Golf Course Page

This is a current photo of the golf green on July 6, 2011 after
topdressing the green this morning.

Construction of the green, fairways, tee boxes, sand traps, sand dune, and water hazard

October, 2010
Construction of the green began this month. Before starting, we spent some time studying information about golf greens, including information on the web site, and also information from the University of Florida IFAS Extension Service web site. Our friends told us we were making a mistake, as maintaining a green would be too much work, but we figured they were golfers, and this was really more of a farming project that a golf project, so we decided to ignore their advice and dive right in.

The area of the green before work began.

We had the utility companies come and mark the lines, as we planned to
dig two sand traps and also a small pond.

The soil in this part of Florida is very sandy, and we didn't think that drainage would be a problem. Instead, we guessed that keeping moisture in the green would be a more likely problem. We couldn't afford to build the green to USGA specs, and so we simply built up the green area with local fill dirt, which had a lot of clay in it. We also mixed in the sandy soil that came out of the areas we dug out for the sand traps. Maybe the clay below the rootzone will help to retain some moisture.

We ordered a total of 36 cubic yards of fill dirt from a Citrus County quarry. About
half of it was spread by the end of the first day, and we had rough-dug both sand traps.

At the end of the second day, we had all the fill dirt moved and the green is in it's final shape.

A few days later, most of the sod was in place. All of the TifDwarf was down on the green, and about half of the TifWay was down on the apron. While we were waiting for the second delivery of TifWay, we painted up the tee markers that we made out of pressure treated wood and spikes. We plan on having three cups and flags on the green. One red flag, one white flag, and one blue flag. We laid out locations for six tee boxes and six fairways, and plan that the first and fourth hole use the red flag hole, holes two and five use the white flag hole, and holes three and six use the blue flag hole. Once a golfer has played all six holes, we rotate the flags and play from the same six tee boxes, again going red, white, blue, but now the holes all play differently as the hole locations have changed. After those six holes have been played, we rotate the flags again, and play six more, so the course actually has 18 different shooting conditions. Par is 60 for 18, as holes two and five (and thus eight, eleven, fourteen, and seventeen) are par four doglegs with no direct first shot to the green.

Once all of the TifDwarf was in place, we rolled the green to seat the sod.

The last couple of rows of TifWay are now in place on the apron, and the sodding is complete.

Our tee markers are drying in the sun after we finished painting them.
As described above, hole number one plays to the red flag, two to the white flag,
three to the blue flag, and so on. Flag colors are indicated on the tee markers.

November, 2010
During November, we focused on keeping the green wet, but not too wet. The sun was starting to get lower in the sky and we were worried about dampness causing fungus and moss problems. We also worked on the tee boxes and fairways and spread Poa Trivialis grass seed on all tee boxes and fairways.

The green is still looking pretty good at mid-November, and the Poa Trivialis
has germinated and is starting to grow.

By the end of November, the Poa Trivialis was doing well and the fairways
were starting to look nice.

December, 2010
During December, we continued to keep an eye on green moisture. The sun was now very low in the sky and shade was a big problem. We cut down several trees near the green and removed limbs from others to allow in more sun.

By the middle of December, the green and apron were quite brown.

January, 2011
During January, the green continued to brown and moss started to become a real problem. In addition, many weeds were germinating every day and we were spending a couple of hours every other morning pulling weeds on the green. At mid January we began building the water hazard for the third (and ninth and fifteenth) hole, which we named "The Dells" after our favorite summer vacation spot in Wisconsin when we were kids. The Wisconsin Dells is all about water and rocks.

We bought a ton of rocks at Helen's Nursery and Rock Yard in Homosassa and brought them
on the ministock trailer.

We laid out the pond liner in the middle of the third fairway.

The pond liner in place after we dug the hole for it. We filled the pond with water as we
backfilled around the liner with dirt to keep the liner in place.

We placed many of the rocks around the pond liner.

We completed the project with the addition of a fountain, landscape plants and made a small
upper pond that drains into the main pond to give the birds a place to bathe.

During the last week of January, we got a delivery of 18 cubic yards of white beach sand from a quarry in Marion County. We figured we needed about 10 yards of sand to fill the sand traps and the rest we planned to use in the future for topdressing the green.

Eighteen yards of white beach sand piled in the front yard.

We used the small lawn cart and a hand shovel to move the sand from the pile to the first trap.

It took 15 cart loads to fill the first sand trap.

After filling the first trap, we started on the second. It took 20 cart loads
to fill the second sand trap.

