Course Update for May 11, 2018

By | City of Toronto Sewer Project, Construction, Erosion Project, Mimico Creek

The short game area will open for the season on Saturday, May 12, and open at 7:30am on weekdays and 6:30am on weekends. The 7:30am start during the week will help our team coordinate the required maintenance on the short game area in a more effective and safe manner.

So far, this spring has been interesting, to say the least. Between the construction, the ice storm, and two wind storms, there has been a lot going on around the property. The wind storm last week took down several trees and another one fell yesterday on the 2nd hole. Overall, the cleanup has gone well, and we should have all the tree work cleaned up by the end of the weekend.

We appreciate everyone’s patience with the temporary hole closures and tee block modifications, as we are trying to facilitate and speed up the restoration. Over the next few weeks there will be many newly sodded areas. We ask that you please be careful not to drive through any of these areas as it can cause significant damage and delay the restoration process. All areas will be roped off and marked accordingly.

City Sewer Project
The restoration for the City sewer project has progressed very nicely this week. They have sodded all the way from the 15th green to the 18th tee. Next week they will continue to work on the areas from the 17th green to the 7th tee, and then they will move onto their last big area on the 14th hole.

Creek Erosion Project
The plantings for both sides of the creek along the 10th hole and the 18th hole are completed. The entire mulch bed in front of the clubhouse is being planted with native perennials and shrubs and is expected to be done by early next week. The remaining plantings, which include some shrubs and trees, are expected to be wrapped up by the end of next week.

18th Hole
The 18th hole went through a significant transformation this week: the entire hole was sodded and the green was seeded. The cart path will be paved on Monday morning. There will be a lot of watering for our team on the 18th hole over the next few days, therefore it will play as a par 3 for the weekend.

Have a great weekend,

Andre Aymar, Course Superintendent

Course Update for March 29, 2018

By | Construction, Mimico Creek, Tees

Construction Update

Since the last update two weeks ago, we have yet to see any turf starting to come out of dormancy. It has been quite cool and the next couple of weeks (with the exception of the odd day here and there) don’t look a whole lot better. We’ll anxiously await some better temperatures to allow for some turf growth.

Nevertheless, the past two weeks have been very productive. The creek work is now complete. The new bridge has been put in place and the new cart path has been installed. R&M, the construction company doing the creek work has taken away all of their equipment and construction materials. They will be back on site in a few weeks to clean up the mixed debris in the lower parking lot when it has completely melted. Once plants become available, they will also add the required plantings along the creek edges.

The City sewer relining project is nearing completion, as they reline the final stretch of pipe. They have started the restoration by removing some access roads on the 14th, 16th, and 18th holes. DGR Excavating is a golf construction contractor the Club was allowed to select to undertake the restoration work, and they will begin next Monday. DGR has worked with Islington in the recent past, and we have a lot of confidence in their ability to restore the golf course to the condition it was in prior to the construction. The restoration is entirely funded by the City of Toronto.

The restoration work will involve mechanically removing all of the remaining stone and debris where the access roads were. They will then strip the turf from the access roads and dispose of the material. Subsequently, they will till and prep these areas for new sod. We plan on being ready for sod as soon as it’s available, which given the cool long range forecast, might be mid to late April. The agreement with the City is for restoration to be completed by April 20, but that could be impacted by weather and sod availability.

KCM, the construction company that built our new greens in 2014, is now on site and has started to build the new 18th green. With good weather last week they were able to get a head start on construction. They have shaped the new cavity where the green will be located, as well as some fine tuning excavation work around the entire green site and cart path area. The next step for the green will be installing the drainage, pea gravel, and sand mix. They have also started stripping the sod and topsoil where the new fairway bunkers will be located on the left side of the fairway.

The new forward tee on #10 will also be part of KCM’s scope of work. Since the creek has moved where the old tee used to be, the new tee will be re-positioned slightly more to the centre of the hole. We will be making the new tee a little bit larger than the old one to allow for better wear management and more options. The 10th hole from the new forward tee will play about the same distance as it did before.

The new 18th hole design will be a very strategic and memorable finishing hole. It has been exciting watching it take shape over the winter months, and we look forward to seeing the final stages come together.

Andre Aymar, Course Superintendent

Course Update for March 20, 2018

By | City of Toronto Sewer Project, Construction, Winter

Although warmer temperatures in late February have challenged Wiarton Willie’s late spring prediction, it seems he was right after all. So far, winter has been hanging around, and according to the weather forecast, will do so for the next couple of weeks.

These colder temperatures have been good for the two ongoing construction projects. The creek erosion work is almost complete. Some of the work remaining includes the installation of the new bridge by 8/10 tee (early next week), some minor earth works around the bridge abutments, some general tidy up, and some perennial plantings for later in the spring when plants become available. The construction for the new 18th green is still scheduled to start within the next few weeks.

