Saturday, April 11, 2015

Beautifying the Stadium Golf Course!

As the landscape team continues preparing for the Players, we tackle our most daunting task: installing over 41,000 flowers on the property! We have a few combinations of flowers that we use including Mixed Salvia, White Begonias, Marigolds, Blue Salvia, and Delphinium.

Mixed Salvia is used in the resort area as well as on the Stadium Golf Course. As its name suggests it is the same plant with a mixture of different colors. These flower beds are relatively easy to maintain compared to the other flower beds we create.

Around the resort area we use Begonias, Marigolds, and Blue Salvia to represent the Players brand colors: white, yellow, and blue, respectively. Great care goes into establishing these flower beds because they are three different plants; rather than being three different colors of the same plant. We have to find the perfect balance for water and nutrient needs to get all three plants growing and flowering at the same time!

On the Stadium Golf Course or specifically around hole 17, the famous island green, and Tree Island, we use Begonias and Marigolds for the white and yellow of the brand colors just like the resort areas. However, instead of Blue Salvia we use Delphinium for the unmatched deep blue color of its flowers. This is particularly tricky because Delphinium is a cool season plant and temperatures can get quite warm April. If we install these plants too early we run the risk of temperatures spiking and having to replace them. For this reason, we won’t put them in earlier than two weeks before the Players.

Mixed Salvia: 13 Green

Mixed Salvia: 15 Tee

Begonias, Marigolds, and Blue Salvia:
Front of the Clubhouse

Begonias, Marigolds, and Blue Salvia: 
Back of the Clubhouse

Begonias and Marigolds patiently awaiting Delphinium
on 17 spectator mounds

Monday, April 6, 2015

TPC Sawgrass Charity Fundraising

TPC Sawgrass and the PGA Tour are constantly finding new ways to raise money for local and national charities.  The events that are hosted at TPC Sawgrass on an annual basis are catalysts for raising awareness and funds for these charities.  In the first five months of 2015, TPC Sawgrass has been and will be involved in raising millions of dollars for those in need.
Events that have been hosted and will be hosted include:

Liberty Mutual Foundation (February 26th-March 1st)- $1 Million

Tim Tebow Foundation (March 14th)- $3 Million

BiLo Holdings Charity Classic (March 31st)- $1.5 Million

THE PLAYERS Championship (May 5th-10th)- $7.5 Million 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Safe Lifting

As we continue developing and training our staff at TPC Sawgrass Agronomy, we held a meeting to certify 13 employees early this week on how to operate our all-terrain forklift safely. To be allowed to operate the forklift, employees are required to pass a written exam as well as a practical exam. With the Players rapidly approaching, there is a great deal of work to be done for preparation, however, nothing is so important that it cannot be done safely.

Bryan Gallagher during his practical exam.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Dye's Valley - Cultural Practices

Now that the greens are actively growing we have started several cultural practices designed to control grain development and maintain smooth, firm putting surfaces.  Our cultural practices began with verti-cutting the greens followed by top dressing with sand.  

Verti-cutting is a mechanical process that uses vertical blades to cut into the surface of the green to remove excess thatch and plant material.  This process aids in reducing grain in ultra-dwarf Bermuda grass by cutting decumbent leaves (runners) that can affect ball roll.  The verti-cutters used were set flush (0.000") with the greens surface to produce a very shallow, light vertical cut.  

After back track verti-cutting the greens were then mowed and top-dressed with sand.  

The sand was hand broomed then watered into the canopy. 

This combination of practices will help us maintain and increase the smoothness, firmness, ball roll and speed of the greens.  Further practices we will develop into our program will include the use of fold down brushes.   

Friday, March 27, 2015

Head Adjustments around Tents and Stands

Tents and stands have been set up on the Stadium course in preparation for THE PLAYERS 2015. Every year we witness the construction of these structures and then the break down following the tournament lasting over a 7 to 8 month span. Shaffer Sports places each stand or tent in the best position for spectators to catch all of the action. In some cases, these structures are placed directly on top of irrigation heads.  When this happens we must decide whether or not we need to add a "Kicker". Kickers consist of an irrigation head that is attached to a hose that taps into the original head under the structure. The kicker is then securely attached to a post on the outside of the structure, and it is then able to water the turf surrounding each structure.  In the months leading up to the tournament we have devoted much time and effort to make sure these heads are all adjusted to their appropriate settings. With this preparation, the turf surrounding each structure will be as aesthetically pleasing to the eye as the rest of the course.
One of the freshly painted heads around the course.

This is a kicker behind 17 Green.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

An Instant Look for the Landscape!

The Landscape Operations Team is challenged many times to provide instant, mature landscapes prior to the PLAYERS.   One way for us to accomplish the instant look we desire is to plant large, mature trees or shrubs using a tree spade. For the new restroom being constructed at PLAYERS Stadium #17 by the TOUR’s Design/Construction Team, we planted three large Live Oaks, Quercus virginiana, with a 90” tree spade.  The specifications for the trees were 8” caliper, 25’ in height and 15’ spread.

One of the Oaks being placed by the tree spade.

Bryan Gallagher standing next to one of the 
Oaks for scale.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Environmental Stewardship - Recycling Concrete

At TPC Sawgrass we strive to be environmental leaders in golf and are always looking for new ways to recycle and reuse resources on our property.  Our latest method of recycling and reusing is by crushing old cart path into gravel.  Due to all the construction and new development at the property we have been able to stock pile a large amount of concrete from cart paths that were rebuilt or rerouted.  Rather then remove this material from property we have begun crushing it with a special excavator attachment to create gravel that can be reused on other projects.  This process is both environmentally and economically beneficial to our operation.