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Driving Range Renovations

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After 28 years of increased use, the Redwoods Driving Range is in dire need of some major TLC! With the golf course closed due to the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, we are taking the opportunity to do a complete renovation of the entire turf surface of our popular range to bring it back to life!

Some History

The driving range was originally built as a 20-stall covered range tailored to golfers wanting to warm up before they hit the course. There were no heaters, there weren't any teaching stalls or an upper deck--it was almost strictly used by golfers for a pre-game warm-up.

Since it was intended for warm-up, we designed the range to mimic a fairway: there were plenty of bunkers for hazards, cut greens with pins for targets, as well as rolling undulations in the turf. It was perfect for nailing down that pre-round warm-up!

Since 1994 the driving range use has shifted significantly. We are no longer seeing range use primarily for warm-up. Instead, we see regulars practicing daily, juniors spending entire afternoons perfecting their swing, and back-to-back lessons with our certified PGA of Canada teaching professionals. We see non-golfers coming to try out a new sport, parents bringing their kids out for a local adventure (and energy burner!) and couples using the range as a great date night activity. With this substantial change in users, the range itself is ready for a makeover as well.

Driving Range 1993
Driving Range
Driving Range 4

The Reno

As you have probably noticed lately, the turf on the range is in pretty poor condition. It does okay in the dry summer months but as soon as it rains there are several bare areas, muddy spots, and even standing water. It's not great to look at but it also makes it very difficult for our team to successfully pick range balls overnight in the off-season. You would not believe how many range balls get plugged underground!  The turf condition has also resulted in lengthy winter closures over the past several seasons and we hope to limit this with the renovation. 

Over the years we have built a section of 6 stalls primarily for golf instruction, as well as an upper deck with stalls to help accommodate the increased demand for public golf practice. We have also added heaters for cold wintery days of practice and lights for those short days of sunlight. Next on the list is renovating the grass portion of the range to elevate the area to the high standards to keep for the rest of the Redwoods property. 

Winter
Upper Deck
Driving Range

To start the range project, we have removed some trees from inside the driving range area. Several of the trees had been deemed unsafe since one of the trees fell in a storm earlier this year. With fewer trees on the range, the area will be significantly brighter at night for your practice sessions and will increase your ball flight visibility. 

To further reinvigorate the range, we are removing all of the current grass. We are regrading and levelling the entire surface of the range which will greatly improve drainage and visibility. The mound near the 200-yard mark will be removed so you will be able to watch your ball flight all the way to the back of the range which will definitely enhance your practice sessions. To finish it off, we will be restoring the top 6 inches of the entire range with fresh sand and topping it with new turf. It's going to look and play so much better than before!

Tree Removal
Range construction
Back of Range
Range reno 2
Range renos
Range Reno 3

 

Update September 6, 2022

We were able to successfully smooth, fertilize and seed the entire range by the end of August. One week after spreading grass seed we are thrilled to share that we are seeing green! 

 

Range Smoothed
Seeding
Turf growing

 

Update September 26, 2022

The new grass continues to grow in with the beautiful September weather that we have been having. In fact, we are having to water the grass a little more than we would have expected for this time of year! While the weather has been great for grass growing, the grass is not as far along as we would like to see it at the moment.

From a distance, the grass looks like perfection. But as you can see, up close it is not as thick as we need it to be. In its current state, the grass is still not established enough to withstand the typical machinery that we would use to maintain the range such as ball pickers and mowers. Unfortunately, this means that the driving range will not be ready to open soon.

On a positive note, we were able to give the range its first haircut last Friday! Since our regular machinery is too heavy for the current conditions of the range, we were able to borrow the owner's household ride-on mower to get the job done! Thanks, Doug!

 

Grass growing
Close up
First cut

We are doing all that we can to get the range back up and running for late fall. But to be perfectly honest, a 2023 reopening is looking more likely at the moment. Nothing is set in stone yet so we will keep you updated as we know more. As you know with construction, delays can happen and the weather can make a huge impact on our progress. But please know that we are trying our best to get the range in fantastic condition for your return! Thank you for your patience as we complete these much-needed enhancements to the Range. We miss you and can't wait to have you back--we know that you will be thrilled with our enhanced facility!

