Monday, July 23, 2018

Update July 22nd 2018

Stay Tuned....New posts are in the works. After a long delay updated info is on the way and will be published by August 2018. Thanks for visiting and please return soon.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Course Evaluation Now Available

Course Evaluation Now Available

Please take the time to review the Course Evaluation prepared by the golf course architecture firm -Tripp Davis and Associates (TDA). This evaluation will be used to help develop short and long term improvements through the creation of a Master Plan for our golf course.

One critical component in this process is gathering member input and suggestions. We want to know what you currently like about the course, what you don’t like, and what improvements you think can be made - both now and in the future.

Access to the evaluation can be found by following the links in the right sidebar. Hard copies of the evaluation can also be obtained from the Golf Shop or in the 19th Hole. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Course Update 9.15.17

Fall is finally here and our golf maintenance operations are in full swing. Our greens are steadily recovering from another long summer, several projects are currently underway, and we are working to implement important fall maintenance practices throughout the course. Please continue reading and check out the links in the side tabs to learn more. 
Fall is one of the best times of year to play golf in Central Texas. As cooler temperatures return, playing conditions on greens will improve. 
Course Conditions
Greens - Overall our greens are going great and we expect continued improvement over the next few weeks. Weak areas on the edges of the practice green, 9th green, and 16th green have been repaired and our first "planet air" greens aeration for the fall season was completed this past Monday. We expect full recovery by the end of this week and look forward to steadily transitioning our maintenance practices on greens from recovery to performance.
Our "planet air" aeration process involves several important steps - one of which is the use of our Coremaster aerator.   
Properly repairing damaged areas on greens is a is a difficult task that requires experience, patience, and unique skills. With a combined tenure of 55 years Jose Nava (right) and Sergio Zapata (left) have perfected the art of greens repair.  
Asst. Supt. Randy Stewart spraying #1 green in late August. Weekly spray applications to greens provide fertility, regulate growth, and help prevent disease outbreaks. 

Tees, Fairways, Roughs -  It has been a few weeks since our last significant rain event, and the course is showing signs of drought stress for the first time all year. Fortunately our irrigation water budget is in good shape - allowing us to irrigate all areas of the course as needed. During extended dry periods inconsistencies in the irrigation system are much more obvious. In order to minimize the affect of wet and dry areas on playing conditions, we are constantly making adjustments and repairs to the system.
Andrew Moore checking and adjusting irrigation heads on the 6th Fairway. 
All of our bermudagrass areas are still actively growing, but the combination of shorter days, cooler temperatures, and dry conditions have resulted in a slight reduction in growth rate. One benefit of this scenario is that we are able to do a better job of keeping up with mowing our large roughs areas - resulting in better playing conditions. Over the next few weeks we will be working to prepare all of these areas for fall and winter by adjusting mowing heights, fine tuning mowing patterns, applying preventative herbicides, sodding weak areas, completing fall fertilizer applications, and more.

Mowing patterns must constantly be adjusted - particular with square tees. We are currently working to realign multiple tees and adjust mowing patterns in approaches. 
Many of you may have noticed that the Crape Myrtles on #1 Tee have been removed. These trees had become too large for the area - creating shade and traffic problems that resulted in poor turf conditions. At the request of the Golf Committee, we removed these trees earlier this month. The stumps were removed last week and new grass will be planted soon.
Ted Crews of Crews Service Company removes stumps from #1 Tee
Bunkers - We are constantly striving to keep our bunkers as consistent as possible. This fall and winter we will be spending more time checking all bunkers for sand depth, redefining edges, and addressing unsightly liner issues.
Crew members Tyler and Drew complete the labor intensive task of  mowing and edging bunker faces. 
Upcoming Work
  • Over-seed practice tees and greens
  • Seeding of tall fescue in roughs
  • Preventative herbicide application to entire course and landscape areas
  • Fall fertilizer applications
  • Sod work on #1 tee, putting green collar, and other areas
  • Irrigation modifications
  • Fall flower change out
  • Tree trimming along entrance road for clearence
Project Update

