Welcome to TPC Scottsdale Agronomy

This is an informative page developed to give Golfers, Staff and Enthusiasts the most up to date and relevant information of agronomic activities ongoing at TPC Scottsdale. Become a follower to the site below or check back often to see what's going on in the world of turf at TPC Scottsdale.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

World Wide Web....the Struggles

As many of you may be able to see, we have been offline for a period of time. A ton has gone on here in the desert since our last post. To some things up in regard to our lack of "participation", we hit an Internet roadblock of sorts with our domain name. Long story short, make sure that your domain is set up so that it renews itself, especially if you are with Google. Should you have difficulties at any time, rest assured you will at no time "speak" to a human unless it is via email. The technical jargon is way over most of our heads, an fortunately we found a company that would assist us at no charge to sort through the mess.
2014 to date has been busy nonetheless. The Waste Management Phoenix Open rounded out January in fine fashion, and we were again very fortunate to have a great group of volunteers that assisted us through the event. Our hats off to all of you that participated and those who returned to be a part of the madness once again. As odd as it may seem, tournament infrastructure is still being taken down around #16. This should be complete by the end of the month. It is a long process that we know all too well, and is just something that comes along with the territory of holding one of the largest attended sporting events in the world outside of the Olympic Games.
The vast majority of the focus here at TPC Scottsdale Agronomy has been to provide great spring course conditions and planning for the upcoming renovation of The Stadium Course...more on that later. The weather has been fantastic this spring, with high temperatures roughly 5-10 degrees above normal for the first quarter of the year.  That being said, the cool season stand has been able to continue to mature and tolerate the large volume of play that uses the facility on a daily basis.

We are very excited to be back on line. Construction begins on The Stadium this coming Tuesday!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Stadium Installs New Pump Station

In our last post, we discussed a few things related to preparing the infrastructure for the installation of a new pump station on the Stadium Course. Please feel free to take a look at that post which can be found here: Construction Update. Most of that work was completed to allow for the installation schedule of the new pump station to be met effectively.
Last week, preparation began for the removal of the old system. Several days prior to the old station being removed, we took delivery of the new station. This consisted of two skids. One of which supports the motors, filters and vast majority of the plumbing and the second which is a dedicated skid for the control panel.

Tuesday, September 10th
Old Shaft Being Pulled
Demo Day. At 6 am, all power and water was shut off to the Stadium Course. This rendered us almost defenseless against the 100 temperatures of the desert. A team of 6 individuals along with the help of a large boom truck dismantled the old station by removing all of the bolts and other associated hardware that kept the current station in place. Once the motors were removed and the old control panel were removed, the boom truck pulled each shaft up from the wet well which reaches 21 feet below. Most of us entrust a great deal in our pump companies and dive teams to keep an eye on these pieces during yearly preventative maintenance. When you have a system that has reached its life expectancy, what you see when shafts are pulled can be an eye opening experience.
While the heavy lifting was progressing at the pump house, our diver was in the lake where the intake for the wet well sits. He spent most of the day dredging around the current intake screen in preparation for removal and replacement. Over time, siltation and sediment builds around these screens, even with routine maintenance. That being said, it is important to know that the screen, once installed, will be clear so that the new system is not compromised by pumping this material that builds around the screen as water is drawn into the wet well.

Due to the size of the new station, our wet well opening had to be enlarged. This is a long planning progress that involved several different teams, including engineers and irrigation consulting firms. Prior to our system being built, we had to ensure that the opening was large enough to house the larger system and that there was enough clearance for the new components. Part of the existing slab above the well was measured and then cut. Eye bolts were used to secure the slab so when cut, it would not plummet into the wet well.