The sewer lining work is also progressing as scheduled and moving along nicely. The removal of all the access roads and construction material for Phase Two, (14th hole) has started. Lining of phase one, (Kipling to 18 tee) is underway.

The golf course still looks to be in great shape. With this colder weather though, all the grasses are still completely dormant. Nevertheless, we have all our equipment tuned up and ready to go. Over the next couple of weeks we will continue course clean up and spring preparations. (Photo below: #12 green)

Have a great weekend and Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Andre Aymar, Golf Course Superintendent

Course Update for May 26, 2017

By | Aerification, Construction, Landscaping

The course is closed for aeration on Monday, June 5 and Tuesday, June 6.

The rain continues. A wet spring seems to be the highlight of every conversation I have lately. The conditions this weekend might be a little bit more difficult than average, as we were not able to cut grass yesterday or today due to the amount of rain. Our team has been working hard today to make the golf course as tidy and as playable as possible.

We will be installing a base coat of asphalt on our maintenance road today. This is step two of a three-step process. The first step was to prepare the gravel base and address any areas that might be of concern. This was completed a couple of weeks ago. Next we install an asphalt base coat of two inches and leave it in place for the remainder of this season. This allows us to assess any other areas that may be slightly weaker and fix them before the final coat. The final coat will be applied in the spring of next year. It will be an additional 2 inches of topcoat asphalt. The road widened over the years, so we will be narrowing it to 14 feet. This is still wide enough for our equipment and dump trucks to access our maintenance yard. We will be grading and sodding the edges of the road to tie it in to the existing rough. (see photo below)

Today we will also be planting more annuals around the clubhouse. Our main focus will be planting the pots at the entrance and the patio island. The island will take some time to mature, as all annuals do, but once it completely fills in it will look fantastic. (see photo below)

Have a great weekend,

Andre Aymar
Golf Course Superintendent

Course Update for October 14, 2015

By | Bentgrass, Construction, Practice Range

Cultural Practices
The turf team has been busy this past week completing numerous cultural practices. On October 5 we solid tyned all the greens and applied a heavy sand topdressing. This will create a mat layer to help with the maturing process of the new bentgrass greens and smooth out the surfaces to allow for a truer ball roll. I will be sand topdressing every seven days this fall to try and get the greens as dense and mature as possible going into the winter months. This will provide a more consistent putting surface next season. At the end of last week over half of the fairways were aerated with a solid tyne. We hope to complete all of them by Friday. After that we will verti-cut some of the fairways that have the most thatch, as we did on #10 last week. To finish off the fairways I will be applying sand topdressing to provide for a better playing surface. This week I will be tackling some tee surfaces with the same procedure as the fairways. All these cultural practices are necessary and will provide for better playing conditions in the future.

Practice Range Fairway
The new practice facility has been a big hit this year. You can see by the number of divots on the practice fairway that everyone’s short game must be better. On October 20 the practice fairway will close for the season to allow time to seed the divots and give them a chance to grow in for the 2016 season. It has been a long season and the practice fairway will require some time to get it ready for next year.

After two seasons with construction, it has been a good year with minimal disturbance on the golf course. Unfortunately there is never a great time to complete work to improve the course, and at some point minor disturbances will happen. Last week the Board approved the rebuild of the remaining fairway bunkers that were not completed during the flood or greens rebuild. This project is scheduled to start sometime during the first week of November, and if the weather cooperates, will last approximately two weeks. There are eight remaining fairway bunkers to be rebuilt. Ian Andrew has completed drawings to rebuild five of them and fill in the remaining three. The new bunkers will be constructed in the same manner as the new greenside bunkers. The mounding will be reduced, new liners, drainage and, most importantly, new sand. If all goes well the bunkers will be ready for play first thing in the spring.

Ian McQueen, Course Superintendent

Course Update for December 9, 2014

By | Construction, Trees | No Comments

Course Update
It has been just under a month since the course closed for the season and lots has been accomplished since then. The weather in mid November put a halt to the majority of the fall cleanup and course work, but the last two weeks have given the turf team the chance to accomplish some of these tasks and construction projects.

The perforated tarps have now been installed on the new bentgrass greens. In previous years solid tarps were used to try and minimize ice cover on the old poa greens to reduce ice damage and freeze thaw injury to the putting surface. With the new bentgrass greens this is no longer a concern because the new grass variety can handle long periods of ice cover and freeze thaw injury, so I have installed perforated tarps to protect the young grass plants from wind desiccation during the cold winter months. This will promote early spring green up and reduce plant dehydration.

Ash tree removals for the winter of 2014/2015 are almost complete. This season we are removing the remainder of the trees that are dead and any that have not been treated for Emerald Ash Borer. Completing these removals will help protect the ones we have been treating since 2012. Next we will begin pruning trees for sightlines off the tee and noticeable dead wood throughout the property. We have been stockpiling the wood in different locations of the property to be chipped later in the winter.