Tripp Davis discusses bunker design and mowing patterns during a recent site visit to RCC. 
Master Plan - Tripp Davis has visited RCC on multiple occasions over the last month and is nearing completion of the first step in the master planning process - the Course Evaluation. Once completed, this detailed overview of the golf course will will be available to all golfing members for review. Comments, ideas, suggestions, and opinions are highly encouraged and will be used to help develop the Master Plan. All feedback will be compiled by the golf committee and forwarded to Tripp Davis and Associates . Please email your thoughts to any member of the golf committee, myself (, or James Williams ( We will send out more information as it comes available. 

Repairs to 15 and 16 - RCC is still working to find the best solution for repairing flood damage on holes 15 and 16. Earlier this month bids were received from several contractors, however overall cost was much higher than anticipated. We are currently working with Walker Partners and Tripp Davis to come up alternative solutions.  

Maintenance Facility - We are steadily moving forward with our maintenance facility renovation plans. RBDR is currently working to complete the "design/build" specs so that bid documents can be prepared. We are optimistic that work may begin late this year. 

Landscape Improvements- The House Committee is currently working to finalize plans that will overhaul the appearance of the main entrance into RCC. If approved, these much needed improvements will likely begin in October..
The main entrance to RCC may be getting a "makeover" later this year.
Lease Expansion- Work continues with the USACE to gain approval for expanding our marina lease. We are working with the Marina Committee to resolve compliance issues and to provide the USACE with all documentation needed in order for the proposal to move forward. . 

Transfer Pump- During periods of low lake levels we must use a floating transfer pump to supply water to our irrigation system. In order to be compliant with USACE pumping policies, RCC had to make changes to our current pump. Our plans were approved earlier this year, and work is almost complete.
This new "boat slip" will house our irrigation transfer pump, and provide compliance with USACE pump policies.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Blog is Back!

The 11th Hole at RCC. June 2017
Thank you for visiting our golf course maintenance blog. After a six month hiatus, we will once again return to regularly posting information related to course conditions, maintenance practices, projects, and plans. Check out the photos and links below to learn more about recent and upcoming happenings. Additional information including: in-depth details on specific items, previous month's course updates, and photos of course maintenance activities can be found by checking out the links in the right side bar.

Golf Course News

How are our greens doing?
One of new gas powered fans on #16 Green
GPS golfer tracks showing foot traffic on #9
Overall, our greens are doing well for late summer. Each year from mid-June to mid-September we must take special precautions to help our bentgrass greens survive the summer heat and humidity (click the link in the right side bar for more info). Some of these precautions (such as raising the mowing height and reducing rolling frequency) result in slower putting speeds during the hottest months of the year. Under tough conditions, greens that are already stressed from other environmental factors (shade, traffic, air movement, compaction, etc) are hit much harder. Our practice putting green, #9 green, and #16 green are prime examples of how these factors combine to create perennial problem areas (notice the concentrated traffic on #9 in the photo above). To help these areas improve we added an additional electric fan to the practice putting green, and purchased two portable gas powered fans for #9 and #16 earlier this year. We will keep the fans on #9 and #16 for at least another six weeks. The good news is that fall is right around the corner. Cooler temperatures and shorter days will give us the opportunity to repair any weak areas and shift gears from focusing on survival to performance.  
Fairy Ring in July on #2 Green
Dakota and Gary repairing #2 Green
Many of you may have noticed damaged areas in circular patterns on several greens. In July, we battled a fungus known as "fairy ring". This fungus typically moves outward in circular patterns or rings and can cause damage to the turf by creating hydrophobic soil conditions. Basically, water cannot get into the soil deep enough to be taken up by the plant's roots. When this occurs on NC State Fairy Ring.
bentgrass greens with temperatures over 100 degrees damage can occur rapidly. Over the last few weeks multiple spray applications, hand watering, and light aeration have been used to prevent additional damage. We believe that the fungus is now under control and have already started to repair several damaged areas. Full recovery is expected in four to six weeks.  To learn more about "fairy ring" check out this article from North Carolina State University: 