Once the traps were both full, we still had half a pile of sand left. We took
this photo on the same day as the earth satellite was overhead taking a photo of the

The satellite photo from January 28, 2011. We know it is this day, because this is the
only day when the sand pile in the front yard was half a pile. Note the green in the center
top of the photo, and also that the sand traps are now full of sand. The cart and lawn mower
pulling it are in the middle of the pile, and I am shoveling sand into the cart at the moment
of the photo.

The next day, we moved half of the remaining sand to make a pile in the back of the
shop. This is the pile that we plan to use for topdressing the green.

Near the end of January, the green and apron were both now very brown and about as dormant as it would be.

We used the rest of the sand to create a sand dune behind the green. This sand
dune gives the fourth hole (and also ten and sixteen) it's name. We call this hole "Rodanthe",
after one of our other favorite vacation places at Cape Hatteras. If you hit the ball too
far and go over the green, you end up in Rodanthe.

February, 2011
At the beginning of February, the grass on the green was practically dormant, but sprouting weeds were a big problem and the moss on the green was also get worse every day. We were still spending two hours every other morning pulling weeds that continued to sprout on the green. At mid February, we made the biggest mistake so far. We sprayed the green and apron with pre-emergence weed killer. We researched the use of the pre-emergence product on TifDwarf bermudagrass and it seemed as though it would be almost harmless. We may have applied it at too concentrated a rate, because it almost killed the green and apron. After spraying the green, we had some mix left, so we sprayed some of the Poa Trivialis on the tee boxes too, not being particularly careful, as we thought it would be harmless to already germinated grass. By the end of the month, big stripes began to appear on the green where we overlapped the spray. We thought we had completely killed most of the green. We also found a list of Florida native plant nurseries on The Florida Native Plant Society web site, and went to Green Images in Christmas, Florida and bought a number of Florida native grasses and plants, and began to establish them in the sand dune. Once all of the native plants were in, we declared the construction phase of the golf course to be complete, and now starts ongoing maintenance.

Near the end of February, the damage stripes are very visible on the green.

A closeup from the same angle shows the Florida native plantings on the sand dune.

Hole Layout on the Course

As described above, we laid out six teeboxes and fairways, shooting to three hole locations on the green. By rotating the flag location amoung the holes, we can play a full round of 18 holes, all with different first shots. Here is a table of the holes and their colors, names, lengths, pars and descriptions.

Hole Name Yardage Par Description
1 (7,13) Azalea 30 3 Long and straight, water on right
2 (8,14) Palmetto 25 4 Dogleg right around palmetto
3 (9,15) The Dells 27 3 Over water and rocks
4 (10,16) Rodanthe 30 4 Oak trees on right, sand dune beyond the green
5 (11,17) Twin Pines 32 3 Dogleg left around pine trees
6 (12,18) Oak Tree 20 3 Shortest hole, oak branches above
Total   164 (492) 20 (60)  

Click on the thumbnails above to see the front and back of the scorecard.

Maintenance of the green and course

March, 2011
The green is now rapidly deteriorating as the sun is still low in the sky and moss is continuing to take over all the dead areas on the green. The stripes in the Poa Trivials are also now severe and we began to fully realize the magnitude of our mistake in February. Focus now shifts from construction, to saving the green and all the work we've done so far.

The striping on the green at the sixth of March, 2011.

The Poa Trivials striping on tee box one on sixth of March, 2011.

The Poa Trivials striping on tee box four at the sixth of March, 2011.

The TifDwarf nursery behind the shop was also very brown, but it had more sun and moss wasn't so much of a problem. Also, by accident, we had applied less pre-emergent weed killer to the nursery than to the green, and so the nursery was simply looking dormant and not really dead.

The TifDwarf nursery behind the shop is pretty much dormant at the beginning of March.

On the plus side, the Azaleas, Redbuds, Dogwoods, and Crabapple trees were in full bloom around the course.

The trees and shrubs along the cart path leading to Hole One are blooming.

The Naval Orange tree next to tee box three is in full bloom.

We took this beauty shot from the first fairway with the Azaleas in bloom on the
right and the blooming Redbud tree in the back left. From this angle, the stripes on
the green really don't show very well.

We have plenty of established Azaleas along the right side of the first
hole, so we planted a line of new Azaleas along the left side of the first fairway
and named Hole One "Azalea".