To be the first to know the official reopening date for the range, sign up for Club RED!

Frost Delays: friend or foe?

frosty grass

It's that time of year where us west coasters either wake up with puddles on the ground from all night rains, or we need to scrape the frosty car windshield before heading to work in the morning!

We are all probably familiar with scraping the windshield, but what does frost do to grass?

 

Frost typically develops on cold, clear nights when water inside of blades of grass freeze. As you can imagine, being frozen from the inside out causes the thin blades of grass to become very fragile and prone to damage, especially under pressure from heavy objects.

Now what does this have to do with golf?

To state the obvious, grass kind of plays an important role in golf. Frosty grass can be pretty easily damaged but the most at risk turf is really short grass such as on a putting green. The simple act of walking on a frosty green can rupture the plant cells causing severe and lasting damage to the turf. Damage like this can cause turf to die, but it can also weaken the turf enabling it to become more susceptible to diseases later in the season; neither is a good scenario. 

Since frost often appears on clear nights, a sunny morning often follows which can be super tempting for golfers craving a round in an otherwise dreary fall. 

Now let's look at a typical round of golf: the average foursome takes 300 steps on every single putting green, according to the United States Golf Association

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When walking on a frosty green, you might be able to see your footprints, but it probably doesn't look like anything has actually gone wrong with the playing surface. However, in a day or two each of those 300 steps could start to show signs of serious damage to the turf. In reality, it's really unlikely for only one group to play golf on a sunny day so let's imagine that ten foursomes play before the frost melts. Each of those frosty greens now have 3,000 or more damaging steps on their surfaces. That is a LOT of potential for significant turf damage. 

When we choose to go on a frost delay, we don't take the decision lightly. We are simply doing our best to protect our greens from potential damage so that they are in fantastic condition for our golfers during the rest of the season!

What can you expect during a frost delay at Redwoods?

We aim to keep our golfers informed as much as possible. As soon as we know that there will be a frost delay, we will notify all golfers on the tee sheet immediately by email--this is why it's important to have your customer profile fully updated with your current email info! Once we know the exact length of delay we will send out another email with your new tee of time. Pretty simple! When playing late fall and winter golf, we recommend checking your emails before you leave the house, even if it doesn't look frosty where you are. With our tree lined shaded fairways and tiered course we tend to see a little more frost than our neighbors. 

We hope to see you on a sunny day soon!

Happy Healthy Turf

2021 Golf Course Enhancement Updates

The 2020 winter was wet... and not just a little wet. We saw a much higher than average rainfall all winter long. At the same time, we had an extremely high volume of golfers on the course. This combination took a huge toll on our golf course and to be totally honest, it needed some love!

Fast forward to early 2021: we identified a number of spots around the property that were in dire need of some upgrades and the Redwoods Turf Care team set to work making magic happen out on the course!

Over the next few months we laid over 70,000 square feet of beautiful green sod, and applied 1,600 tonnes of sand in these projects alone! To say that it was a busy spring would be a bit of an understatement. Keep reading to learn more about a few of the areas that we tackled this spring!

Hole #4 Rough

You know the spot to the right of the fairway where you lose your ball as it rolls into the ravine? We fully repaired this entire area including new soil and sod. But you probably shouldn't be here anyways!
Hole 4   Hole 4 complete

Hole #9 Green Surrounds

This area around the green was often a little soggy in wet weather so it got brand new drainage, soil and sod. Now it's looking and playing great!

Hole 9 complete Hole 9 complete

Hole #10 Tee

The area around the tee boxes on hole 10 was another spot that tended to get and stay wetter than we would like. New drainage, soil and sod to the rescue!

Hole 10 complete Hole 10 complete

Hole #14 Corner

When you try and cut the corner on 14 you have quite possibly lost your ball in this exact clump of trees. To help you out, we removed the brush from under the trees, levelled the area and added soil and seed. The area now gets mowed regularly so the next time you try to cut the corner, your ball might just be findable!

