Feedback and comments are greatly appreciated from our Mickelson members and I even listen to them from time to time. Feedback ranges from, fun articles, very informative to please shorten it up and just get to the point. Often siting their attention span, limits specific readers from actually getting to the end of the article. One page does seem like a monumental type task. So this article will be dedicated to member #36 who wants the quick details without all the fluff. Stop being a fluffer! So the next paragraph will be devoted to #36 and the rest of the article will be for the more imaginative mind.
Construction status report: By the end of 2016 shaping of all 18 holes will be complete. All lakes and ponds have been dug out with appropriate pipes and what not. Drainage will be completed on 14 holes. Irrigation will be completed on 12 holes. Topsoil for all native grass areas will be complete on 16 holes. 800 trees will be planted on holes #1, #10, #18, #9 & #11 this fall. Water feature on 18 green site has been completed. Complete with pools for #36’s logo’d nuggets. 48 dozen for Christmas, hand delivered.
Now that member #36 is long gone I will try and paint a picture for the rest of you. Looking at golf course construction is like watching numerous sets of waves roll in, each with its own function and purpose. The dirt movers clear the land, dig out all the ponds, lakes and streams. Accomplish a lot of the topography work. Their goal is to get it within +/- 1 metre of completed shaping. The dirt movers have been off the site for 1 month. With those huge machines running around in choreographered chaos it leaves little room for other machines, they truly are given the right of way.
The Oliphant Golf Course Construction crew now comes in and begins shaping each specific hole. Bunkers, fairways, greens and tees. I would compare Oliphant to a conductor, they control the orchestra and the project manager is that specific conductor. I would mention his name but he wouldn’t let me on the site anymore if I did, so let’s call him Jimmy, good oooold Jimmy. Jimmy is at the center of it all, horn section and strings working in beautiful harmony. I know it’s cheesy but why not. I sometimes feel like he’s juggling 5 balls with only 1 hand. But oh the dexterity of that hand, marvelous!
Every 3-4 weeks Rick Smith and Mike Angus will be on site to give guidance and thoughts on design to Jimmy and the shapers. All with Phil’s philosophy of design at the forefront. Sometimes it’s a simple great work on that bunker and green complex, sometimes its “I want that bunker face bigger or more flashy.” They are the curb that keep the design process in tune with the vision of big and bold.
As holes are shaped, the drainage crew comes in, with their maps and anchor points. It reminds me of aimpoint, a green reading system, where is the low point and the high point? Where does the water want to go? As they dig things up, dirt needs to be put back, some more subtle shaping.
Irrigation follows in behind dodging dump trucks dosing the hills with topsoil. The dark rich dirt is framing the holes beautifully while the boys on the fairways are popping in those heads like winter is right around the corner. This snow by the way is purely for show, we have at least another week of good weather. Jimmy who is from somewhere in the south asks me the other day. “Whats with the snow, could it stay?” As I ponder this question, sadly I concede “Yes it could, start working from dawn till dusk!”
As the shapers and irrigation guys keep moving to the east part of the property, water feature work, tree planting has fallen in behind them. With the lions share of work completed on the west side of the property, holes 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17 & 18 look virtually finished. Bridges, cart paths will be completed on this area next year.
We are sandcapping all tees, greens and fairways first thing in the spring. This will allow for great drainage and more importantly allow us to control playability of the course. We can have fast and firm conditions or softer if we so choose but our ongoing maintenance program will be very manageable.
Seeding of those holes above will take place sometime in May, I’d love to give a date but winter is as unpredictable as a percussion section. Jimmy always under promises and over delivers when giving me dates and deadlines. I love the surprises of the positive nature. Who knows maybe we will work well into November and I’ll have to update the construction schedule. It’s tough to guess when you are dealing with the weather. One thing I do know, member #36 has stopped reading and he’ll probably thank me for the 2 simple and direct paragraphs above. As a person who loves people and comes from a psychology background, how many of you can guess #36 vocation or education background? First person to guess correctly will receive a free entry into the 2017 Mickelson National Club Champs.
See you soon!4