We are inching ever so closer to that fateful opening day of 2015. There is still some frost in the ground, and pockets of snow throughout the property, but we are soon approaching the start of the 2015 season.
The course has wintered wonderfully, and at this point in time, I have no concerns from a turf standpoint. Inevitably, it appears as though our list of work to do in the bunkers is growing, but that is certainly not unexpected here at The Saw.
At this point, what we really need is some sustained mild weather. Sure we have seen some days creep up to near double digit highs, but we have also had several near double digit lows. This has really hindered any type of growth potential out of our golf course. Unfortunately we do need some nice days strung together to help out our cause, so for the time being, we will hope to see play begin by April 9th, but only time will tell.
As we come out of the winter season and enter the golf year, I cannot help but exude confidence and excitement for this coming season. In particular, the Turf Department has received a significant capital investment from our ownership group, and has cemented their desire to ensure that we can provide a quality product. Let me explain....
It is no secret over the years that we have had our share of challenges with our irrigation system, and to a certain extent, our fleet of equipment. Unexpected pump breakdowns became routine, constant battles involving significant leaks, and electrical issues with the system also became the norm. As for our turf care equipment, some of our pieces had surpassed their useful life expectancy, and had indeed cost us significantly more to maintain, than they were to replace.
So without further adieu, let me fill you in on some of our successes that we have achieved this winter....
- Our pumphouse was essentially dismantled this winter, and taken away by the golf course pump specialists at Pumps Plus. They have been completely worked over, with no stone having been left un-turned. They have also removed some obsolete parts of the pump house, which should aid in seeing a higher performing system. The end result should show a complete reversal in efficiency and reliability in our current setup.
- Having struggled to keep two older fairway units in prime operating condition last season, we have swapped them out for a unit that is 10 years younger, with near 3000 less hours. This should finally result in a cleaner, more precise quality of cut on our fairways.
- After having lost our trap rake to a hydraulic system meltdown last summer, we limped through the end of the year, (with what became known to us as the Sherman Tank), as we dealt with a rather old, cumbersome unit. We will soon see the addition of a new trap rake, capable of keeping our bunkers from becoming the hard packed hazards that we know they are capable of becoming.
- Our sprayer has also been updated, and outfitted with a more efficient boom. Gone is the giant red beast, which at times caused more harm than good.
- The cart fleet is also seeing some changes, but I will save that good news to come directly from the Pro Shop
At the end of the day, our ownership group recognized that we had some significant gaps to fill, and they allowed us to fix it. These fixes however do not come with a small price tag, but it shows a serious commitment to the overall health, and long term viability of Sawmill Creek. I believe a tip of the cap is warranted to these gentlemen.
I am also thrilled to see the majority of my Turf Team return for this season. Returning this year are Jim, Wayne, Larry, Todd, Tim, Shelley, Jordan, Adriano, and of course the man with the golden wrench; Dan. I would be remiss to not mention the loss of both Brendan and Jon, who are both on their ways to their respective careers. But when one door closes, another opens, and I am pleased to welcome back the one and only Claude.
Of course, heading into a year in which we have the opportunity to showcase the golf course to the country, how could we not be excited? August will be one helluva month for Sawmill Creek as we welcome both the Canadian Sr. Women's/Mid Amateur Championship, in addition to the Ontario Bantam Golf Championships.
So let's get it going.....we're ready!
Thanks for reading,