Master Planning and Tripp Davis
Tripp Davis, Golf Course Architect
Earlier this year the Golf Committee commissioned the golf course architecture firm Tripp Davis and Associates (TDA) to develop a new Master Plan for the course. Based out of Oklahoma, Tripp Davis has worked with clubs throughout the United States and is experienced in all facets of golf course architecture. A few of his clients in Texas include Brook Hollow Golf Club, Northwood Club, Oak Hills Country Club, and Preston Trail Golf Club. As explained by Tripp Davis below, the Course Evaluation and Master Plan will provide a road map that guides our efforts to continually improve and preserve the course – both now and in the future.

“Briefly, our Master Planning process begins with a complete evaluation of the existing golf course and practice facilities, looking at everything from the infrastructure of the course (irrigation, drainage, greens, tees and bunkers), to the overall landscape and the state of shade and airflow around the course, to the strategic makeup of the course from each tee. This is an objective analysis that looks to understand how everything exist before we look at how a Master Plan could be developed.  

The Master Plan itself is a byproduct of learning from the evaluation the areas of need, strong points to build on, and opportunities that would enhance the golf course or practice facilities.  The plan is not a directive for immediate change, but a guide so that anything done now, or five years from now, no matter how small or large, work together.” – Tripp Davis

Additional information about TDA’s approach to the Course Evaluation and Master Plan is available online by visiting TDA Golf. The Golf Committee will be working closely with TDA over the next couple of months and looks forward to sharing details of both the Course Evaluation and Master Plan as they become available.

Project Update
May of 2016 Flood Damage to Holes 15 and 16
In July, we received approval from the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to complete repairs to the flood damaged cart path and retaining walls on holes. We are currently beginning the bid process and work should begin by early October. We have also continued to move forward with plans to expand and renovate our golf course maintenance facility. Check out the short video that I created using Google Sketchup to help illustrate our ideas. Waco based architecture firm, RBDR currently working to complete design/build specifications which also include the installation of a new water line for the marina and maintenance facility. This water line will cross portions of holes 1, 2, and 3 and will accomplish the following goals: provide fire protection for the marina and maintenance facility, improved water service, future main water supply for clubhouse.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Course Update 1.18.17

The 12th Hole on Januray 16th, 2017
Welcome back to our golf course maintenance blog. It has been several months since my last post, and 2017 is now in full swing. One of my many new year's resolutions is to return to monthly blog posts, so please continue to check back for regular updates on course conditions and happenings. From major projects to routine maintenance - we have a lot going on right now on the course. Keep reading to learn more about what is happening on the course.

Project Updates

Flooding Solutions - We have been working to develop a multitude of solutions to help keep our course playable during flood events. In order to explore all possible options we have solicited the help of multiple golf course architects. By the end of this month, we will have met with at least five different architects. These architects will provide their own individual ideas to the golf committee for evaluation. For More information please click here: Flooding Solutions Summary

#1 Green with USACE property lines, contours, and yardages
Maintnenance Facility Improvements - For the last two years, we have been working on plans to renovate our existing maintenance facility. The goal is create a work enviornment that is safe, efficient, and sustainable. Due to the fact that our facility is located in the flowage easment for Lake Waco (aka 'flood plain'), any changes to our facility must be approved by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Our plans were completed last year, and for several months we have been waiting on the USACE for approval. Last week, we received word that the USACE is actively working on our request, and we are hoping to be able to move forward very soon. In the meantime, we have leased a mobile office trailer to serve as a temporary home for our maintenance operations. The trailer which contains two offices, a breakroom, and a bathroom is a huge improvement over our flood damaged building and is working great for the time being. We have also implemented a new labor tracking tool and digital job board to help improbe our daily operations.
Inside the office trailer - employee breakroom and new digitial job board.
Property Boundary Issues -
Prelimary boundary lines on Holes 15 and 16
Due to our proximity to Lake Waco, we share a property boundary with the USACE. The land that RCC owns is either above or below the 503' elevation mark. Land below this elevation is considered part of the flowage easment and is subject to USACE regulations. In addition, RCC leases land from the USACE for the puporse of operating and maintaining our Yacht Club (Marina). The "leased area" is owned by the USACE and RCC must comply with all terms of the lease agreement. The problem is that many of the golf course features that were damaged during the floods last year are located in close proximity to our shared property boundary.

