Golf Course Maintenance 

I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday season. Here’s to 2020 bringing good health and prosperity to all of our family and friends. 

Winter is often viewed as the downtime for a golf course maintenance team but just because we aren’t mowing grass, we are not idle. We have been keeping busy with preparations for the 2020 golf season as well as completing projects to enhance the golf course. 

Keeping up with the leaves can be a full time job in itself and I thank you for your understanding and patience as we took the brunt of it all at once. It seemed like 65% of the leaves fell within a 2 week stretch revolving around a couple of cold fronts that brought heavy rains and high winds. Beyond blowing and mulching leaves, I want to briefly (try not to bore you) touch on some of our other ongoing projects. 

First off, drainage improvements including installations-repair.  Many of the existing drain basins were compromised and started to cave in around the base itself. This can happen for a number of reasons, but the most common that we have seen is due from the lateral drain lines coming into the main drain; either being crushed or having large openings where they attach. A large opening will allow water to rush in (outside of the lateral pipe) and into the basin washing soil along with it. The soil gets sucked down and overtime creates a mini-sink hole at the surface. We have been digging up the basins and fixing the couplers, along with backfilling with gravel around the basin and making perforations throughout the gravel base for the water to enter. Along with the repair of some existing drainage, you will see us adding new drainage to some excessively wet areas around the course as well. While talking about drainage, it seems like the appropriate time to stress the importance of adhering to cart path rules and doing your best to avoid low lying/ saturated areas on the course. Dormant grass will not recover from any kind of damage, so it makes it EXTREMELY important this time of year. Thank you in advance for helping keep Inverness Country Club at its best.

Secondly, irrigation repair, maintenance and auditing. With over 800 irrigation heads to go through, it is crucial to oversee each and every station operating properly and efficiently. Over time O-rings go bad causing leaky sprays, rotors get slightly off on their adjustments, solenoids go bad, foot-valves can begin to slowly weep or any number of things can happen to alter the heads spray or make the irrigation head malfunction. While doing the irrigation audit this winter I made a set of new up to date as-builts of every hole. These as-builts consist of a map showing the piping, valves, splice boxes, every sprinkler head on the golf course and the appropriate station number to operate each head, all of this is broken down on a hole by hole sheet. These updated as-builts will help with future diagnosis, repair, and make it much easier for anybody to learn.

While reflecting on the 2019 season, I think about some of the major challenges we overcame such losing the pump station completely for a short stretch and dealing with a compromised pump station for a total of a 20 consecutive day stretch that started May 22nd and went through June 10th. During that time I had no choice but to come back at night and manually water the course. We also had a 38 day stretch of zero rain while the average high temperature during that span was 94 degrees just to name a couple. NONETHELESS, all things considered, I believe 2019 was a great success. We were honored as a Club to receive the 2019 “Best of Birmingham” award for best golf course and only look to get better every day! We also received an award from the Arc of Shelby County as we were named “employer of the year” for 2019. The Arc is an employment services program that provides services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. With that said, it’s time to make 2020 even better so thanks for being a part of this great Club.  As always, I’ll see you out on the course.

Jim Mason 
Golf Course Superintendent