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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.

 

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!