Have you ever been at a party and you walk into a room and a person is telling a joke and hits the punchline and absolutely EVERYBODY is bent over laughing and you have no idea why it was so funny and wish that you had the background so that you could be laughing along with everyone else? Or imagine if you were frozen in cryogenics three years ago and today was your “thaw day”. When you were frozen in 2013 you saw Donald Trump on TV telling people they “are fired” watching the Apprentice. Somehow, today in May of 2017, after getting the chill out, you turn on the TV and find out that somehow he was determined to be one of the top two people out of 325 million people in the US to be considered for leader of the free world and President of the US. Now stay with me here but similarly, imagine that you just found out that one of your most favorite places in the world to play golf was hit by a flood and you didn’t think they were going to re-build it and then you found out they are but you have missed all the information that so many people have been following? The underlying question to all of these scenarios is…”What happened? What did I miss? How did we get here?” “How can I catch up with the information that I have clearly missed here!!”
Admittedly, that was just a lot of work to try to get THIS point across. If you didn’t know we were doing updates throughout the summer on the status of the Kananaskis Country Golf Course restoration (or if you did but were waiting for the Coles notes summary)…THIS IS IT!!! Congratulations!!!! The following blog is intended to give you a summary of the progress we have made to the Mt. Kidd and Mt. Lorette golf course restoration during the summer of 2016.
Without further adieu…here is our summer of Construction in a nutshell…
Rough Shaping of Tees, Fairways, Rough, and Bunkers
Without quality rough shaping around the entire golf course, it would be like your body without bones, Sonny without Cher, Cereal without Milk, or pizza without cheese. Luckily we have some of the industry’s best shapers who are working with our General Contractor Charlie Goodwin for the Kananaskis restoration. Careful consideration to grades for drainage and playability are given in every form of rough shaping (tee to green on all holes). Many feel that the rough shaping is the most important phase of construction because it lays the foundation for the balance of the project. Kind of like that second bottle of red wine lays the foundation for a wicked headache the next day… Only if the rough shaping is done to a very high level, like it has been for this project, can the balance of the construction be effective. Thanks to Charlie’s guys, we have an INCREDIBLE foundation started to bring all 36 holes back to life!
As of the end of the 2016 season all 36 holes have had preliminary rough shaping done to them. A few holes (10 & 11 Kidd and 14 & 18 Lorette) and our practice facilities have a bit of work to be done to them in 2017.
2. Building Greens
As discussed in our Blog in June called”Stages of Building a Green” (go to www.kananaskisgolf.com and check out our blog section to find it!), there are many phases of rebuilding a green on site. Specifically
- Rough Shaping
- Spinning to get grades perfect
- Drainage of green complex
- Addition of a 4 inch layer of Gyra or 7mm drainage rock
- Another round of spinning to get original grades perfect again
- Addition of a 12 inch layer of Greens Mix for sod to grow in
- Then greens spun one last time to get grades perfect
- Final phase of Sod
Here are a couple of videos to show you the processes involved. The first is of our Shaper Dennis Poirier doing the rough shaping in his Dozer and the second is the process described above being done to some sassy music to the Double Green!
There are 14 greens completed with sod as of the end of 2016. The remaining 22 greens have been rough shaped and all but two of those have all layers of the green construction done with the exception of sod. 11 Kidd and 14 Lorette are still in the rough shaping phase and will be completed in early 2017!
3) Cutting in Drainage into Fairways, Rough, Bunkers, and Greens
Drainage is perhaps one of the most under-rated phases of golf course construction. It’s not sexy, it’s not glamorous…it’s kind of like having good plumbing. You don’t appreciate it until it doesn’t work… (who hasn’t panicked at a guests house when you watch water levels rising in the bowl with no plunger in sight??? Too far? Sorry, it happens). Without proper drainage throughout a golf course, the superintendent and all of the golfers who play the courses are going to have to worry about poor quality turf, standing water, ice damage, hard packed lies when it is dry, and saturated wet lies when it is raining. As with all of the other phases of this restoration, Goodwin Golf has recruited some of the industries top drainage experts to provide this valuable commodity for Mt. Kidd and Mt. Lorette. Thanks to Matt Mitchell and his drainage team for all their hard work to date! Drainage on the course comes in many forms; Collection Basins, Deeps Sumps, fairway grading, and drainage tile are all primary methods of ensuring effective drainage throughout both golf courses.
As of the end of 2017 a significant majority of the drainage work has been done to all fairways, bunkers, tees, and greens. Still a bit of work to be done to a handful of holes and our practice facilities in 2017!
4) Irrigation –
Ever been out on a hot day, maybe gone for a little run, it’s 35 degrees Celsius outside and you would love nothing more than a glass of water. That is exactly how grass feels during a golf season (add to grass’s stress the fact that people are walking all over them, taking divots, carts are driven over them, and the odd elk relieves themselves). Once the rough shaping and drainage are done, the irrigation team comes in next to start the long and grueling job of providing water to the golf course. A properly installed irrigation system is one of the highest priorities of a golf course construction project. Our project has one of the industries best in TC Irrigation led by Greg Pitner. The process of irrigation installation starts close to the Pumphouse, which is considered to be the heart of the irrigation system. The entire Irrigation system is designed by an Irrigation expert by the name of Frank Russell who is in charge of figuring out how to manipulate water pressure through an elaborate system that will enable our Turfgrass team to irrigate the entire property (36 holes) from the one pumphouse! Irrigation construction can be a thankless job because of the incredibly high attention to detail that is needed for success and the patience it takes to battle through all kinds of weather during installation. Somewhat like the makeup artist who helps to make a model look beautiful for a photo shoot…so too it is for the irrigation construction team…they are very rarely noticed for their role in helping to create immense beauty. We know how lucky we are to have Frank, Greg, and the TC Irrigation Team on our side to help install a fantastic irrigation system that will help keep these two gems stay well hydrated for generations to come!!!
