A behind the scenes look into maintenance practices including past, present and future development plans of the Lac la Biche Golf Club.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Break Down of Capital Plan

As promised from a few posts ago , I wanted to list all projects that are being addressed in the golf clubs capital plan. It is broken down into 10 years but the reality is it's very in depth and more like a 15 or 20 year plan. One thing for sure, it highlights all the issues plaguing the golf course and once addressed, elevates the standards of the golf course immensely. Here is the break down of the 10 year Capital Plan and a brief explanation of it's importance:

2011:    Clear cut bush and trees behind #7 green down to #9 blue tee. 
             #8 is considered our signature hole since it has incredible views of the lake.
             This view has become very limited due to brush and tree growth since the front
             nine was built in 1989.
             New 50 x 80 Maintenance Shop.
             The existing maintenance shop (formally the original club house from
             the 1950's) is much too small to satisfy our current needs. This includes
             working on our growing fleet of equipment and accommodating staff.
             IS PRIORITY FOR THE 2012 SEASON.

             Green Bunkers #4, 8, 9 & 18.
             The bunker sand that was used when the course was expanded in 1989 is
             beach sand which is common in the area. The sand itself is not that bad
             considering it was free. The issue is all the rocks which should have been
             screened prior to delivery.

             Fairway Drainage #2, 3, 4 & 9.
             Drainage is an issue all over the course. The back 9 is much higher in
             elevation and in many areas flows across the front 9 and eventually
             to the lake.

             New 30 x 80 Cart Shed.
             Every other year we continue to add to our current Club Car fleet.
             When I first arrived in 2003, we had 20 new carts. Today we have
             over 50 and could use more.

             New 24 x 50 Maintenance Shop Roof.
             As stated in my previous blog, the flat maintenance roof was in dire
             need of replacement. Because the cinder block building itself is still
             in excellent shape, a new roof would supply many years of service and
             some much needed storage in the future.
             Tree Planting Front 9, 13 & 18 Fairway.
             Lac la Biche resides in the Boreal Forest Zone which comprise of many
             poplars and deciduous trees. My first year here I transplanted over
             150 spruce trees though out the course. There are still many areas that
             could use trees and not only help differentiate holes, but also provide
             some protection from errant golf shots.
             New Starter Shack.
             During busy times it would be nice to welcome golfers and make sure they are
             teeing off on the proper 9. Often times tourists will inadvertently head to #10
             tee. Some members will also try to "sneak" onto the back if the course is busy.

2012:    Pave Front 9 Cart Paths.
             In 2010, we constructed brand new tee to green cart paths on the golf course.
             We did over 4.3km and the beauty of doing this was during wet periods,
             we could still allow carts to be used. At times we will use the 90 degree
             rule or cart path only. It's nice having this option on the course. Cart paths
             also direct golfers to the next hole so it's next to impossible to get lost.

             Green Bunkers #10, 11, 12, 13 & 15.

             Fairway Drainage #10, 11, 12 & 18.

             Tree Planting Front 9.

             Retaining Wall #2 Green.
             The right side of #2 green drops off significantly down to the cart path and then
             to the ditch (creek). By installing a retaining wall along the left side of the cart
             path around the green, we would gain roughly 6 yards of flat surrounds.
             This buffer would save a lot of golf balls that narrowly miss the green and end
             up in an unplayable position.

2013:    Pave Back 9 Cart Paths.

             Green Bunkers #14, 16 & 17.

             Fairway Drainage #13, 14, 15, 16, 17 & 18.

             New 18 x 24 Fuel Shed.
             Our existing fuel shed is in horrible shape and needs to be replaced.
             It's showing signs of rot, is no longer level and leaning too much forward
             and the tin on it is bent and full of holes. It also needs a containment
             feature installed to house potential gas or diesel spills.
             Rain Shelters #3 & 12.
             The course currently has 2 rain shelters (#6 & 15 Tee) and the addition
             of 2 more would be welcomed attractions. These shelters provide
             protection from sun, wind, rain and serve for a hang out area while
             waiting for golfers playing on the next hole.
             Redo Wash Bay.
             The addition of a re-vamped wash bay is needed on the course. The process
             should be 2-staged. Stage-1 should be a compressed air station where the bulk
             of grass clippings is removed from the mowers. Stage-2 is a wash area to
             clean off grass residue which is acidic in nature and wreaks havoc on
             reel blades. This process would eliminate the smell associated with
             decomposing wet clippings and make for easier clean up.

2014:    Upgrade Fertilizer & Chemical Storage Building.
             The current fertilizer and chemical storage building is very sound and has a
             proper all steel floor. It does however need proper containment around it
             to stop potential run off from a spill. It also requires proper venting.
             Upgrade Pump House & Building.
             Over the last 23 years, the pump house has settled and shifted a lot. This can
             be attributed to where it was built (over hanging the dug out) and the fact that
             before the soft start system was installed last year, the starting of the pumps
             was very aggressive and created "mini quakes" to the foundation. The routing
             of the pipe exiting the pump house also needs to be re-done.

