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Gallagher's Canyon Grounds Maintenance Blog

Welcome to Gallagher's Canyon Blog! Stay up to date with what our Grounds Maintenance team has been up to, from course project updates, progress, details, and timelines; to new faces and some "behind the scenes" insight.

 

Wildlife Tracker 
UPDATE: October 15, 2020

We’ve had some great post made since the launch of our Wildlife Tracker last month. In case you missed it, the main goal if this project is to account for the diverse and abundant wildlife found in the Gallagher’s Canyon area (read below for details).

This knowledge will help our Grounds Team make better, more educated decisions in our maintenance practices, ranging from where to maintain and establish naturalized areas and corridors, to how we manage on-course garbage and recycling, and so much more. Let us know what you see on course my snapping a photo with your camera or mobile device and uploading to the Wildlife Tracker form HERE.

Thanks for all your sightings and keep the updates coming! CLICK HERE for some great images including a Moose, an endangered Northern Leopard Frog, a Black Bear, and plenty baby and adult deer.

September 1, 2020
Shawn Bailey, Assistant Superintendent

Hello Gallagher’s Canyon Community, golf members, employees, and all those who are interested. 

As you have noticed, Gallagher's Canyon Golf Course and Community shares the surrounding land with many furry and feathery neighbours. I believe there is an opportunity for us all to work together to help maintain the natural beauty and habitat that is shared between us. 

I am looking for your participation in a wildlife tracking project that we are quite excited to share. We have begun to track the wildlife found on the golf course and within the community. This information will help establish a baseline for us to use as we maintain and adopt different management practices on and around the golf course that affect our community. 

For example, our Golf Course Accountant, Devon Sloan, recently spotted a Great Horned Own perched in a Poderosa Pine on the left side of the 18th hole during his round. Here, Devon was able to capture a great image of the beautiful bird, which will be put into our Wildlife Tracker.

When using the Wildlife Tracker, being able to perfectly identify the species observed is not necessary. The Wildlife Tracker will prompt you to enter the location, possible distinctive features such as colouring and relative size, along with actions at the time of observation. If you are having trouble identifying the specimen, talk to a friend, co-worker or family member; they may have some insight for you. Otherwise, click on one of the links below that may help you identify! 

I strongly encourage everyone to take many pictures of the animals on course while observing their distinctive features. Submitted photos may be featured in future blogs while other uses include an annual calendar with proceeds being used for new and exciting environmental projects. 

There are some posters around the community to prompt you to fill out the form along with other information. There is also a QR code that may require a QR reader, depending on your phone. Below are a few links including the Wildlife Tracker, Bird, Reptile and Mammal Identification tools. 

Thank you for your participation! 





 

Hollow Tine versus Solid Tine Aeration 
July 7, 2020 
Jesse Cowan, Superintendent

Aeration week is never fun for golfers (or maintenance teams!)… this year, we decided to cancel the Spring hollow tine aeration and incorporate multiple solid tine aerations throughout the year.

On Tuesday, June 30 we completed a quarter-inch solid tine aeration, you probably noticed the greens had a little bit extra sand on them that day. I snuck a round in myself on the evening of July 2 and was happy with how the greens had responded and recovered by that time.

Rather than hollow tine and a 10-14 day recovery period, we are able to complete a solid tine aeration with minimal impact and see great results within days.

This is a newly introduced process at Gallaher’s Canyon. I’m not writing to tell you we’ll never see another hollow tine aeration on our greens again – that would be irresponsible of me – but, what I will say is that if things continue how it’s intended, the need to hollow tine aeration where we pull a plug will be fewer and further between.

All that being said, you likely noticed that I did use the 3/8” hollow tines on the back the third green. Some of our smaller greens present compaction problems, specifically the third green where everyone walks off directly through the middle of that green to the cart path. If you’re able, please consider exiting the green from the side to reduce these high-traffic paths from effecting the playing surface.

 

Topdressing
June 12, 2020 
Grounds Maintenance Team 

Topdressing… the word alone can strike fear into the hearts of golfers. Some may even consider it to be “evil”, however necessary. Rather than go into detail about the why and the how, making this post pages long, I have shared with you three links to summarize.

While doing your research, keep in mind everything requires perspective. Comparing one golf course to another is often like comparing apples to oranges; what works great at one facility may not be the case at another.

 

Irrigation 101
June 11, 2020 
Jesse Cowan, Superintendent

After Wednesday’s (June 10) events, it’s imperative to write a little blog post updating you on our satellite boxes. In efforts to spare you an overly-long (and boring) post, I am going to describe our irrigation system in the simplest terms possible.