Wednesday, September 11th
With the assistance of a 20 ton crane, both new skids were put in place. Although this sounds somewhat easy, I can assure you that tons of measurements are being made and stress levels are high. The control panel skid was placed first. This was done to ensure that the crane operator did not have to maneuver the second skid over and around it. Remember, the main skid weighs in at over 10,000 pounds and that is before motors and shafts have been secured onto it! As the main skid was "flown in", measurements were being made to ensure that it was set in precisely the correct spot. There are many factors that play into this, so if you have further interest, please feel free to contact us. Once it was determined that we had set the main skid in the proper location, the installation team and crane operator began to fly in shafts and the motors. A certified entity handles and oversees the installation of all components and ensures that things are progressing properly. Due to this being a retrofit, the installation process took most of the day, as electrical adjustments were also being made to connect  our new power source to the station.
Thursday, September 12th
Mainline Tie Ins
Since the majority of our mainline was installed last summer, the decision was made to leave the last portion of the work to complete during this part of the project. Several factors were key in making this assessment. At the time the other pipe was going in the ground, there wasn't sufficient enough evidence to support the new station layout. This has a very important bearing on how the new mainline is tied into the pump station. Once the engineering team had built the new station conceptually, our irrigation consulting firm could make the determination on what the pipe layout needed to be to tie into it properly. These tie-ins can take time to install due to the sheer size of pipe that is that close to the water source. The contractor was working to complete around 200 linear feet of pipe, most of which is 16" diameter. Pipe that size requires cumbersome mechanical joints, large amounts of concrete for thrust blocks, and time and patience to get the job complete.

Friday, September 13th
Mainline Tie Ins & Start Up
As the work for the mainline wrapped up, our pump service specialist was on-site to go through our start up checklist and to work through the initial cycle of the new system. This is one of the most important pieces as a new system is energized. Items that are scrutinized range from correct electrical output, correct rotation of the motors, station pressure set points and programming sequences of the motors and drives as this system runs off of two variable frequency drives (VFDs).
It is important to remember that while tons of planning go into construction, programming and implementation of a new pump station, very seldom do things go completely as planned. There is always a degree of "fine tuning" that needs to happen so that the equipment operates the way we intend it to.
While service checks were being performed, our diver was also on-site. His primary focus was getting the intake pipe "jetted" and installing the new intake screen. Jetting is a process by which a hose is run up the pipe via the lake side and high pressure water (3400 psi) is used to remove any siltation or build up that has been drawn into the pipe. Specialized heads on the hose insure that the debris is not forced into the wet well, but drawn back into the lake. A final clean up dredge was done, and the new screen was installed.
With overseed right around the corner and temperatures still well above 100 degrees on a daily basis this project had to maintain schedule. Timely monsoonal rains provided some degree of insurance while all of the pieces were falling into place. Please check back, as we will detail the capabilities and options that have been built into our new station allowing us to not only move more water faster, but in a more effective and sustainable manner.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Stadium Course-Construction Update

As we move forward toward the 2014 Waste Management Phoenix Open, we are completing one major phase of the Stadium renovation. Phase I of the renovation started last year and included the complete installation of a new main line for our irrigation system. We will complete the final part of Phase I this August and September witch includes terminating the new mainline and installing a new pump station and associated electrical upgrades.
Over the course of the last week, electrical infrastructure has be installed to support the new pump station that is capable of delivering over 4500 gallons of water per minute to the golf course. Our current system was installed in 1999 and runs off of 600 amp service. Time and the elements have taken their toll and the system is no longer able to reliably deliver water to the golf course. Additionally, the station was built around the concept that the old mainline was delivering water to a block system type irrigation grid. It is now somewhat undersized in addition to the aforementioned. 
The electrical process started over a year ago. Electrical requirements had to be determined based on the pump station that was chosen. After the decision was made to go with the current option, our electrical contractor and Flotronex outlined the necessary changes that would have to be implemented to effectively run the new system.
Last week, the plan started to move into place. Trenching was completed and conduit was installed to get new 480/3 phase wiring to the new Service Entrance Section (SES) panel and from the SES to the new pump station skid. Additionally, a new concrete footer had to be poured for the SES panel. You may ask, why all of the new electrical?