April, 2011
In April, we decided to take more aggressive action to try to save the green. Various fungicide treatments had had no effect on the moss, and the green was rapidly dieing as the moss was spreading from the dead stripes into the healthy grass. We guess that our best hope to control the moss is to put down a heavy layer of beach sand topdressing, so on April 2, we spread sand on the green at a uniform thickness of one quarter inch. In the middle of April we built and painted four golf club holders. When we have a golf tournament, we plan to put one of the wide ones next to the first tee to hold an assortment of pitching wedges for guests to use, another wide one near the green with an assortment of putters, and then put a narrow rack near each sand trap each holding a left and right handed sand wedge.

We used the small cart and a hand shovel to move beach sand from the
topdressing pile to the green.

After moving seven cartloads of sand, we used a push broom to spread the sand
across the entire green.

The paint is drying on two of the club racks we built.

By the end of April, the topdressing along with a higher sun angle has killed all of the moss on the green, and healthy green grass is starting appear in the areas not killed by the February mistake.

On April 28, we know what we have to work with. The green spots on the green
are healthy TifDwarf and the white areas of the green are completely dead.

The view of the green from a different angle. Also note that there is
a big stripe of dead TifWay all around the edge of the apron that was also
killed by the February mistake.

May, 2011
The sun is higher now, and we're mowing the green now every other day at 7/16" height. Applying water, fungicide, and low nitrogen fertilizer is about all we are doing this month. We're also pulling any weeds we see on the green by hand. The native plants on the sand dune are doing well, and many are starting to flower.

After ten days from the previous photo, this photo on May 7 shows the
gradual improvement.

The Native plants on the dune are starting to bloom.

Five days later, this photo on May 12 shows the continued improvement.

June, 2011
The sun is still higher now, and we're mowing the green now every other day at 3/8" height. Applying water, fungicide, and low nitrogen fertilizer is about all we are doing again this month while the sun continues to provide energy for the TifDwarf. The Poa Trivialis on the fairways and tee boxes completely died around the middle of May, and we seeded the tee boxes and fairways with common bermudagrass. There are very few weeds on the green now, and we might pull one or two every evening while we are playing a round. Most nights however, we find no weeds. Here are some photos taken early morning on June 22, 2011.

This is the teebox and fairway for Hole #5, "Twin Pines". The seeded bermudagrass has germinated. The green is around the dogleg to the left, and is not visible from this tee box.

This is the teebox and fairway for Hole #3, "The Dells". The seeded bermudagrass has germinated. The green is straight ahead over the rocks and water.

This green continues to improve. TifDwarf coverage is now up to about 85%.

Here is a close-up of the TifDwarf on the green. This is representative of the whole surface between the red and blue flags.

This shot was taken a week later on June 30, from behind the sand dune.
The native plants on the dune are really doing well now. The fairway and teebox
for Hole #4, "Rodanthe" are in the distant background.

July 1, 2011
The green continues to improve, but we're still mowing the green now every other day at 3/8" height. We don't want to go any lower until the green is fully covered with TifDwarf, and we have applied top dressing sand a few more times. The green now gets full sun for much of the day. We started cutting grass plugs out of the best parts of the green and then inserting the plugs in those areas of the green that still have no grass. The TifDwarf continues to spread fairly rapidly, and if we are lucky and don't make any more gross mistakes, we might have full coverage of the green by the end of July.

We also installed a first generation low-resolution GreenCam web cam so we could look at the green from anywhere in the world.

Click on the above thumbnail to view the GreenCam. You will also have to pay
attention and respond to Windows system prompts and perhaps your security or
firewall messages to download the Panasonic activeX module before you can
view the video.

We climbed up on the roof of the house for this shot of the green on July 3, 2011.

While up on the roof, we took this photo of Hole #2, "Palmetto". It is
a dogleg right, and the palmetto tree blocks your view of the green from the tee.

This close-up of one of the bare spots on the green shows how it is
filling in. The TifDwarf is spreading in from more healthy areas, and the
round plug near the top center of the photo is growing well, but hasn't yet
begun to spread.
Here is another bare spot. This one is filling in by itself. We hope
that it will completely fill in by the end of July.

At the end of the first week of July, we top dressed the green again with white beach sand. We broomed the sane to a fairly uniform depth of 1/8 inch. We also topdressed the nursery, which continues to brown and be in pretty bad shape. After the topdressing was leveled, we spread a fairly heavy application of Milorganite over the green so the course will smell pretty badly over the next few days. Lastly we started the green sprinklers to water in the sand and Milorganite.

We climbed up on the roof of the house for this shot of the green on July 6, 2011, after spreading top dressing white beach sand and Milorganite.

We also top dressed the Nursery, which continues to become more brown.

The plants at the Dells are now flowering.

[Vintage Garage Home Page]