjacent to operator.
- As an alternative to using a tractor or ride-on-mower on slopes, the Spider Mower eliminates the roll-over hazard with an operator on-board.
- When mowing around trees, the Spider Mower eliminates the hazard of operator collision or crush against tree limbs.
- Spider Mower requires only a standard car or utility to transport to site.

- Avoid wet weather causing a lost day of mowing. It is often too hazardous to put a tractor or ride-on-mower on wet slopes, because of the potential of loss of control, poor traction or damage and rutting to the ground; the Spider Mower can continue to work.
- Repeated wet weather can create a substantial back log of work, that quickly becomes heavily overgrown in Summer. When dry conditions finally return to allow conventional machines back on to the slopes, the mowing is heavy and slow work. Spider Mower prevents the situation developing by allowing mowing in all conditions to keep growth under control.
- In wet conditions, access to some sites may be difficult for heavier equipment such as tractors. Spider Mower is light, nimble and handles access to difficult situations.
- The Spider Mower is low and agile and can access difficult sites whether restricted by; low clearance, narrow access, steep access, many trees etc.
- The Spider Mower mows in every direction. It does not need to be turned around at the end of a pass. With every movement it is mowing for maximum productivity
- The light weight 4WD Spider Mower minimises damage to the ground such as rutting.

- Brush-cutters simply cut down grass, while the Spider Mower mulches its mowed material.
- Being able to efficiently mow difficult slopes more frequently reduces weeds that shadow grass, and improves slope protection and stability over time.

Personally i feel this is a great peace of equipment to have especially here at DCC where we have a lot of slopes where no man powered equipment can drive never mind mow and it has to be done by hand with brush cutters and fly mowers. Its very productive, efficient and can save money and labour in the long run. Keep in mind every golf course is different so for other courses this option will not apply.

Turf Recovery after severe winter.

Most people will say they have not had a cold and wet winter like this in Durban ever ! Dew to the cold and wet winter we have just experienced some areas on the shady greens had some turf damage. This was due to poor drainage, clay growing medium , lack of sun and very wet conditions with very short days.
We have marked of these areas and they are GUR in this case Grass Under Recovery !

These areas will be marked off until they are ready which should not be long as we are spiking , fertilizing and watering them as necessary.