The construction work has continued well into December with the installation of fencing at the ends of the streets adjacent to the property.

The Practice Facility is coming along nicely with the stone work completed around the netting structure and at the back of the hitting mat, with stairs leading up to the cart parking area. The next step is to construct the teaching building, with everything being ready for early spring.

Have a great Holiday Season!

Ian McQueen, Course Superintendent

Course Update for July 25, 2014

By | Construction, Rebuild

12 Green

I am happy to say the end is in sight. It has been a long 12 months of construction at Islington, and I want everyone to know the last three green surrounds will be sodded today. Machinery began to arrive on May 27, and on May 30 the 3rd hole was started. Exactly eight weeks later–one week ahead of schedule–the greens rebuild is complete. Now they will focus on finishing the new practice facility so we can seed at the end of next week. The crew has begun to backtrack, finishing any little items that may have been missed, and as planned the construction company should be offsite by August 1.

The grow-in has gone very well. As of today we have 14 of the 17 greens seeded, and 8 of the 14 are in different stages of mowing. The first three have each received the first two tons of topdressing sand, and by next week sand will be applied to five more. The grow-in process consists of numerous fertilizer, water, and weekly applications of dry bagged sand topdressing. Overall the greens that have germinated look great and I am happy with the stage they are at.

On the course we have begun sodding areas in the fairways with wear from winter damage that had a difficult time recovering. This week we will sod areas on #8, and next week we will tackle #11. The roughs have filled in nicely, and we will continue seeding and soiling these areas for re-establishment. The haul roads from the construction will be rototilled and then sodded in the next few weeks, and around the middle of August we will hydroseed the piles of fill by the pond and #18.

Ian McQueen, Course Superintendent

Course Update for July 18, 2014

By | Construction, Rebuild

On May 27, the construction crew started bringing machinery onsite to begin the greens rebuild project, and on May 30 the first shovel went in the ground on #3 green. I am happy to say it is almost at an end. After this week the construction crew will have three greens to finish. With good weather, we should be completed on July 25, then the focus will be on the practice facility the following week.

14 Green

This week started off slow with all the rain, but the crews pushed hard and we will be sodding around #13, 14, 16 greens and #14 tee today. The drainage and gravel layer have been installed on #12 green and #7 green has been rough graded, leaving only the putting green to complete. The grow-in portion of the project has gone very well. The turf team has begun mowing greens #2, 3 and #4 and today those greens will receive the first 2 tons of topdressing sand. Greens #8 and #9 will hopefully receive their first cuts today with topdressing sand to be applied next week. Overall the project has gone very well.

Ian McQueen, Course Superintendent

Course Update for July 10, 2014

By | Construction, Rebuild

Even with the rain over the last week, the construction crew was able to keep moving forward by installing drainage for the new practice facility and removing sod on two more green complexes. As of yesterday, the construction company had cored out 14 of the 17 green complexes and are anticipating completing the removal of the last green core on Tuesday. By the end of this week, we will have 11 greens seeded with the first 8 in different stages of grow-in anywhere from seedlings to being mowed. In all, the construction project has gone very well and the greens that have been seeded have fully germinated. With continued good weather, the project should be completed by the last week in July.

For those of you who haven’t been onsite this week, we have started the process of rebuilding #14 tee. With the disturbance around #13 green complex incorporating the bunker and surrounds it gave the opportunity while the construction company was at that location to finish them both together. The tee was old, uneven, and not aimed down the middle of the fairway.

Ian McQueen, Course Superintendent

Course Update for July 4, 2014

By | Construction, Rebuild

Another week down and three more greens have been seeded, giving us a total of eight completed greens. The construction company has removed earth on four more greens and started the finishing stages on three of them. With good weather, we should be done removing earth from the greens by the end of next week. This will put us right on schedule to finish the project by the end of July. The crew will be moving to holes #14, 13, 12, and #7, as well as the PG to finish off the project. While the construction moves forward, the turf crew has now backtracked and started to re-sod the haul roads that were damaged during the work. Over the next few weeks we will begin the process of adding the new sand to the bunkers. Once the sod has rooted and no more soil will wash out, we will add the new white sand, avoiding as much contamination as possible.

6 Green

For the past week, the turf team has been focusing on cleaning along creek banks and bush lines. We have been removing sucker growth along the creek banks to open up sightlines, as well as pruning back branches along cart paths for safety reasons. We continue to reseed bare areas throughout the property. The majority of the fairways have recovered nicely and we are now treating the small areas, like divots. The most severely damaged fairway was #11 by the 150 marker and approach to the green. We will continue to aerate and reseed these areas because bentgrass sod is unavailable until sometime in September. We have added new trees along the right side of 13 fairway where the ash trees were removed. The six new trees include: two Hackberry, two Linden and two Sugar Maples; a good variety of plantings to diversify the trees along the right of #13.

Ian McQueen, Course Superintendent