These areas include the cart path and retaining wall on holes 15 and 16, our nursery greens, and #1 green. In order, to complete repairs we must determine if these features are located on property owned by RCC or by the USACE. Both RCC and the USACE have been conducting extensive survey work to clearly mark this boundary. The survey work is almost complete and it appears that golf course features have in fact encroached on USACE property. In order to resolve this problem, we have submitted a request to the USACE asking to expand our current lease agreement to include all areas between Lake Waco and the golf course. Approval of this request will allow RCC to keep all existing golf course features and complete needed repairs and maintenance in the future.
Survey markers indicating USACE monuments on #1

Repairs to Holes 15 and 16 - Since April of last year we have been working to develop plans to repair the damaged path and retaining wall on holes 15 and 16. These repairs will likely have to wait until the property issues mentioned above are settled. In the meantime, RCC has contracted with a local engineering firm to complete plans and bid specifications for the repairs. Hopefully, we will be able to move forward in the next few months.

Cart Path Repairs - We are 95% complete with much needed repairs to cart paths around the course. The worst sections of path were repaired on holes: 5,6,7,8,10,11,12,13, and 17. We were also able to complete minor repairs to the tennis facility.

 Additional Projects and Possible Improvements

We have plans to redesign the native landscape behind #9 green

  • Redesign of native landscaping between #9 green and the main driving range tee
  • Drainage improvements on many holes
  • Additional lighting for the putting green area
  • Additional fans for the putting green and #9 green
  • Major drainage work to #9
  • Repair of the walls on #5 and #7
  • Fix the lake overflow on #5
  • Repair erosion along the marina road
  • Dredging of ponds and erosion control on #11
  • Fill in USGA test area at the chipping green
  • Addition of new fence behind the back tee on #6 and #8
  • Irrigation contoller upgrades
  • Irrigation mapping and programming improvements

Current and Upcoming Routine Golf Course Maintenance Items
We rely on the winter months to complete much may maintenance tasks that we might not have time to accomplish during the growing season. From bunker maintenance to equipment repars to drainage work - the list goes on and on. Check out the list and photos below to see a few of the items we are working on. 
  • Bunkers
    • Redefining edges
    • Weed control
    • Sand depth checks
    • covering up black liners
  • Tree Work
    • Trimming of live oaks and other small trees
    • Removal of several dead or safety issue trees
    • Stump grinding
    • Crape Myrtle trimming
    • Ligustrm trimming at Tennis
    • Cleaning and inventory of memorial markers
  • Weed control around greens
Winter weeds on slopes near greens are difficult to control due the risk of herbicide damage to the bentgrass
  • Spray applications to tees and fairwas for dormant color
Applications of iron and pigment help to provide definition of tees and fairways during the winter months
  • Beautification of drainage areas on 11
This are to the right of #11 green has been an eyesore for months. We are working on ways to improve this area before spring.
  • Trimming of cannas, roses, and lantana
Each winter we trim back many of our perrenial plants. Roses near the fire pit were trimmed last week.
  • Drainage improvements near cart paths
New drain addedd near the fairway on #18
  • Sodding of chipping green
Now that our nursery greens have recovered, we will be repairing this area on the chipping green

  • Staffing and agronominc planning for 2017
We use excel spreadsheets to track our labor needs by area. This data is then used to help ensure that we are fully staffed throughout the year