Hole 14 corner Hole 14 corner

Hole #14 Green Surrounds

The slope beside and behind the 14th green had a tendency to stay wet all year round. This made maintenance tricky when combined with the severe grade of slope. We smoothed out the area to make it a bit more forgiving, and we added drainage, soil and sod! Now you hopefully won't lose your ball in any wet, unruly rough!

Hole 14 Green hole 14 green complete

 Hole #15 Tee

You know the shortcut between #14 green and #15 tee box? This area was in very rough shape and in serious need of some TLC STAT! We removed the top 8 inches of turf and soil, then added a bunch of brand new drainage, soil and sod to complete the renovation perfectly!

Hole 15 Hole 15   

If you know anything about golf course maintenance, you know that it never endsas soon as you finish a project, another needs your attention! We still have a long list of areas that will also be getting upgrades such as drainage, soil and sod or areas that will be regularly aerated and topdressed with sand to continuously improve drainage and overall turf health over time. It's safe to say that it will be a very busy winter! That being said, we are extremely proud of our Turf Care team and thankful for all the hard work they put in this season to get the course in better shape than ever before!

Thanks Team Woods!

Have you ever played a golf course in the hot summer months and noticed that some areas look a little brown and dry? Fear not! This isn't from neglect; it's strategic and (mostly!) on purpose, with a little help from Mother Nature of course. Here are two reasons why:

1. Irrigation:July at Redwoods Golf Course

Having certain areas of our golf course get dry and "brown out" was actually planned during the initial design and construction of Redwoods; many golf courses tend to adopt similar practices. When mapping out where the irrigation would be and how far it would cover, our topmost priority was and still is given to playable surfaces of the course: fairways, greens, and tees. We want these areas to be looking and playing their very best, even in the toasty summer months. Our irrigation is therefore focused on these areas, which allows lesser important areas, like the rolling hills separating holes, to go without significant amounts of water and ultimately leading to less unnecessary water usage.

2.  Turfgrass Types:

There are thousands of species of grass which have differing characteristics enabling grasses to thrive in different environments. The turfgrass that we allow to brown out is actually a species which is perfectly capable of surviving with very little water. Areas of the course, outside of our typical irrigation and not a priority playable surface, were strategically planted with a turfgrass that can better survive long periods of dry weather--the typical Lower Mainland summer drought for instance!Golfer teeing off hole #11 at redwoods golf course

Both practices of intentional irrigation planning and the planting of different species of turfgrass can be seen on the rolling hills that separate Hole #1 from Hole #18, and Hole #18 from Hole #11. While some may argue that the hills between #11 and #18 are in play (yep--that's where my tee shot goes too!) it is an area that wasn't originally intended for a well-placed drive. Our irrigation in all of these areas is focused on the fairways on either side of these browned out hills to reduce water wastage. We have also chosen to plant fescue grass on these separating hills which have the dual purpose of withstanding these long summer droughts and browning nicely to create a beautiful contrast between the bright greens of the pristine fairways and the golden browned hills between.

Next time you see dry, brown areas on the course, you know that the grounds crew isn't being lazy--the grass is meant to look that way, so book your tee time! 

 

Thanks to Cameron Watt for providing the details for this post!

Dog laying down on a Redwoods Logo matLove to golf and spend time with your dog? You can put your two favourite hobbies together at the Redwoods! We are very happy to announce that we are a dog-friendly facility! That’s right, no more guilty feelings when you leave Spike at home while you enjoy an afternoon on the course!

Book a tee time for any time, bring your pooch on a leash, and come on out for a day on the course with your faithful four-legged friend! Enjoy a post-round snack and a refreshing beverage on our patio overlooking the 18th green because Fido is welcome there too!

Simply keep your pup out of the bunkers and off the greens, and pick up anything they may have left behind… and everyone will have a great time! We invite you to read our full Dog Policy before the first round with Buddy to learn more about our on course dog etiquette expectations. 

 

Dog playing in a sprinkler on Redwoods golf course

To celebrate, we are inviting golfers to bring their dogs to the course on Friday, June 29th 2018 for our Dog Days of Summer event!

There will be treats, there will be complimentary poop bags, and we are hoping there will be plenty of dogs! Simply book a tee time for any time on the 29th, let us know that you are bringing your dog, and we will have a goodie bag ready for you!

 

 

 

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