 Our new system has larger electrical requirements of 800 amp service compared to the old 600 amp service. Additionally, the tournament will be using power from this same service panel to meet the needs of the ever-growing 16th hole. I think some of our audience may be familiar with this....
Yesterday, the new electrical panel was installed and anchored to its new home. Our electrical contractors will now work with the local electrical company to tie into the transformer and get our panel "hot".
SES panel being placed
Once this is done, our staff will await the arrival of the new pump station, at which time the service from the panel to the pump station will be made. It seems easy, and we hope for a "plug-n-play" type scenario. There are many people and companies involved in a task such as this. It takes precise coordination and a team effort to avoid inefficiencies that could delay the project on a tight time line.
Check back next week, as we will be discussing the steps that are involved with cleaning out the wet well, installing a new intake screen and finalizing the electrical work.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Tournament Volunteers

As of late, we have begun to receive some questions in regard to volunteering for the 2014 Waste Management Phoenix Open. As crazy as this may seem, we are less than 5 months from starting to build out the small city that plays host to the world's greatest players.
Please feel free explore our blog and if you have any questions regarding the volunteer or application process click here. We look forward to hearing from everyone and are excited to begin our long range preparations for the 2014 event. Please check back often for course and tournament updates. Until next time....
#16 - 2013 WMPO from high in the sky.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

TPC Scottsdales agronomy team has been working on continued improvements to the stadium courses drainage system.  In an effort to manage salts and bicarbonates left by effluent water and to maintain firm playing conditions in fairways, new drainage is being added to improve the few sites that have unsatisfactory water movement.  As temperatures in the valley of the sun continue to rise and irrigation inputs are increased in order to hydrate an increasingly stressed plant, any areas that have poor water movement will build up salts and bicarbonates over time resulting in weakened turf. 

The process begins with shooting the grade of the land to ensure that adequate fall was achieved to move water to nearby drain basins. After laying out the site of the drain lines a sodcutter is used to remove turf that will be laid back in place once the drain is complete. 

As seen in the picture above a black layer has formed in an area of the new trench line, which will hopefully be remedied with the proper drainage.  All existing soil will be removed and replaced with a coarse sand with large particle sizes that allows water to move through the profile quickly.  Calcite Calcium is also applied in drain lines to aid in moving any salt buildup through the soil profile.

Flat pipe is used to carry water in the drain lines and is installed in a weaving pattern in order to catch and move a greater amount of water throught the line.


Once the drainage has been properly installed a very low impact project is complete that will aid in salt management and maintain the integrity of the playing surface for years to come.  The finished product is very low impact to golfers and is completed before the first group of the day arrives.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Little Bit Goes A Long Way

In our May post, we discussed some of the mechanical means that are being used to start the annual transition process of the cool season turf, back to our bermudagrass base. While all of these cultural events are greatly important, so is the use of water.

Micro-Irrigation Set-up
Water use and application play a very important role in successful transition, especially when you consider the water quality that many of us are using here in the desert southwest. Water quality is a whole different topic, and will be discussed in a different post.

As the summer draws nearer, our ET rates start to skyrocket. As early as mid-April, we are experiencing ET rates around 0.25" or higher. While running nightly irrigation helps keep our cool season grass in decent shape, we must also think about the bermudagrass that lies beneath the current crop. Fine textured soils complicate deep watering at times. We want to be responsible users of our resources and don't want excess runoff or large wet areas that will effect the guests.

With that, we have begun to use a micro irrigation system that is low flow and can be used in site specific applications. This enables us to get water to infiltrate the soil profile that is somewhat heavy in nature. Basically infiltration is equal to the precip rate of the emitters. Depending on the severity of profile dryness, each setup can be run between 1-8 hours. Each system is plumbed with a wetting agent canister that can be filled with a tablet and used to help break surface tension and increase the initial infiltration rate.

These systems are also being used in areas where salt levels are high. The system is run to solubilize salts in the profile (with the assistance of calcium carbonate) and help flush them below the root zone or help get the salts into solution and into subsurface drainage. In this scenario, each area can be run for up to 24 hours.

These are going to be a valuable tool to assist us in increasing the uniformity of our transition back to the bermudagrass base. Balancing soil moisture is a key factor in having success when "rotating crops". Looking forward, these micro-irrigation systems are also going to be a great tool during the establishment of overseed in the fall.
Micro-irrigation in place on bunker face