  • Additional Items
    • Maintenance Facility Cleanup
      • Disposal of old buildings and equipment
      • Organization of mechanic area
      • Dry dock clean up
    • Removing bermudagrass contamination in greens
    • Equipment preventative maintneance and repairs

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Course Update 9.29.16

North wind blowing across #10 Green on 9.29.16
Fall is finally here! I apologize for another long lapse in blog updates. The past few months have been a little crazy, but fortunately things are finally starting to return to "normal". A lot has gone on since my last post but hopefully today's update will bring you up to speed on course happenings and conditions. I have added several links to the right side of the page that will provide additional information about major course work that has gone on over the last two months.

FAQ and Golf Course Update

How are the newly seeded greens doing?

#16 Green on 9.6.16
All of our newly seeded greens are doing great. We planted six weeks ago and are certainly pleased with the progress so far. The exceptionally warm weather in August and September slowed progress a bit, but at this point I would say that we are definitely on schedule for a mid-November opening. You will also notice that #1 green was increased in size. We were able to increase the green by about 15% and resolve surface drainage issues at the same.
#1 Green on 9.29.16

What's up with #9 and the Practice Putting Green?

Practice putting green on 9.29.16
Courses with bentgrass greens across the entire state struggled over the last couple of months due to the exceptionally hot and humid weather in August and September. Under tough conditions, greens that are already stressed from other environmental factors (shade, traffic, air movement, compaction, etc) are hit much harder. Both the practice putting green and #9 green struggle every year as a direct result of poor air circulation and concentrated foot traffic – making them prime examples of the aforementioned scenario. In order to help expedite recovery, we have been treating these greens different than the rest on the course. As a result, these two greens have and will continue to putt comparatively slower . We closed the putting green for one week in order to minimize traffic stress, and will continue to monitor moisture closely, maintain a rigorous fungicide program, and limit traffic as much as possible. The good news is that these greens are getting better everyday. The combination of special maintenance practices and cooler weather should help bring these greens back to normal over the next two to three weeks. In the future, we may consider adding additional fans to the putting green and #9 green. Please follow the following link to learn more:Golf Course Update 9.8.16.
A box fan was used on #9 to help with air movement. 

How about the rest of the greens?

Overall, the rest of the greens are doing fine. For the same reasons listed above, we have been forced to remain conservative with our maintenance practices – resulting in slower putting speeds. Now that the weather is changing - we are rapidly adjusting our maintenance practices to focus more on performance and less on survival. We expect putting speeds and firmness to increase substantially over the next 7 to 10 days.
Roxy keeping a close eye on the #13 Green

What's the plan for holes 15 and 16?

Ridgewood has been working together with United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and a local engineering firm to determine possible repair solutions. Survey work to determine property boundaries is almost complete and one potential repair solution is undergoing cost analysis. We are hoping to have more definitive costs and possible solutions in the next 60 days.
Damaged cart path on behind #15 Green on 8.25.16

What's the long term plan for #1 Green?

Similar to holes 15 and 16, long term plans for relocating or rebuilding #1 green hinge upon property boundaries and flowage easement lines. Survey work is nearing completion and property negotiations with the USACE are scheduled to begin in October. After this important step is complete, the multitude of ideas and suggestions that have been brought to the golf committee over the last couple of years will be reviewed and evaluated. A golf course architect will likely be solicited to aid in this process. To learn more check out the following links: 

Why is the rough so tough and what can we do about it?

The same weather pattern that negatively affected out bentgrass greens has greatly benefited the bermudagrass on the course. We are mowing the rough at the same height as years past and are typically able to mow most areas two times per week. The late summer and fall rain has caused the rough to be much denser than it typically is this time of year - resulting in more difficult playing conditions. The positive side is that we will enter the fall and winter with great definition, and with healthy turfgrass that can better tolerate winter cart traffic. Please take a moment to read more about why the roughs are so tough and to learn about the challenges involved with changing it: Why is the Rough So Tough   
Hybrid (left) vs Common (right) bermuda mowed same height

Where did the sand buckets go on the Par 3’s?

