After what has been one of the longer golfing seasons I have been around in the Northland, we finally closed the E/W golf course on November 9th. The crew and I would like to thank all of you for your patronage at Nemadji and hope that you were able to enjoy the facility and what it has to offer. With closing comes opportunity to perform truly meaningful work in the form of cultivation and projects that help to move on from the status quo and move the facility forward on the road to improvement. One such practice which we experimented with on October 9th was an aggressive verticutting unit that attaches to our newly acquired tractor. Every golf course needs a tractor for their versatility.
As I have alluded to in previous writings, Nemadji has a nasty thatch issue in many areas. A remedy to this issue is, of course, aerifying but a better one is the aggressive removal of thatch via a unit like the one pictured above. I asked a vendor if we could use this demo unit for a few days to see just how well it works in the hopes of acquiring one in the future. I was not disappointed in that the unit was able to create thatch removing grooves to the depth of 2” with more thatch removal and less mess than conventional core aerifying. Because we were only able to utilize the unit for a few days we were only able to perform this work on 8E tees and 17S fairway but this was enough to find that this implement would be a real help in improving conditions in the future-particularly on the horribly thatch ridden fairways on the old N/S golf course. Hopefully, we can acquire such a unit soon to continue our momentum in improving conditions at Nemadji. Another practice that will work wonders in improving future conditions at Nemadji is drainage installation.
This specific work on 7N/15S took 650 linear feet of drainage tile installation and three surface drains but will help to alleviate drainage problems after rain events on the bunker on 7N green, bunker on right side of 15S green, 7 approach, and 15S fairway and rough. What this photo does an excellent job of is showing just how flat this part of the golf course is. For the entire run of this project from the bunker on 7N to the wood line on the east side of 15S, we had a total drop in grade of a little less than 3 feet. Barely enough to make this work with the proper care taken to establish and conserve grade to allow water to move within the tile. Interestingly enough, grades shot from the bunker on 7N going west towards 16S showed a drop in grade of close to four inches over a distance of about 500’. That would not have worked out so well. The point is that this sort of project takes careful planning and study before proceeding with the mess making.
Drainage is, simply put, drudgery. The picture above was taken on a day in the 20s with heavy winds making it seem much colder. This group-along with not pictured George Bibeau-soldiered through these conditions and were able to accomplish a great deal of work before completion. This is after a long summer and fall of working 6 days a week starting at 5 am for the majority of the year. I cannot say enough how impressed I am with the crew here at Nemadji and I hope that you can appreciate both their resilience and dedication to make the place better for our customers. It was a pleasure working with every one of them in 2021.
By the end of the year, we had installed 1600’ of mostly 6” double-wall drainage tile, 10-18” surface drains, and bedded the work in with about 125 tons of pea rock. This work was done on 2N fairway, 13W greenside bunker, 11S tee, 7N fairway landing area, and the 7N/15S complex pictured above. Combined with the work performed last year on 11W and 12W fairways as well as bunkers on 7E, 8E, and 16W, we have installed half a mile of drainage tile in the past two seasons. Not too shabby for in-house work.
To top off this dirt work, Enbridge was required to perform a pipeline dig on the golf course this fall which is currently in process.