From our pump house, run two separate lines of water; one is a small hydraulic line that we call “the loop” and the other is a larger line that feeds our sprinkler heads that we call “the system”. From the pump house, the loop feeds to all our satellite boxes (they are the green boxes pictured here, that you see throughout the course). From there, it splits up and have one small loop line that goes to every sprinkler head on the course.

The system goes from the pump house along the main line, splits into lateral lines and also goes to every sprinkler on the course. Our irrigation system is a hydraulic system meaning the loop pressure at every sprinkler must exceed the system pressure, otherwise the sprinkler turns on.

SO, if you were golfing on Wednesday around 1:15pm you may have noticed sprinkler heads coming on everywhere throughout the course. What happened, is one of the satellite boxes was backed into by a vehicle, dislodging it from the course (see image above). The loop feeder broke, resulting in the pressure to drop course-wide. Like I mentioned, as soon as this happens… bingo, bango, bongo… sprinkler heads turn on.

From there, pumps need to be shut off, lines need to be drained, repairs need to be made, and the system has to be re-filled which all-in-all is not what one would call a “fast process”.

What is our takeaway message here? Please be cautious of our poor little green satellite boxes.

 

Geo-Grids Installment
May 25, 2020 
Jesse Cowan, Superintendent

A common complaint, and a justified one, are slippery slopes on common walking areas on and off green and tee sites. Safety is always a concern on the course and of high priority to our Grounds Maintenance team. These areas are often places where we cannot install stairs or lay mulch/gravel walk paths as it would highly impact play. Like a lot of golfers, my issues on-course are slice related, but for those who have managed a controlled-draw, bouncing your ball off a greenside staircase is less than ideal!

In efforts to make some of these areas safer (to the left of the 11th green, for example), I have installed a geo-grid from the cart path to the top slope. The idea behind this grid is that once the grass is growing through it, it will greatly improve traction on the slope while minimizing any impact on play. Once completed, it can be walked on and mowed over with very little impact.

This is our first “test area” using these geo-grids and if all goes as intended, we will plan to install more around in the course in slippery-prone areas such as leading up to the 3rd hole’s Mountain tee deck and the Ponderosa tee deck on the 18th. If this “experiment” does not work as intended, it can be removed with minimal impact; time will tell!

 

Bentgrass Seeding on the Greens
May 15, 2020 
Jesse Cowan, Superintendent

Seeding bentgrass into our greens is a complicated process that I am here to shed a little light on. We use what is called a “dimple seeding” unit that attaches to the front of a greens mower. Rather than going into too much detail about the unit, I have included a YouTube video that better explains; click here to view. This machine does a great job of placing seed into the simple it has created.

When seeding the green, we go over it four times in four different directions. This makes four dimples for the seed to be bedded in. After the green has been seeded, we roll it to ensure good seed to soil contact.

I will also add that, if you have never seen bent seed, it is very small compared to most seed you would traditionally use for your own lawn; bent seed is only 1mm in length. The image above is of a green right after having gone two directions with the seeder. Bring on the warm weather!

 

What the Bleach...
April 21, 2020 
Shawn Bailey, Assistant Superintendent

Hello everybody, this is an update from the Grounds Department in relation to how we are staying safe while coming in to do our essential work around the course.  

During this tumultuous time, the grounds at Gallagher’s Canyon still need to be maintained. You may have seen the employees around the course completing tasks and have been wondering if they are adhering to the Covid-19 physical distancing? Good question. As Covid-19 firmly took hold of the country, GolfBC and Gallagher’s Canyon Golf Club are taking many steps to make sure that everyone involved with the organization are safely working. Down at the maintenance shed, we hold a daily morning meeting to discuss the plan for the day along with the projected workflow for the week (while, of course, observing recommended physically distancing from one another!).

As you may have noticed, there is a new sign in front of the maintenance department stating, “EMPLOYEES ONLY”. This may seem over the top, but you’d be surprised at the random people we get through these gates. Like your homes, our shop is a haven for the staff to congregate and prepare for the day. The sign is to deter all non-essential peoples out of the work yard.

The next step of our efforts to deter non-employees is the signage on all the entrances of the building stating “NO VISITORS, EMPLOYEES ONLY”. Just in case you didn’t get it the first time. Just like at home, no deliveries, no “hey how do you do” from employees that have not been brought back yet. We are trying to stay healthy and avoid unnecessary contact with the public for everybody's safety.