We have decided to remove the sand buckets on the par 3 tee boxes for a couple of reasons. The first is that we feel like we can actually save labor and be more efficient with our operations. Each day we must fill the buckets and relocate them to that day’s teeing location. The sand buckets are heavy and cumbersome to move and we feel that we will actually use less labor by filling the divots ourselves versues moving the buckets everyday. The second reason is that the tee boxes have an overall cleaner appearance without the sand buckets distracting from the view of the shot.  

What else is going on?

  • Trimming of important trees
  • Mowing patterns and aligning tees
  • #17 Green flood damage repaired
  • Major cart path repairs scheduled to begin in October
  • Overseeding of driving range tees scheduled for mid-October
  • Planting of tall fescue in shaded areas scheduled to begin next week
  • Re-grassing of flood damaged areas on holes 17 and 18 scheduled to begin next week
  • Fall preventative weed control for entire course scheduled to begin in next two weeks
  • Fall flower change out set to begin in next two weeks
  • Maintenance Facility renovation plans undergoing review with USACE
  • Changes to our irrigation transfer pump in order to obtain USACE compliance
  • More than 50 acres treated for fall armyworms
  • More than 20 acres treated for weeds
  • Plumbing repairs to the bathroom on #14 completed
  • Minor tree trimming on many holes underway
  • Planet Air procedure scheduled for mid-October
Aligning the gold tees on hole #15
Root pruning on the right side of #2 Fairway
Sod work on #17 Green
Mowing and Edging Bunkers on #5

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Course Update 7.21.16

Putting the Pieces Back Together
General Manager, David Garder and I check out the shop via boat!
It has certainly been another crazy weather year in Central Texas. After cleaning up from major flooding in April and May we received more rain and even more flooding. The second round of flooding in June and July caused Lake Waco to reach its third highest flood stage in history (484.5ft or about 22.5ft above normal). We have been quite busy on the course attempting to get things back to normal. Here is brief update on where we currently stand:

Plan for Damaged Greens
Crewmember, Andrew more removing the algae and silt off of #1 Green

  1. Remove bermudagrass contamination and fix any drainage issues
  2. Prepare surfaces for seeding
  3. Plant seed August 15th
  4. Have the greens open and putting well by November 15th
Additional Flood Damage and Repairs
Greenside Bunker on #17 after the flooding
  1. Brush piles have burned
  2. Repair all bunkers by August 1st
  3. Remove dead sod on #18 and replant to tall fescue by September 1st
  4. Irrigation system has been repaired and is fully operational
Cart Path on #15 and #16
Major damage sustained to the path behind #15 green
  1. Survey work is currently underway that will help determine possible solutions
  2. Clarify property boundaries
  3. Develop plan and cost estimates for repairs
  4. Goal is to complete all work by end of the year
Golf Course Maintenance Facility
  1. Facility has been restored to operational state - for the time being
  2. Currently working to develop permanent solution
  3. Goal is to have firm plans in place by September 1st
Water in maintenance facility in June
Our irrigation computer was the first thing we hooked back up once the water receded.
Cart Path Repairs
  1. Several minor repairs are needed throughout the course
  2. Work is scheduled to begin in August
Tree Work
  1. Tree trimming has been scheduled for holes 5,8,9,15,16, and 17
  2. Work will begin in next two weeks
  3. RCC staff will be trimming low limbs on all holes over next 30 days
Additional Items
  1. Greens handling summer heat well
  2. Clean up of erosion materials on #11 and #13
  3. Trimming of all ponds and water features
  4. Planning fall cultural practices for greens
  5. Adjusting mowing patterns for tees and fairways. 

For more information and photos o course happenings over the last two months please take a moment to view the following links:

Golf Course Update 7.12.16
Golf Course Update 6.16.16
Flood Photos and Video