             Redo #1 & 2 Pond.
             Not only are these ponds too shallow and prone to aquatic weed and algae
             infestation, they leak very badly and need to be constantly filled by the
             irrigation system. The ponds need to be re-dredged, deepened and then
             clay capped to retain all its water. The addition of fountains would also
             help aesthetically and keep algae at a minimum.
             Redo Benches at all Tees.
             9 years ago, Job Core built and donated the current benches to the club.
             They have held up fairly well over the years but because they were built
             with non-treated wood, they are starting to rot and need a lot of work.
             New benches built from composite materials (re-cycled plastic) would
             last much longer while retaining its new look.
             Rebuild Par 3 Tees.
             The "island" tee boxes particularly on the whites are far too small and take a
             beating through out the year. Constant sand and seed divot repair work occurs
             on a regular basis and it's still not enough. With the increase in rounds over
             the past 5 years. these tee boxes need to be 3 to 4 times the size they are now.
             This will allow divots to repair properly and vary the width and distances
             to the hole which provides a lot more variety.
             Audubon Certification.
             The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses is an award
             winning education and certification program that helps golf courses protect
             our environment and preserve the natural heritage of the game of golf. 
             By helping people enhance the valuable natural areas and wildlife habitats
             that golf courses provide, improve efficiency, and minimize potentially
             harmful impacts of golf course operations, the program serves as vital
             resource for golf courses. I will get into greater detail in a future post
             regarding the certification process.
2015:    Club House Expansion & Kitchen Upgrades.
             The club has seen an increase of green fee players and tournaments over the
             years. By moving the pro shop downstairs this winter (2011-12) and
             enlarging the restaurant seating area; this should help alleviate some
             crowding issues. The kitchen needs to be upgraded and expanded to
             service our guests more efficiently.
             Rebuild Tees #3, 4, 11 & 17.
             Like the par 3 tees, these are too small and need to be levelled correctly
             to account for the settling that has occurred when they were originally built.

             New Fairway Bunkers #1, 3, 6 & 9.
             The golf course for whatever reason was constructed with only 1 fairway
             bunker (#4). I think this was done purposely because the back 9 is very
             narrow and surrounded by a lot of unplayable bush. The addition of fairway
             bunkers on the front and back 9 would help catch balls before they roll into
             the bush. I'd sooner have a long bunker shot into a green instead of
             "bush whacking" and hopeing I even find my ball. Speed of play would
             also increase with new fairway bunkers.

2016:    Redo Club House Roof.
             The asphalt shingles on the roof are in the early stages of drying out and
             curling up. Heavy winds also reek havoc on the shingles. I think a tin
             roof would look better and last much longer then asphalt shingles.
             Rebuild Tees #5, 7, 9 & 18.

             New Fairway Bunkers #11, 13 & 16.

             New Tee Signs.
             With all the new design features implemented on the golf course over the
             years, it's time to up date our tee signs. Cart paths, tees, bunkers and ponds
             have changed and need to be included with new tee signs.

2017:    Construct New Chipping Green and Practise Bunker.
             Would aid in the over all membership / guest experience for the club.
             Would also help especially when we host tournaments.
             Construct New Driving Range Fence.
             Relates to my July 27 / 2011 post. Is not only a safety issue but would
             cut down greatly on "lost" range balls.

             Construct New Driving Range Tee.
             Relates to my July 27 / 2011 post. The 3 tiered driving range tee is much too
             small and should be moved closer to #8 blue tee to better align the golfers to
             the range. It needs to be elevated with one level and the addition of mats
             should be considered especially during wet periods and when divots need
             time to fill in.

2018:    New Pump House & Vertical Pump Upgrade.
             The original pumps and motors are not powerful enough to run our irrigation
             system efficiently. Rated at only 600 GPM means longer run times to irrigate
             the course. In fact, half the fairways can only be watered at night while the
             other half gets water the following night. Not very productive at all especially
             during the heat of summer. A 1200 GPM system is the minimum we should
             have with 1600 GPM being optimum especially as future expansion occurs.

             Redo Decking @ Club House.
             With breathtaking views of the golf course and lake from the club house deck,
             traffic and the elements has rendered the decking too slick and hazardous for
             the public. Composite decking would be a lot more practical and last
             many years longer.

2019:    New Irrigation Controls and Satellite Upgrades.
             The current Rainbird Vari-Time satellite controls are outdated and their
             "pin setup" is considered old school and not efficient. Compounding the
             problem is they are unrepairable and are no longer available to purchase.
             Digital controllers are much more efficient and the norm.

2020:    Rebuild Greens #1, 2 & 7.
             Not only are these greens small (the largest is #1 at 4200 square feet), the false
             fronts of these greens reek havoc on any ball the lands short. Any red pin here
             is considered tough since the topography of the green can see balls continually
             rolling off. These 3 greens are the main reason I keep green speeds under
             10 on the stimpmeter. Any higher and frustration levels would be too high.
             Pin placements are also very limited on these greens.

As you can see, the 10 Year Capital Plan is very in depth and comprehensive. As the years progress, certain projects could be added or deleted depending on our needs at the time. By addressing all of the above, the aesthetics and play ability of the course would propel the club to one of the best in the province. We can thank Lac la Biche County for seeing the golf course as a huge asset to the area and making the commitment to provide a memorable golfing experience at an affordable price.

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