As for our team members, anybody who enters the building must wash their hands with soap and water. We have designated areas where we sit, eat lunch and prepare for the workday, we have even delineated each person's area with tape on the tables.

You may have seen us in the field, working in group of vehicles, kind of like parades from one area to the next. This is not a parade, and more of a physical distancing technique. We try our best to limit close contact interactions to a bare minimum.  

Typically, at the end of the day we come into the shop with just enough time to put gear away close up shop. Nowadays, we come in with 10-15 minutes to spare to sterilize the equipment, tools and shop. The procedure starts with removing all the tools, and someone will wipe them down with bleach. Another team member will grab another rag and bottle of bleach to spray down the equipment used for the day and wipe away any (distasteful bugs). Moving from one shop bay to the next, all high touch areas are bleached and wiped down, including doorknobs and light switches. Once everyone has evacuated the shop, a couple team members remain in the lunchroom to bleach and wipe all of the surfaces including tables, countertops, fridge, microwave, and keypad prior to locking up.

Thank you for respecting our recently implemented restrictions so we can work safely. We hope you're all staying safe and healthy, and look forward to seeing you out enjoying the Spring weather and the course (from a distance, of course).

 

Hole #7 Tree Removal
April 8, 2020 
Jesse Cowan, Superintendent 

The best time to run a tree through the chipper is when the course is empty as we hear you golfer enjoy the tranquil peace and quiet. With that in mind, we have been busy removing trees around the golf course. Generally, the focus is on dying or dead trees or ones that have already fallen on their own.

For this post, I would like to focus on a tree we removed behind the 7th hole green. This tree not only created a large amount of shade on an already shaded green, but it also interfered with any right-handed golfers playing a controlled fade off the 8th hole black and gold tees. Before and after images shown here.

During the winter months, the sun stays so low in the sky that this tree severely hampered any sunlight from shining on to the green. During the summer months, morning sunlight plays an important part in overall turf health and by removing this tree will allow that morning sun to shine through.

This past winter, I took the time to view all the greenside trees to assess which ones should be removed to promote turf health. My goal is to have some of the most imposing trees removed by the end of 2020. TIMBER!

 

Driving Range Tee Improvements
April 1, 2020 
Grounds Maintenance Team 

Finally! Our first actual post by the grounds maintenance team. A project currently underway is pines removal from the driving range tees closest to the kiosk, along with increasing the size of the actual tee itself. by increasing the size of the tee box, we will be able to extend the practice time as it will allow for more recovery time between tees while we rotate decks. 

Unfortunately, while doing so, we came across a manhole that needs to remain uncovered. However, we feel the positive outweighs the alternative and proceeded accordingly. Once the weather permits, we will seed the area and wait for the grass to grow! See above for the project's progress to date (one thing creating this blog has taught us: always take a before photo!). 

 

A Note from the Superintendent... 
April 1, 2020
Jesse Cowan, Superintendent 

Hello and thank you for visiting our NEW Gallagher's Canyon grounds maintenance blog. The goal is to use this as an effective means of communication between our grounds maintenance team and our membership/guests. My plan is to keep everyone in the loop in terms of our maintenance practices and why we're doing them. We don't cut down trees or aerate a green just because "we're bored", so by creating this blog we hope to offer more insight and answers as to "what", "why", and maybe even the "how" projects are executed. 

As you're all aware, we are in a bit of a holding pattern regarding opening the Canyon and the Pinnacle courses due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. As terribly unfortunate as it is, we are trying to remain optimistic and using this time to complete projects around the property and be ready to open in great conditions when the time comes. 

Finally, I would like to state that, although I DID pass English 12, please take it easy on my writing skills; this is a blog after all and we all know less can be more... "why use many words when few will do?". Thanks for reading along and I hope you enjoy the updates as the season progresses! 

 

Gallagher's Welcomes new Course Superintendent 
December 1, 2019
Peter Hopley, General Manager  

We are pleased to announce the promotion of Jesse Cowan to Golf Course Superintendent. Jesse became our Assistant Superintendent in 2014 after completing the Turfgrass Management Program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. His commitment to Gallagher's Canyon and passion for the job has been evident over the last 5 seasons, and we are excited to see it grow with this new role. 

Jesse assumed the role of interim Superintendent this past June, proving himself as a team motivator and leader while making significant golf course improvements. His knowledge and work ethic has gained the respect of his team, members, and guests. We are confident in Jesse's abilities to take playing conditions at Gallagher's Canyon Golf Club to the next level. 

Congratulations Jesse, and we look forward to a great year ahead!