As of the end of this season we have accomplished approximately 50% of all work that needs to be done (most on the Lorette course to date) at a very high level of quality and look forward to getting off to the same solid start that we had in 2016!
5) Addition of Top Soil around Green Complexes
The area immediately around the green is sacred in golf course construction. Not sacred like the Holy Grail, the Pope, or Donald Trump’s hair…but sacred like a place that is revered and understood to be of the utmost importance from a clean and pure soil standpoint. Those in the golf course construction business do their best to keep the soil around the greens as pure as possible so as to avoid things like weed infestation and diseases. The purer the topsoil, the better the environment for the growth of grass.
At the end of the construction season, we are on track to our phasing plan and have 13.5 of 36 holes done in this area. All are on the Mt. Lorette golf course.
6) Drainage Tile to mark the perimeter and edging for Sand Traps
I’m not going to say that what I am about to tell you is as cool as figuring out the Caramilk secret, however, I will say that for me when I learned how this was done, it was pretty damn close!
Once the bunkers have been rough shaped, lines are painted around the perimeter to help outline where the sand will stop and where the grass will begin. Rigid wooden boards (called…you guessed it…Bunker Boards) used to be used during this process but with the advent of drainage tile and all of it’s wonderful flexibility, things changed in this stage of golf course construction. Drainage tile is hammered down along painted lines and then the aforementioned Clean Top Soil is brought in and spread around. Our team then spends a great deal of time marrying up the top soil to the top of the drainage tile and giving the bunkers some much needed shape and contours. This is truly an artistic process that is cool to watch in person. This part of the construction process helps to give bunkers their unique shape and look!!!
Once these bunkers get finished then we would bring in the White Silica Sand from Golden BC and add them into the bunkers before the sod would get put down around the greens or on the fairways! Here is a video to show you how that is done!
Our 2016 progress allowed us to get 14 holes done with the balance to be done in 2017!
7) Sod Placement
Anyone working out here remembers the first day sod went down at this project onto our 5th hole on Mt. Lorette. It was the first hole completed and while it is difficult to explain, it was one of the most powerful first signs that things were going to be ok and that our courses were coming back. Once the hole was done, a few of us involved out here before the flood just walked the fairway, remembering the days before the flood happened and many memories from rounds of golf in the past came flooding back (pun kind of intended…). We are elated to have such a great partner in Bos Sods out of Coaldale Alberta (providing us the dwarf blue grass for fairways, tees, and rough) and Abbotsford (who are providing us with the T-1 bentgrass for the greens).
Here are a few time elapse videos of the sodding program in action out here in 2016!
…and a video of the difference that exists between the final two phases of the project – Fine Shaping and Sodding!
As of the end of 2016 – we have 12 holes fully sodded and two additional greens completed over and above that!! We look forward to working together with Bos Sod in 2017 to finish everything off.
8) Re- building of Bridges
When it comes to the demolition of bridges, there are few things more productive than mother nature; be it tornado, flood, hurricanes, etc. Once the flood of June 2013 was done and over with, we had a number of bridges (5 to be exact) that had to be restored and rebuilt. Luckily Goodwin golf found a couple who do a great job in Bridge reparation and they agreed to come out and be a part of our Team. Tim and Jess from Custom Works Construction in Calgary have done an incredible job restoring the bridges on 1 and 9 Kidd as well as 5, 10, and 18 Lorette! Thanks to the two of you for all of your hard work!
Tim and Jess are such a cool couple and we wanted to capture the perfect song to depict how these bridges were built.
a) Simon and Garfunkel with “Bridge over Troubled Waters?” Nope…didn’t capture it!
b) Elton John with his classic – “The Bridge” – not good enough!!!
c) Van Morrison’s “Across the Bridge where Angels dwell”…not quite what we needed!!
and then it happened!!! We found the perfect song for the love, care, and attention to detail that these two put into all of our brand new bridges!!
and here is a look at the whole process to building the bridge on 1 Kidd!
By the end of the 2016 construction season, all 5 bridges were complete!
9) Placing new asphalt down to replace cart paths that were torn up from the flood
As one of the final phases of the restoration, our friends from Metro Paving have started the task of paving those areas impacted by the flood and the subsequent restoration plan.
As we have just started this part of the restoration, there is still a majority of the work to be done. Not all holes need to have any asphalt work done to them as they were not impacted by the flood. Holes completed to date are 2-8 Lorette and 11-13 Lorette.
Here is a little sample of their team in action!
10) Construction of the new Lorette Shack
The damage from the flood to our buildings was extremely limited. The Clubhouse, Pro Shop, Tournament Center, and Kidd Snack Shack were not touched by the cold waters of June 20th 2013. The Mt. Lorette shack as well as one of the washrooms on the back of the Mt. Lorette side were not so lucky! As a result, we are in the process of rebuilding both buildings.
These buildings are in the infancy of development at this stage of the game and are planned to be done by June 1st of next year.
Here is a photo of the old shack along with some images of the new area!
That’s it! You are caught up now! We will keep our fingers crossed that we get great weather this summer so we can keep the ball rolling!
Have a great Summer everyone!